February 5, 2012

How Do You Measure Success?

No, seriously, how do you measure success? I think each of us knows success when we feel it. Sometimes we plan for it and other times we stumble into it. And I'm sure we have areas of overlap but we probably each have our own personal definitions of success.

For me, there are 3 key areas of my life in which I will judge outcomes with labels such as success or failure: family/friends, health and weight.

Family/friends hasn't always been an easy one for me. I grew up in poverty and we moved around a lot (think gypsy mode) so I didn't have a chance to practice friendship skills. Family relationships were very dysfunctional so it was more a matter of knowing what I didn't want than anything else. And it didn't help that I was a bashful, withdrawn child who grew up to be an introverted-but-assertive woman. However, I look at my son (nearly 40) and grandson (nearly 18) and feel successful to the extent that I've always done the best I could and have extremely close relationships with both. And I'm blessed with great friends, both human and companion animals, to help celebrate the good times and survive the bad ones.

On the health front, that's been an up-and-down story. I've always been a basically healthy woman with a lot of chronic complaints, many of which involved considerable pain. After 9 months of ancestral eating, I can't remember the last time I felt true pain and that's almost spooky. My upcoming physical in 2 weeks will flesh out the story but as far as I know I'm unusually healthy for someone about to turn 65. I feel more like 40-ish.

Then there's weight, which has 2 success/fail elements: appetite control and level of body fat.

Given my 50-year history of binge eating, I have to say it's very weird that in the past 4 months I seem to have lost the ability to binge. Forget desire--I never had that, and who does? If you are able to control what you do/don't eat you may be many things but you're not a binge eater. No, I mean no matter what I do now a binge doesn't happen. Get upset? Nope. Eat sugary holiday treats? Nope. Have cupboards full of highly-processed treats the grandkid bought? Nope. 

That doesn't mean I can't get a little off track. Eating a ton of fruit earlier this week made my blood sugar a little unstable and took the shine off my energy and sense of well-being, but there was never any time that I felt a true binge coming on. My body (personally, I think it was my gut flora) told me to knock it off and I did, and after several days of a better-balanced ancestral routine I'm feeling great again.

On the body fat question, I've thoroughly learned in my life that fast-off means faster-back-on. I do my best to eat at equilibrium or only a slight deficit so that any fat loss is very gradual and hardly noticed. And yet, since the first week in September my waist is down at least 5 inches. This morning I pulled out a pair of khaki cut-offs. This particular pair of pants was so much too small this time last year that I couldn't even pull them above my knees. I said MY KNEES. This morning I pulled them up and was able to zip and button them--what do you think of that? Okay, don't get too excited, I'm an old lady and the pants are still too snug for me to wear them in public but in a month or 3 I'm going to be walking around outside in those pants.

That's SUCCESS, baby! 

1 comment:

  1. Hey, congrats on the pants! Terrific!

    Yes, fast off tends to lead to fast on for me, too. A good thing to remember, slow and steady, changing life habits, not dieting, are key for some of us.