Progress. You hear that word a lot, especially around here. Everyone's looking for it, people post how proud they are of it, how disappointed they are when they don't feel or see it. Progress is a big word...almost big enough to rival the other big P, the nasty P-word. (The one that leads people to want to jump off the cliff sometimes...you know it.) But what does it mean?
From Google: Definitions of "progress" on the Web:
1. develop in a positive way
That's this progress:
2. advancement: gradual improvement or growth or development
Uhm, that's what I'm hoping my muscles are doing right now.
3. advance: move forward, also in the metaphorical sense
Yesh, like my running...however slow it might be...
...or at least it WAS like that, until I started moving backward again...
4. the act of moving forward (as toward a goal)
Even if it's REALLY SLOWWWWWW, like the movement on my scale this week with a .2 here and a .2 there. *sigh*
5. build up: form or accumulate steadily
You mean like the pressure I put on myself or the (delusional) pressure I feel from those around us?
6. a movement forward
I like that one. Very easy to achieve. It's as easy as one step after another...
Okay, okay. So it means all the things we think it means. But what does it mean to ME?
Sure, progress is 85 pounds lost on the scale.
But, it's also...
... the lightness I feel when running now as compared to 80 pounds ago.
... knowing that I have the tools now that I struggled for so long to find.
... getting back up every time I fall.
... knowing that one misstep doesn't equal the end of the journey.
... being able to get off the couch.
... squeezing behind people.
... buckling (most) airline seat belts.
... not seeing stomach sticking out past my boobage when I look down.
... bending over and tying my shoes.
... getting to the gym 5-6 days a week.
... wanting to go to the gym.
... hating that the gym is closed Sundays.
... doing what I'm afraid of and realizing fear is in my head and can be overcome.
... walking miles before being tired and winded.
... lifting 60-100-200+ pounds with my arms or legs.
... understanding how nutrition works.
... understanding my body.
... wanting to train someone like I train myself.
... modifying Zumba to be more difficult and challenging.
... not being afraid of modifying recipes for healthier options.
... eating foods I know are healthier.
... giving myself permission to hope for more.
... giving myself the right to believe in my own beauty.
... being comfortable around people.
... being looked at in the eyes more often.
... feeling less wide.
... feeling free.
... planning outdoor activities and hating the weather.
... knowing that the weather doesn't have to stop me.
... being motivation for others.
... understanding I'm not you and I don't have to need what you need or do what you do or want what you want.
... having faith in my abilities.
... being willing to stretch the idea of what I can handle and testing my limits.
... feeling free to change my mind.
... being honest, even when I fear I might be judged.
... knowing when to keep my mouth shut.
... caring for others for more unselfish reasons.
... knowing that I still don't have all the answers, but I have the ability to find the answers to some of the unknown with enough research and time and understanding.
... understanding that I won't always feel happy, healthy and strong - and that is OK.
... learning how to get through the hard times without turning to food.
... learning to celebrate victories without food.
... learning to love food for what it can do to my body.
... learning to hate certain food for what it does to my body.
And progress is knowing that this:
...is not something to fear, but something to look forward to, because it feels like power and peace and strength and happiness soon after.
And progress is feeling power, not regret or embarrassment when I see this:
...because I'm not going back there. Because that girl had the strength in her to do what I've done so far...she just wasn't ready yet. She wouldn't be ready for another 2 years to really take on the challenge of changing her life completely. She had done it once before, but she needed that time to focus on other things, on making her inside stronger so she could deal with the pain and suffering this journey would bring.
That change of mind alone. That ability to be ready to change. That, in itself, is progress.
Sometimes it feels like the progress is so slow, that the changes aren't happening fast enough, that I've only chipped at the surface of what I need to do. The other day I heard this line in a Sara Bareilles song, "Compare where you are to where you want to be and you'll get nowhere." She's right. It's a waste of time. Comparing where you are to where you've been, though, is a great motivator to keep going forward. See, because even though it feels SO SMALL sometimes...when I put it down like this and really take a look, I realize that I've come a long way!
So I'm gonna keep going. Progressing by just putting one foot in front of the other. By trying to make this week better than the last. By remembering to work on all of me, not just the parts I think need to change now.
One step a day more is progress in its very definition. If all else fails, fight for just one step more.