I’m the best at loving the first day of a new month and a new year, and the worst at keeping resolutions reasonable. I’ve spent a lot of January 1sts with an all-too-optimistic goal list that was ultimately defeating.
Awhile ago, I listened to a podcast interview with someone who suggested picking one thing to work on every three months. Not enough, I thought, but she pointed out that in a decade, that was forty things you’ve changed.
Last year, my goal was business-related, and I sat down shortly after the first of the year and wrote down a sentence about wanting to value my skills and my time and have others treat me accordingly. There were some less abstract goals involved, but the same theme resonated. The whole thing felt sort of hokey, but I wrote it and ignored my own judgment over it.
I kept that hokey sentence in an email draft and pulled it up when I felt like I needed a reminder. On the last day of 2015, I took stock of the year, noted a couple of missteps, punched some numbers, re-visited some scary-for-me conversations, and celebrated with fajitas and Coronas. I had reached my goals. I had finally kept a New Year Resolution.
When I thought about 2016’s goal, a quote — Oh Lord, did I read it on Reddit? I think it might have been on Reddit — came to mind: “One day your parents put you down and never picked you back up again.” I paused and texted a friend and we swapped tear-faced emojis about the thought of our kids getting that big. I’ve got an almost 8-year-old in the 90% percentile for height and I wondered if I was far off from that very day.
I want to be strong enough to give my 18-year-old daughter a piggyback ride. It was an immediate wave of daydreaming. Playing soccer with my teenage daughters, rock wall climbing with my adult children, ziplining through a rainforest in South America at age sixty.
This is a long setup to say I’ve been working out regularly since the end of January. I had searched for a gym, and my only criteria was that they had classes early enough to accommodate my schedule. I found the one that fit the bill — a local strength and conditioning gym a town over. I started going three to four times a week (minus when traveling, and one week where I had the flu), regularly. Surprising myself. At one point, in the middle of a hamstring curl, I whispered to my friend Alayna, “I’ve been coming regularly for two months. I don’t think I’ve even flossed every day for two months!”
I had always gauged my relative state of health based on my daily pre-shower weigh-ins, but my weigh-ins were showing me no change. It had been discouraging, but I was starting to feel good after workouts, so I kept plugging along, hoping I’d see the numbers shift sooner rather than later.
While swimsuit shopping, I snapped a photo to text to a friend on her thoughts (I was concerned my all-orange ensemble made me look like a traffic cone). For funsies, I decided to pull up a photo I took three months prior to compare. I stopped and stared at all of the little changes that a scale never showed.
I’ve not lost one pound and the before & after may not be drastic, but I can deadlift 200 lbs, do ten push-ups in a row, climb a rope, flip a tractor tire, and squat/press/lunge/lift heavy weights. I can see and feel muscles in my shoulders, my back, and my stomach. The scale no longer serves me, because “I lost five pounds” doesn’t move me like “I can’t believe I just lifted that off the ground.”
Posting progress bikini shots is so far out of my comfort zone, I’ve gone back and forth on writing about this for weeks. But I feel compelled to share (and apologize) that I’d had it all wrong. In the past, I was happy to partner with and write about a fun new weight loss brand in the spirit of motivation and seeking greater health — the entire premise was losing 4% of your body weight in 4 weeks — and while I think it’s a valuable and successful program for some, it never should have been my goal. My scale has since been demoted to pre-flight suitcase weigh-ins only.
A photo posted by Roo Ciambriello (@roociambriello) on
My goal was to #deadlift 200 pounds on my birthday. First attempt was a no-go; second was my birthday gift to myself. The lift isn’t pretty, but it came off the ground! Thanks for the hype, @tuffgirlstrong / @christadoran + @alicia_angelini + @awetherhead! Starting off my new year right (and sweaty). 😚 #200club #trapbardeadlift
A video posted by Roo Ciambriello (@roociambriello) on
I care less about my weight and my jeans size, and instead let myself feel excitement that I’m getting stronger, that my thigh muscles are getting bigger, that I can do a sort-of push-up (put your butt down, Roo) with my four year old on my back, that I can swing from the monkey bars at the playground, that I’m taking care of my body instead of trying to lose six pounds via sheer force. I care that as my girls quickly approach tween years, that they focus on being strong and happy.
Today’s workout included flipping a tractor tire, and when I saw it on the line-up, I groaned a little. My very first workout at this gym included a battle with the same tire. I had struggled to lift it an inch off the ground, and a coach had to help me pull it up the rest of the way. When my turn with the tire came around again, I had begged off and found solace in my water bottle.
This morning I met it again, sighed, squatted down, and surprisingly, tossed it over with ease.
“Christa,” I grabbed the gym owner‘s forearm as she walked by, “do you have different tires you use? Do you have a lighter tire and a heavier tire?”
I started to explain first day versus today, but she knew where I was going with it and pointed at me.
“Tire’s not lighter; you’re just a lot stronger.”
I Cheshire-Cat-grinned and couldn’t help myself. It’s a cooler high than the scale could ever afford me.