March 3, 2013

A Small Goal Achieved

Life is an interesting journey of highs and lows, successes and failures, satisfactions and disappointments. Sometimes what happens are major events that can change the direction or shape of your life overnight. Other times, something occurs which is small in scope, but satisfying nevertheless.

This is a report of something small, or more accurately, smaller. Over the past few months I have been taking my belt in a notch or two. My jeans were feeling loose and more baggy than usual. Older men tend to lose their butts so I just chalked it up to one of the joys of aging. But, I had been a bit more careful about how much I was eating though I hadn't really been making a major effort to lose weight; that never seems to work for me anyway. Maybe more than a shrinking backside was at work.

So, last week after complaining about how my pants were fitting, Betty suggested I try a smaller waist size. Well, I've been a 38" waist for probably 15 or more years. I hadn't thought it is possible to actually go to something smaller. I figured I'm a 38 and that's what it will be.

But, I gave it a shot and did one of my least favorite things: clothes shopping. Lo and behold I fit into a pair of 36" jeans. It didn't look like 10 pounds of Bob in a 5 pound bag! The pants fit.  A life changer? No. Satisfying? Yes.

I saved the larger jeans, though I've read someplace I should toss them so I can't go back. I looked at the other pants hanging in my closet and realized this means I have to replace 8 pairs of pants. Oh well, there is a cost to anything worth while.

This rather insignificant event in my life is not something worthy of a post, except for the somewhat larger message: little things can mean a lot. Our satisfying retirement is made up of things that happen to us, because of us, for us, and in spite of us. There is nothing wrong in celebrating the smallest joys. In fact, because little things happen much more often than the big stuff, if you celebrate the every day victories you will likely have much more joy and happiness in your life.

Examples? All the corn in the microwave bag popped, the paper was actually thrown out of the rain this morning, the dog didn't bark at the UPS driver, you finished the book that has been on your night stand since Christmas (of 2011), and the dry cleaners didn't ruin that expensive outfit.

There are lots of small victories to savor. I choose to dwell on them rather than the irritants. Call it denial. I call it satisfying.

34 comments:

  1. Ah, the little things! Congrats on the 36. I was happy to note this morning, as I put on a pair of hiking pants for Sedona, that they still fit. That means I didn't gain any weight during our two months in Tucson.

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    1. Two months of the high life in Tucson and no weight gain? That is great and supports your premise that you weren't on vacation, you were just living someplace else.

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  2. Congratulations! Definitely satisfying to see those notches appear in the belt. Might not want to replace all 8 pairs of jeans right away, you might find yourself stashing them away in a few months when you lose another 2 inches!

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    1. Most of those pants are khaki and slightly dressier black pants. In another two months it will be too hot to wear them anyway, so I'll wait until fall to decide. You're right...maybe 34" is in my future.

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    2. I look forward to reading about that story. Best of luck.

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  3. When working it seems I had to stay focused on the grand items, the much bigger picture. Now with more time to actually live my life with fewer outside constraints, I do actually complete more as well. Books, yes, but my waistline hasn't changed. Maybe because I have more time to bake chocolate chip cookies.

    Congrats on the 36.

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    1. I didn't give up chocolate chip cookies and I don't think I would, regardless of waist size!

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  4. 13 months and 35 lbs ago I joined Weight Watchers. I too have had the small pleasure of fitting into smaller size clothes. But more importantly, my knees and back no longer hurt and my BP is now 120/60.

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    1. Congratulations, Florence! 120/60 is very commendable, as is that impressive weight loss. I think I dropped about 8 pounds and that was a struggle.

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  5. When we are grateful for everything, then we have countless blessings. Enjoy your new clothes!

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    1. Just 2 pairs of new jeans and I have a feeling of accomplishment. It doesn't take much does it?

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  6. I've found that when I take note of and appreciate even the smaller positives in my life, the irritants or bigger issues don't seem so overwhelming any more.

    Congratulations on dropping a size! Like Florence, I've been with WW for nearly a year now and have lost nearly 40 pounds. It's a joy being lighter these days. I lost weight to feel better, but like the way I look better as well.

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    1. Since life has a lot more small victories than large ones, we are so much better of when we celebrate them, aren't we.

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  7. Positive attitudes, grateful hearts, celebrating moments along with milestones - the essence of a happy life.

    Congrats on the new waist size.

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    1. A positive attitude and extra fiber!

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  8. I have been able to keep the same waist size since a teenager, which is a 34. It gets harder as we age so I commend anyone who can take the lbs off or keep them off. Deb has gone back to WW and is losing the weight as well and it does a lot for her self-confidence. Congratulations to you, Bob, on your accomplishment.

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    1. The same waist size as a teenager? Wow.

      When I got married I was skin and bones with a waist of 28. If I get that low again I'll be getting a checkup to find out what's wrong.

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  9. Congrats on the new, smaller you.

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  10. Loved the post! As someone who is working on losing weight that was inspiring, but more importantly the idea of small enjoyments is one of the most enjoyable parts of my retirement. Like Michael, when I was working, I had to manage the large priorities & fit the smaller part of my life into the leftovers. Now I can take the "small stuff" ---make it a large part of my life & life is much better now! You're right...many more small victories than huge ones!

    pam

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    1. Betty and I are caulking a few small holes in the RV sealant this afternoon...am important job but not earth-shaking. It is nice to take care of it.

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  11. Going from 38 to 36 is no small thing. I think going back to 38s would be a big bad thing. In my case I was at 38s longer than you and even hit 40 briefly. More expensive than the pants is my newest suit can't be tailored down. Wore it once at my son's wedding.

    Weight and size are tied to self-esteem and just a few inches and pounds made a big improvement.

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    1. It seemed much easier to go from 34 to 36 to 38. Why is that? God's sense of humor or keeping our pride in check.

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  12. A feel-good post following a healthy rant post made me feel good.

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    1. I always try to return from the dark side quickly.

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  13. The only way I seem to be able to lose weight is if I don't actually try. I've never been in the 'live to eat' camp, more of a 'eat to live' kinda girl. Whenever I feel the need to 'diet' all I can think of is food. It's totally counter productive.
    Congratulations to you! Happy shopping.
    b

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    1. I didn't consciously try to drop a size. But, after a bout of the flu and its weight loss I was so pleased with the number on the scale I did what I needed to stay there.

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  14. Congrats! I lost about 15 pounds two years ago. Made me feel better; helped with my bad left knee and my bad right ankle. But still, I didn't go down in waist size. Guess my butt's too big!

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    1. I've always had more of an "utt" that is just a shadow of its former self.

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  15. I'm glad I'm not the only one. I lost 5 pounds since the beginning of the year, and each time I step on the scale now it makes me happy. I think it's ok if we let things like that make us happy.

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  16. Looks like I'm bringing up the rear on this post (pun intended).

    I'm lucky that I enjoy exercise, and received extra motivation about 20 years ago when my dad had quad by-pass. I had a couple of years recently where I lost a fair amount of stamina (I'm 53 now), but following successful cancer surgery last summer and dropping a statin I got the green light to start exercising again in November and now feel great and am in as good a shape as I've been in for quite some time. Thanks be to God for sure!

    Take care.

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    1. We never really appreciate our bodies and what they can do until we call on them to perform and something doesn't work the way it once did.

      So, how did you get your stamina back...what types of exercises?

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    2. Well, when I share this know that I had a long history of exercise and activity before I had my off period, so getting back into it was not starting from scratch.

      My activities are pretty basic with something nearly every day of the week (Mondays are my set "day off" although I walked the dog 4 miles today, which is his normal daily requirement). Each day is different, by it may include strength training, swimming, eliptical, golfing, walking the dog, and once a week my wife and I do yoga (recently my 78 year old mom joined us). I used to bike and run a fair amount, and perhaps I'll throw some of that in sometime again ... I like to mix things up.

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    3. OK, so pretty typical stuff but done in sufficient quantity to give you a bounce back in your step. One thing: if I tried to walk Bailey 4 miles her legs would fall off!

      I am fighting a stubbon case of planters fasciitis that makes even longer walks difficult.

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