This post appears as part of our Healthier 2021 series, in which we follow three WebMD team members as they strive to improve their health this year. You can follow their journeys here.
By Mark Spoor
I'm a word guy. You can probably surmise that since I'm an editor here at WebMD. But I also enjoy numbers, which comes from my lifelong love of sports. Growing up, I was that kid who always knew the stats of every player on his favorite team.
Yup, I was, and still am, quite the geek.
This week, I've memorized some stats about myself. And these figures both shocked me and gave me a little bit of extra motivation as I entered the last week of my first month on this journey.
When Bill and I started this journey, Dr. Bruni Nazario, a member of the medical team here at WebMD and our medical advisor, encouraged us to each get a biometric scale. Basically, you step on this thing and it not only gives you your weight, but also your body mass index (BMI), your water weight (MUCH more than I thought), your body fat percentage, and your muscle mass.
I've never really been into weighing myself, even when I was on other fitness journeys. I was never really concerned with the number. As long as I felt better and my clothes fit better, I thought that I was probably on the right track -- and that was good enough for me.
Plus, if I'm being honest, I was probably afraid of the number I was going to see if I did weigh myself, so it was likely a case of me wanting to remain blissfully unaware.
But Dr. Bruni said that it's important to know where you stand. Bill, my fellow "Healthier 2021" journeyer, was really gung-ho about the idea, too. (You know those cheer dads -- they're gung-ho about everything!) So last weekend I found myself at a local store picking one up.
I won't give you the specifics about what I saw after I stepped on my new scale, but suffice to say, some of them surprised me and some, uh, didn't surprise me. On the bright side, though, I did find out that I'm making progress. I also learned about goals I didn't even know I needed to have.
And I think that's going to be the biggest key for me going forward: specific goals.
When I wasn't weighing myself, any goals I did have were very big-picture and not very specific. While phrases like "get thinner," "feel better," or "look better" may look good on a T-shirt or as a catchphrase, they might not be things that can give me that extra motivation to push through on a day when I might not be feeling it.
But for me, having a number -- or a stat -- to shoot for may just keep me going through those low-energy days.
These figures also gave me an idea of what to do and where to go next on this fitness odyssey. I'm gonna try a beginner yoga class this weekend and some more consistent strength training throughout the week.
So next week's blog should be a doozy, kids!
The bike is still in full effect, too. In fact, it's been really cool to see people reach out, on social media and otherwise, to let me know that they're starting or restarting their own bike and fitness routines. Some folks I've talked and texted with have even purchased bikes -- or recovered them from storage -- to get going. That is a level of support that I never thought I'd have when we started this thing, and it tickles me to no end.
Talk about something to get you through the low-energy days!
Mark Spoor is a senior health editor with WebMD. He spent more than 2 decades in sports media, working with groups like the NCAA, NASCAR, and the PGA TOUR. Most weekends, you can find him and his wife, Chris, cheering on their daughter's softball team.
While Mark has spent a lot of time with athletes, he's not one, so fitness has always been a bit of a challenge. He hopes this endeavor will help him get a little closer to winning that battle.
You can follow Mark on Twitter @markspoor.