Progress Is Made When. . .

No matter where you are in your journey, you have already made progress. If you have been working on getting healthier for just one week you have made some progress. You may not have lost any weight yet, but you’ve made progress just by taking the first step towards working on your health.

I worked with a woman once who needed to lose over 200 pounds. She turned to me because her doctor kept recommending gastric bypass surgery for her and that wasn’t a choice she wanted to make. So she and I met on a regular basis and we worked on her eating and lifestyle habits one at a time. I still remember when she lost her first 50 pounds. She was thrilled beyond words, but she couldn’t tell she had lost any weight, and quite honestly, neither could I.

To keep her from getting frustrated we sat down at made a list of all the progress she had made that other people could not see. I think it’s important to think of our progress not solely in terms of the number on the scale, but in relation to where we used to be. On my own personal journey to go from weight loss failure to weight loss success, I often wrote down all the different areas in which I had progressed. I could see that I was losing weight, but I also knew in my heart that I was changing from the inside out.

Here are three things I vividly remember from my weight loss days:

1. I knew I was making progress when I was able to say no to a dessert at a friend’s house and not feel sad afterwards.

2. I knew I was making progress when I could fit in a chair and get out without bringing the chair up still attached to my behind.

3. I knew I was making progress when I could walk around my neighborhood streets without feeling like I needed to call 911 to get home.

I want to encourage you to look for all those ways that you are making progress. It doesn’t matter if you are at the beginning, middle or end of your journey. We are always changing, evolving and growing. How do you finish this sentence?

I know I’m making progress when. . .         Diane

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About Diane Carbonell

Diane Carbonell is passionate about weight loss. Subscribe to regular blog updates and receive the latest information on weight loss, weight maintenance, and healthy living. Keep up with Diane by following her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.


  1. I know I am making progress when I can say no thank you to a 2nd helping of pudding!

    This entry has so much truth in it….I agree totally.

  2. I know I am making progress when I climb on my treadmill. Thanks Diane,
    That’s so very true.
    .-= Mbini´s last blog ..Oats Pancake Recipe =-.

  3. I know I am making progress when I get out and exercise regularly instead of sitting on the couch. I love this post, thanks for sharing.
    .-= Alissa´s last blog ..Thoughts on Running =-.

  4. Love it Diane! So true your measures of progress. I can tell I am progressing because my time on the different miles of jogging are coming down. I’m in between dress sizes right now but at least I’m getting out of the twelves. I know I am progressing because I can lift more weight and I have more stamina. I know I am progressing because Jillian Michaels Shred doesn’t scare me!
    People should not judge there progress by the scale alone look at how much better you feel inside and how more confidence you have than when you started..

  5. I know when I’m making progress when…I stop and realize that I’m eating for emotional reasons rather than fueling my body.
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..Characteristics of a Mindful Eater =-.

  6. I know I’m making progress when I can say no to free treats at the office!
    .-= Lauren @ Eater not a runner´s last blog ..Iceland: The food =-.

  7. I know I am making progress when I can do a chataranga all the way to the floor without sagging in the middle half way down.

  8. I know I am making progress when I look in the mirror and like the person I see because she is trying her best each and every day to change old habits!
    .-= Jules – Big Girl Bombshell´s last blog ..Come On In….Coffee is On =-.

  9. I know I’m making progress when I can exercise regularly and be excited about it and somewhat enjoy it.
    .-= Laura Jane´s last blog ..Things are looking better =-.

  10. That is one of the hardest parts of the journey, whether you are just starting or nearing your goal weight. Progress is hard to see when you are only looking at your appearance.

    BTW, in answer to your question on my blog, the study I referenced did not mention tea, but other studies do. This study was stating that caffeine may be the beneficial component. If so, tea should provide a similar benefit.

  11. I know I am making progress when I feel more alive than I did the day before.

    I know I am making progress when My clothes threaten a wardrobe malfunction just because I stood up
    .-= Diane´s last blog ..Lazy Sunday =-.

  12. I know I am making progress because this past weekend, at my cousins’ dance recital, I sat in the auditorium seat without my thighs touching either side. Last year, I was sort of wedged in there!

  13. Diane, you are amazing! Loved this post & all the thought behind it!

    I know I am making progress when I try…

    I know that I am & always will be a work in progress!
    .-= Jody – Fit at 52´s last blog ..1 Step Program – Weight Loss OR Weight Gain? =-.

  14. … living healthy becomes the default and not an effort. And I went down a shoe-size!
    .-= Hanlie´s last blog ..More about Maggie =-.

  15. …I actually look forward to going to the gym!

  16. …when the concept of fitness to live better on behalf of others trumped, and later completely eclipsed the concept of fitness to look better.
    .-= Emergefit´s last blog ..The Rainbow Music Hall, Jim Henson, And Thoughts On Hard Work… =-.

  17. Great post! I know I am making progress when it’s so much easier to lean over and tie my shoes. And when my wedding rings are spinning on my finger. And when I can cross my legs again!
    .-= Tish´s last blog ..AHA Moment =-.

  18. That’s a tough period on this weight-loss trail, when you’re enjoying a bit of success but most people aren’t noticing your achievements.

    It was very smart of you to help her find ways to translate all the success she’d had into more concrete concepts. We all want to feel like we’re making headway. Sometimes that’s all that keeps us going…
    .-= Jack Sh*t, Gettin’ Fit´s last blog ..What Would Happen… =-.

  19. I just found your blog and this is a wonderful post. There are so many ways in which we make progress that we don’t even see. For me it was mental changes that showed major progress. I began to see food, excercise, and myself in such a new light.
    .-= Lindsay´s last blog ..Breakfast On The Beach =-.

  20. Thought provoking post! I know that I’m making progress in my expectations that lots of exercise will solve all the problems in the world. :) Love to work out and that helped me lose and keep my weight off. But have been dealing with a severe case of plantar facitis since last September that has dramatically limited what I can do for exercise. Worked with a holistic nutrition counselor to learn how to make even better food choices so I didn’t have to rely so much on exercise for weight maintenance. At first that was hard and frustrating but now, I’ve realized that patience will make a difference.
    .-= Shira´s last blog ..Vote Early & Often =-.

  21. Love this post! I preach looking for the non scale victories all the time.

    I know I am making progress when I don’t have a debate with myself when faced with a choice, I just choose the healthy option! Love that!

  22. I knew I was making progress when people saw the changes even under the big cardigan I wore all winter in the school I taught.

    I knew I was making progress when I no longer huffed and puffed up the steps to my classroom and apartment.

    I knew I was making progress when I could eat out and not fear not knowing how the food was prepared or missing my “usual”.

  23. Love this post and would really like to link to it.

    I can see the progress. I had really, REALLY backslid. Something in me has sparked, again. A discouraging thought crossed my mind: why is this going to be any different?

    My answer to myself is that I DID make progress (not all was wasted). I struggled so much with meal plans/menus, learning about new foods last time but that stepping stone is set in place. Now I can focus on other things (like not binge eating).
    .-= Gina Fit by 41 Maybe 42´s last blog ..Back to Basics Challenge #1 – Hydrate, Mini List =-.

  24. Great thoughts! I have to continually remind myself to look for the “little” progress steps. DH has lost an obvious 35 lb., and I have lost a not-so-obvious 20, and I get discouraged when people gush over him and no one notices my progress. Another downer is being so happy that my clothes are too big, but still seeing fat girl in the mirror.
    My “yay” list:
    My clothes ARE too big. It’s fun to shop downstairs at Macy’s again! And I bought a new dress that is actually cute, and enjoyed wearing it!
    I have energy when I get up in the morning.
    My skin is the clearest it’s been since I was 10 years old.

  25. I know I’m making progress when an exercise that felt rigorous becomes completely manageable.

    Thanks for the encouragement.
    .-= ‘Drea´s last blog ..The Point of Well Being and the Assistant Assassin =-.

  26. I knew I was making progress when I could fit into smaller clothes, I WANTED to work out, and compliments, compliments, compliments. :)

  27. I know I’m making progress when. . .I have to move down pants size. Or when I can eat a treat and not gain 5 pounds the next day.
    .-= JourneyBeyondSurvival´s last blog ..Painted Lady =-.

  28. I know I am making progress when a few bites of something I used to stuff my face full with satisfies me, even more than the face stuffing ever did.
    Also when I bag up my next bag of too-big-for-me-now clothes to give to GoodWill <— I love that one!!
    .-= Pam´s last blog ..Busy Busy Busy =-.

  29. I know I am making progress when I look forward to the next new challenge, whatever it might be!

    Great post, Diane! We sometimes lose sight of the little battles won along the way.
    .-= Cammy@TippyToeDiet´s last blog ..Happy Trainaversary To Me! =-.

  30. I know I’m making progress when I eat just one slice of cake not the whole thing!

  31. Great post!

    I knew I was making progress when:
    1. I could do a push up.
    2. I comfortably fit in a seat on the subway without any thigh spillage.
    3. I wanted fruit more than cake.
    .-= Bella (Stilettos on the Streetcar)´s last blog ..Returning to life as I knew it =-.

  32. ….there are increasingly longer periods of time when I am more focused on my current activity than on thoughts of when or what I can eat next.
    .-= Sharon´s last blog ..How and Why This Blog Got Started – This One Is Going To Be Long!! =-.

  33. Amen! I missed your posts and its ones like this that I need to read consistently. I’ve moved from doing “girl” pushups to regular ones and I KNOW I’m making progress!
    .-= PhluffyPrincess´s last blog ..I’m back and have a lot to say…. =-.

  34. I know I’m making progress when I want to make a healthier choice for a meal and it feels good, and I look forward to a good workout. :)

    Great post. Thanks, Diane!
    .-= Leah´s last blog ..Two Small Victories! =-.

  35. …when I’ve become the exercise fanatic at my church who prods all of the other ladies to join me at the gym for Zumba/Power/Step, etc. And when I will get in a bathing suit and have fun at the pool with my kids, even though my body is not “perfect” looking, and I still have half of my extra weight to lose :)
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..What Do You Do With 8 Pounds of Blueberries? =-.

  36. Love this idea! :)

    I know i’m making progress when… I am EXCITED to go to the gym, my energy level is through the roof, I feel more comfortable and confident in my skin and in my clothes.
    .-= fittingbackin´s last blog ..Pottery Barn Scores, Ab Ripper Attempt Dos, 6.5 Miles =-.

  37. I know I’m making progress when. . .
    I could do my laudry at the laundromat without eating junkfood there like I use to.
    I made the first month without stepping foot in a fast food joint!
    I didn’t have to talk myself into exercising and just did it!

  38. Man, I am amazed at how many blogs are personally speaking to me today. Anyway…
    I know I’m making progress when
    -I wake up nearly every morning at 5 am to exercise before work
    -Pre plan ALL my meals and stick to them for the most part.
    -Ran a 5k
    .-= Shawnee´s last blog ..Ice Cream Sandwich…or is it?? =-.

  39. I START what I plan and dont simply plan to…again…TOMORROW

  40. When I feel it inside. When I know I have done good no matter what and it shows thorugh in the way I look even if I have not lost a pound that week.
    Great idea!