Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Hello friends! It's been awhile...
After bouncing up and down on the scale for the past two years, I began setting monthly goals in early February 2013. Since then, each month that I set goals and scored progress, I lost pounds. July was the last time I set goals for the monthÖand it shows in my lack of progress. Between all the usual excuses Ė work, family, chores Ė and a bike accident over Labor day weekend that slowed me down for a bit, Iíve not been keeping up with anything except tracking and minimal exercise. Oh, and one other thing thatís been distracting me, in the form of a new friend of the male persuasion and a certain amount of ďdate-eatingĒ Öfun but time to rein it in.
So, I when I stopped monthly goal-setting in August (and yes, I think that coincides with the date-eating mentioned above), I was 12 pounds down. And at the time of the bike accident in September, I was still 9 pounds down. Even now, I am a few pounds down from February, but not the progress I had hoped to see. Looking back, I can see that the monthly goal-setting and assessment was a really useful tool.
And now the holidays. I think like many people, I have mixed feelings about the holidays. Between the busy-ness which drives out time for exercise and the inevitable temptations to drink, eat and spend too much, I have a little bit of holiday dread. Throw in the potential for family conflict and it escalates. But then, there are the good things: the lights, the beauty and the sense of hope. The joy of giving and the smell of the tree. Having BOTH my grown sons home for Christmas this year! (no family conflict there!). And granddogs too!
So, the challenge: to enjoy the good and keep the dreaded to a minimum requires a plan. And between that and the deep desire to get back into my favorite dress, I am ready to set some goals again.
Iím going to keep them simple.
1. Track calories, maintain average caloric intake of 1550/day.
2. 4 days of cardio every week, usually walking or running. Elliptical on rainy or cold days. I signed up for the St. Pattyís day Anthem HM in Virginia Beach with 2 friends, and we are helping to keep each other on track. We only run together once a week, but no one wants to be the one lagging behind, so we are all (so far!) keeping up with our running in between.
3. Schedule and do 2 ST sessions every week. This is harder, so I am trying to make it easy. It can be as short as 10 minutes. Best to do them in the morning before work on opposite days from cardio.
4. Yoga at least once a week. Class or at home. Enough said.
5. Blog when challenges crop up or I am feeling stressed.
6. I changed my goal weight from 135 to 140. We'll see how that feels when I get there.
Thatís it, Sparkfriends! Take care and have a wonderful holiday season!
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
So, I haven't been blogging much this month, mostly because I haven't been stressing out much...vacation will do that when it works like it should! It was a wonderful time, visited a old friend on Cape Cod who is a elementary PE teacher and used to be a runner for Nike. She is really fast, even at 55! We had an active week of running (she runs really slow for me!), biking and kayaking, and of course, the beach. So awesome, I didn't think about work all week long.
Even with all that exercise I managed to gain a couple pounds, I guess that's what happens when you eat ice cream every day. Who knew?
All kidding aside, it was a nice break and now I'm ready to get back on track. I decided to stop eating sweets until after Labor Day as they've become a bit of habit lately...I need a reset. So, I've been good all week on calories, but so busy that I'm going to have to push it to get all my exercise in.
I feel pretty good, getting myself organized and on track in other ways too. I did a budget before I went on vacation and I think I am sticking to it pretty well. I'm going over it this weekend to make sure. I am motivated to stay on track as I have some debt that I want to get paid off so I can focus on saving and maybe retiring some day.
Sunday, June 30, 2013
Last week I noticed a pattern: young people have been coming to me looking for guidance and assistance. I like that. When I was younger, I had some wonderful and helpful friends and bosses who helped me grow and develop, both personally and in my career. Now that Iím older, It makes me happy to be able to help these kids (I use the term loosely, mostly 20-somethings) figure out how to face challenges, set life goals and decide how best to achieve them. I feel like Iím paying it forward and thatís good.
So, about those weight loss and activity goals I set for May: I completely blew it! I struggled with a lot of emotion when I didnít get the job and I didnít stick to my program Ė I ate and drank too much and was inconsistent with exercise.
The good news is that I managed to maintain, with just a slight gain Ė I went from 147 at the end of April to 148.2 today. So, not horrible, and I am viewing this as a success. Iíve been giving a lot of thought to maintenance and building sustainable habits, and the fact that I was able to go through a tough time and not lose my progress made me feel good.
And now Iím ready to get back to a more balanced way of living and restore a bit of discipline. So, July goals:
1. Stress management: Blogging, at least once a week. Meditate more, using the Deepak Chopraís meditation I bought, although I was a little disappointed with it. I found some good meditations online too, and they help me focus.
2. Being happier: Iíve been organizing the house, which makes me happier. I like to read books about happiness and creativity, like Gretchen Rubinís Happiness Project and a blog I found about creativity called U99. I will also do more painting and drawing. I have my little studio space almost all set up and it is wonderful.
3. Stay within my calorie goals as a weekly average. I feel like this allows me the flexibility to go over some days while still maintaining the intent. The Calorie and Nutrients over time is able to track a weekly average, but even better is the Calorie Differential Over Time. In terms of what I eat, was doing well when I cut out the sweets completely for my ďSecular Lent.Ē That turned out to be a great kick-start for reducing sweets, Iíve been successful with moderation since then. My earlier focus on upping the protein, which is good for satiety and for building muscle, was also good, so Iíll try that again. But in the end, so much of this is simply about will power and I WILL do better.
4. Drinks: not more than 4 a week. Again, this is about building sustainable habits so Iím not saying no drinks at all. But over the past couple months I definitely gave into the desire to use alcohol to reduce stress and I donít like that. So I plan to keep on using alternate stress reduction methods like blogging, meditation or trying to accomplish some small thing instead.
5. Cardio at least 3 times a week. Running still going well but really working to mix it up and do other activities so I donít reinjure my knee. So, Iíve been biking and walking. I might try Zumba this month, it looks like fun.
6. ST and yoga: I need more ST Ė such a struggle! Will shoot for 2 Body Pump classes a week and see if that works.
7. Track weight every Saturday and take measurements the last Saturday of the month. Read the Maintenance Team's pages to start to prepare for maintenance and inspire me to reach my goals. I also cleaned out my closet last week and put all of my smaller summer clothes in the closet for inspiration. If I can lose a pound a week in July, Iíll be able to fit into a lot of them, so that provides some inspiration!
So thatís my planÖwhat is yours? What are you doing to get to your goals this month? Iím always looking for inspiration!
Happy sparking to all of my Sparkly friends!
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Hi folks, just a quick check-in. I knew I hadn't been posting -- I've been struggling! But I didn't realize it had been so long.
I didn't get the job I had applied for, and it really threw me. I knew it would be disappointing if I didn't get it, but it was worse than I thought. So many people had asked if I was applying for it and told me they thought it would be great. I did well in all the interviews, and the hiring manager told someone that I had the best interview with her, but apparently I came up short in the final panel interview and my colleague got it instead. I am trying to be positive, but it hit me like a ton of bricks. That was late May.
I'm a firm believer that when one door closes another opens, so I am looking for that door. In life, both personal life and work life, it's important to me to continue to develop and learn more, so we shall see what comes next.
I'm doing alright now. I let myself have a few weeks to grieve (read "eat and drink too much") but I kept on working out and tracking (even when it was pretty outrageous!), so I managed to keep off most of the pounds I'd lost in the past few months - I'm only up two. And now I'm feeling more balanced and ready to start moving towards my goals again. I think I'll wait until July to set monthly goals, since June is almost over....but I am looking forward to it!
Saturday, May 04, 2013
Happy May! This is the blog in which I go back and see how well I met my goals for last month and set goals for this month.
1. Stress management: keep blogging a couple times a week to monitor stress and work through it. Meditate regularly.
I think I did pretty well managing stress this month, havenít been feeling super stressed out. I exceeded my calorie goals more often than I like, but it didnít feel like stress eating, I was just super-hungry. I blogged 5 times this month, which was less than my goal but I think it was enough. I felt like it was getting boring. I barely meditated at all, only at yoga class and I would really like to do more.
2. Stay within my calorie goals 6 days out of 7 every week.
I went over my calories goals 9 times instead 4 times. Not good! Need to improve there. Yes, I was often at the low end on other days, and I am well below on my calories in/calories burned graph (LOVE that report) but if I have want to get where I am going, I have to do better. And that doesnít even count the first few days of May Ė I have been so hungry! The other thing that happened was that I was being really good with food and exercise and I wasnít seeing any movement on the scale and it got a little discouraging which I think led to a WTH attitude. And subsequently exceeded calories Ė and THEN saw a drop on the scale. I am not sure what message to take from that except stick to your plan as best you can and donít sweat the day to day.
3. Drinks: not more than 4 per week, or more than 2 on any given night. Like I said, I want to build sustainable habits, and this seems reasonable.
I donít have a good way of tracking this short of going back over my nutrition logs and I donít feel like doing that. I did pretty well on only two drinks at a time, I think only once did I have 3 drinks. And I donít think I was far off on not more than four a week. I need to set up a tracker for that somehow, because I know it makes a difference.
4. Cardio at least 3 times a week.
This is easy because I love it. I think I did 4x/week most weeks. A+!
5. Strength training and/or yoga 3 times per week. I am going to shoot for two NROL sessions on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, with one yoga either Wednesday or Saturday.
3 weeks out of 4 I have done either yoga or ST. Mostly 2 yoga classes and then squeezing in my PT exercises once. I have not been doing the NROL workouts, mostly because I donít like lifting at the gym. I LOVE yoga, but I know it doesnít replace ST. Grr. Need to figure something out because I know I need to do more ST.
6. Take one rest and recovery day per week. Iíve been taking Sundayís and itís been pretty nice.
Done, but generally a different day each week depending on sched. Dropping this one.
7. Track weight every Saturday and take measurements the last Saturday of the month. Was at 148.8 at the beginning of April.
I am at 147 now, down almost 2 pounds. Thatís less than I would have liked but still progress. And Iíve been seeing progress in other ways: I look slimmer in my waist even though the measuring tape says I am only an inch less. And I fit in my favorite jeans again, even though the measuring tape shows no loss! I can also tell I am building muscle because I feel stronger. I can do yoga poses like Up Dog and Side Plank that I couldnít do before, so that is a big step forward. So while I wanted to see more movement on the scale, I am making progress in other areas so it feels good.
1. Stress Management: Keep blogging, at least once or twice a week. Meditate more! I am planning to order Deepak Chopraís meditations, I really enjoyed them when I did them last month. I think that will help. His voice is so incredibly calming, and he has a wonderful way of setting a focus for the meditations. And the CD with focus setting and music for lots of mediations is only $20. That will make it easier and more enjoyable.
2. Stay within my calorie goals 6 days out of 7.
Yes, same goal, but Iím adding specific strategies for achieving it. I was doing well when I cut out the sweets and focused on upping the protein which is good for satiety and for building muscle. So I will focus on that again. See also drinks. But in the end, so much of this is simply about will power and I WILL do better.
3. Drinks: not more than 4 a week, not more than 2 at a time. Again, this is about building sustaninable habits. I want to set up a tracker for this so I can see how I am doing. I still struggle sometimes with wanting a drink to reduce stress (evenings only!) and I will keep on using alternate stress reduction methods like blogging, meditation or trying to accomplish some small thing instead.
4. Cardio at least 3 times a week. Running is going well but really working to mix it up and do other activities so I donít reinjure my knee. So, Iíve been biking (30 miles!), walking, doing the elliptical. I might try Zumba this month, it looks like fun. Itís all good!
5. ST and yoga: I need to make a schedule for doing the ST 2x/week. I wish I had a buddy to do it with, but I donít. I might slip in a Body Pump class, Iíve done them before and they are bearable. Again, itís about will power and I WILL figure out a way to do this!
6. Track weight every Saturday and take measurements the last Saturday of the month. Read the Maintenance Team's pages to start to prepare for maintenance and inspire me to reach my goals. Try ďcarrotĒ dresses on as I see changes on the scale or in the mirror and wear them as soon as they fit! Explanation: ďCarrotĒ clothing is dresses, pants, jeans or whatever I have in my closet that I am highly motivated to fit back into. I hang them up in my bedroom where I can see them to keep me inspired and motivate me to stick to my plan. Iíll post a picture of my current ďcarrotĒ dress in my next blog.
So, my Sparkly friends, thatís it for today. No big new revelations or awesome tactics but I have seen progress and I WILL keep moving forward! Have a great day!
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