Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking Forward 2011 (Part II)

Yesterday I talked about some of my goals for writing in 2011. Today I'm going to talk about another area I want, and need, to focus on in 2011.


This is more important than my writing goals, because we're talking about my health. It's also much more personal, and therefore much more difficult for me to discuss. But as I said, I'm hoping that posting about my goals here will help me stay more accountable and focused.

I have spent most of my life overweight. I was a chubby kid, and in high school I was 10-15 lbs overweight. I pretty much ate whatever I wanted, but I also danced 15-20 hours a week, so that helped keep my weight down somewhat. When I went to college, I continued to eat whatever I wanted, but I was no longer dancing, so the weight started to pile on and stayed there. I would make short term attempts to eat healthier and exercise, but they never lasted more than a month or so.

In 1999 I decided it was time to try again, and I went and joined Weight Watchers. I was motivated this time, as I was dating Rob, and while we weren't yet engaged, we had discussed marriage and I didn't want to be a fat bride. Once I set my mind to something, I can generally do it, I just have to want to put forth the effort. In 1999, I did, and by the time I got married in June 2000 I was down to a healthy weight and looked and felt great. I kept it off for a couple of years, but by 2002, it was starting to creep back on, and I was doing nothing about it. I had changed my lifestyle, as far as food and exercise, to lose the weight, but I didn't maintain the changes over time. So here I am again, back where I started, where I swore I would never be again, and a few pounds heavier to boot.

My sister is getting married in May, and I am the Matron of Honor. I know I can't lose all of the weight I need to lose to get to a healthy weight before then, but I can lose some of it. I have also been having some issues with my back, which are thankfully unrelated to my weight, but back surgery is somewhere in my future. I don't know if it will be this year or next, or maybe even several years down the road, but I'm sure my recovery will be easier with less weight to worry about. I need to do this for my health in general, but I'm hoping that these will also give me a little extra motivation to stick to it this time.

I know I have emotional issues with food. I use food for comfort, stress relief, and reward alike. I am also realistic about what changes I can make in my eating habits that can be maintained. I am lazy by nature when it comes to exercise, however, I know that when I exercise regularly, I tend to eat healthier, so exercise has to be part of the plan.

I'm not going to use a specific plan this time. Weight Watchers has recently changed their points system and I don't care for the new program. I also know that finding time to get to a meeting, with the way my work schedule is going to be, and the distance the meeting center now is from my office is unrealistic, and if I can't make a meeting, I tend to give myself too much leeway for a couple of days. I am however going to use some of the tricks and tools I learned from Weight Watchers the first go round, and I'm going to use an online support forum as well as this blog to keep me accountable.

Goal - Eat healthier and keep a food journal. Yes, I know the "eat healthier" part is vague and difficult to actually measure, but by keeping the food journal I'll be able to determine whether I'm actually succeeding in eating mostly healthy foods. I don't plan to track points exactly, nor do I plan to keep track of all the calories, fat, fiber, carbs, etc. I will focus on things like eating more fruits and vegetables, eating lower-fat, drinking more water and less diet soda, etc. I will write down everything I eat, and also any thoughts or feelings related to what I'm eating. Did I eat that candy bar because I was stressed or bored, etc.

Goal - Exercise regularly. Again, somewhat vague, but that's because this will be an evolving goal and what is "regular" will change. I have an appointment with my orthopedist next week, and I need to discuss with him what specific exercises I can do without risking further back damage. After that discussion, I'm going to set some specific exercise goals for the next month. I'm pretty sure from previous discussions that walking will be o.k., but I don't know what will be acceptable as far as other types of exercise such as hand weights, etc. I plan to increase the amount of exercise over time. So while my goal for the first month might be to walk 30 minutes 3 times a week, the second month might be 5 times a week, or still 3 times a week, but for 45 minutes. This is something I need to sit down and spend a little more time on planning. I will create a written plan, on at least a monthly basis, and will keep track of my exercise.

Goal - Track my weight and measurements. This might seem obvious, but I want to make it a goal, because if I don't I'll have a tendency not to weigh myself for a couple of weeks and I lose focus. I will weigh myself every Monday morning, and I will keep track on a chart of what I have lost (or gained). I may also post my gains and loses here, although I won't be telling you my actual weight anytime soon. I will also take my measurements and re-measure the first Monday of every month.

I plan to "officially" start with my weight and tracking on Monday, January 3, 2011. Since I will weigh myself on Mondays, a week will be Monday through Sunday for these goals.

As I mentioned before, this is a difficult issue for me to talk about. I know what I need to do to lose the weight, I just have to do it. If you have any great healthy recipes for me to try, or have found a new, fun way to exercise, or something of that nature, please feel free to share. I'm open to comments in general as well. But honestly, what I don't want to hear about are specific diet plans, such as Atkins or south beach, the grapefruit diet, the no bread diet, or how I should go vegetarian or vegan or whatever. I am looking to make changes to my eating and exercise habits that I can maintain to continue to live a healthy lifestyle after I've lost the weight. I cannot eat low carb or vegetarian the rest of my life, it's just not going to happen. I will never completely give up pizza, I will just eat less of it and less often. So please just restrain yourself from commenting if all you have to offer is to tell me about the great vitamin drink you have in place of 2 meals a day….not going to happen!

I don't plan on turning this into a weight loss blog either. I will definitely be talking some about my efforts at weight loss, but it will not dominate every post, I promise.

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