Category Archives: goals

Blog. Read. Nap.

Thank you all so much for the support on yesterday’s post: Blogging in 2011. That just shows me how much I need to be here “talking” to you all!

However, there will be times when life is about more than food, such as setting goals for the new year. In addition to my desire to cook more in 2011, I have three other goals and I must make each one a priority this coming year (and beyond).

Blogging. I love to write and I have missed it terribly these past few months. I finally feel like I’m finally ready to make it a priority again but I’m not going to put pressure on myself like before. That’s just a means to an end! So I look forward to writing more here and over at River City Fitness in the coming year.

Reading. I think I read one book last year. One. I started a few others but then I came down with some form of ADD, so I would sit it aside and never go back to it. Maybe I’ve just been so distracted by life, the internet, etc. that I haven’t sat down to read a book in months. Either way, this must change! I have so many things I want to read, plus I would like to get back into a regular “routine” of reading the Bible as well. As for books, I hope to read 2 per month. One non-fiction and one novel.

Naps! I had to throw this one in here because I took more naps over my Christmas break from work than I ever have. They really do help! Usually, I wake up feeling refreshed and re-energized. And while my nap-taking will now be restricted to the weekends or days off because of work, I still hope to fit them in on a regular basis. Too bad we can’t have nap time at work :)

So that’s it for me! What are your goals for 2011?

Starting over, again

It’s Monday!

You know what that means…it’s a brand new day and a brand new week, which always inspires me to get re-focused on my goals and the things I want to accomplish this week and beyond. Today is no exception!

In fact, today is probably the most important Monday I’ve had in a while.

You see, I’ve really let myself backslide. I debated sharing this on the blog at first but I know that it helped me A LOT to read other stories of people who’ve struggled in the same way and who recently overcame plateaus and whatnot.

So here you go — I’ve been eating too much, not exercising enough, and I am now 11-12 pounds over my “happy weight” which itself was 11-12 pounds over my original goal when I first started back in 2007.

The weight in numbers really isn’t what is important, just the fact that I’d lost control and in turn have been feeling like crap. It really hit me when my pants got tighter.

How did I get here?

These past several weeks, maybe even months, I’ve felt like I was falling into a hole I couldn’t dig myself out of. I’ve felt physically and emotionally spent. So I’ve comforted myself with “rest days” and lots of tortilla chips and chocolate (not together, ha ha). I quit blogging regularly. Things got sort of dark at times.

I tried to get myself to “snap out of it” but it just didn’t happen. The only thing I could do was wait and pray because God always gets me through everything! :)

Well, I’ve waited and I feel like I’m ready to get myself back now!

I’m still planning to see some doctors for a few different things, including this issue I discussed last week, but I can already tell that I’m on my way back to being me again.

I thank God for what’s been going on because I feel like this experience, as hard as it has been, has given me a whole new perspective on my life. I take so much for granted and my goal is to do that less and less. I am truly blessed.

So, what does starting over mean?

Well, I tried to think back to 2007 and what starting over meant back then. For a combined total of 20 minutes over the weekend, I considered joining Weight Watchers but then I remembered that I didn’t have that much success with it before; that’s not what helped me lose 70 lbs.

What helped me was being accountable to MYSELF and keeping this nifty little journal:

Image Source

Back in December 2009, I wrote about how journaling was one of my keys to weight loss. I believe by going back to what worked so well for me the first time, I have a better chance of getting over this hump. I’m also interested to see if I am getting enough nutrients (fat, fiber, protein) that I haven’t really paid that much attention to recently.

Things have changed a lot since 2007, so I am interested to see what’s going on now and what I can do to improve and get back to my happy place, both with my weight and my life.

For example, on Saturday, I wrote in my journal for the first time and was a little shocked (but not really) that I consumed over 800 calories between 8:30 and 11 p.m. Do that a few times a week and it’s no wonder I’ve gained weight and feel bloated and sluggish.

Sometimes seeing something with your own eyes is just the wake up call you need.

I hope those of you who are struggling out there know it’s never too late to start over or start over again. Also, enlist a friend or two to start over with you, even if their goals are different than yours. It helps to have that support.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Update on goals

I decided to kick my caffeine habit on Monday, May 24th and I am happy to say that so far, so good.

I still drink one cup of caffeinated tea per daybut that is significantly less caffeine than I was consuming (19 mg caffeine vs. 90). I have only had one minor breakdown where I was literally falling asleep at my desk and had to have a cup of the “real” stuff.

(Image Source)

But once in three weeks is pretty good, no?

I wish I could say it is helping me sleep better but that has actually taken a downturn (hence falling asleep sitting up). I’ve been up every night past 11 (sometimes 12) and then I’ve been waking up every morning at 5 or 5:30 to work out before work.

I can function well on 6-7 hours of sleep normally, but when I start going under the 6, it becomes a problem. I need to work on this soon because not getting enough sleep can cause a whole lot of problems! It seems like it’s hard to fit everything in and still get enough sleep but somehow I have to do it.

I also gave up drinking diet sodas and I think now that I have found enough other drinks to enjoy, it’s not so hard to resist them anymore. I haven’t had one since May 8th! Josh even has a 24 pack of Coke Zero in our house where I can see it and I’m still not tempted.

A diet soda here or there isn’t such a bad thing, but I have no moderation. I would drink that entire 24 pack in just a few days. Then the artificial sweeteners wreak their havoc on me. No good for me, so no thanks!

If you read my fitness blog, River City Fitness, then you know that I have been taking Body Pump classes regularly the past two weeks (this week is the 3rd). Since I am in a regular weight training program now, I am trying to pay more attention to what I eat after my workouts, including adding more protein to some of my meals and snacks.

I’m also learning a lot thanks to this summer “Nutrition in Athletic Performance” class that I’m constantly cramming for taking right now. I’m also having a lot of fun, eating healthy, hanging out with friends, not worrying about my weight and just enjoying life.

So that’s what’s going on right now. How about you?

Have you given up something recently? How is it going for you?

Thank God for June

I don’t know about you, but I seriously could not be happier that it’s June!

May was a crazy busy month for me and I am ready for things to slow down a bit. Except that they aren’t. In fact, I started Summer classes yesterday! I’m starting a Bible study group tonight. My eyes are already tired from all the reading. Not to mention trying to keep up with healthy eating and exercise!

But I’ll be on more of a schedule, which helps me stay on track in a lot of areas.

Speaking of being on (or off) track, I can already tell that my dreaded, regular Summer weight gain is already creeping in on me. I don’t know specifics, other than the past few weeks I’ve gained at Pound for Pound weigh ins (which I skipped this week). But yesterday, I put on my loosest pair of pants and they are a bit snug.

Ever since July 2008 when I went to Nicaragua, I have trouble keeping my weight down in the Summer. It’s funny because I think most people have the opposite problem, gaining weight during the holidays and wintertime. But not me.

I think this happens for a lot of reasons. Here are just a few:

  • It’s hot outside and non-dairy ice cream and sorbet taste really good.
  • I don’t run as much due to the heat and limited access to treadmills at work.
  • Life gets really busy and stressful and therefore I console myself with food.
  • Birthdays, anniversaries, out of town guests, and lots of other exciting things (revolving around food) happen over the Summer.

Hmm…

The good thing is that technically Summer hasn’t officially started yet (June 20th) and today is June 2nd. It’s also a new month which always inspires me to get re-focused on my goals. I hope to approach things differently this time, as I think there is no sense in me throwing myself back into “weight loss mode” because I just don’t like being there.

I don’t want to say things like “I need to lose x number of pounds in x number of weeks.” That’s just not realistic for me anymore. I don’t even really care about the numbers. I just want to feel good, be confident and for my pants to fit better.

I talked to my friend Kim yesterday (who always encourages me) and told her that I need to do this without resorting to calorie counting. This did work for me when I went through my big weight loss, but it’s just too time consuming now. As you can tell, I’m busy enough as it is!

She reminded me of a few keys to getting back to my happy place:

  • Only eat when you are hungry
  • Eat fruits & veggies for snacks when possible
  • For goodness sakes sloooooow down when eating

It’s true. I’ve been known to inhale a Jimmy John’s vegetarian sandwich in 5 minutes flat, in the car, on the way to a friend’s house because I was short on time. While it’s good that I don’t skip meals for being too busy, I’m still cheating myself by woofing them down.

Finding time to exercise is also going to be a challenge these next couple of months but thankfully, I’ve just received ownership of Josh’s gym card because he just wasn’t using it anymore. It’s going to take some effort on my part to get out of bed an hour earlier and get to the gym before work but the benefits will make it all worth doing.

For more on my fitness experiences, check out my other blog River City Fitness.

So that’s it folks! No diets, no counting, no heavily detailed journaling. Just fresh healthy eats, mindfulness, taking my time/being patient and plenty o’ exercise. Let’s do it!

Pound for Pound: Week 1

This morning, I had my first “official” weigh in for the Pound for Pound Challenge.

I say “official” this time because I gave my official weight last week, but that was from my home scale and we all know the importance of consistency and using the same scale each week.

Today’s Weight: 151.6

I am up a bit from last week, but there were several factors at play here:

  • I used a different scale this week
  • I weighed at 11 a.m. instead of first thing in the morning
  • I had clothes on
  • My muscles are a bit inflamed from the awesome workout I had yesterday

So I’m not upset, concerned, etc. I wouldn’t be even if all of that weren’t true. The scale does not determine my happiness or my satisfaction with my body. I love me!

The last time I was in a weight loss program, I weighed in at the same time on the same day on the same scale once a week. I also wore the same or very similar clothing. The more consistent you can be, the more accurate your readings.

I might get rid of my home scale too. I originally did not have a scale at home, but since we are off work for two weeks around the Christmas holidays, I got one to keep me accountable around that time back in 2007.

Finally, I am counting today as my starting point and setting some goals for this week!

Goals for Week 1:

  • Journal/Meal planning
  • Portion control
  • Obey the 9 o’clock rule (aka no eating 2 hours before bedtime)

If you are in a weight loss program, how is it going for you? What are your goals this week?

4 months of vegan

Wow, it seems like October 1st was just yesterday. But in some ways it also seems like a lifetime ago, right?

After some experimenting in September, I decided to try vegan for a month in October 2009. Thankfully, it has stuck around much longer than a month.

I got to celebrate my first vegan Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. I had a few minor “slips” over that time and even considered sliding back to just being vegetarian, but after reading some encouraging comments and posts from other vegan bloggers and remembering why it is that I chose this diet and where it has taken me, I recommitted to it and feel very good about that choice.

Even deeper than just a diet, I set out to change a lot of things about my life, which I had felt at the time were getting out of control. I made a list…let’s see how I did.

  1. Eating a plant-based, animal-free diet (no meat, dairy, eggs, etc.) – essentially only vegan foods With the exception of the occasional hidden ingredient that I miss, I feel like this has become second nature to me. I don’t miss anything and I’m enjoying food so much more now that I know what it is I’m eating!
  2. Exercising for health, fun, stress relief, and peace of mind — not to run myself down or to “undo” over eating  I definitely feel like my relationship with exercise is in a much healthier place these days. I don’t guilt myself over missing a workout or use exercise as punishment. I’m really enjoying everything I’m doing for my body and mind.
  3. Listening to my body and resting when I need to rest  This is a big one, it’s tough too. I think I’ve done okay with this, but we’ll see when I really get challenged. I think the last few snow days we’ve had were signs for me that I needed to take things slow ;-)
  4. Creating peace and harmony in my daily life through prayer, meditation, and relaxation Oh yes! I have been taking a lot of quiet time for the past month or so, doing my daily Bible readings and practicing yoga. I cannot even tell you how much more calm and relaxed I feel now; it carries me throughout the day.
  5. Eliminating or reducing things in my life that cause me stress One of these things was finding a new perspective about my current job. Ideally, I see myself in another career field somewhere down the line but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy what I’m doing right now. Also, learning to ignore negative noise (instead of trying to solve it) is something I am so glad I finally figured out. It’s lead to “hiding” a lot of people on Facebook, turning off the TV, and lots of other little things but it makes a difference. We are bombarded with it, it’s not healthy!
  6. Focus more on serving others through volunteering or random acts of kindness and favors Still need a lot of work here. I smile at everyone, open doors for people, and give directions constantly, but I need to go out of my way to help someone.
  7. Start ministering to people in my church in an area I feel passionate about This is a work in progress as well. Our Women’s Ministry team is just now getting back together and we’re going to take things slow. But I do hope that something will develop within the next year or so. Just this week I did volunteer to work in the nursery one Sunday a month. I’m also a greeter at church, but we’re on a six week or so rotation.
  8. Stay close to God and find a Bible study to participate in I’m still looking for a group, but I have been diligent about reading the Bible on my own, something I had just been doing on Sundays for way too long. It’s amazing how much closer to God I feel when I stay in the Word. Plus there is always more to learn, even when you think you have heard it all before.

Wow, it’s been a while since I have looked at that list and yet I am amazed at how those are all things I am still working on. Those are still my goals. But I have done a lot too. And I want to do more!

So what’s next?

This month, I’ll be joining my friend Carrie and several others from our area at the first meeting of the Louisville Vegetarian Club. I’m really excited to meet other like-minded folks and share our experiences, recipes, etc. I know it has only been 4 short months, but I am pretty certain that this is my way of living, for LIFE.

I also want to get my friends and family to try more animal-free/plant-based foods. While I know it’s highly unlikely I will never convince my husband to be vegetarian in any way, I still have control over what we get from the grocery store and I can help him reduce his intake of animal products, if he agrees to do so.

He already doesn’t eat red meat, which is awesome! And he tried macaroni & chreeze once before so I hope to introduce a few new things to him in the future. It’s taken me almost five years of marriage to learn all the foods he likes and dislikes (haha) so I should be able to make some thing he would at least try. I’ve got many ideas flowing through my head right now!

My family liked my vegan meatloaf at Christmas and even asked for the recipe! So I hope to keep things like this going. I need to be consistent.

I guess the point of saying all of this is that I love what the vegan diet has done for me, inside and out. So now I feel like it’s time to share it with others instead of just keeping it to myself all the time. So that will be my new goal for the time being. I’m also finding it sort of interesting how that sounds just like what I’m supposed to be doing as a Christian as well.

I’m also becoming more sensitive to the other issues surrounding this lifestyle: like animal cruelty, unhealthy farm practices, environmental impact, etc. I originally chose it for health reasons but there is so much more going on out there. It’s another goal of mine to continue to read, educate myself and be more aware!

Plus becoming part of a community of  fellow vegetarians and vegans is going to be so rewarding, I already know. Sort of like how finally plugging into a church made me feel right at home with my faith, I know this group will make me feel at home with this other aspect of my life.

Successful 2009

As I searched through my blog posts from last year, I realized…I did not make any resolutions for 2009!

(Happy B-day Elvis! ~On January 8th)

I guess I was ahead of myself because I was thinking the past few weeks that I don’t want to make any resolutions. I do have some goals but nothing so unrealistic that a week from now I will think of it as a failure. Resolutions are like diets…they just don’t work. Or they work for a month and then you go back to your old ways. I did end up doing lots of challenges over the past year but nothing that I started in January and saw through until now.

In 2009

Lots of other stuff happened too, but those are just the highlights. One thing I noticed too was how many new foods I tried! After quickly looking through it, I declare 2009 a successful year for me.

Now it’s on to 2010…quick poll – Twenty-ten or Two-thousand-ten?

For the first time in a long time, I don’t have any weight loss or fitness goals. I am training for and running in races this year, but I don’t feel like I need to make those a goal…because I already know I’m going to do them. Does that make sense?

Rather, my goals are life related. And blog related too, of course. Here’s my “short list.”

  1. Get more sleep (8 hours)
  2. Read more books (including the Bible)
  3. Be content with my current job
  4. Make this blog better (find a focus)
  5. Get financially “fit” (save, save, save)
  6. Spend more time with family and friends I don’t see often
  7. Get my doggie healthier (she’s overweight and needs more exercise so she can live with us for a LONG time)
  8. Have fun, stay positive, and avoid anything that isn’t!

That’s just a quick glance. I know I will have more little goals here and there but those are the big ones. I can’t wait to look back on this a year from now and see what I’ve done :)

Let’s see how far we’ve come…

I got on the scale at home this morning with a fresh new perspective. For the first time in recent history, I can say that I love where I am right now. I’m no longer going to focus on losing weight because I think I am at my “happy” place for now. Plus I am still building muscle, so I don’t expect to lose much more fat to offset the muscle gain in numbers.

I’m finally coming to terms with my body…it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty great. Especially considering how much it has gone through these past two years. I am finally becoming comfortable with who I am now; no longer an overweight person trying to lose weight. I am a healthy, fit female who is trying to keep it that way the rest of her life. And I feel fantastic. I still have bad days here and there, but overall, I feel good most of the time and I rarely get sick.

The past three days in particular, I have been more comfortable in my own skin. For a while now, I sort of felt like I was a fat girl living in a thin person’s body, like I didn’t recognize myself. I still get surprised sometimes when I look in the mirror, I won’t lie. But now I have realized that this is me, this is the hard work I have done, and I’m ready to take ownership of it.

So with that in mind, in the past two years, since January 18th, 2007, I have accomplished quite a bit and I want to share it with you all. When I’m reminded of all of these things, somehow it puts it all in perspective for me because they are things I can see (proof) to show how far I’ve come.

The health stuff:

  • Lost 70 lbs, been maintaining 66 of it for 1 year now!
  • Gone from 48.5% body fat down to 22%
  • Lost a ton of inches and added lots of lean muscle (I will have to go through my papers at home to get some real numbers for you!)
  • Taken up running (September 2007), having never truly ran before, and completed two 5k’s, a 10k, 10-miler, and half-marathon, all in Spring of 2008. I can’t wait to do more!
  • Lowered my blood pressure from 120/85 (average) to 116/62
  • Lowered my cholesterol from “borderline” to healthy range
  • Lowered by fasting blood glucose from 116 to 60
  • Resting pulse rate went from 82 to 60 bpm
  • Feeling much more energetic and no longer fatigued from treating my body with poor nutrition and little to no exercise.

    The fun stuff:

  • Finding this amazing blogging community, where I’ve made lots of friends and have gotten to pursue two of my favorite things: food and writing!
  • Trying new foods, things I never imagined I would be eating and also learning to cook a lot of things too, I have become much more well rounded in my diet.
  • Gone from a size 18W to just a regular 8 (I do have one pair of size 6 pants that fit too!)
  • From XL-XXL shirts to a S-M
  • I can now wear a size Small in stuff from Victoria’s Secret (most of their stuff only goes up to a large and I was barely making it most of the time)
  • Gone from a bra size 40DD to a 36B (sorry if that’s TMI, but it’s too much not to report)
  • Being able to go to a store knowing that something in there will fit me!
  • Writing a monthly column for my workplace’s employee newsletter that focuses on healthy living.

    The mental/spiritual stuff:

  • I no longer feel “out of control” or helpless, instead I feel quite empowered!
  • I have more of an outgoing personality thanks to a newfound self-confidence; I used to be somewhat of a wallflower.
  • No longer afraid to be in crowds or thinking people are looking at me, judging me on my appearance (I’m sure they still do, but I don’t care anymore!)
  • This gift of health has made me much closer to God, our relationship has benefited from all of this greatly, which is truly the most important thing in my life.
  • I have more fun with my husband and friends, especially going to concerts, shopping, etc. things that would’ve worn me out before can’t get me down now.
  • I have been inspired to help others more, which has led to some charity work, blood donating and of course my big mission trip to Nicaragua this past summer. I feel very blessed and want to give back to those less fortunate than me.
  • Having co-workers or friends share their successes with me, telling me that I inspired them to do something for themselves and their health
  • I have become hyperaware of my family’s health & habits (many of them I used to have) and want to help them change their lives, that is going to be my 2009 goal.

    There is SO MUCH more I could write here and maybe I will come back and add some more later but for now I just felt inspired to get these out there.

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot…this morning, the scale said my favorite number…147.5! I’ll take it :)

  • Update

    Yesterday was a pretty down day for me. I don’t know why I let a stupid number get to me so much. But, honestly, a lot of stuff gets me down these days and the number on the scale always tends to be that straw that broke the camels back, so to speak.

    But last night, I went to my normal Wednesday night girl’s potluck and my friend Courtney made a proposition…that we each make a “Visualization Board” to reflect on what it is that we want in our lives and to inspire us to reach for our goals and dreams. It was like a group therapy session! We went through magazines and cut out pictures, words, and other things that represented what we each want and then we glued them to a poster board as a collage of sorts. Mine is still unfinished but I plan to fill it up by this weekend. So far, I love it. But I noticed a lot of it has to do with my body and health, which doesn’t surprise me, but I guess I didn’t realize until yesterday how hard I am being on myself. When I am finished with it, I will take a picture and post it on here!

    I am so grateful for this blog because it really gives me a chance to not only blog about what I love and enjoy about food and exercise, but also it’s a place for me to vent and to look inside of myself to try and understand why I am feeling the way I do sometimes.

    I am pleased with my health and the accomplishments I have made thus far. I am proud to have lost the weight I have and to be in the shape that I am. Do I still want more? Yes. But, I cannot forget how far I have already come in the face of adversity. My entire family suffers from obesity; every one of them. I believe it is the biggest challenge I will ever face in my life and the fact that I got through it shows that I can overcome just about anything. It’s very empowering.

    That being said, I am issuing a challenge to myself. I plan to finish out the next several weeks in this weight maintenance program I have joined at work. It’s just a weekly weigh-in on Wednesdays from now until December 10th. After December 10th, I am making a promise that I will ONLY get on the scale when I see a DOCTOR! That’s it, no if’s, and’s or but’s. I’m done.

    Now it’s time for me to focus on other areas of my life that need improvement while not neglecting my health at the same time. I need to find balance and true happiness within myself. Thank you for your support, I love this blogging community we have :)

    Have a wonderful day!

    p.s. Thank you, *Simple & Divine* for all your lovely comments, you are fabulous!

    Whatever it takes

    I have a really good feeling about losing these last few pounds. I know it is going to take a while and I know it is going to take a lot of hard work, dedication, patience, organizing, etc. But I am ready to do the work again!

    This morning when I got on the scale, I decided that no matter what, I would move forward. I was honestly surprised I lost 2 pounds since last Monday, but I was happy nonetheless. I don’t know what my ‘goal’ weight will be yet, but I have 7 more pounds to lose to get back to where I was hovering before we went to Nicaragua.

    I have decided to work really hard for the next month as today is exactly 4 weeks away from Labor Day. I always do better with goals and time frames in mind. So my hope is to be back down to my hovering weight by Labor Day :)

    This morning, I started things off with some oat bran made with soymilk and topped with semisweet chocolate chips and raisins.


    I had some coffee with soymilk and something I picked up this past weekend…a Cherry & Oats “Fruit it up Health bar” – it looks like a big piece of beef jerky (was purchased at a jerky outlet, haha) but it tasted really good and is made from real fruit. The brand is Reinhold & Timko. At this same store, I also found some interestingly flavored peanut butter made by a company called PB Loco. I ended up purchasing the Caramel flavored pb, but there were so many others I turned away, but we did get to sample most of them.

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