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November goal review and December goal setting

I can’t believe it’s already December 1st! I think I say this to myself every time we enter a new month. Mostly, I can’t believe that 2011 is coming to an end. It’s been an interesting year, but I feel like I’m ending it on a high note and I feel very blessed.

Anyway, a month ago today I posted my November goals. I’m glad I only set a few because it ended up being another busy month, but let’s see how I did.

My November 2011 Goals

  1. Get at least one more room of our house “finished” - Um, sort of? I did put a lot of stuff away when I thought someone was coming to clean our house (remind me not to buy anymore Groupons for cleaning companies) and I’ve also gotten a good start on Christmas decorating. Nothing is really ever “finished” right?
  2. Send out some handwritten cards - YES! I sent out the two cards I mentioned last time and I’ve also been trying to send encouraging messages to people on Facebook and via text. It’s been good and people really seem to appreciate it.
  3. Bake, bake, bake - I have taken this one to a whole new level. I’ve baked desserts, enchiladas, vegan meatloaf for Thanksgiving, cinnamon rolls from scratch (first time ever), and a lot more that I’m sure I’m leaving out (plus some no bake things too). Very happy with this one and want to continue.
  4. Homemade Christmas presents – I’m working on this one too. I didn’t get started until the week of Thanksgiving but I’ve already got one gift nearly finished and just a few more to do before December 25th, let’s hope I can buckle down!
  5. Rest – I haven’t taken a nap in a few weeks so I definitely need to get on this. I also didn’t do enough fun shopping/browsing but hopefully I can find some small local shops to visit this month (no malls or Target for me this time of year, too much stress). But I have been spending more time at home during the week and I’m learning to say no to things from time to time when I just don’t have the energy to be somewhere.

So, in review, even though they each required a little explanation, I would say I was fairly successful at meeting my goals for November. I could have done better but at least I made some intentions and followed through on all of them to some extent.

Now, what to do for December? Hmm…

My December 2011 goals

  1. Stay active during the holidays - The colder it gets outside, the harder it is for me to stay motivated to go out, get in the car and go to the gym. It’s easy when I’m at work because the gym is here, but we get a little over a week off after Christmas and being away from work (hence, off my normal “schedule”) can make staying active more difficult. But I have plenty of options to use over the break, including a temporary membership to the YMCA and a Groupon for Zumba/Yoga classes, so no excuses. Staying active to me means getting in some sort of movement outside of your normal daily activities at least a few days a week and resting when you need to as well (it’s important to recognize resting needs vs. wants, ha ha).
  2. Keep up with reading/listening – I see a theme here. Keeping up with the things I’m already doing now while I’m off work. In the past few months I have discovered audio books and it helped me reach my goal of reading 12 books in 2011, I’m actually on #13 right now. I buy them at a used bookstore and then sell them back to buy more, but I also live down the street from a public library, so I need to utilize that more. This will be easy to do for most of the month but I think this one will be challenging at home because I won’t be at my desk with headphones on able to listen. Perhaps I will be able to read a “real” book that week! Ha ha. Maybe that’s the real goal here, read one “paper” book. If you are interested in what I read or want to swap book ideas, find me on Goodreads. I have decided to up my goal to 24 books in 2012, eek!
  3. Stay happy – This one is not just for me but for all of you as well. It’s so easy to get bogged down by this time of year. The changing weather and less sunlight can be depressing, or maybe you are just stressed out by the holidays in general, or by your family and friends. Things can get kind of crazy this time of year. My friend Rob wrote a post around Thanksgiving called GrAttitude where he talked about how we “ramp up into higher gear.  Guests coming over, visiting relatives, dinners to cook, houses to clean, games to watch, presents to buy, etc.  The purpose of the holiday gets lost, stress increases, relationships strain…” I agree with him that our attitude really determines how things go. We can make a choice to be angry or stressed out  for whatever reason or we can choose to put it all aside and give thanks to God for all our blessings. We can choose to be grateful and happy. (Disclaimer: I know this “choice” doesn’t apply to everyone, some of you are probably dealing with some very tough emotions right now, maybe you lost a loved one recently or you are just going through a difficult time in life. I just pray you are able to find joy and happiness.)
  4. Send Christmas cards - This is something I haven’t done in years, believe it or not. I just sort of got out of the habit and now that we know so many people I was always afraid that we wouldn’t be able to do one for everybody and then someone would get offended and so on. Another one of my goals for 2012 is to care less about what people think or at least don’t invent what I think people will think because I’m probably wrong anyway. But I plan to send a few or some, as many as I can and to write thoughtful messages in them and not just sign my name to a stack of cards (not that there’s anything wrong with that, ha ha).
  5. See November’s goals - I want to keep up with what I started last month. They were all good goals that I believe can apply all year long.

So what about you? What do you want to accomplish in December and the final month of 2011?

November goals

Can you believe it’s already November 1st? That means in two months, it will be 2012! Crazy, right?

Even though yesterday was Halloween, I was still surprised to see the word November showing up everywhere this morning: on my phone, computer, tv, etc. It just seems like the year has flown by, but then again, I think it feels that way every year.

I haven’t done this in a while but I couldn’t help but remember that the 1st of the month is a great time to set some new goals. Not like “lose 5 lbs this month” or “do x number of yoga sessions” type of goals. I have been looking at things a lot differently lately. My goals this month are more in the realm of mental and spiritual as opposed to physical challenges.

My November 2011 Goals

  1. Get at least one more room of our house “finished” - We moved into our new place back in July and sadly, the only thing that’s really done is the basement, which is because my awesome husband spent a whole day down there putting it all together. I’ve just been too busy or tired to get started anywhere else. It makes me feel better to have things in order, so I will remember that as I work on some things this month.
  2. Send out some handwritten cards - I have a couple of cards to send this month and maybe some more if I think about some people I’d like to contact. One is for a family member that is ill and another for a sweet family at my church.
  3. Bake, bake, bake - I made some oatmeal raisin and pumpkin cookies this past weekend to take to the Hootenanny and even though I didn’t have a lot of time to spend on them, they turned out great and it made me want to make some more stuff. We are having a special “Parent Sunday” at the youth cafe this week, so I will get to start on this goal sooner rather than later ;) I also want to practice some holiday dishes I hope to make.
  4. Homemade Christmas presents – Since it’s November 1st, this means I have about a month and a half to get my Christmas presents ready. I plan to make a lot of stuff this year, I’ve already started on some knitting projects and I have some ideas for a few other things. Just need to nail these down, get the supplies and get going. Making things makes me happy!
  5. Rest – Even though the previous things I’ve mentioned are going to take up some of my time, I do want to mainly focus on relaxing this week. I have been busy nearly every weekend over the Summer and Fall and finally, November is here and I have ZERO plans on my Saturdays for the next several weeks. I want to go out for coffee, maybe browse a store or two, then spend the rest at home taking naps and snuggling with my doggie :)

That’s about it over here! What are your goals for November?

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:

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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!

What's next?

As soon as a big race is over, I’m always left wondering what my next challenge will be.

For the past 16 weeks, I have been mostly focused on training for the mini marathon and now I have a little down time to do some different things and run a bunch of really fun 5K races!

But what else will I do next?

Today, I did a challenging 15 minute incline walk on the treadmill, one set of a full body workout with weights, and some ab exercises. I usually do 25 reps of each ab move but today I noticed they were much stronger, so I went up to 35. That’s the key to keep exercises working for you — either increase the weight, the reps, or change the moves completely!

I’ve been thinking of doing a 30 day ab challenge this summer. It is the most neglected area of my body and yet it is so vital to all the things I do, whether it’s sitting at my desk at work or running mini marathons…I need a strong core!

I also miss yoga terribly, I cannot even tell you the last class I took or did on my own at home. This is a travesty! Yoga can be expensive but there are so many options available for all budgets. I just need to make an effort. I also want to try Hot Yoga again soon :)

In addition, Josh admitted that he is not really using his gym membership. While I am sad that he’s not been going, you can only lead a horse to water. And we both agreed that someone should get use out of it, so we are having it transferred into my name!

The gym he goes to is not quite as nice as Urban Active but it will come in handy on the weekends and in bad weather. Plus, they have Body Pump classes :)

I’m also toying with the idea of running the Louisville Half Marathon in October. But I have a little time to decide. I figure if I do register for it, I will have to start training in July. So we’ll see!

As you can can probably tell, I’m sort of all over the place, but I like to think it all balances out :)

What are your fitness goals for the summer?

Pound for Pound: Week 4

In case you are interested in catching up on past weeks, I have made a new Pound for Pound Challenge page!

Honestly, I was not sure what to expect this week. Last week was sort of a roller coaster; it started off really good but then took nose dive toward the end of the week.

Nothing really bad happened, I have just been feeling a little blue thanks to hormones and the usual annoyances of adult life (like money, rent, banks, etc). So that is why I have not blogged until now. But I’m done complaining!

Going into today’s weigh in, I felt pretty confident that I had done the best I could this past week. I tracked my eating very well and felt good about that. I didn’t get my two weight training days in but I did get one. And a yoga class!

I managed to get some cardio exercise in Monday-Saturday, including taking some walks with my dog who needs more exercise in her life!

I ran three days last week, which is right about what I’m comfortable with. Four is good too, but any more and I’m tired, burnt out or hurting. No thanks ;-)

So, how did the weigh in go?

  • Last week’s weight: 149.2 lbs
  • This week’s weight: 147.8 lbs (-1.6 difference)
  • Total lbs lost for challenge: 3.8

Obviously, I’m very pleased with that result. I even checked back through my old records and I have not weighed 147 anything since April 2009. Wow!

I also had a breakthrough over the weekend that I wasn’t expecting.

On Friday night, I was feeling pretty meh, so I went to Meijer on the way home and bought a non-dairy chocolate bar (because I’m a vegan emotional eater, after all).

But even though I was going to allow myself to have it, for comfort, I had to work myself up to even eat a piece of it.

Then yesterday, when I was feeling sad, I tried to think of a dinner or a snack that would “cheer me up.” But I couldn’t.

In fact, I was even more in tune with my hunger yesterday than normal. What’s going on?

I think I am a reformed emotional eater! I think I have finally realized that while food (including non-dairy chocolate) can be comforting, it does not make you feel better. It does not solve your problems for you. It’s temporary.

While I feel like I have been in control of my eating for a long time now, this is the first time I felt completely free. Has that ever happened to you before?

Goals

My goals for this week are:

  • Work on my mood, doing things that make me happy and stressing less about those that don’t
  • Two weight training days, attempt # 2
  • Keep going with journaling and the 9:00 rule

What are your goals for this week?

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 :)

My new life

Good morning and Happy October 1st!

I have never been this excited about October before, that I can recall. It really feels like Fall now and there’s just something about pumpkin, warm drinks and staying cozy under the covers that just warms my heart. I really don’t like cold weather (winter, ugh) but I like being warm during the day and just a bit chilly at night :)

Today is also the first day of Vegan MoFo III, which I have decided to participate in.

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I have been giving a lot of thought over the past month or so as to whether I can really call myself a vegan. I read again, in another book, that people who only adopt the dietary changes are really just strict vegetarians and not vegans. Vegans are people who’s entire lifestyle reflects a stance against cruelty, not just their diets. Especially since my diet is first of all health-motivated, I just wasn’t sure where I fit. Or if I even had to.

But, I have found that through the past month of experimenting with this way of eating and doing the research, that I do, in general, strive to be more peaceful. Eating this way has made me more aware of some other things, not just about food, but about my body. For instance, I am very sensitive to stress.

Even if I don’t necessarily feel “stressed out” I do sometimes have some internal things going on. This has made me more aware of my mental health and I’ve been identifying the things I can do to keep things positive. I am seeing more clearly now and I know what situations, people, and things stress me so I’m going to be working on finding ways to deal with that.

I’ve already started by “hiding” some of my friends on Facebook who are constantly writing negative things either about themselves, politics, other people or whatever. I don’t want to censor anyone, but if it’s bringing me down, I don’t want to read it. I even find that there are sometimes songs and tv shows that I used to watch but don’t want to anymore because they stress me out.

My overwhelming desire for peace is…well, overwhelming. My husband probably thinks I’ve lost my mind for real this time.

I have also felt more of a desire to help people, something I have always enjoyed doing but have been seriously slacking off with lately. I want to find my place of ministry in my church and perhaps do some volunteer work again. I also want to do some random acts of kindness and not tell you about any of them because it’s not about me or puffing myself up. It’s about making a difference in someone else’s life without getting any credit — that is what I want.

I’ve also felt closer to God recently, which may have nothing to do with this whole eating experiment, but I do think it comes from being intentional and making small sacrifices. I have been praying more and more and want to find a regular Bible study to get involved with because I haven’t been in one in a long time. I am thirsty for more!

So this month is about so much to me. I know it will spill over into November, December and next year, but here are the things I am going to focus on more this month (I will expand on all of these later and give you updates):

  1. Eating a plant-based, animal-free diet (no meat, dairy, eggs, etc.) – essentially only vegan foods
  2. Exercising for health, fun, stress relief, and peace of mind — not to run myself down or to “undo” over eating
  3. Listening to my body and resting when I need to rest
  4. Creating peace and harmony in my daily life through prayer, meditation, and relaxation
  5. Eliminating or reducing things in my life that cause me stress
  6. Focus more on serving others through volunteering or random acts of kindness and favors
  7. Start ministering to people in my church in an area I feel passionate about
  8. Stay close to God and find a Bible study to participate in

I’m so excited…I had no idea when I started writing this post that it would turn into all of this. Wow.

To get this month started, I ate a healthy animal-free breakfast of oats (cooked in water) with a sliced banana and peanut butter.

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Happy Thursday!

What are your goals for this month?

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