Thursday, December 29, 2011

Here we are, finally!

It is, it is 2012! Ok, close your eyes, take a deep breath, SEE? HERE WE ARE! 2012!

Now that I made it to another year, I want to continue on the trend I set for myself in 2011. No, not the whining and struggling part, the let's do something constructive to make things better part! Knowing that I'm an all or nothing kind of person, I have to be careful not to overload myself with impossible goals, and unmaintainable routines, because I want to reset my routine, not burn myself out in 2 weeks.

As I explained in my previous post, I've come to the realization that I have been putting too much emphasis in the process over the last year or two (or 3) and not enough on actual realistic, manageable goals. So, I set 2 main goals for the year 2012:

  1. I want to lose 10 lbs, and then maintain the loss
  2. I want to build up my cardio endurance

Neat! There! I've got goals! Now what? Hum, I lost 70 lbs in 2002-2003, losing 10 lbs should be a breeze right? Well, it's not that simple. When I lost 70 lbs, I went from eating 95% junk food, and a ton of it, to eating healthy foods, and paying attention to how much I was eating. In the process I discovered new foods, learned how to cook, and really went from college junk to California foodie. Tofu anyone?

Summer 2002 I got married, moved to the US and was ready for a new life.
Now it's another story. Barring a few exceptions, everything I eat is pretty much whole foods, I don't eat in excess really (if you put aside the occasional bread attack), and, though I still love to cook, it doesn't have this great discovery feel that it used to have. Honestly, I'm pretty much cooking the same easy things over and over again. In other words, I do not have a great revolution to do, at this point it's all about the tiny little adjustments here and there rather than "learning to eat" all over again. I find myself a little at a loss sometimes about where I should start.

Summer 2010, I was in shape, I was focused, I was busy!
Activity-wise it's pretty much the same thing. When I decided to get in shape in 2002, I was starting from nothing. I was taking the bus to go from the Ross on 17th (I think) and Geary to get home at the corner of 23rd and Geary. No jokes!  I started with belly dancing and then I added pilates, yoga, then I rediscovered weights. Love!

After years of working out, and lifting weights I'm in shape. I've worked with a trainer for months (Laura at the Richmond YMCA, don't let her angelic face fool you, she can work the snot out of you, never losing her big engaging smile) and maintained a sort of routine since, but I'm just going through the motions. Even worse, I'm just doing the exercises I like to do. Which is to say that I'm doing the easy ones, which really are those I don't need all that much. The ones I really need, I do rarely and become really sore, so I don't do them again for a while. Brilliant!

Fall 2011, trying to hang on, but parties occurred... 
I have the know-how, I know more about nutrition and physical activity than most people I know. Not only I've been on this journey or over 9 years, but I'm a nerd. I love to find, learn and discover new things. I certainly do not know everything there is to know about nutrition and activity, but I've reached a level of knowledge where to go further I feel I have to get very serious and scientific about it. It's not so much a hobby, it has become "work". I think that might be the root of my problem. This has all become too serious to me, too involved. I keep telling my members that it's important to make this fun, enjoyable, but to me planning dinner becomes a humongous chore of researching the perfect spice, the perfect amount of proteins, wait, isn't that too much carbs? If I'm planning a work out, I have to make sure to balance each group muscle, how many reps for maximal efficiency? Should I add a set? Or raise the weights?

Taking care of myself is a priority to me. I need to be in shape, I need to look good, I need to feel good. I do not want to be a burden for my husband in the not so distant future. I want to be able to hit the beach with my dog and be able to wear my swimsuit without second guessing myself, and take off the leash without thinking "If she runs, will I be able to keep up?". That's what I'm doing this for: for health, for vanity, for confidence. I'm not shooting to compete at any level. I'm not trying to be an anorexic looking model. I'm not even working for a number.

I want to be healthy, to look good and to have the stamina and energy to enjoy life to its fullest.
So there! Now with that in mind, I need to start somewhere. So how do I break this all down?

January Goal: I want to lose 3 lbs, and build my cardio to 30 minutes full speed (I know "full speed" sounds vague, but it's precise to me).

My "tracking week" starts on Sunday, so I'm starting right on the 1st!

Week 1 of January: 

  • Food: I will track all week. 
  • Activity: I will either get up early and work out, or I will take a lift with Dan (we have a deal) to the gym when he leaves for work.

Food: I've been tracking purty good actually, but that's always where I start. Tracking grounds me and shows me where the little "oopsies" are hiding. Then I can work them out or work them in, depending on what they are.

Activity: This is all about accountability! If I have a deal for Dan to give me a lift, I can't spend all morning saying "oh I'll go later. Ideally, I'll get up at 5:15-5:30 to hit the gym when it opens at 5:45. Realistically, I've been known to snooze for over an hour... So there, if I do I'll get a "You getting ready? I need to leave for work in 5 minutes". Pride, has gotten me in trouble often enough, might as well put it to good use right?

These goals are simple, and really not that difficult to achieve, and that's the point. Breaking big overwhelming goals into small simple and very attainable ones gets me going. Once I'm on a roll, I'm pretty unstoppable, but getting started really is a bitch. Is this the right way to go? I don't know. Ask me again in December 2012. It's my way though, it has worked in the past, we'll see if it works for me still.

I have long term, mid term and short term goals. I have the realization that I need to keep this simple and enjoyable, rather than serious, scientific and complicated. I have a wonderful husband, friends and family that makes this all worth it.

You know what else? I have the firm belief that I really absolutely can make this happen. I have the strength, I have the knowledge, I have the health and I have the support. C'mon really? Stop whining and get going!

Be good n stuff!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Not Resolutions GOALS

Yup, that's my focus this year, setting goals and achieving them. "Duh!" You say? "How did you figure that out Sherlock?" You ask? Well, I know it's a bit from the Captain obvious book, but somehow I managed to forget about that goal thing while I was putting all my efforts on the process. 

It's a weird thing to maintain a lifestyle for a long period of time. You have phases where you do very well, you have phases where you just don't have to think about it "This is how I live now" and there are phases where you just do it all wrong, and just can't seem to get it right. I feel like I've gone from one to another in rapid succession all through 2011. How tiring!

I know what I have to do: Plan ahead so that I can be prepared to cook my meals (instead of eating junk, or ordering out), work out regularly, keep track of what I'm doing, limit the treats... I know all about it, I know how to do it, I enjoy doing it even, so why is it so complicated? I know how, but do I know why anymore?

Losing weight for me was easy. Hate me if you will, I can live with that, but I'm an all or nothing kind of person, and on short term, I can deal with pretty much anything. I was very VERY strict about my eating while I was losing weight, I also was working out minimum 1 hour per day every day, including high intensity cardio for at lest 30 minutes each day. Of course I was also in my late 20s, which made it easier for my body to take the torture I was putting it through at the gym every day. Now I'm a little older, soon to be 38, and I find it difficult to hit the gym with that kind of an intensity.

This summer, I decided that my goal was to be able to do 1 pull up. At first I said by September 1st, then by December 31st, well it's the 26th, and it's not happening. I think the problem lies in the fact that I really don't care about a pull up anymore. I don't see that as being worth the effort. I like lifting weights, but more because of how it changes my body rather than because of the actual number of pounds I can lift. I guess to me that is never going to be impressive no matter what. So there, the numbers game isn't cutting it anymore, so what? What is it that would REALLY make it worth it to me to rebuild my dying routine? What could I work for, that would make it worth it to get up early in the morning to do cardio? What could make it worth getting back to the gym to lift weights? Carry the gear, wash all the work out clothes?

I need to lose 5 lbs, I want to lose 10. I need to build up my cardio in a big way (so lame). One day I would like to do that pull up, but I got to lose the weight first. I want my flat belly back!!

If I really focus on losing that 10 lbs, and building my cardio, the rest should fall into place right? Of course I can't stop lifting, I will lose what I worked so hard to build, but maybe it can be "part of my routine" as opposed to being the sole focus of my routine. At least for the first part of the year. The thing with cardio is that the more I do it, the easier and more enjoyable it becomes. Ideally I'd be doing cardio every day.

Maybe I can start with a more reasonable schedule and build from that? Tuesday morning is laundry morning. So no working out early there. Thursday is usually my sleep in day (until 7!) because I work Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Hum... I could hit the gym early on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, which just so happen are my husband's work out morning too. I bet if I ask nicely, he'd be more than happy to drop me off at the gym, or even better, make coffee and breakfast while I work out? How motivating to know that if I'm out early enough, I'll have breakfast waiting for me when I come back?

Speaking of which, if I want to lose 10 lbs, I'll have to start planning ahead better. We're already well on our way there though. We've had long talks about starting to cook ahead like we used to do. Make dinner with tomorrow's lunch in mind. We've been pretty good with that as a general rule, but just got a little lazy this fall with all the celebrating going on. Grains and vegetables are back on the menu and that's a good thing because we both love them!

I'm putting all this down to realize, and demonstrate, that once you have something to work for, once you really figure out what it is that you want to achieve, putting together a plan is a lot easier. I don't really care about doing a pull up anymore, so really having that as a goal isn't helping me in any way. Knowing that I really want to lose 10 lbs though, and build my cardio permits me to put my focus in the right direction. If I care enough about the end result, I WILL find a way. The trick is to find the end result that is that meaningful to me, and acknowledging that it might change, and that my once all powerful goal really doesn't mean anything anymore. How weird...

In 2012, I will lose 10 lbs (and then maintain the loss) and I will build up my cardio to the point of being able  to make my elliptical work out 60 minutes at my normal speed. What about you? What goal is worthy of your efforts in 2012?

Be good n stuff!