August Goals

I’ve been thinking a lot about the goals I want to achieve in August. I’m almost afraid to write any. My girls go back to school on August 31st so the month of August is almost entirely summer vacation. We are slowly developing some better boundaries so that I’m able to get a few things done even though they are home all day. We do spend a lot of time together but mama still has work to do even if they aren’t in school!

I think my number one priority is exercise. My husband and I have been walking together every single day. The girls won’t come. They are invited but would rather stay home so we are finally getting daily alone time. It’s been a massive blessing this summer and is way more than I even dreamed of. Prior to this, the girls wouldn’t leave us alone in the same room. But if they have to choose between leaving us unsupervised and exercise, they’ll pick leaving us unsupervised. It’s wonderful!

After we get paid, I want to register for my first WA 5k. I should have registered several months ago when I first picked out the race but I was afraid to commit. What if things got explosive again in our home? What if something happened that sapped all of my emotional energy and left me without motivation to run? What if I can’t train to run the entire distance before September arrives? Well, I decided to register anyway. FlyLady keeps reminding me that perfectionism is detrimental in all aspects of life.. I don’t have to run the entire 5k. I don’t have to break my previous 5k record. I just have to show up and try. Just try.

So I think that continuing exercise, both for my health and to embrace the alone time with my husband, is my only real August goal. Other than that, I will keep working toward decluttering my closet, getting organized, and finding additional meals that my entire family will eat. But other than the exercise with its tangible goal of training for the 5k, I’m just going to do whatever I can. I am just going to show up and try.

Forgotten passion

I rediscovered this passion last summer but between then and now, completely forgot.

I. Love. Hiking!

This weekend I’m at my church’s women’s retreat. I’m grateful to be here even though I’m struggling with so many people in close quarters.

The lodge is out of town and close to hiking. There is a very short trail attached to the property and the Mount Si trail head is within walking distance. I invited myself along with a group of ladies who were headed to Mount Si. We only had time to hike to the first mileage sign but it was a beautiful hike. I fully enjoyed myself.

Sunday mornings, I spend three hours out by myself. I might have to take myself hiking instead of sitting in a coffee shop!

Two hours of exercise… for chocolate?

A friend of mine is a health coach and she invited me to join a 28 day health challenge. It starts today and runs for 28 days. The goal is to lose 4% of your body weight by the end of the challenge. 4% seems like a lot to me for only 28 days. That means I have to lose just over 5.5 pounds in four weeks. Doable, yes. A stretch, definitely.

The challenge took me a bit out of my comfort zone because it had a $20 join fee that goes into a pot. If you make the goal and complete a certain percentage of the participation points, the pot is divided between those who were successful. I couldn’t decide if this counted as gambling or if it was just a good motivation to make the goal. I thought it would be ok if I used my allowance money for this month and then will hopefully get my allowance back at the end of the challenge, plus maybe a bit more.

Well, tonight I decided to earn my dessert. I told myself that I had to burn more calories than the dessert. We decided to take the long route to Trader Joe’s. After an hour of walking, we arrived at Trader Joe’s to discover that it had closed 15 minutes earlier. Oops! We spent another 40 minutes walking home. Almost two hours of walking and no dessert!

Oh well. I definitely lost weight today!

Motivation techniques? Any advice?

I need some help!

You see, a few years ago, I was rather fat. I had let my weight creep up and up and up. I topped out at just under 190 pounds. Because I didn’t pack all the weight on at once, I didn’t realize quite how fat I was getting until one day I looked at some recent photographs. I was crushed.

That day, I made up my mind that I was going to lose weight. Weight struggles run in my family. Sure, my family tends to be rather skinny until 21 years of age or so. Once we reached that magic age, almost every single person in both my immediate and extended family gained a ton of weight. Myself included.

Over the next two or so years, I slimmed way down. At first, I just watched what I ate, meticulously counting every calorie. I lost quite a bit of weight that way but plateaued around 145 pounds. Then I started exercising, using the Wii’s Walk it Out video game and running 3x a week. That helped me lose the remainder of my weight and I dropped down to 118 pounds. I was quite proud of myself but it was hard to maintain that weight. I didn’t keep up with the exercise, nor did I continue tracking my calories. My weight slowly crept back up and I settled in at 124 pounds for a few months. I was happy there.

And then… I’ve had two pretty big bouts of drama in the last eight months. I’m an emotional eater. I also struggle when I lack control of my own life. I was out of town on two separate occasions, both of which involved very stressful events, and my weight has suffered. I’m now just ounces shy of 140 pounds and am very unhappy about it.

I’m sort of motivated to get back to 124 pounds. I WANT to get back to 124 pounds. But I cringe at the amount of work it took the last time I lost weight. I’ve been tossing around ideas with my husband, trying to find a way to get the motivation back. The last three weeks, I’ve run 2-3 times each week. It took a couple runs but I’m back at 1 mile per run. It’s a starting point. I used to run 5k routes every weekend. I ran a couple of 5k races and enjoyed it. Running is not a favorite form of exercise but it’s doable IF I force myself out the door. It’s not exactly fun, but it’s effective.

I want to get back to my ideal weight by the time we travel to Taiwan. I want to meet my daughter in a body that I feel comfortable with. I don’t want her to look at me and cringe at the thought of going home with “the fat American lady.” We travel in 6-9 months. Hopefully. It’s hard to guess how long it will be because the process can speed up or slow down. But I think it would be fair to say that I can reach 124 pounds by the end of October. Right?

15 pounds in four months. Now I just have to make myself do it.

Tell me… how do you motivate yourself to eat healthy? To exercise? To lose weight?

Small change making a big difference

Usually I exercise in the late afternoon while my husband is out for his run. Last week I decided to try something new. I started exercising in the morning after breakfast. What a difference it makes! I start the day off feeling productive and it carries me through the day.

Normally I spend way too much time in the mornings reading things online – Facebook, my RSS reader, a couple forums, my email, etc. For the last week, I’ve been allowing myself to browse the internet during breakfast but then I kick myself off the computer to exercise for 45 minutes to an hour. It really is making a huge difference. Because I’ve started the day off well, I continue getting things done. By three in the afternoon, I already feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. I think this is one schedule I will try to make a habit.

My running week

We had a fairly successful running week. I pushed myself out the door three evenings, even though I didn’t feel motivated to run. Last night’s run was the best. The weather was perfect and I was feeling great. I wish I could have run longer but had to come back home!

Sunday – 2.68
Tuesday – 2.02
Thursday – 3.12

Weekly total – 7.82 miles

Woohoo! Hopefully next week will be even better!

Hiking!

Several Sabbaths ago, Jeff and I went hiking with Bruce and Kiera. We were supposed to hike a new trail but got lost and decided to go to a trail we could actually find – Rattlesnake Ledge.


We’re hiking up there?


To the very top!


Hiking is very popular when it’s not raining!


Rattlesnake Lake


Hubby and I at the top

It was a great hike and I can’t wait to try a new trail!

Slowly getting fit

A year and a half ago, I reached my goal weight. Then I took a long trip due to a family emergency and ate whatever I wanted as a coping mechanism. Not the smartest idea! Then hubby and I moved and ate very cheaply (read: not very healthy) for awhile as we saved to buy pots and pans and recovered from our moving expenses. A couple months ago, we finally bought a scale so I was able to see what the damage was. Surprisingly, I was only 10 pounds over my goal weight. Not too bad!

A month ago, we started tracking calories and eating the correct portions. What a difference that makes! I’m now only four pounds over my goal weight but the weight isn’t budging. Time to kick the exercise up a notch.

I started running again. The first run was torture. I bought new shoes that will help transition into a minimalist shoe. My feet weren’t used to that and I could tell (very painfully) that I’m a heel striker. Bad! We’ve been running for three weeks now. Last night I ran a 5k. Woohoo! It feels good to be back into it.

We’re hoping to run a 5k race sometime next month. I honestly didn’t think that I would be ready in time but last night I proved that I’m stronger than I think. I’ll keep training and hopefully run a decent time in the race. It’s been almost two years since our last race and I miss the challenge. Races are so much fun! The crowd atmosphere makes me run faster than I run normally. It’s a blast seeing all of the runners out there, even ones who are just getting back into shape like me.

I’m finally starting to accept my body shape and recognize that I’m never going to be that skinny model. God gave me curves. I’m learning to embrace that! Hopefully the running and hiking will increase my fitness levels, even if I never do fit into those size four jeans.

Concrete Goals for 2013

Kat has been discussing goals recently and how important it is to create specific goals rather than general New Years resolutions. My second 2013 resolution is to become more intentional, to spend my time more productively. I thought it would prove useful to write up specific goals and completion dates for several of the most important areas of my life.

Quilting
Abstract Goal – To improve my quilting skills.

Concrete Goals

  • Participate in the 350 Blocks Project. I have no intention of completing 350 blocks as that is way more than I have completed in the past three years total! But I am going to use the project as an opportunity to push myself to finish more (ongoing).
  • Complete four quilts this year. I am currently working on two, a personal lap-sized quilt (March 31) and a baby quilt (Feb 28) for my husband’s college friends’ baby. I also want to start and finish a quilt for my new nephew (April 30).

Japanese
Abstract Goal – To become fluent.

Concrete Goals

  • 30 minutes of study time each and every day (ongoing).
  • Find a language exchange pen pal and write an email once per week (Jan 31).
  • Take the JLPT N3 exam in December 2013. The exam tests reading and listening comprehension and is only offered once a year outside of Japan. We have a testing center here in Seattle. (Registration opens in the fall.)

Health
Abstract Goal – To lose weight.

Concrete Goals

  • Incorporate more fresh food in my diet by including at least one fruit or vegetable at every meal (start by Jan 31).
  • Start eating raw breakfasts at least three times each week (start by Jan 31).
  • Run at least three times per week and train to race a 10k by the end of the year (ongoing).

Homemaking
Abstract Goal – To become a better homemaker.

Concrete Goals

  • Finish organizing my recipe book so that I actually utilize it (March 31).
  • Try at least two new healthy recipes per week (ongoing).
  • Create and follow my daily chores list (Feb 15).

Of course, this does not cover all areas of my life. While I appreciate the challenge of tackling each of these goals, I am a bit overwhelmed by the number of changes it will require. This is why I will have to prioritize and revisit these goals often to make changes based on what is or is not working. I know that January is almost over but there is no better time than now to refocus!

2012 Resolutions – Health

It’s funny that I’m writing this post today as I’m sick. Thankfully, it’s just a cold and I hope to be feeling better soon.

Last year’s goals

  • Participate in the SOS Kitchen Challenge – failed.
  • Run a 5k – Success! Not only did I complete three 5k’s, I also ran a 4 mile race! In October I ran my fastest 5k, just under 40 minutes.
  • Learn how to bake – I started this but got derailed over the summer.

This year’s goals

  • Become more fit. This is a vague goal but I have a plan in place. Right now, I am progressing through week 7 (of 13) of the P90X fitness program. Once that program is complete, I am going to focus on my running again, ultimately aiming for a 10k race this fall.
  • Learn how to bake. One of my 30 day challenges early this year will be baking everything from scratch. I can’t wait!
  • Increase the amount of local and organic produce in our diet. I have access to a lot of local produce and need to start taking advantage of it. Ideally, this will mean early Sunday morning trips to the farmers market.
  • Watch one documentary and read one book each month on health and wellness. We have a Netflix account and they have many documentaries available to watch online. There are also three libraries within 15 minutes of my house. Between Netflix and the libraries, I have access to plenty of material.

I am happy to say that last year I reached my weight goal, losing a total of 67 pounds. I know that weight alone is not an indicator of good health and I am hoping to improve both my fitness levels and my nutrition this year. Having better health will also allow me to be a better witness for God as it will improve mental clarity and honor my Creator.

I beseech you therefore, brethren,
by the mercies of God,
that you present your bodies a living sacrifice,
holy, acceptable to God,
which is your reasonable service

Romans 12:1