Goal Update

At the start of this year, I decided to make monthly goals.  I did make some progress on them, but will repeat them for February.

The first goal was to cook more food at home and make freezer meals for future use.  I did reasonably well on this.  In my post setting my January goals, I said I had made some turky chili and some chicken/bean/rice wraps in a large batch.  I had then frozen individual servings.  That was a good start, but I indicated I needed to do more.  And, didn’t do any more of that type of cooking for the rest of the month.  We did eat more at home because I decided to only eat out once on the weekend instead of twice every weekend.  That was adding too many extra calories and making it harder during the week, particularly when we sometimes needed to eat out during the week when we were out and about far from home.  By only eating out once on most weekends, it has helped to make the rest of the week easier.

The second goal was to rejoin the YMCA and start strength training again.  I did rejoin the Y, but haven’t done anything with it.  January was a terrible month on activity.  There were some reasons for some of this.  January was a rough month for us and our pets.  Our 14 1/2 year old dog died.  That was expected as something that was going to soon happen, but was still hard.  Then, our cat who was being treated for lymphoma had come out of remission and by the end of the month he was gone.  And, finally, one of our other cats (the one I showed in the Christmas tree) had to have major surgery to have all of her teeth removed (to treat gingivostomatitis).  Her recovery has gone very well, but it was all very stressful.  During this time, I really just wanted to mostly be home with my pets and didn’t have a lot of energy to think about working out.

For February, the plan is to continue on with the goals I had for January.  I will do more cooking and will actually start using the Y.

2017 Goals (January Anyway)

It is that time of year again.  Goals.  I’ve not really done well with goal setting since the start of this blog.  This is my 4th go at it.  And, I’m not really happy with how I set goals in past years.

The first year was 2014 soon after I started this blog.  That year I had huge list of goals and then set monthly interim goals.  That was sort of OK, but I had a leg injury during the year that made many of my goals impossible or inappropriate.  But, I felt sort of locked into them since they were annual goals.

So for 2015, I decided to do quarterly goals recognizing that a year is a long time and stuff happens.  I also reduced my total number of goals.  Even so, I felt I still had too many goals.  I do better if I focus on 1 or 2 things at a time.

And, that leads to 2016.  I set 2 annual goals — improve body composition and live a healthy lifestyle in terms of food and activity.  I then chose 2 actions that I intended to work on to progress on the annual goals – increase the number of calories burned daily and cook more real food at home and eat out less.  I planned to update the actions throughout the year.  But, then I had plastic surgery and that derailed all that.  I think my problem was I had forgotten that annual goals were really not a good idea.

Where does that leave me for 2017?  This year I do remember that annual goals don’t work for me.  I certainly have aspirations of things that I would like to see happen during this year.  But, I also think that goals should be behavior oriented.  That is a true goal to me is a behavioral goal not simply a wished for result.  Trying to set a goal for the whole year is unlikely to be a good behavioral goal.

I think I was on the right track in 2015 when I did quarterly goals.  But, I really think even quarterly is too long a period for me.  And, I think I was right in 2016 to want to focus on a couple of things at a time.  I do better when I do that.

And, that leads to 2017.  Instead of annual goals, I am going to have monthly goals to work on 2 or 3 things.  As I start consistently doing something from a behavioral standpoint I will change the goal.  If it is something that I have now made a routine habit, I will still do the action but remove the goal from the next month.  If it is something that I am making progress on, but want to do with greater intensity I will change the goal (for example, if I had a goal to strength train twice a week and achieved that I might make a new goal to train 3 times a week).

With that my January goals are:

  1.  Cook more food at home and make freezer meals for future use.  A couple of years ago I really started working on reducing my eating of processed foods.  And, I started cooking more at home.  I didn’t do as much as I wanted but I was going in the right direction. But, over this last year with the surgery I got out of the habit of cooking.  And, I went back to eating more frozen foods and eating out a lot.  This year I want to cook more.  I don’t like to have to spend a lot of time cooking when I am hungry right then so making batches of things and freezing them for some meals works well for me.
  2. Rejoin the YMCA and start strength training again.  I was regularly going to the Y before I had surgery.  I worked with a personal trainer on strength training twice a week for almost a year.  And, then, I couldn’t do that type of exercise for months.  I can now do some strength training and need to get back to it.  I dropped my Y membership when I wasn’t able to use it.  I want to rejoin and start going at least a couple of times a week.

I have started out with a little progress on the food part.  On Wednesday, I made my Turkey 3 bean chili and froze several extra batches.  And, then a made chicken/bean/rice burritos and froze those as well.  These make good healthy meals that I can heat up quickly.  I still need to do more, but it is a good start.  I haven’t done the Y yet.  I actually went in to rejoin in late December, but they said they were about to have a special where there would not be a joining fee so I decided to wait to join.  I’ll probably go by there this weekend to rejoin.

[For those who might wonder… No, I am not going to set a weight loss goal for 2017.  While I am at my Weight Watchers goal weight I do actually want to lose a few pounds.  In short, I don’t set weight loss goals because weight loss isn’t a behavior.  I talked about this at length in this post.]

 

2016 in Review

2016 was an interesting year.  From a weight standpoint, on the surface, things were kind of quiet.  At my December 2015 weigh in I weighed 145.4 pounds, which was just under my Weight Watchers goal weight of 146 pounds.  At my last December 2016 weigh in, I weighed 142.8 pounds.  Not much change there. My highest Weight Watchers weigh in was 147.8 pounds just a few days before my tummy tuck/breast lift in July.  My lowest weigh ins were 142.8 pounds in both April and December.

Plastic Surgery

My plastic surgery was really the dominant event of the year.   Losing over 65 pounds has been great.  But, weight loss just exacerbated my loose skin on both my face and body.  I worked with a personal trainer for almost a year and I got stronger.  But, it didn’t do anything to repair my abdominal muscles and loose skin that I had had ever since pregnancy.  Losing weight had helped get rid of fat, but it didn’t get rid of the loose skin.  That was like an elastic band that had been stretched out and that would never return to what it had been before.

I had been thinking about surgery for years, even while I was still losing weight.  As I got smaller, I felt my tummy still looked fat.  I read on blogs and websites (I especially liked Realself) about tummy tucks and thought it might be what I needed to get rid of the loose skin and repair the abdominal muscles.   As I read on Realself, I started to read about people having facial cosmetic surgery.  I hated my turkey neck and my sagging eyelids.  Even when I was much younger, I felt my eyelids drooped.  But, I hadn’t really thought about doing anything surgically.  At some point, I realized that if I did the tummy tuck, I would still hate looking at pictures since my face didn’t really reflect how I felt about myself.  So, I decided to do facial surgery. [Read more…]

Ideal Weight Versus Goal Weight

I was just thinking this morning about the intersection (or not) between ideal weight and goal weight.  And, to be honest, now that I am at a normal BMI, I am struggling with losing weight to get to a more ideal weight where my body fat percentage would be lower. I do think that having a goal weight — whether on Weight Watchers or simply losing to a personal goal — has a benefit.  It gives me something to shoot for.  While I was trying to get to my official goal weight of 126 pounds, I constantly set smaller goals along the way.  In Fitbit, I would set a 5 or 10 pound goal, then meet it and go on.  But, then I got to my goal weight of 146 pounds.

For a number of years now, Weight Watchers has set the official healthy weight range based upon BMI.  146 pounds at 5’4″ is at the top of the BMI “normal” weight range. As a lifetime member, meeting that number means I can attend meetings for free and get free eTools.  There is a tiny bit of wiggle room.  That is, if I am not more than 2 pounds above goal weight, I maintain my free status.

I remember last summer when I got to 146 pounds, I felt this huge feeling of relief.  I was normal weight.  I had left obese the year before, and it feel truly strange to be leaving the category of overweight.  I had been overweight for about 25 years.  Wrapping my head around the idea of being normal took time.  And, even though I know I still have too much body fat, I know that I have accomplished a lot to get where I am.  And, my body fat now is better than it was before.  Getting to a normal BMI was an achievement for me.

At the same time, I realize that the concept of picking a goal weight based upon BMI is, at best, flawed.  By this time, I am sure most of us have heard about BMI’s disadvantages.  And, at best, there are limitations to using BMI in part because it doesn’t measure body fat directly.  The weight lifter or athlete with high amounts of muscle, but low body fat may measure as overweight on BMI without having actual excess fat. Now, that is not the same thing as saying BMI is meaningless.  The reality is that most of us who are overweight by BMI are also over fat.  We aren’t athletes with a lot of muscle and low body fat.  And, if you are, then you know that.  When I was obese and overweight it was because I had too much body fat.

And, then, suddenly (well, after 25 years) I was at a normal BMI and I was at my Weight Watchers goal.  And, all was kittens and puppies and rainbows.  And, yet, having gotten to that goal weight it feels at times like it is its own kind of tyranny.  And, it seems to get in the way of me mentally working on getting to my ideal weight. There are really a couple of issues. [Read more…]

2016 Goals

This is the third year that I’ve set goals during January. In 2014, I set 10 full year goals.  I recognized that it wasn’t that it is hard to focus on a long term goal that is far away.  So, I also set goals for each month that more attainable and that would build up to my annual goals.

By January of last year, I realized the problem with this plan.  A year is a long time.  By mid-year, those 2014 goals were in shambles.  I had a knee problem and had a trabecular bone injury in my leg that made many of my goals impossible or inadvisable.  It didn’t feel good in June to know that I had set a bunch of goals I couldn’t possible meet.

So, for 2015 I decided to set quarterly goals.  I also reduced my total number of goals, knowing that 10 in 2014 had been just too many. That worked reasonably well for 2015 goals, but I ended the year a bit dissatisfied.  I think even 4 goals was too many for me.  I seem to do best if I focus on one or two things at a time.

That leads me to want to do something a little different for 2016. [Read more…]