It has been so very cold lately. I think I read the last week has been the coldest on record since they started recording in 1897! The cold has had a tremendous effect on how this year has begun for me, especially in the fitness arena. Join me as I recap the first week of 2018 overall, and cast some vision for where I’d like to see my physical wellness go this year and my approach to pursuing that vision.
This past week taught me a lot about intentions vs resolutions, as I wrote about in my last post- the difference between thinking things have to happen or be accomplished in a certain order or a certain way. When we set a New Year’s resolution, say, I’m going to burn 800 calories a day through exercise and only eat healthy food 24/7, it’s easy to feel we’ve failed if we mess up, and just give up and toss our plan out the window. But what if, instead, we set an intention? For instance, an intention to be active and eat in a way that fuels my body to be and live most fully. That leaves a lot more room for real life, doesn’t it? It was too cold for me to walk last week, and I wasn’t going to cycle, because I was not ready for that in my ramp up plan -and even if I were, the garage was beyond too cold and our space heater is not that efficient. So instead of being glued to a certain level of activity and the schedule I thought was best to accomplish it, , I focused on being consistent with what I was able to do, and listening to my body and being flexible about when to work out. I also tried not to obsess about the data of every morsel of food going into my mouth, and instead evaluate its value and potential effect on how I would feel, physically and emotionally.
Here are some changes I observed myself making this week to how I intended things to go:
- I didn’t get to walk at all, due to the single digit temperatures at the time I would walk normally, and it only getting into the twenties at the highest later
- I don’t think we did our morning routine in order once all week, but school happened every day, so did my workouts, and all my housework and self care.
- I adjusted my planned food intake to better suit a more laid back approach to food. More on this to come!
- If Scott had brought home donuts for breakfast yesterday I would have eaten one-or at least a half. One donut is not going to rob me of any progress, and life is for living!
So, what are my fitness/weight loss/wellness goals for 2018 and how am I going to pursue them? What’s the plan?
Well, I shared my intentions above, regarding general attitude toward food and exercise, but yes, there are also goals and plans, and even they reflect a mindset that is awakening to a new day. I hope for and expect much less defeat and frustration as I close out a season and start a new one.
I intend to finish the weight loss season this year. Not because I think I need to be some certain weight or size to be beautiful, valuable, etc. I used to feel that way, but at this point it’s about finishing what I started and being healthy. Truthfully, I have a weight “goal”, but I’m not tied to it. I’m using it as a guidepost, because the actual things I’m trying to achieve aren’t easily measured and data motivates me. (Side note: I don’t know why I feel like I need to justify this, but I do. I have friends who have totally walked away from trying to lose weight because of the damage that the focus on that does to them, and maybe I’m allowing that to make me feel guilty because it matters to me, but y’all, I don’t need to feel bad, because this is my journey and there is no shame in this pursuit.) So, while my real goals are increasing my energy, improved performance when working out, reducing body fat, balancing my hormones, feeling good in my jeans, and treating my mental health, I am going to weigh myself along the way.
If you’ve followed me any length of time, you might know that last year I walked away from the scale. Well, that did not serve my goals well. I had s really hard year and barely worked out the first half of the year on any consistent basis, and food probably wasn’t great either. When I was thinking back on other seasons of success in changing my body composition realized that my use of the scale was part of them. As a matter of fact, since Declan was born, the only time I did lose any weight was the couple weeks when I was weighing myself a few times a week. I decided that I need to start doing that again, but with an attitude of observation of what’s happening rather than judgement of what isn’t. Also, maybe keeping that major “goal weight” in mind isn’t the best focus-it never really has been for me. Previously, I’ve set size loss goals, and that worked great. But right now, I don’t have 5+ pant sizes to lose. I have one, maybe 1.5. So, enter small milestone goals. At the beginning of each month, I’m going to calculate 4% of my body weight and shoot to lose that. It’s a manageable amount, and therefore theoretically achievable.but if I don’t reach that goal, it’s okay, because I won’t be “behind”, I’ll just calculate the next month’s goal from where I end. If my goal were, say, to be at goal weight in 3 mos by losing 8 lbs a month, and I only lost 2lbs this month, I’d need to make up that ground to stay on track, and that could be defeating. Instead, my goal resets each month-and here’s the best part! My “goal weight” isn’t set in stone. I learned this in 2013/2014 when my goal
was 150 lbs *or*. Size 8. Well, I got to size 8 and still weighed like 175. I shifted my focus at that point to performance, but kept adjusting my calories and ended up at a size 4 and 150 when I got pregnant with Declan. But over the past 3 years I have gotten down to as small as a six, but still weighing between 171-180 at different times. I have gotten almost comfortable in my fours at times in the past year, but weighed in the mid 170’s at the least, so, yeah, who knows about that. Haha! Based on that, my goal is 150 or comfortable and confident in my fours. I have been sooooo close so I know the size goal is attainable, with the right attitude and focus. Once I’ve reached that goal, I’ll do like I did before, and follow my body’s lead as far as adjusting Food and focusing on performance.
This includes a less obsessive and stressful way of measuring calories. I have wrestled with whether I even need to track calories, but I do-because it’s way easy for me to under eat on heavy workout days. I’ve gone with Jillian’s rule not to have a greater deficit than 1000 calories overall, but had trouble calculating that number consistently at times. I’ll skip all the reasons for that and just share my solution. I set my MyFitnessPal app to maintenance and I will now be able to see when I have 1000 calories left. So now instead of wondering how many workout calories to eat back or doing math, I can just look and know what I have left. On non workout days, I just will try to make sure I stay around 1200. I’m hoping to start seeing a payoff from all this within a few weeks.
Note: I’m still trying to eat about 150g protein a day for my muscles.
Workouts. This has shifted a bit, from my “yoga is life” pronouncement a few months ago, partly because of the weather giving me a wake up call, and partly because Jillian has literally laid down The Gauntlet-a year long program that encompasses many fitness modalities and I am here for it. It’s less than 30 min a day, and I’m just gonna do it. It won’t be overtraining if I ramp my efforts up slowly and intentionally and I’m just so excited. I love challenging my body from different angles and I want to improve my overall fitness, not just one or two areas. I’m also going to be working on pull ups, something I’ve never been able to do. I have a 6-8 month plan for that.
So, here’s the ramp up plan to get me back on track post holiday season:
Monday: walk (weather permitting) 4 mi
Yoga-about 30 min
Tuesday: cycle (20m, then 30, then 45, then 60, over 6-8 wks)
Walk rest of allotted hour -weather permitting
Yoga (45-60 min)
Wednesday: walk 4mi (weather permitting)
Thursday: cycle (20m, then 30, then 45, then 60, over 6-8 wks)
Walk rest of allotted hour -weather permitting
Friday: walk (weather permitting) 4 mi
Yoga (45-60 m)
Saturday: cycle 20-30 min
Scott and I will work on pull ups 2-3x a week, and I’ll also be working on pushups on Monday and Thursday.
I’m really looking at January as a building month, with low expectations (but still hope!) for big external changes. My hormones are clearly not happy, as evidenced by my period being two weeks late, and I ate terribly for five weeks and did not combat the negative effects with much exercise, so I’ve got a lot of pushing a boulder up the mountain going on at the moment. Hopefully you can tell though, I’m coming at this not just with determination but with purpose and a new mindset.
Health and fitness Goals for 2018:
- Finish what I started re: weight/size loss
- Be able to do 3 sets of 20 pull ups
- Increase my energy throughout the day
- Continue balancing my hormones and see my cycle normalize
- Feel free and confident to pursue yoga training
Intentions that will guide me:
- Strive to be active daily and challenge my body to improve even as I observe its current limitations and celebrate every victory
- Eat to fuel, to live, to enjoy, and be mindful of the effect of what I put in my body.
- Match the intensity of my effort with rest and self care (more on this to come, soon!)
I’m so excited about awakening potential and freedom and joy again on this journey toward being my best and strongest self, and sharing it with you!