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Goal Setting Defined

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about goal setting. Goal setting for health and fitness used to scare me and I would never admit that to myself or anyone else. I generally understood the purpose of fitness goals, but I didn’t use them. I shared a couple of posts back that I never owned a scale. I figured when I got into the right size jeans, I’d know that I reached my goal. I imagine to the few I appeared cool and casual about the process.

But what was really going on was a huge lack of confidence. After all, if I don’t set a goal and I only discuss my weight loss efforts with a few people, how would anyone know if I fail? How would anyone know that I have passed the secret date I set to lose the unreasonable amount of weight? It would be my silent failure. Then I can just start again.

I allowed myself to think this way for far too long. In hindsight, I think keeping things so loose and vague allowed me the room to snack and sleep past my workout time because there was no accountability if I just re-started again in a few days. I never realized that part of the problem was my lack of goal-setting knowledge and structure. I was setting myself up for failure.

Enter S.M.A.R.T goals. Once I learned about S.M.A.R.T goals, I started to feel accountable because I could no longer use the excuse of thinking goals were just ‘someday’ thoughts that sailed around in my head. Now I knew something concrete about setting goals. No excuses now.

Once of the resources I’ve picked up to help me learn about goal setting and to offer encouragement is the program titled PUSH by Chalene Johnson. I’ve read research many fitness experts over the past 20 years.  There are a lot of knowledgable experts out there. However, I seem to best connect with Chalene and her way of thinking. So I picked up the book outlining the PUSH program.

The program is designed to help with goal setting (and keeping). It focuses on a health/fitness goal and a PUSH goal which is any goal other than health/fitness. It’s a lot to review in one blog post but I will tell you I loved the chapter on reverse engineering goals.  Basically, I wrote out my goal and assigned a timeframe (my 50th birthday). Then I worked backwards to plan the steps necessary to reach that goal; all the while keeping the S.M.A.R.T goals definition in front of me.

This simple acronym accompanied with the PUSH program gave me a vision. I could see success because the steps to it were achievable and not overwhelming as just stating that I want to ‘lose a lot of weight.’

I recommend you at least check it Chalene’s PUSH program. In the meantime, please tell me what resources you recommend for goal-setting and goal-achievement. I am a lifelong learner and I am always interested in hearing other ideas.

By the way, I’ve re-lost the weight I gained since this blog started. Small steps are still victories. I will accept each and keep moving toward the next.

Until next week


Foods and Moods

I will start this post saying that as of last week, I gained 1.6 lbs.

I have a suspicion that the added weight came from Sunday, the 16th.  My church celebrated its 160th anniversary.  It was a great day with testimonies and reflections from four former pastors, memories and old friends.  Did I mention the food?  Well there was a lot of food.  United Methodists know how to put together a pot-luck.  This was no exception.

I have realized that food is attached to a lot of things in my life.  Moods. Events. Friends.  I guess I have always known this on some level.  But these past three weeks I’ve been making the effort to really be aware of this connection when I am in the moment.  Recently, I have caught myself and been able to control the subconscious process of mindless eating.  For example, this past Friday I went to a local minor league baseball game.  I ate before I left the house.  I did not purchase food at the game.  It felt like a small victory!  I used to almost automatically purchase junk food at the games.

But back on the 16th, I let my subconscious take over and I got caught up in the socialization and visiting and just filled my plate with things I wanted…not the food my body needed.  These were foods that I think I must associate with feeling happy.  But, looking back, a lot of what I chose would be choices I might make if I am sad.

Regardless, I let my feelings dictate what I ate that day like I have so many times in the past.  It’s like I am in a trance.  Even though I know I am making poor choices, if I am in an environment where most people are eating whatever…I do, too.  It’s like a big green light! This was a slight set-back but I am not focusing on this one day.

A really good friend of mine is following this blog and she’s super supportive. She is on her own health & fitness journey and we have decided to be accountability partners.  When she read my first post, she said she was glad I am on this path but perhaps I am being too hard on myself.

Perhaps she is right. Therefore, I have decided to forgive my behavior on the 16th and move forward.  I choose to see every day as another chance to do the right things.  I am not wasting days fretting over one meal choice that could have been better or one morning I hit the snooze a couple extra times and didn’t leave time to work-out.  And I’ll be back on track next week with another weigh-in.

Speaking weighing in, I just bought this scale a couple years ago.  I am trying to make-nice with it and see it as the valuable tool it is.  Prior to buying the scale, I figured I would just let my jean size determine if I am making progress or not.  But the more I read and study how so many others have been successful with similar journeys, I have noticed a common factor… goal setting.

I feel the best goal to set on a journey such as mine is pounds lost.  It’s easy to track and see progress – two key points in goal setting. How do you know when you arrive at a goal if you don’t know where you started? Additionally, since I am not too far into this, I will be tracking inches lost, too.

Until next week… Thanks for following and God bless J

58 weeks to FABULOUS!

Today is my first weigh-in.  My beginning weight is 174.2 In my last post I mentioned that I should be roughly 70-80 lbs. lighter.  That is an intimidating number.  However, I have given myself until my 50th birthday to lose the weight.  My birthday is October 26th.  I have about 58 weeks to achieve this goal.  If I aim for a loss of 75 lbs., that works out to 1.3 lbs. a week.  That’s manageable, right?  Sure, it is.

My employer offers a reduction in insurance premiums if we agree to have some annual blood work done.  For the past few years, those numbers haven’t been looking great for me.  It’s time to have that blood work done again.  They will provide a sub-goal for me.  Next September, I’ll be able to do a comparison and hopefully they will have returned to the normal range.

My initial first step is to eliminate obvious food offenders.  The first to go….harmful carbs.  I am a firm believer that God provides the variety of foods he does because they are good for us in their unprocessed forms.  So, I am not planning to cut whole grains.  However, I will cut back the amount.  I am a vegetarian and find myself filling up on carbs sometimes.  This decision to cut back harmful carbs provides the opportunity to try new vegetarian recipes.  I’ll share them here on my blog.

I’m also going to take a good look at my eating habits. That is the topic for next week.  Until then, get healthy and take others with you.

Let’s Get Started

It’s time for a change.  I can’t continue doing nothing differently yet expecting things to be different.  I’m talking specifically about my weight and the potential negative health results directly related to it. Here’s a little background about me.

I will be 49 in October.  That means 50 is closing in. I have been wrestling with weight for what seems like forever.   My earliest memories include being teased about being chunky….even by people who loved me. The teasing wasn’t meant to be harmful. It was kind of an on-going thing. The person I spent most of my time with until I was about 13, my cousin, was very thin.  Put us together and I made her look thinner and she made me look heavier.  And growing up in the 70s meant that no one thought you could ever be too thin.  So that meant that I was chunky, I guess.  What did I know? I was a kid.


That’s me, on the right, Mickey’s left.  I was about 14.  This photo is from 1982.  I don’t recognize that girl.  My memories all tell me I was always heavy but that girl isn’t.  I remember that trip to Disney in California.  I remember that day and that photo being taken.  But I don’t remember looking in the mirror and ever seeing what I see now when I look at that photo.  That makes me sad.

I still have a few pair of jeans from high school, just in case pin-striped jeans come back in style.  Yea, yea. I know.  Anyway, I look at them today and they seem so small.  I mean, seriously, these jeans are single-digit-sizes!! Whose jeans are these, again?  Mine? Could I have another distorted memory of myself as a youth?  Ugh.

At some point, I started to live up to the image I had of myself.  I became chunky. Using the word ‘became’ sounds so odd; as if I made a conscious decision to be chunky.  If I was asked to try to pinpoint when that happened, I would say around the time my daughter was born.  I gained 60 pounds when I was pregnant.  That was 27 years ago.  I am carrying that around, plus a little more, right now.  I have yo-yoed up and down throughout the years.  I am at a high-weight point now.

Since that time, I remain one of the chunky ones in my group of friends.   According to several healthy weight resources, I have an average of 70-80 pounds to lose.  That is A LOT of pounds for a 5 foot, 49 year old woman to lose.

Back when I was in my late 20s to early 30s, I started researching topics like food and exercise.  I’ve watched food trends come and go (eat this…not that….no, wait.  Go ahead and eat this.) and I’ve also seen the exercise world go from believing only aerobic exercise was good for women (I started with Jane Fonda in the late 80s) to realizing that weight training doesn’t bulk women up unless they want bulk and tailor a fitness program to meet that goal. I keep asking myself, “If you’re so smart about food and fitness, why are you still fat?”  That is the burning question to be answered.

That is where this blog comes in.  Through this blog, I will record my journey to health and wellness.  My initial goal for this website is two-fold.  First, I want to use it as a tracker for my weight-loss goals and progress.  Also, I want to use it as a venue to share information and recipes I encounter along the way.  Secondly, this written online journal will be a major tool to use when working through the underlying issues that keep me fat.  I know poor eating habits and lack-of-exercise = an unhealthy, overweight person.  However, there is more to being overweight than just food-to-mouth.  I have always believed that to be true.  Now, I am ready to identify, work through, and move past these obstacles.

I’ll be posting weekly on Wednesdays with a weigh-in and a recap of the week prior. Next week I’ll review goal specifics and my starting point.

I am a Christian and I believe that God is an amazing do-over God.  That means that it’s not too late for me to be fit and healthy.  If you are alive, improvement can be achieved.  Will you take this journey with me? Let’s get started!


Being Debbie’s Cousin

I can’t believe it’s been over three years already. Sometimes I forget she’s gone.

Debbie and I were born in the latter half of the 1960s. For most of our childhood we lived next door to each other. She and her family lived with my Grandma in my great grandparents’ home. My family, my mom, brother, and me, rented the downstairs of a two-family home next door. My mom and her mom are sisters.

Debbie and I were super close. We were born about a year apart. I am the older cousin, born in October 1966. She was born in October, 1967. Our births were both a bit unexpected in our families. Maybe that is why we were always in our own world? We had a lot of typical things in common. Barbie dolls. Jumping rope. Writing with chalk on the driveway. Watching Sesame Street.

But for as much as we had in common, there were bigger things we did not share. Debbie was daring. I was not. She was not afraid to do anything or saying anything. Even when, at a young age, she was diagnosed with Diabetes, she didn’t let it slow her down. She was a thin, wispy girl who was full of life. I was full of what if. She did bravely what I did hesitantly.

Here’s an example. Like most kids, I was desperate to learn how to ride a bike. Debbie was always far ahead of me when it came to trying something new like riding a bike. It was taking me longer to reach that goal. What if I fell? What if I got hurt? Most people had given up trying to teach me. Not Deb. She never gave up. We worked together on this for days. Then one warm day, she let go and I didn’t notice. I just kept going. To Debbie, my never learning to ride a bike was not an option. I can still see that huge grin of hers with that slight gap between her two front teeth. “Come on. Try again.”

Living so close to each other really allowed us to be more like sisters than cousins. We always wanted to be together. We fought like sisters and our moms would separate us. Then we’d be sad until we could play together again. The summers in the 70s were the best. We didn’t have video games and didn’t stay indoors watching television during the day. Everything we did was outside. I remember running through our two yards with our older siblings having water fights. Our moms were always worried we’d get in the way of the older kids and get hurt. That never happened. Well, I did step on a bee once. That hurt.

Things started to change in 1979 when my mom died. I moved from one side of the city to the other. We spent as many weekends together as we could. But that never replaced having her right next door. Our relationship began to change. We saw each other fewer weekends. We attended different schools. We developed other friendships. We didn’t care less for each other. But we were in circumstances out of our control.

Our lives were changing even more as we entered into young adulthood. Debbie married at 19. Her marriage was sometimes physically and always verbally abusive. It was on again-off again for the rest of her life. During those years my life was changing too. My daughter was born in 1988. As we moved forward in our different directions, sometimes years would pass and we would lose touch with each other. But then, one day, one of us would reach out. And it always felt like no time had passed at all. We’d reunite to catch up on what we’ve been missing in the other’s life.

Debbie’s Diabetes, coupled with many bad decisions she had made, began to wear down her body in her 30s. She had open heart surgery twice before she was in her early 40s. Yet, she continued to smoke cigarettes. The disease took the sight of one of her eyes. She struggled terribly with circulation issues. The issues with her husband’s verbal abuse wore her down emotionally and mentally. She was the first truly hopeless person I had ever known. I tried to combat the hopelessness with telling her about God. I wanted her to know how much He loved her and that she wasn’t alone. We prayed together. I suggested scripture that would comfort her when she was alone. She never felt worthy. Then something else happened. Her mother died. Debbie was crushed.

I thought things might be headed in a better direction when she was accepted as a dialysis candidate for her kidneys that were also failing. Originally she was denied because her heart was weak. I was so hopeful when the doctors decided to move forward with dialysis.

Three years ago, the final blow hit. She was just released, again, from a hospital stay and was recovering at her friend’s house. She complained to the hospital that the arm they put the new port in for her dialysis didn’t feel right. Her fingers were really cold. This was on Friday. They promised to look at it Monday. But the clot wasn’t waiting until then. Early Saturday morning she dropped to the floor in her friend’s kitchen and died on the way to the hospital. She was only 44 years old.

When I look back through the years I notice a subtle shift that started almost 20 years ago. Debbie started to feel weak and scared. I was the one feeling stronger. And in the end, it was me that had the role of encourager.

Few days pass now that I don’t think of my cousin, my friend, Debbie. I miss her terribly. I am confident that she is in Heaven with the other many loved ones my family has lost. When I get to Heaven, I will find her. And I will tell her what a wonderful blessing it was to be Debbie’s cousin.

Getting back on track

My 500 Words – Day 1

Like many of the posts I have read from other My 500 Words authors, I joined this group to get my writing back on schedule. That sounds so easy.

I am in my 40s and recently (December 2013) graduated from college with my Bachelor’s Degree in Communication. As I worked through my many writing assignments I wrote a lot of research papers that were eventually referred to as essays. There was something special about that word essay. I learned something about myself while writing them. I love writing them! I love researching the topic. I love piecing together the essay and finding just the right hooks to connect one concept to the next. In the beginning the process might feel daunting but once the rhythm starts, the words form quicker in my head than I can get them out of my head and onto the paper. The essay takes shape.

So if I love writing essays and I can write about what I want to now rather than another professor-assigned topic, why am I not writing every day? Well, I have let so many things from my overflowing schedule push writing to the bottom of my to-do list. And every single day that eats away at me.

I have finally come to terms with the fact that I have said yes to so many tasks and overloaded myself to the point that my passion, the passion I know comes from God, is not a priority. It’s not a priority in my professional or personal life. It needs to be. It must be. I need to make some necessary changes in 2015 that will be difficult but they are critical to this new phase of my life. I have been working toward this for so many years. I can’t allow another year to go by while I say “someday” because we all know “someday” never comes. Just sitting down to type this first post makes me feel alive. It reminds me that I am a writer. It’s time to say that out loud and be a writer and not just think about being a writer.

I have a daughter in her mid-20s. I am trying to encourage her to follow what makes her happy. But how can I do that if I am spending my life working to make other people’s dreams come to pass while not pursuing my own? That just doesn’t make sense to me. I have a three-year old grandson, too. Just the other day when he said, “I can’t” I told him he could do anything he sets his mind to. And then I thought, so can his Nana. This is who I am. I am a writer. I am a blogger. I am studying Business-to-Business copywriting and will soon add B2B content creator to that list.

Fellow My 500 Words authors, I welcome you to my journey. I am very excited to be at the beginning of what I know will be a life-altering adventure. I am excited to a part of your journeys, too. We are all in this together so let’s start 2015 off right! Let’s get writing!!

Hobby Lobby ruling – who’s your God?

Commentary from John Kerezy

Imagine a company that has raised the wages it pays to its employee every year for the past few years, and where full-time employees receive a minimum of $14 per hour, or 93 percent HIGHER than the national minimum wage.

Perhaps the media and the Obama Administration would praise this company for its employee-friendly salaries and policies.  Add in this: the web site gave the company 4 stars out of 5 in employee satisfaction; additionally, the company MANDATES one day off a week for all its workers.  The mainstream media should be rushing to hold up this company as a model.

The company?

Hobby Lobby.

THAT Hobby Lobby.

hobby lobbyInstead, many news reports and social media memes are castigating Hobby Lobby, which began when founder David Green borrowed $600 and began making miniature picture frames in his garage in 1970.  Media reaction over Monday’s 5-4 Burwell v. Hobby LobbyU.S…

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