{on false starts and the shame of admission}

imageI read this article on false starts today. It rang true, and inspired me to renew my domain and write this blog post, which I almost didn’t publish because I didn’t have a good photo of my running shoes. Oh, the irony.

In 2015, I had a weight loss goal associated with my wedding. I carefully planned my weight loss so that I would achieve my goals by June 2016. I joined a gym and got a personal trainer and I enjoyed working out with my personal trainer, until she made a career change. Suddenly, my crutch was gone.

I had to realize that my gym was not healthy for me, or my finances. So I went through the painful and frustrating process of quitting that gym. Lesson learned: always check reviews from the Better Business Bureau before making any large financial decisions and examine the terms of contracts. This was a shameful experience for me, and I neglected my blog and weight loss goals because of that false start. Spending a ton of money had initially given me the feeling of wellness and progress, but it was draining me of joy.

My wedding was moved up to November 2015. I planned to get serious about a diet, but procrastination took over. I was nearly the heaviest I had been because of stress eating and a lack of exercise.

Another false start? I begged my husband for a German Shepherd mix puppy to be my running partner in February. I had to wait until sweet Buffy was old enough to take her on runs and walks, only to find that my exercise partner was more demotivated than I was in the July heat.

She loves children, and drags me to them, only to halt and sit so she can gently receive pats on her head. She’s afraid of sprinklers and bolted in front of me, tripping me. I ate the asphalt. Several times, she stopped completely and refused to budge. I had to carry her (30 lbs at the time) the last block of my run many, many times. She weighs 55 lbs now, and I can’t carry her anymore. She’s a sprinter. I’m trying to be a distance runner. We mostly play fetch now and I chase her around the house. Despite my initial disappointment about walks and runs, she’s still the best dog ever.

I realized that I wasn’t going to run alone in the dark and cold, so I joined my new (old) gym about a month ago. I even signed up for a crazy (free) half-marathon plan on Runkeeper. I’ve skipped many workouts because of Thanksgiving and a bad, hacking cough. But I am going back this week, because I still remember that rush I had sustained through my first full workout at my current gym. It is a completely different atmosphere and I’m happy to be back after four years.

Here’s to getting off to a really good start.

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{on weight loss goals: part one}

I made goals every time I wanted to lose weight. Nearly each time I attempted to lose weight, I failed. It seemed like I started over 365 times every year. I needed do-overs, not because of my willpower, but because the goals that I set were doomed for failure.

First, there was the vague, intangible goal.

I want to look and feel better.

You look pretty fine to me. For some people, looking better is as simple as getting a hair cut. For other people, feeling better could involve gastric bypass surgery and looking better involves several cosmetic procedures. What is it you’re exactly looking for?

I want to lose weight.

That’s cool. How much weight do you want to lose? Do you want to lose 3 pounds or are you terrified of seeing 300 pounds on a scale?

I want to lose 40 pounds.

You’ll gain and lose 40 pounds many times over a lifetime. It’s totally doable for you to to lose 40 pounds, but why do you really want to lose the weight?

I want to lose 40 pounds because I’m getting married and I want to feel comfortable in a wedding dress.

What? You mean you don’t want to be squeezed into Spanx at your wedding, and you like to breathe in air sometimes? Okay, I get it. I don’t want you to pass out at the altar. When is your wedding?

I want to lose 40 pounds by my wedding day in June 2016, because I want to feel comfortable in a wedding dress.

Can I lose 40 pounds a year in 15 months? Yes, losing one half of a pound a week is healthy and manageable.

That is a SMART goal, worthy of all self-improvement writers who sell books about achieving the life of your dreams. It’s specific, because I want to look better by losing weight. It’s measurable, because it’s easy to quantify how much weight I lose. It’s attainable because it is a healthy weight loss goal. It’s relevant because it matters to me. Finally, it’s time-bound, because I have a general idea of my wedding date.

Great, I set a weight-loss goal. Now I need to figure out how to achieve it.

{on joining a gym and other health nut things}

I’ve never had great balance. Don’t get me wrong, I can stand firmly on both feet. But when it comes to anything else in life, I’m a bit wobbly.

This is particularly true when it comes to how I treat my body. I can extol the virtues of eating clean, but I hate kale and quinoa. Mostly because it seems like rabbit food and bird seed.  I would rather eat okra fried in peanut oil and silky cream corn. My favorite holiday is gluttonous Thanksgiving, with all the fixings.

But every day can’t be Thanksgiving. Someday, it has to be January 2nd or March 9th.

Over the past month, I have joined a gym and gotten a personal trainer. So far, after two sessions, I like it. My trainer always explains how each exercise will benefit my muscles, and how it will help me feel more confident. She tells me about the back and shoulder exercises being good for a backless gown. The cables are great for strapless options. We worked on my calves, in case I want to wear a sweet little white dress to City Hall. It’s more than a year away, and I want to keep my options open.

I drink protein shakes twice a day (sometimes). I’ve developed a fondness for the best Rio Star grapefruit from Texas. I can tolerate kale, if I add enough parmesan and olive oil to it. My grocery bill has been reduced, and I’m eating mostly organic produce (when it matters). This week, my goal is to only eat food from someone else’s kitchen twice, and workout five times.

I’ll have to give myself goals and an incentive each week to keep things going. Otherwise, it’s just punishment and who wants that? Not this lady.