Fitness Goal Results

Last week I set myself a fitness goal to run 25 miles this week, a goal which I wasn’t sure if I could meet or not as it would involve significant effort on my part. How’d I do?

Saturday: 5.4 miles
Sunday: 5.4 miles
Monday: 0
Tuesday: 5.4 miles
Wednesday: 6.1 miles
Thursday: 0
Friday: 5.4 miles

Total: 27.7 miles. Success!

Next up: I’m not sure yet what my next goal will be for the coming week. I’m considering a couple of things, one is to get my bike out and go for some bike rides, as it is getting warm enough now that I won’t freeze my ears off in the cold breeze. Since I haven’t ridden since last Fall, I’m not sure what would be a reasonable goal, considering I’ll likely have some significant saddle soreness after my first ride.

All in all, though, I think setting a 25-mile goal this week was effective in getting my focus onto something I have some control over and away from numbers on the scale which don’t seem to be as much under my control as they once were.

In other news, I looked up some of my weight-management records from when I was at a weight I liked better, and found that I was consuming the same amount of calories, and exercising at the same level as I currently am, despite a notable difference in the number on the scale (about 25 pounds). I had some blood drawn yesterday to see if there may be a thyroid issue I need to consider, as I have several other symptoms of hypothyroidism that have increased significantly lately. I’m not hanging my hat on the hope, but it’s something to check, if only to rule it out. It’s probably just the effects of aging, but if there’s something else going on it would be nice to know.


Fitness Goals

A comment from Trystan on my previous post about the state of my body got me to thinking (cheers!). She said, “…how about set exercise goals instead of weight goals? Miles run/biked or speed, weight lifted or reps, precise yoga poses achieved, etc. Focus on what your body can do & how you feel.”

I mulled that over for several days because it’s a really great idea. And I also took a good hard look at the kind of fitness “goals” I’ve always set for myself in the past and realized that I’ve been way too lazy. See, what I’ve always done in the past is set goals that I knew were easily achievable without too much extra effort on my part. Goals I knew I could meet so I wouldn’t have to face failing at them. Goals like, “Run 3 times this week.” I can do that without any extra effort – that’s what I DO on a normal week. Setting that as a goal wasn’t pushing anything forward, it was just stating my regular level as if it were something special I would do when really it wasn’t. But I always achieved my goals!

But that’s not the point of goals, is it? To set an arbitrary point that you know you can achieve. That’s just…planning. A goal should be something that’s a stretch, something that you don’t know you can achieve until you’ve done it. Something that takes more than your normal, everyday level of effort.

I hadn’t been setting goals.

So this week, starting Saturday, my goal is to run 25 miles. This will take an extra-ordinary effort on my part. I honestly don’t know if I will be able to achieve this goal this week. I started out strong on Saturday and Sunday by running 5.4 miles each day. But then yesterday I was wiped out all day by a migraine, so no running. I planned to run today but it’s raining cats and dogs. That leaves me with 3 days to do almost 15 miles. I’ll have to run 5 miles each of those days. Now THAT is a challenge. It’s a goal that, for the first time since I started my weight management goal, I don’t know if I’ll be able to succeed with.

If I fail at this it will be a new feeling for me. My hope is that setting a truly challenging goal will be a new and interesting way to push myself out of my comfort zone. It’s new territory for me – having a goal I’m not sure I can meet.

Maybe I’ll be out running in the rain later today.

I’ll let you know if I make it to 25 miles this week. Next week – new goal.

Another interesting article

Doctors Attack Pervasive Obesity Myths

Allow me to quote:

Myth 3: Gradually losing weight is better than quickly losing pounds because quick weight losses are more likely to be regained. This myth, likely dating back to the 1960s, has no biological basis, the researchers said. In fact, studies reveal that people who lose more weight rapidly are more likely keep off the pounds even several years later.”

Truth. That’s science.

I point this out because I am SO TIRED of hearing people with no science background whatsoever tell me that you have to lose weight slowly if you want to keep it off. This is not true in my experience, and apparently also not true based on scientific research.

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Jury Duty really knocked my program out of whack, as when I got home every evening I was completely and utterly wiped out. The emotional toll that sitting jury for a murder trail would take was a complete surprise to me. Now that the case is over, I’ve got a few spare cycles in my brain, and the conclusions I’m coming too aren’t the best thoughts to be having for motivation.

As I told you, I started off January with a bang, tracking my food, dieting hard, exercising as much as I could possibly fit into my schedule. What I found was that I dropped about 7.5 pounds in the first two weeks, and thereafter I was up 2 pounds no matter what  I did. It seemed that the stricter I was with my diet (I was averaging 950-1000 calories net per day) I was not going to drop down below the 5.5 pound loss I’d seen. I wandered around up above that number for several weeks, despite stricter and stricter regimens, but no luck.

What it seems I’m learning is that there is nothing I can do to lose any more weight. And the difference between denying myself and feeling hungry all the time, vs being lax and enjoying food and free time is: about 3 pounds.

09 Feb 2013

09 Feb 2013

It’s hard to stay motivated with this kind of feedback. Also, I look fine – here is a picture my husband took this weekend. It’s hard for me to kill myself with strictness and discipline when I feel like it’s not getting me anywhere and where I am now is just fine.  I may have to re-evaluate just how necessary it is for me to even bother.

I don’t really know that I have a point here. I guess I’m just extremely dispirited and wondering if what I’m finding is a valid realization: could I just settle and be fine with my body without being strict with it one day? Recognizing that I’m never going to be a size 10 or even 12 ever again?

Maybe I’m deluded. My BMI says I’m overweight – significantly, even. Yet I’m not sure how much more I could do to change that. I’ve already seen that all the effort in the world doesn’t seem to make a difference. Have I reached the mythical (and possible fallacious) “set point”? I’m not even sure I believe in it, but it seems to believe in me. Or maybe what I’m seeing is the culmination of 10 years of harsh dieting regimens. Maybe what I’m seeing is my body demonstrating “Diet Fatigue” and just saying Enough is Enough. I just don’t know but it’s something I’ve noticed over the last several years – severely diminishing returns upon every attempt to lose. I’m not sure if I have a path forward, or if I even need one.

Interesting reading on weight loss myths

I’m still stuck in court all day so far this week, but I found this article interesting and relevant:

What you thought you knew about obesity is wrong

Most of the points made in this article are things I’ve discovered myself on my weight management journey over the last 1o years as well. Worth a read (but feel free to skip the first paragraph, as it’s just a discussion of ongoing media obsession with public figures who may or may not have weight issues…not really very useful or relevant).

A new rhythm

As expected, being on a jury for a trial has completely overturned the normal rhythm to my days, but now that I’ve sort of gotten it figured out it’s not as bad as I had feared it might be for my weight management efforts.

My exercise routine is completely shot, but my diet/food efforts are being aided by being stuck in a courtroom for most of the day where eating is not allowed. I find that I’m so absorbed by what’s going on with the trial that I don’t really notice being hungry, so during our breaks I don’t feel the urge to eat very much. Our lunch break is an hour and a half, during which time I could, theoretically get into a lot of trouble if I were restaurant eating, but the jury assembly room has a small fridge and microwave so I’m able to continue my normal lunch habit of bringing my own portion-controlled meal and heating it. Thursday I spent the rest of my overly-long lunch break taking a walk around Lake Merritt, which is something I can see myself doing every day I’m there. It’s not enough exercise, but it’s better than nothing.

And to address the rest of the exercise deficit, this weekend, both days, I pushed myself to take longer runs than I normally do. Yesterday was 5 miles, and today was 5.4 miles. It doesn’t completely make up for not getting more regular exercise during the week, but in combination with the lunch time walks it goes a long way.

Those are my adjustments so far. The estimate we were given for the trial during jury selection was that it would wrap up the week of Feb. 11th, so I only have to make it through this full week and then next week we should be done early in the week and I can resume my usual routine.