Weighty Matters

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Realistic Goals

on August 1, 2012

Now that I’ve lost 100 pounds, I think I’m about half way there, give or take a couple of pounds.  I do not expect to lose as rapidly as I did in the first six months.  Instead, I’m trying to set realistic goals.  It’s hard.  My heart dreams of hitting goal weight by the one year anniversary of my surgery.

My head says, “You’re not even sure what you want to set as a goal weight.   Don’t forget that you were on a liquid diet for a month after the operation and that knocked off a big chunk of pounds right at the start.”

My emotions sometimes side with my heart, telling me, “Sure.  You can keep averaging 12 to 15 pounds a month.  Get on that scale every morning and remind yourself how much you want this.  Go! Go! Go!”

When the emotions support the head, I hear, “Do not torture yourself.  When you set yourself up with unrealistic goals and don’t meet them, you feel bad.  Maintain your objectivity.”

After batting around these different thoughts like psychological ping pong for awhile, I decided to cut through my own b.s. and decide what is a smart goal.  That’s smart as in Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic and Time-bound.  (Note:  I put in realistic instead of relevant because for me, losing weight is always relevant, but for these goals I need realistic.)

I think I can reasonably expect to lose another 50 pounds by the end of this year.  That’s specific — 50 pounds.  With a good scale it’s measurable.  I believe that I can lose weight at this rate which makes it both attainable and realistic.  The end of the year is a time designation.  Okay, I’m not exactly time-bound to it.  If I’ve lost “only” 48 pounds by December 31st or it takes me until January 8th to lose 50, I’m not going to wail and gnash teeth that I failed to make my goal.

There are other goals within this overall one that I’ve set.  Some of those are more emotional as in, “No torturing myself.  No obsessing over the number on the scale every day.  No beating myself up if I really, really need a treat on occasion.”   Other goals have to do with my physical exercise.  I’ve done great the last few weeks.  I need to build on what I’ve been doing and maintain consistency.  I won’t always be able to do Zumba twice a week, but I will go twice on the weeks that I can.  The bottom line is cardio exercise four times a week.  My Tai Chi is good for  leg strength, balance, and stretching, so in coming weeks I want to add some additional strength training, focusing on my arms.  I haven’t quite figured that out yet, but I will.

All of this planning can be a little dizzying and it’s really important that I don’t overwhelm my own brain.  Long term goals are important as I look ahead on this journey, but I can’t lose sight of the fact that I still have to get there one day at a time.

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3 responses to “Realistic Goals

  1. Hope says:

    You can do it!

  2. Skye says:

    I can understand the desire to have great, big, shiny goals. But I think you are being very smart to set a calmer, more realistic goal, reining in your enthusiasm. You’ve been smart throughout all of this and I think you will continue to be. You’re doing so great!

  3. pinkpelican says:

    I’ve lost track of what my weight was at the time of my surgery. I know my high was 381 sometime in March or April 2011, and I may have been down as low as 350 by July when I had my surgery.

    A week ago Monday I went in for my 1-year follow up, & I was at 206.5. So let’s say from surgery July 2011 to one year follow up I had dropped somewhere between 140 & 150 pounds.

    I’m 5′ 7″, which may be a bit taller than you, and that might make a difference. Overall, I would say another 50 pounds should be a reasonable goal for you, if *my* experience is any kind of indicator.

    I haven’t had a lot of stalls or plateaus. My weight loss has generally dropped to about a pound a week on average over the last couple of months.

    My goal is to exercise at least 4 times a week, more if I can swing it. My exercise consists of a mix of swimming laps (anywhere from half a mile to 3/4 of a mile in 35 – 50 minutes), of walking at a brisk pace (usually 3 – 4 miles/hour, & usually anywhere from 2.5 – 4 miles per session, which usually takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour), of kayaking (we usually stay out for at least an hour at a time, often two or more hours). Occasionally, if something pops up that makes those options unworkable, I’ll go to the gym & maybe do the elliptical or the stationary bike or the stair stepper, or a combination of those.

    My husband & I are starting to work in strength training (primarily bodyweight exercises like push ups, etc.), in addition to the cardio.

    I started tracking my food & exercise, which I’ve found to be helpful. I’m able to eat more at this point per setting, and “want” versus “hungry” is creeping around again, so I have to be fairly vigilant about that. I still can’t eat normal portions, and eating slowly helps a lot, but sometimes things taste so good that I am tempted to take “just one more bite” …

    Still working on making good food choices and not bringing poor choices into the house. For the most part, the work we did early on head-wise has been invaluable. Even though I still have “want” vs “hungry” moments, I’m still focusing on “what is a GOOD thing to choose”. And with the tracking program, I can make better choices. On days when I know I’m not going to get a good solid exercise session in, I focus on trying to stay very close to the 1200 calorie limit & avoid “treats”. It’s much easier, because I give myself permission to have a “treat” on the day I go swimming or kayaking or walk a few miles. I know that I’ll work off the treat calories, and so long as I get in the requisite protein & good nutrients, I’ll be fine.

    So, based on my experience (& yours will be different of course, because we are different people, but still, we have enough similarities that I think it’s reasonable to extrapolate), I think your goals are quite reasonable and doable.

    Best of luck!

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