Jump Into January with SMART Goals!

So here we go again... a New Year is upon us and many of us scramble around trying to imagine our lives in perfect order and everything is in cosmic alignment. Hate to burst your bubble, but no one's life is ever going to be perfect... let's settle for great! :)

I don't like New Year resolutions - I think they're a set-up for failure because they're often so broad there is no way (or a very slim margin that) they can be accomplished. And the failure of living up to our good intentions often is downright depressing which - for some - can lead to a downward spiral.  Who needs THAT?! I certainly don't and doubt you do either.

So let's do this for the New Year:  Let's set Smart GOALS! 

A Smart Goal is a Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Restricted Goal.  If I were to set a goal of being able to run a full marathon on April 19th (Boston Marathon Day), that wouldn't work because it is Specific and Measurable but it is NOT Attainable or Realistic for me... being that I don't currently run at all!   What would be a Smart Goal is to run a 5k by April 19th and to set my sights on that attainable, realistic and time related goal.

I rejoined the YMCA on Monday evening.  It felt darn good to walk in that door again, plunk down my hard earned cash and have a goal in mind and be doing something about achieving that.  When I went home, I finally took the time to scan through my "On Demand" section of my cable stations and found that Gaiam TV is free for me with my subscription and has a huge array of yoga, aerobic, pilates, kick boxing (by Jillian Michaels!), and more classes/routines. I'll be using those as well.

My goals for January are:

  1. Get to the YMCA every Saturday, Monday, Wednesday.
  2. Work out at home every Thursday, Sunday.
  3. Walk 2 miles daily (I have my dog, Ruari, to walk, anyway, so this is fairly easy for me to check off).
  4. Eat no more than 1200-1300 calories daily and lean toward whole foods wherever possible.

Join me in January to get a jump on great goals for 2015 and join #hlgJumpInJan challenge on Twitter!  Remember that is really important and effective to WRITE OUT your goals on paper.  It helps, believe me! 

Happy New Year and happy, healthy 2015, friends!

Dream. Believe. Achieve!
HealthyLoserGal / Jan 

Holy Inactivity, Batman! Awesome August Challenge

Here's the 'down and dirty':  I've been slacking, inactive, snacking, not journaling and have gained weight.  I was at my doctor's on Wednesday for a follow-up visit and I have an annual physical scheduled in December.  "When I see you in December", he said to me with a side-glance, "you'll be 15 pounds lighter and will have gotten back on track." Then he made a notation on his iPad.  I wrinkled my nose and both loved him and hated him in that moment.  He wasn't going to let me get by with the gradual weight gain.  He also wasn't going to lecture me.  "Only 15?" I said to him with a laugh, "I probably should lose all 30, don't you think?"  "I was being generous", he replied with a smile as we stood to leave the exam room.  He put his hand on my shoulder and looked me square in the face, "You know how to do it, Jan. Get going."  

And get going, I shall, and ask for you to join me and support me as I will support you in our mutual journeys to health.  Deal? : )

The Awesome August challenge is simple in scope:  

1. Do some soul searching and come up with a reasonable goal.
I always set my weightloss goals at 5 lb. increments and then reward myself with something non-food related for every 5 pounds lost. I have a dream board that helps me focus on my fitness and physical goals. 

2. Write your goal down in a book you will use as a journal for the month.  Use a standard black and white composition pad from the school supply aisle at any chain store. It is important, though, to WRITE it, not type it.  The act of pen to paper is proven to increase the likelihood of achieving your goals and keeping you on track.

3. Track everything that goes into your mouth.  
My goal will be 1250 calories daily with a low-fat diet but you can decide for yourself what is best for you.  Don't go below 1200 while exercising, though, it just isn't healthy. I tend to eat a big breakfast with protein, a morning and afternoon low-fat snack, and then a regular lunch (500 cals usually) and a lighter dinner. I stop eating anything and everything by 8pm.  Write down your food in your journal and how you feel about your day at the end of each day. 

4. Exercise daily for at least 45 minutes to an hour.  No less.
I love to walk so walking for me can easily burn up that hour.  But if you think you're pressed for time and wonder where you can fit in 45 minutes, break up your activity into three fifteen minute bursts of intense activity.  Power walk for 15 minutes then, later in the day, do some sort of stretching and weight routine. Whatever works for you to consistently DAILY get in your exercise is what you should be doing! 

5. Celebrate YOU!  Don't let those negative voices in your head drown out the good voices.  You are a unique person blessed with all sorts of wonderful attributes. You can do things well that others struggle to do.  You have a beautiful spirit.  Celebrate YOU in August and remind yourself when you're feeling down that YOU ARE AWESOME!  If you don't believe it, ask me to remind you! ; )
I'll be posting on Twitter during the month with the #hlgAWESOMEAug hashtag. Please join me for a great month of encouraging one another in our goals and getting serious about losing some weight and getting healthy and fit.

Here's to our health!
Jan / HealthyLoserGal 

Dream. Believe. Achieve!

Cherish Your Dreams...

I was happily down 1.5 lbs. this morning when I stepped on the scale. I am sure it was a lot of show shoveling and the Walk Away The Pounds DVDs I've been using.  Oh, and cutting out the junk I ate over the holidays and replacing it with healthy food!  That *may have* had something to do with the loss!  I hope all the challengers for January Jump In are feeling positive and have your goals written down.  Let me know in the Comments or on Twitter if you need some encouragement. :)

I found the quote below today and think it is perfect for those of us with Vision Boards and goals written to help us achieve our goals!

Here's to a great week for us! :)

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve!

Jan / HealthyLoserGal 

January Jump In Challenge! Let's Set GOALS!

If there has been one thing I have learned in the last four years since starting my weight loss and fitness journey it is this:  you have to set GOALS for your own success.  And you have to WRITE THEM DOWN! If you don't write them down in a journal or make a dream board, you may as well be wishing.  And we can all wish, but wishing doesn't make the pounds come off or your BMI go down.  Just sayin'...

So as I'm beginning the New Year, I'm not out wining and dining today, I'm home blogging and journaling because I KNOW that if I just think about the goals I want, nothing will happen.  I have to have them there before me - confronting and challenging me - every single day.

And then you have to TAKE ACTION.  I can write out terrific goals, inspiring goals, needed goals for myself and my health, but if I'm going to sit on the couch on my butt and do nothing, nothing is going to come back to me.  In order to achieve your dreams and your goals, you have to take action.

So here comes the January Jump In (#hlgJumpIn) actions that I am taking.  It falls into four easy criteria that you can modify however you want to best fit your health level if you'd like to join the challenge for this month:

  1. Hydrate.  I plan to drink 1/2 my body weight every day in water.  If you don't like plain water, you can drink unsweetened tea or water with lemon or lime.  Whatever will get you to stay hydrated without carbonation or sugar works.
  2. Plan and track.  Planning my food has always been difficult for me for whatever reason.  To alleviate "falling off the planning wagon" I make the first month's food fairly similar.  I eat a lot of chicken and salmon, salad greens and veggies (both raw and cooked into meals), fruit, low fat yogurt and simple grains. I try to stay away from cheese and cut down on mayo, sauces. And then as soon as I have eaten something, I track it.  There are so many great apps available as well as websites that allow you to track (and plan) your foods but I usually use an old favorite, FitDay.com. Free and easy to use and has a vast food list for nutrition and calorie counting.  My calorie allotment daily is between 1250 to 1400 calories. 
  3. Move, move, move.  I will be walking a total of 15-20 miles a week. This works for me but you can move in any way you know will work for you and that you can stick with.  In the dead of winter you're not going to find me walking outside except with my lab on those "doggie necessary" walks. : )  But, I walk on the treadmill at the YMCA or Cambridge Athletic Club and have Walk Away the Pound DVDs to walk to in the privacy of my own home.  I will be firming up my sagging arms with the help of a kettle bell and stand alone weights.  I use a balance wheel, a stability ball and Lisa Johnson's Pilates' DVD in my own home, too.  There really is no excuse to not get some activity in daily with the online and at home sources we have available to us! 
  4. Be accountable to others.  Tell everyone you know that you're changing your lifestyle and taking time for yourself.  And I do mean everyone! Friends, co-workers, social media buddies. If your friends give you a hard time about getting healthy, you might ask yourself how good of friends they are to not support you in your goals. And if you just had the thought "what if I tell my friends and then fail", all I can tell you is GET THAT THOUGHT OUT OF YOUR HEAD.  You need to remain positive and upbeat no matter how hard it may feel.  You're telling everyone so they'll support you and - if necessary - you can prove it to them and to YOU that you are going to SUCCEED!  There is no other game plan here except to plan on succeeding.
So are we ready to tackle our fitness and weight loss and JUMP IN to the new year with positive action? Let me know if you want to join me by leaving a comment here or on Twitter or Facebook! 

I am ready to make big changes starting today and by my telling you am expecting you to hold me accountable, too!

Here's to our success!

Dream big dreams and write them down.  Believe in yourself and accept only success as an outcome. Achieve your best life knowing that you worked hard and have learned you CAN achieve goals you work hard for!

Jan / HealthyLoserGal

A New Year, A Clean Slate...

If you've read the blog over the years (phew! "over the years"!! I've been working on my health for YEARS now - yay, me!!) you know that I'm not big on New Year's resolutions. I am, however, big on new starts and I believe the 1st day of a new year offers just that:  a time to start anew.  And so, on January 1, 2014 I rededicate myself to.... well... myself! : )

The year of 2013 was not my best.  It may have been my worst in my 50+ years.  First and foremost, my Mom died and while it was expected, it still has been very hard emotionally.  I had one minor and one major eye surgery.  I moved and had to pack the house and all my belongings on my own, and even though the movers pulled away on the 7th of November, I am still in the process of unpacking. I had severe poison ivy spread across my face and down my neck. I am in the process of cleaning out my Mom's home and dealing with all her estate issues which included her oil tank spilling 100 gallons of fuel onto her basement floor, damaging everything in the basement and causing an environmental disaster that included Haz-Mat teams there to gut the basement and all the belongings within.  2013 was a heck of a year and one of the major things that happened during this time was: I gained 40 pounds.  Forty.  Back.  Good Lord!

Reflecting back on the year I realize that I always felt my best when I could get some sort of activity into my day.  When I'd walk the dog for longer than a typical walk, when I could swim laps in a lake, when I could leave work for a 15 minute power walk in the middle of a hectic day and just concentrate on my breathing and restore my balance a bit.  Those were the moments when I realized that exercise, movement, putting my health first HAD become part of my daily life in the year before this one.  I knew what to do, I just wasn't doing it!

I have been looking forward to rededicating myself to my health.  And I hope you'll consider joining me as we head into a new year.  My plan to lose 50 pounds (the 40 I regained and 10 more to hit my goal weight) is not complicated at all.  It involves counting calories, staying away from fats, walking, and weight training.  I shouldn't say "weight training" because that sounds so rigid and my weight regimen (isn't there another word besides "training" or "regimen" I can use?! lol) is simple enough for anyone to do. I'm a novice, too, remember! I believe there is an athlete within me that occasionally pops up her head and says to me in this exhilarated voice, "Yay! You found me... I'm right here... let's DO this!"  One of the emotional moments for me when I first started training with a personal trainer a few years ago (for six months) was when he said to me "we're going to find the athlete within you again"...  I cried.  No, I bawled.  Right there in the lobby of the YMCA in Waltham.  My trainer had tapped into what I had not dared dream yet:  that I COULD become the person who played tennis, and rode bike 20 miles without thinking of it, and played softball, and had a college scholarship offer for field hockey.  I had been a fit, active person who LOVED being outdoors and hiking and biking and playing.  I'm ready to go back to that person again and it starts today.

Want to join me?  Stay tuned and read on for the January challenge post! : )

Here's to a clean slate in 2014 to write a new, healthy story!

Dream. Believe. Achieve.
HealthyLoserGal / Jan