Tag Archives: goals

Sizing Up the Matter

24 Oct
Without you, it's just fabric on a hanger.

Without you, it’s just fabric on a hanger.

Let’s be honest: shopping can be a pain in your newly shaped butt. And I like shopping. But when you’re “skinny now,” you tend to find yourself in between sizes.

No two bodies are the same. My waist makes me a size 8, but my hips still linger in the 10-12 range, depending on the stretch of the fabric. I prefer shopping using numerical sizes because it makes the search more consistent. But clothing makers are starting to shift their wares to alphabetical sizes (XS-XL).  It’s less clothes for them to make in different sizes and leads to fewer returns.

That’s great for them, but here’s the problem: one size does not fit all. Humblebrag, but I’ve always had a small waist compared to my hips. Buying jeans leaves me with two options: a gap at the waistband above my butt or a super tight fit around my hips and thighs. It’s a never-ending struggle, one you’ll have to contend with until you shape your body the way you want it.

We’re in the worst season known to man. Some days are too cold while others are too warm. You have to layer a ton of clothes, then find someplace to put them all when two scarves becomes too many. However, this dreaded time of year does have its benefits.

The layers help hide whatever’s going on while you’re trying to figure out what looks good on your figure. Skinny jeans and a larger top will cover the gap at your back. A big belt can cinch your newly narrow waist over some leggings. These will get you through some rough patches.

But you should also enjoy this time. You lived a size 16 for so long, and now you’re a size 10. There were clothes you never thought would look good on you out there just waiting to be given a chance to shine. You never tried an pencil skirt before? See what it looks like. Cropped tops used to give you muffin-top anxiety? Screw that! You’ve got a flatter belly now that’s just itching to see the sun.

There’s so much to do now that you can fit into a new size. It’s easy to feel defeated even though you’ve done such good work so far. You’ve lost a few pounds, but your favorite clothes don’t fit anymore. Maybe you didn’t like shopping before because it was hard finding things you liked in your size. Guess what, love? You’re not that size anymore. Take this opportunity to see what else looks good on you.

And remember that part: It’s what looks good on you, not what you look good in. The clothes are there to amplify you, not the other way around. These are pieces of fabric cut and sewn to look good on you. Without you, they’re just patterns on a hanger.

What are you itching to try on once you reach your goal weight? How do you deal with in-between sizes

photo credit: Zylenia via photopin cc

Stuntin’ Is a Habit

15 Oct

The myth is that it takes 21 days for form a habit. I call it a myth because you don’t really know you’ve made something a habit until you’re much further along in the process. Think about it: What did you do 21 days ago that you’re still doing right now? I’ll tick them off for you:

  • Eating
  • Sleeping
  • Working/studying
  • Going to the restroom.

You developed those habits so long ago they’re part of you. What I’ve found on my weight-loss journey is that making your good habits a part of you is key to meeting your goals. And it took much longer than 21 days for that to happen. It’s not called a lifestyle change for nothing.

Making this lifestyle a part of the very fabric of your nature takes a lot courage. It’s easy to stay comfortable in your routine. Eating, sleeping and working are so much a part of you that you don’t realize you’re doing them any more. The same can happen for you when you’ve developed a routine with diet and exercise.

Here are a few ways to make sure your good choices become habit forming.

1. Set a schedule. A plan of action is a great first step toward meeting your goal. If you work a regular 9-to-5, then you’re better off than some freelancers. You know when you need to get up, when you need to get to work, when you get off and how much time you have left over in the day. You know how long it takes to get ready in the morning, how long it takes you to get to work and how to bypass traffic on the way home. That means you know where the pockets of time are for meal preparation, workouts and rest. Those of you without a set schedule are going to have to let life work its way into your weight-loss plan. You may need to first set your meal prep, workouts and rest times and let the rest of your day fit in as needed.

2. Plan your meals. Rest day is the best day for meal prep. You’re not overly exhausted from the hurting you put on your body in your workout. You’ve got time to really take inventory of what you have in your cabinets and what you may be in the mood for during the week. You have time to glance through your cookbooks and see what new recipes will work for you this week. And you have time to browse the grocery store instead of a rush job where you forget things. You may find a nice piece of fish on sale you can broil later. All of this is to say having your meals (especially lunch) ready saves so much time when you’re getting ready to leave for the day.

3. Make your goal your No. 1 priority. You love your family and friends. And being homeless isn’t on your list of things to do. Now that that’s out of the way, take stock of what’s really important to you. Do you really want to lose weight? Do you really want to maintain? Are you looking for ways to cut the unhelpful things out of your diet? If that’s true, then you’ve already made your goal a top priority. Create a vision board or “Being Mary Jane” it and put Post-it notes all over your home. Keeping a daily reminder that you’re doing this for a reason will keep your eyes on the prize

4. Understand there are 24 hours in a day. So you’ve set your schedule and you’ve planned your meals. But life happened, and you overslept and missed your morning Zumba class. Someone at work ate your sandwich, so now you don’t have anything to eat. So what? There’s still time later in the day to burn a few calories. You may not  be able to make it to the gym, but you can surely find a way to get moving around the house. Or you could take a long walk at lunch. Or you could to any number of things that you were supposed to do anyway. We all share the same time clock, and yours says there’s still time to get it in before the day is over.

5. Don’t accept failure as an option. Simply put: if where you are isn’t where you want to be, do what you have to do to get there.

These good habits will become less and less stressful the more you do them. But you’ll be so pleased with yourself when you accomplish your goal.

What habits have you picked up or broken since you began your weight-loss journey?

What’s the Goal Today?

6 Oct
How I feel every time I cross something off my to-do list...

How I feel every time I cross something off my to-do list…

Every week for the past couple of months, a friend and I meet up at a coffee shop to pow wow. We discuss what’s going on in our lives, be it work (even though we work together), love lives, travel plans, family, whatever. We encourage each other to pursue our goals and to keep up whatever good works we have going at the moment. But before we start the pow wow, we always ask each other: “What’s the goal today?”

This simple question can produce so many outcomes. Is the goal to write great posts for the blog? Is it to see what other opportunities are out there? Is the goal to research topics that have been floating around in my mind? Or is it just to piss around on the Internet and gossip with a friend?

Whatever the goal may be, it’s important to be reminded of their necessity. Even the short-term, temporary goals for that day need to be expressed so there won’t be any excuses to default on them. The desired achievement for that day could help inform what planned achievements for the future.

I like to keep a mental check list of both the short-term and long-term goals of the moment. For example, one of my short-term goals right now is to clean my apartment (I’ve told you how bad it can get). One of my long-term goals is to drop another 10-15 pounds in the next three months. And now that I’ve told you, I’m going to be held accountable.

Expressing your goals to someone else is only one way to keep your eyes on the prize. Here are a few more:

1. Vision board. The advent of Pinterest has made the paper vision board seem like a crime against nature (do you know how many trees you’re killing for your trip to Johannesburg?) But if you must keep a pictorial reminder of what it is you want out of life, a vision board is a good one to have. I have a friend who hangs hers up in the bathroom. You always have to got to the bathroom, and there you’ll find your daily reminder to get your isht together for that trip.

2. Goal outfits. When I began my weight-loss journey, one of my top goals was to stop buying larger sizes. I was a size 16 that would have fit better in an 18. But my pride (and my pockets) said, “Nah, girl!” So I just kept squeezing my wide behind in those too tight pants. I kept getting the mark around my belly that says your clothes are too tight. I kept getting that mark…until I didn’t. It was great the day I could just slip into my pants without busting out the jaws of life.

3. Things to-do. A to-do list can be the unsung hero of goal setting. I always have a list of groceries I have to buy. I keep a paper pad with a magnet on the back attached to my refrigerator. I don’t go to the store every day, but when I do, I know what I want and I don’t have to spend more than I should.

I’m human and to err is divine I will slip up and eat a bag of cookies instead of sliced fruit. I will splurge on a weekend of kicking it instead of saving for my next trip. But I will also recover, because mistakes are just the lessons we learn on our journeys toward reaching our goals.

What is your goal for today? How do you keep yourself on track?

Gif courtesy of Tumblr

Small Steps, Big Mountains

12 Feb
mountain climb

While climbing, stop every once in a while to appreciate how far you’ve come.

I think everyone has a bucket list. My list contains travel destinations. Most of my travel has been right here in these United States. But I got my passport for a reason, and it has only one stamp in it. Right now my top five destinations are Venice, Capetown, Fiji, Paris and Rio.

In a couple of weeks, I’m going to cross out Rio because I’m going…for Carnival! I’m super excited. Rio and Carnival have been on my bucket list for years, and now I’m finally reaching my goal.

Sometimes I wish I had been more focused on achieving some of my goals, other times I think complacency has worked for me. Complacency allowed me to appreciate what I have and the work I’d done so far. No, I hadn’t gone to Rio yet, but I had some awesome trips to Cancun and Puerto Rico. The same thing can happen on your weight-loss journey. You may not have lost all 50 of those pounds, but 30 is an amazing achievement. What I’ve found is that you can’t have blinders on as you go on this adventure; you’ll miss out on a lot.

At first, my goal was to lose an undetermined amount of weight before Puerto Rico. I lost about 20 before I got on the plane and my travel buddy saw me. She was more excited by appearance than I was. While I hadn’t set a firm goal for myself, the progress I was making showed me that I could do more than what I had so far. I couldn’t appreciate the little victory because it was, in my mind, a small step up a big mountain.  What I didn’t realize then was that it was still a step.

I’ve written before on this blog about perception vs. reality in terms of how others see you. One of the obstacles you’re going to have to overcome on your journey is facing your own perception. You may not be able to see all of the progress you’ve made, but you can feel it. You can feel how easily you breathe when climbing a flight of steps. You can feel your muscles working to curl the 8-pound weights when you started with the 3-pounders.

Along your journey you’ll have to learn to appreciate the small victories. One of the first for me came from a Facebook photo.  A couple of summers ago, I’d made some friends who were commenting on old photos on my page. When I replied that I didn’t look the same, I was asked to post some new pics. Jump to that weekend while out celebrating a friend’s birthday, I posted a club photo. It was posted in the middle of the night, the photo was slightly grainy and I was posed a little awkward (my days of “Top Model” viewing did not come in handy at two in the morning). The next day I awoke to dozens of likes and comments, all praising my “new” look. I didn’t know what to make of it, because I had grown used to the slimmed-down frame that was still 10 pounds away from goal weight.

What happened to me happens to a lot of people trying to lose weight. It’s the whole “a watched pot doesn’t boil” thing. You’re too wrapped up in the big goal, that you can’t appreciate the little victories you’ve achieved along the way.

Hard work is key to achieving your goal, and I don’t knock anyone who accepts that. My advice is to occasionally take a break, sit back and think about how far you’ve come. With determination, you’ll get to the top of your mountain and still appreciate the minor victories along the way.

photo credit: TroyMason via photopin cc