Monday, December 22, 2008

Strategy: Focus on the 5's

Ok, so, I am starting to write up my goals for weight loss in 2009, and one thing I have learned from a lot of reading (and some TV) on the subject is that the only way to make a big goal seem less daunting is to break it up much smaller. I've often done that in the past, but I definitely didn't go about it the right way. Previously I have always had very rigid goals for myself of a certain number of pounds lost per week, and then I have added them up to make goal weights corresponding to certain events that fall within that timeline. And by having had it so strictly laid out like that, I think I was setting my all-or-nothing self up for failure. Never did I make one of those exact event goals, by the way, and rarely did I keep up with the "plan" for more than a few weeks. And I'm talking about years and years of making plans to lose weight this way and not succeeding!

This time, I am going to break it up into 5 pound increments. Period. I will always be focused on the single goal of 5 pounds, and when I achieve it and celebrate it, I will again adopt a goal of 5 more pounds. Losing 5 pounds is no cake walk, but it certainly seems doable to me. There may be weeks where it is easier to make progress, and other weeks where the body is PMS bloating and makes none, but I think a nice, round goal of 5 pounds in a month's time is perfectly achievable without killing myself. I will weigh in and record my progress weekly, but will try to focus on the big picture achievements monthly, to allow for those fluctuations without getting discouraged. It may get harder to lose 5 pounds in a month as I do well and my weight gets lower, but if that becomes the case I can always adjust accordingly and slow the rate.

So, all I need to do is lose 5 pounds a bunch of times, specifically between 11-13 times! (My primary goal is to get to 150 pounds, but depending on my physique at that weight, 140 is a really trim but still perfectly healthy weight for my height and build, so I may try for that upon re-assessment...) However, if I can keep up the tunnel vision and only focus on each five pounds individually, I think I can avoid being overwhelmed about how far I have to go, and also avoid becoming too complacent about how far I have come as I succeed. Last time I really tried in earnest I lost the first 10 pounds easily, and then I felt so good I got overconfident. Once some family eating celebrations came up I easily fell off the wagon, and stayed off. That was about 8 months ago, and look where I've been since- I rapidly put it back on +5!

Yes, if I add up my hopeful rate of monthly progress, there is one very large milestone I'd like to be doing well for, and that is my 20-year High School Reunion in October. If I did well with 5 pounds a month I might hope to be approximately 50 pounds lighter, or most of my way to goal by then. HOWEVER, I am NOT going to set myself up like that this time around! Frankly, if I've lost 10-15 pounds by then I'd still look a lot better and have an easier time finding something to wear. But as I said above, and as I am going to keep saying to myself, over and over, as many times as it takes, I am going to look at one month at a time, and I am going to work on losing 5 pounds at a time, only.

So, for these last 2 weeks of 2008 (including Christmas and New Years Eve,) I am going to be recording what I eat, practicing making better choices, working on breaking bad habits, and beginning to add workouts back into my schedule. That way, the beginning of January won't have that huge, looming, start from scratch, cold turkey, all or nothing feeling to it. Much less scary that way. :)

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