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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Goal Control

I think goals are important.  Goals help us take control of our lives, set a destination, and help us figure out how we're going to get there.  With measurable goals, we can push ourselves where we want to go!  Goals rock!  Goals move us forward in the direction we choose!  Goals drive our decisions!

However, goals can completely derail me if I'm not careful.

When I start getting really excited about goals, I can lean toward grandiosity.  A sense of being able to conquer the world can be a good thing.  An absurd exaggeration of my abilities (with some magical thinking tossed in for good measure) can have me setting unrealistic goals (like in January 2011 when I thought I could lose 140 pounds in one year!)

In addition to setting goals too high, I can set too many at once.  I'm the type of person who can "eat an elephant one bite at a time", but I can't sit down and eat it all at once.  In other words, my greatest successes have typically come from making one good, solid next right choice, incorporating it into my being, and then adding another one.

When there is too much on my plate at once, I get overwhelmed.  And when I get overwhelmed, I shut down.   I don't mean I shut down one of the goals, I mean *I* shut down.  If I can't do all 15 things at once, I will end up doing nothing at all and start a snowball effect where I am not able to manage or handle most everything.

Setting unrealistic goals can be deflating, demoralizing, and can even trigger feelings of depression. And I'm not interested in backsliding my way into yesterday, thankyouverymuch.

Goals on my plate currently (which I really need to asses):

1. Golds Gym 12 Week Challenge
I signed up for this workout challenge.  Next week they will be taking before pictures (in a two piece, what the heck was I thinking?) and I will be striving for most improved, over a 12 week course.  Competitors will be evaluated in the areas of weight, ability, looks, and a written essay.  And of course, I want to take the 40-49 year old female category.
2. 44 in 4
I set a goal last week that I would lose 44 pounds in 4 months, or exactly 2.58 pounds per week.  According to my scale this morning, I did not even make it my first week. In fact, I somehow weigh one pound MORE this morning than I did a week ago.  I could scream.  In order to make the goal now, I would need to lose 2.81 pounds per week from now until April 30th.
3. The Magic 200.
The 44 in 4 was part of accelerating my progress toward hitting the 200 pound mark.  This is probably every hugely overweight person's dream...getting under the 200's seems like such a huge victory.  So tied to hitting 200 is:  my 44 in 4 challenge, the huge accomplishment in my heart just knowing I did it, plus my grandmother has tossed out additional motivation - she won't say what it is, but has told me she has a reward in store for me when I reach that goal.

All that seems so good, right?  You would think so.

So why, can someone tell me, am I not losing one freaking pound here?  Why am I killing myself at the gym, hitting the treadmill at home damn near every day, and I weigh exactly what I weighed 8 days ago?  I know I had two days where I ate things I shouldn't.  One day I had 3 Lindor Truffles (note: eating one was awesome.  Eating two was so-so.  By the third it was actually gross.  I don't recommend that much chocolate in one sitting.  Blech.)

Anyway, I feel like I'm teetering on the edge here.  While working on the goals I'm also:

  • changing my diet to incorporate whey protein to help with muscle soreness (in the form of a snack replacement/meal replacement)
  • have also started recording my workouts to record/track/compare and make sure I push harder each time
  • have started working out almost twice as much
  • On top of that, my newest trainer at Golds had his last day Friday and I start with a new trainer Monday
  • And I'm changing from 5:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. instead, meaning a whole new daily schedule to get used to.

Frankly, all this change at once, coupled with the lofty goals, seems to be having the effect of overwhelming me.

Some days I just want to run screaming from the world and go hide in a little cave until I get it all sorted out in my head.  (I tend to live inside my analytic mind and sometimes it gets really crowded in there - I feel like I need to take everything out, organize it, rearrange it, purge what I don't need, and put it all back in neatly.)  Yesterday I think I started that process and I'm not quite finished yet.

Putting everything on my plate in writing (where I can see it) is helping.  I need to get my routines under control.  I need to get my thinking under control.  I need to get my emotions under control.  And I definitely need to get my goals under control.

Because it seems this "out of control" feeling is spilling into other parts of my life, too.  And I will not let that happen.


  1. If you are working out more and pushing your body you may have gained muscle which could explain your weight increase. In the long run that could be a good thing. Just a thought.
    I also understand your desire to get there already but I do think in the long run you give yourself the best long term chance of success if you accept a slower pace.

  2. Sounds like one of those pesky "plateau" stages. Check out - a free site much like the Q. They have all kinds of articles on exercise, diet, health in general as well as a menu planner app and many support groups. I need to get back there myself. Been at a standstill for 2 years here just above that crazy 200. You sure do inspire me Carly!

  3. I was just thinking yesterday, how I need to change SO MUCH in my life and want to do SO MUCH this year in that aspect, and was thinking to myself how overwhelming it was beginning to feel. And then I saw your blog post today, and I am so happy that I'm not the only one who occasionally thinks she can eat an entire elephant in one sitting. Good luck with all you're doing, Carly. What you've already done in the past year (and more) has been an inspiration to me. Thank you!

  4. It seems that the elephant was the special of the day last week!! You have figured out so much already, I have great confidence that you will create a manageable plan. I am working to change many things this year as well, I did some structured planning this weekend, it helped...

  5. Hi Carly,

    Ryan from QN. Anyway, a couple of things that worked for me. I always had my official weigh in on Thursday since I seem to do better with food during the week. Also, I read somewhere it takes 3 grams of water to store 1 gram of carbs. I normally drink plenty of water during the week so my system was flushed by Thursday if I had too many carbs. Mix up the workouts to keep your body guessing so it doesn't adapt to your current routine. Keeping a food journal to go with tracking workouts and calories burned was helpful. Your goals all seem attainable to me. Don't let little setbacks get in the way of your ultimate goals. I had many bad days along the way but got right back to it the next day. I look forward to seeing you crush your goals. Ryan

  6. Hi, Carly,

    Deb here. I was drawn to you initially through your posts on Quitnet. You have a real talent in your writing style and I feel you are one I will "piggyback" while trying to quit smoking (again)...You and I are similar in age, interests, and more than a few life experiences so I dig it! Nonetheless, I then noticed this blog you keep and love it and actually became even more excited to have "found" you as I am a former Gym and Sports Performance manager, trainer and nutrition advisor. It made me feel like MAYBE I could help you with your fitness goal which would help me feel better about the help I plan on seeking from your Quitnet journal. I tend to be too wordy so, to get to the point...when I read your post above I believe the following:

    1) You likely are not eating enough and/or frequently enough. I know...gasp! But, I've seen it time and time again and I know, from personal experience also, that proper consumption of adequate calories and frequent meals will propel you forward much quicker and with better results than doubling workouts. Without knowing much about you (i.e. your height and/or body composition info) I would estimate you should be eating about 2300 calories a day with about 575 calories (which equals 144 grams) being from lean protein source. You should eat every 2.5 to 3 hours to take advantage of the thermic effect of digesting your food (a real boost to your throwing another log on the fire). And, whey protein is a great idea for convenience and total protein but you should ingest it with carbs like oatmeal and/or berries. The carbs serve as a shuttle or "boat" for the protein to enter your cells so you recover better. Simple carbs are more tolerated and better used (not stored) if ingested after workouts.

    2) Yes...all of our eyeballs are liars! :) Use your kitchen scale and use the grams option vs. oz when possible. Also, pack your food for the entire day and take it with you EVERYDAY! It works! And to keep things simple, especially in the beginning, I recommend Phase eating...which just means you create a menu, based on the # of calories and macronutrients you need on average per meal, give yourself 1 to 2 options for each meal of the day and use the same menu all week (or longer)....then you are only thinking about what you eat and planning and calculating once a week or so. Strength training is mandatory...3 x a week and be progressive each week...either add weight or perhaps reps (your trainer should be able to help you with choosing which) each week and DONT BE AFRAID TO LIFT HEAVY!!!! IT DOES NOT MAKE YOU BULKY! Heavy weights (8-10 reps per set) is superior any day to high reps/light weight and gets results, saving your muscle and burning fat.

    Anyway...weight (scale) moves sparadically for all of us each week...definitely will see some weeks with little or no movement (even slight increase) and then weeks that exceed expectation. That's just the way it works. Over time, you will see a bit of a pattern average of lost weight per week...but do not hinge on that &*(&(* scale! Keep consistent, keep the faith, and don't jump from one plan to the next...consistency and slight tweaking as needed will get you results!

    Love your're an inspiration.



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