Obligatory New Year’s Resolutions Post

As 2014 came to a close, I’m likely one of many people that reflected on the promised improvements they made this time last year.

For me, New Year’s resolutions have always been kind of useless. I’m not sure that I’ve ever really achieved any of the goals I set for myself. I do like considering the New Year as a blank slate, though. I think dwelling on the mistakes of your past can be destructive, but setting broad goals without any sort of infrastructure to help achieve them defeats the purpose.

What good is “lose 60 pounds” if I don’t also include the steps I’ll need to actually lose that much weight? Case in point, losing 60 pounds has been my New Year’s resolution for a good two years, but not only did I not achieve that goal each year, I put on more weight.

Finally shedding 18 pounds wasn’t due to multiple resolutions; my weight loss was due to accomplishing small goals and changes throughout the year (and yes, weight loss medication my doctor prescribed).

It was setting a goal to work out four times a week and including two vegetables with dinner (something we still struggle with). It was trying desperately to avoid eating carbs for lunch and dinner. It was signing up for three 5Ks with a goal to do them without walking. It was striving to go to yoga once a week. Those little goals had more of an impact on my success than the bold statement of “lose 60 pounds.”

So, this year I’m taking a different approach to New Year’s resolutions.

In that vein, here are some small goals to get 2015 started:

Finances

Our paltry savings were wiped out when we moved to Raleigh more than four years ago. Consistent financial insecurity has caused us to put any potential savings toward chipping away at debt (medical, credit card and student loan).

someecards.com

someecards.com

While that hasn’t changed, I decided to build up our savings again by automatically drafting $20 from each paycheck. It’s not much, but it’s a start. I’m sure I’ll be tempted to transfer those accrued savings, but in my savings account is where they should stay.

Fitness

The past year, I’ve focused mainly on cardio because I only have time to do one workout each day and the dog can’t lift weights. This year, I want to do at least two days of strength training per week.

I’m not giving up running (or “running”), though. As I’ve written about before, now that I’ve reached my distance goal, I’ll be working on speed to bring down my mile time. Like last year, I’ll sign up for a few races to keep me focused and motivated.

earthporm.com

earthporm.com

I want to continue going to yoga at least once a week, kicking it up to two when it works with my weekend schedule. At the very least, I plan on incorporating yoga into my strength training routine. Sun salutations are like yoga burpees, I assure you.

(They look easy, but do 10 rounds and tell me how your arms feel the next day)

Food

We’ve been half-assing an attempt to include more produce into our diet for a while now. Most of it goes in the compost pile unused and rotten. This year, on top of wasting less, I want to start thinking about our meals a little differently.

A recent dinner of bratwurst, steamed broccoli and sautéed radishes and chickpeas / After the Knot

A recent dinner of bratwurst, steamed broccoli and sautéed radishes and chickpeas / After the Knot

We generally focus on protein and build dinner around that.

Example: We have chicken. What can we make with chicken? Chicken cutlets. OK. What else are we having with it?

Instead, I’d like to focus on a particular vegetable and build the dinner around it, even if it’s still the side dish.

Example: We have spinach. What can we make with spinach? Sautéed spinach. OK. What else are we having with it?

I have no idea if this mental change will work, but it’s worth a shot.

Dog Training

My dog is freaking awesome, but she’s far from perfect. Her recall only works in my yard and she gets so excited when she sees people or dogs that are obviously her new best friend, she lunges and barks until her harness gets twisted and people stare at me with their judgey eyes. This is Bailey’s terrifying way of saying, “I love you and I’m so happy to see you.”

Let her off leash for a picture on the Blue Ridge Parkway? Nope. I'll never see her again. / After the Knot

Let her off leash for a picture on the Blue Ridge Parkway? Nope. I’ll never see her again. / After the Knot

We’ve already started learning a new cue, “touch,” to help bring her focus back on me. We’re also working on “focus” to keep her attention there. This year we’ll continue working on these cues, along with practicing recall in the front yard, outside the boundaries of our fence.

 

And that’s it. I’m leaving it at that.

I’d like to get more organized, learn how to sew, learn a new crochet stitch, read more books, go hiking more regularly, go kayaking, and paint the hallways in my house. And if I do all that, awesome. But if I don’t, it’ll be OK.

Here’s to 2015, a blank slate.

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Marital Weight Gain

As you read, I gained 10lbs since getting hitched. It was mostly acquired in the past couple of months as my work load increased and days became longer.

I’ve been struggling with my weight since college. For the most part it has been steadily increasing, with a few random years of decrease. I’m officially at my highest weight ever.

I was heavier than I wanted to be on my wedding day and while I have learned how to make myself look skinnier in posed pictures, those candid ones didn’t help my cause, Particularly anything that showed me from the side. Ya know, like all of those photos of me saying my vows.

Out of all of those photos, I found one I like. Imagine hating every photo of yourself during the most important moment of your life. It was sad, depressing and I was ashamed of myself.

I’m ashamed because I have no one to blame but myself and my lack of discipline. I know that being overweight is bad for my health but that didn’t stop me from eating pizza with extra cheese. And it didn’t get me out of bed any earlier for a workout. It most certainly didn’t get me off my ass when opted for a nap earlier today.

So, I’m joining my blogger friend, Nicole at Big Day for 10K, in a virtual weight loss partnership and my husband for a physical weight loss partnership.

It needs to be done for a million reasons, most of which relate to keeping myself healthy and not just hating how I look. I feel like my body is starting to feel that weight in my knees and ankles. And most importantly, I’m uninsured so a healthy lifestyle is what is going to keep me out of the doctor’s office.

While I have no immediate plans to put a bun in the oven, I want to be at a healthy weight for when we decide to have a baby. The healthier you are, the easier pregnancy and labor you have. And considering I want to go all natural, I’ll need the easiest labor I can get.

I’m giving myself the next year and a half to get down to a healthy weight, which for my body type is between 115 and 125lbs. Right now, I’m looking at a 60-pound loss.

This was me almost exactly five years ago. I was hovering somewhere around 130-ish pounds, which is really close to a healthy weight for my small stature and frame. I lost 30lbs in 2006 I think mostly from stopping a medication that I had been on, commuting in and out of Manhattan and teaching swimming lessons. I’m an asshole for not maintaining this weight. 

Getting Back Into It

I have already started getting back into a workout routine. I decided a couple of months ago that part of the reason why I’m not sticking with my workouts is because I hate them with the fiery passion of a thousand suns.

I hate most cardio, especially running. I have always hated to run. I have always been bad at running. I was an active, skinny child who HATED to run long distances. I was the girl who was stuck in the “non-athlete” gym class because my mile time always sucked. Instead of playing softball, I was doing non-contact sports with chicks who didn’t like to mess up their make up, just because I couldn’t run.

But, I love to swim.

Had I actually stuck with swimming, I probably could have gone to college for it. I probably could have done pretty well. I became one of those lifeguards that loved to swim but didn’t swim competitively. I maintain that lifeguards that did looked down on us, but whatever.

With some financial help from my parents, I joined the Y and shoved my fat ass into a bathing suit to start swimming again. I started out pretty strongly, going at least twice a week but have faltered a bit recently.

Swimming isn’t the type of workout where you can run in and run out. You have to change out of your clothing, do your workout, then change out of your bathing suit, then go home. All that changing adds at least 30 minutes onto your workout. 30 minutes that I might not have.

Along with swimming, I always loved to dance. I don’t do it very well and aside from a college ballet and Afro-Caribbean dance classes, I never formally trained. But, when I was 14 I would spend the bulk of my time with friends learning Backstreet Boys dance routines. I would dance to other bubble gum pop songs in my room. It probably helped me keep such a skinny figure.

I’d like to take a cardio dance class, like Zumba because that would be way more fun than getting on a treadmill.

I also don’t really care for weight lifting. I don’t hate it, so I’ll do it, but for strength training, I’d rather roll out my yoga mat and center myself with some hatha yoga.

I love yoga and used to practice in New York, but it’s been three years since I did it regularly, which means, everything I worked up to is gone. I have been taking at least one class a week at the Y. I would like to take more, but most of the other classes are in conflict with my work schedule.

When I can’t go to yoga, I’d like to try pilates, something that I’ve never done before.

In another post, I’ll talk about how Chuck have changed our diet from meat-based to vegetable based. Oh we’re not going veggie completely, but it’s been a great switch.

I’ll try to post my progress a few times a month but I encourage you to kick me in the virtual ass via Twitter.