I’m free! I’m free! I finished my last final yesterday, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to finish a semester. I’m always relieved when it’s over, but sometimes I feel sad because I like my professors and classes. This semester, I only had one class that I really liked, so I say good riddance! Now, of course, I just have to obsessively check for my final grades. This is the first semester that I’m really unsure of what my GPA will be. I’m not as stressed out as I usually am even though I know my grades will probably be a little lower than usual, but I’m curious to see how I did.
On my way to my final yesterday, I was listening to the Jillian Michael Show podcast (which I highly recommend. It is informative and hilarious!), and the topic was very seasonally appropriate: goal setting. I have been thinking about what my New Year’s resolution will be this year, so I liked listening to her advice for how to set goals in a way that makes them attainable. She has a goal pyramid that breaks your long term goal down into smaller pieces. That is really the key to achieving the goal: identify what exactly you need to do get there.
I have two goals for next year: to shift as much of my shopping as possible to local businesses and to lose about 15-20 lbs and focus on strength training in order to tone up.
Shopping locally is always something that I’ve wanted to do because it is obviously better to keep my dollars in my community. I think that our country would be much better overall if we focused more on our local economy instead of what’s currently going on with corporations controlling most of the money in circulation. I don’t do a ton of local shopping because it’s easier to just continue to do things the way I’m used to: grocery shop at the supermarket, buying clothes at the same places I always do, etc. It will take some getting used to, and I haven’t made a thorough plan yet, but thankfully there are a couple of locally owned grocery stores here, plus the farmer’s market runs year round and it’s winter location is near our apartment. I may not be able to go to the farmer’s market each week because it’s only on Saturday and I might have to work, but at least we can get our groceries from someone who lives in our community.
I have mentioned a couple of times that I am really struggling to commit to eating well and exercising these days. I hopped on the scale for the first time in awhile the other day (my clothes are all fitting the same so I rarely weigh myself), and saw that I have gained a couple of pounds. A couple of pounds is not a big deal at all, but I have had the idea in my head since the summer that I’d like to lose a bit more weight and really focus on fat loss and building lean muscle mass, so seeing the scale moving in the wrong direction is not what I want.
I say that I want to lose 20 pounds, but that is sort of arbitrary because I believe that it’s kind of silly to pick a number that you want your body to weigh. I want to look a certain way, and I’m not sure if that will be at the weight I am now (since muscle is more dense than fat, if I lose fat and gain lean muscle I might end up the same weight but look leaner), or if it will be at some lower weight. I think it is helpful to have something to work towards, though, so besides tracking my measurements, I will work on dropping some pounds because seeing the scale move in the right direction is motivating.
I believe that nutrition is the most important aspect of health and weight loss, so I will be planning my meals weekly and counting calories, because that is what really holds me accountable and stops me from eating too many snacks and deserts.
Last year I learned that exercise is a really important component to weight loss and overall mental and physical health. I’ve decided recently that I really, really don’t want to run anymore because I don’t enjoy it. I struggle to find the motivation because I just don’t like doing it. The idea of not doing it anymore feels like a relief to me, but at the same time I know that I need to dedicate time to exercise in order to be healthy and happy. I’ve been doing some research about whether walking is enough exercise, and I found this really helpful graphic from the CDC:
My goal is to walk for at least 45 minutes, 5 days a week, which works out to be 225 minutes total. I know that I will almost always walk more than that, because Dan and I frequently go on walks on the weekends, but my goal is the minimum I would do.
I also remembered and re-read these three posts over at Can You Stay For Dinner, another one of my favorite blogs. Andie lost 135 pounds and has maintained that loss despite the fact that she gave up running; she walks regularly instead. This was really reassuring for me because it let me know that it is possible to be healthy without having to struggle though something that I hate. Plus it will be easier to walk for exercise because I can build it into my day more easily: a portion of my walk can be to class or work, and I don’t have to worry about setting aside extra time to shower and change.
Besides walking, I will use Jillian Michael’s No More Trouble Zones and Banish Fat Boost Metabolism DVDs twice week for the strength training component. I think this will be the hardest part, because it’s been awhile since I’ve been motivated to stick with an exercise program, but after a couple of weeks it will get easier.
So now that I’ve laid out my New Year’s resolutions, tell me what yours are! Or have you been too swamped with Hanukkah/Christmas plans to even think that far ahead?