On the last day of each month, I update my goal progress in the areas I chose for the year. Monthly goal updates that began a decade ago in 2013 in the Notes app on my phone are now kept in table form on my blog, giving me a way to remain focused on my goals and holding myself accountable in actionable strides. Today, I’m sharing my second goal update of 2023.
Read Around the USA Give Away Books Send out Postcards Blog Daily (For March plan to participate in Slice of Life Writing Challenge)
I gave away another 5 foot shelf of books. I mailed recipe postcards to my grandchildren. I blogged daily throughout February, marking two full years of daily blogging today. I wrote with Open Write this month. I read my February selection from Colorado: Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan I plan to participate in the Slice of Life Writing Challenge each day during the month of March
Improve blog photos Indulge in photo excursions
I continued working with my Middle School Writers, and one submitted a piece to the Young Georgia Authors contest I designed a prototype of a story walk planter for our town square I am planning Bloom! for National Poetry Month with our L4GA community partners
Tune in to church Pray! Keep OLW priority
We’ve tuned in to YouTube channels for Dad’s sermons this month in the two churches where he is preaching as a rotating interim. I’ve prayed daily and kept my One Little Word at the helm
Write family stories Spend time tracking goals each month
I’ve written some family memories, and Dad has written as a guest blogger, sharing some of his experiences
Maintain goal weight Maintain Weight Give away too-big clothes
I cleaned out my pantry and my medicine chest this month, following my closet in January. I still take clothes to donate when they give me any room to take the temptation and eat the cake. I am in weight maintenance range.
Devote blog days to counting blessings
I continue reading in Simple Abundance and counting blessings, especially on family birthdays. I remain grateful for my health, family, and the simple pleasures of life – like savoring Saturdays with coffee and having farm fresh eggs for supper.
Embrace Slow Travel Focus on the Outdoors
I participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count I traveled to Kentucky to visit family over my winter break (slowly – I broke up the trip into manageable driving segments, put the window down, and admired the Kentucky rolling hills and greening spring grass) I traveled to Savannah, Georgia and spent time with my grandchildren strolling along River Street and eating ice cream at Leopold’s.
My journey all started with high blood pressure and “not feeling my best, ” but it had been building since late 2019. It was hard to get comfortable enough to go to sleep in bed, and I couldn’t cross my legs anymore. My thyroid medication couldn’t keep up – but it was a handy excuse. I wore the same pair of black pants at least three times a week because I refused to buy the next size up and didn’t want to commit to the longevity of an additional pair at the same size ~ because that would be admitting complacency, right? And my shirts had to be long enough to cover my back end, like a Band-Aid “hides” a wound. When we went kayaking, I had to wiggle myself down into the seat of my boat. Then I prayed as I paddled that The Gypsy Soul wouldn’t take on water and sink me somewhere out in the middle of a lake. I was in a stuck spot, and I wasn’t liking the out-of-breath adventurer I had become.
Those were hard realities for a former distance runner. In 2019, I was at the bottom of my goal weight range, running competitively and occasionally placing in my master’s women age category in 5Ks. I endured a knee injury that stalled my running, and then Covid hit. My weight went mountain climbing and enjoyed all the scenery along the way. Straight to the 206# summit.
That’s where I drew the line.
I’d always cried out to Weight Watchers whenever I needed to drop some pounds. As a Lifetime Member, I counted points and made goals and set rewards along the way when I’d stepped out of bounds by ten or twenty pounds. But this time was different. I was so far out of bounds that I needed a personal coach.
Optavia answered. I knew Jennifer Carden was an Optavia health coach, and she lives within two miles of my house. I called her, and we began my journey – we talked through initial interviews about the type of eater I am, my habits and lifestyle, and my food preferences. I placed the order for the box of fuelings that would begin my “five fuelings and one lean and green meal” per day. I would eat every two or three hours, and I could choose whether I needed to satisfy my salty tooth or my sweet tooth. My sweet tooth has forever been the screaming baby in my life.
When the box arrived on a Tuesday, I didn’t want to “wait until Sunday” to get started. I did the gut-wrenching work of owning my weight and measurements and took my “before” pictures on Wednesday, August 10, 2022 – much like confessing to a crime and taking those convicted criminal mug shots. I did a lot of this without thinking or allowing emotional involvement. I willed myself to go on autopilot. One mission: lose weight. Just do it.
I’m posting these pictures, but it really, really hurts to do this. Here goes:
And then I went to the kitchen and made my first fueling. A chocolate shake.
At work, I said NO every time the office food gifts made an appearance in our work kitchen. We’d get an email: “(Local business) brought doughnuts by this morning. Help yourself!” or “We’re celebrating (occasion) – – cupcakes for everyone!” And let me point out: they were good – these are regular offerings by those in our community. It took everything in me to turn down the white fluffy cream-filled doughnuts and the red velvet cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting. I had to remember: auto-pilot. Don’t think about it.
By August 17, I was down ten pounds, to 196. On August 22, I was at 193.9, and on September 6 I was at 188.3. I’d lost almost 20 pounds in one month. I was already able to tell a difference in my black pants, and I considered getting some new ones. But I made an agreement with myself: whenever I bought a new size, I made myself get rid of garments in the old size. I didn’t want to keep the space in the old clothes available for regrowth. So I donated the 20s when I bought 18s, 18s when I bought 16s, 16s when I bought 14s.
By September 19, I was down to 184.6 and looking forward to entering the 170s on the scale. Every time I passed a tens digit, I bought shoes as a reward; I can keep them across the pounds, and they may be my biggest reward motivator other than traveling. By the last week of September, I was down to 182.1 and looking forward to a Fall Break hiking trip to Fort Mountain State Park in Chatsworth, Georgia (with a new pair of hiking boots)!
Instead, I gave a whole new meaning to Fall Break when I missed the last step at work and broke my ankle. Hiking wasn’t to be, but I continued steadfast along my journey and on October 2 weighed in at 180.9. I was 30 pounds from my goal. I was also convinced that if I had fallen at my former weight, my break would have been far worse. Somehow, I had avoided the need for surgery. I give the weight loss full credit for that!
Through the fall, I stayed the course – five fuelings, a lean and green meal, and plenty of water. By October 24, I was at 174.2. Though I was hoping to cross the next tens digit on Halloween (171.6), I wouldn’t get there until November.
During this month, I knew that Thanksgiving would hold its challenges with food temptations. I flew to California to give a presentation at the NCTE Convention with my writing group, and I flew home to enjoy time with my family at Thanksgiving. My daughter in law cooks an amazing turkey, so I focused on that delightful plate of dinner with a side salad. I kept trucking, setting my sights on new successes.
And then I got Covid. I didn’t feel like eating, so while I wouldn’t have chosen to be sick, the silver lining in the cloud was that I wasn’t craving anything. I doubled down on my water, and by November 28th I weighed 165.0.
December was quickly approaching, and I knew the main thing that would give me trouble: eggnog. I like both the mild grocery store brands and the loaded liquor store brands, so I figured out that I’d need to identify a “substitute.” I took the Golden Blonde Brownie mix and blended it as a shake with almond milk, and then sprinkled it with nutmeg. It did the trick! I knew that once I figured out a way to avoid the feelings of deprivation, I could be successful through the holidays. So I looked for my weakest link and set about problem-solving.
December 12 gave me the momentum I needed: 159.9. I’d crossed another tens digit, and the timing to celebrate success was just the motivation I needed to get through the Christmas holidays.
On January 1, I weighed 160.0, and I rejoiced – not only because I was ten pounds from my goal weight, but also because I’d minimized damages over Christmas. Even though I was up by a half a pound or so, I’d somehow gained only a little, and I suspected that some of it could be salt intake. Plus, my tens digit re-crossing was a breath away. I spent the day doubling down on water and choosing shakes, and by the next morning I was at 158.2. Salt.
This year, I have two weight goals: reach my goal of 150 and maintain it.
With careful planning and a mindset that doesn’t tolerate emotional eating, I’m confident that 2023 will be the year of getting back to the adventurer I was meant to be! I’ll be tracking my goals the last day of every month on my blog. There’s no better time than today to set new goals and start a new journey! Many thanks to Jennifer Carden for always being there and talking me through the struggles.