Apparently the new year did not bring with it more time to post. A few short days after we rang in 2010 I was back to the mad dash scramble routine of reading articles and texts, writing papers, and prepping for yet another semester. All while I wait to receive my grades from last semester (they’re not posted yet).
I’ve got another three weeks - two minor papers and a research paper - before my International Relations class is over. Add to this my Psych and History course this semester (they both have papers due this month too) and I’ll likely poke my head back out in the real world sometime near the end of April. Funny how that co-insides with the two weeks I have off between semester.
Have I mentioned that this is my last year in school? Not entirely as I plan to go on to grad school (if they’ll take me) in 2011. But the last year working on this particular degree. Including the three courses I’m currently enrolled in, I have 7 courses left to complete before I can boogie my way across a dance floor and party like it’s 1999.
Yeah, I’m planning on throwing a huge party once I’ve finished this degree. Everyone better be there with bells on.
On an “I have the most awesome mentor in the world and am thankful every day that I had an opportunity to meet and work with this wonderful individual” note, I just got word that the group paper we were working on for CNIE has been accepted. The 2010 CNIE conference is taking place in my home town 16 – 19 May 2010. With the carrot of possibly getting to help present the paper if I can get to the conference dangling in front of me, I’m trying to determine if a flight home will fit in the budget. I don’t think I need to worry too much about food and lodging expenses since mum has been asking me to try and come home this year for a while. Flight costs are pretty exorbitant for a family on a budget and I’ll have to arrange for a few days off work (possibly unpaid as we have a family cruise vacation & the hubby’s tour trip planned later in the year). A flight home is often over 700$ – before taxes in many cases – and more lost pay this year is going to make an impact on the budget so going home isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Speaking of the hubby, he’s off once again. For now it’s the exotic locale of Montreal. Ok, not so exotic. He’s been there a million times. Plus one. He’ll survive. After that, he’s off to Jacksonville for a little bit before arriving back home in February. It’s shaping up to be one of those years where he’s gone more than he’s home. With a 9 month tour looming on the horizon, it’s hard to expect anything else.
Finally, I’m hoping that this time next year will see me half way to my goal of a whole new fitter and healthier me. I’ve been needing to take this step since I fell off the eating right/exercise wagon in the summer of 2004. Dad got sick. I ate. Dad died. I ate a bit more. Who am I kidding? I ate & drank everything ”bad” for me and didn’t give exercise any consideration at all. I ballooned from a semi-normal size 12 to a massive size 18. On my small frame size 12 was hefty; size 18 puts me in the realm of obese. Not chubby. Not pleasantly plump. Not all the other little things I’d tell myself rather than admitting I’ve reached orca size.
With my dr.’s help, I’ve mapped out a plan to change that in 2010-2011. On the plan, it’ll take between 18-24 months to reach my weight and fitness goals. I’m refusing to call it a diet since it’s an 18 month plan requires a complete lifestyle change on my part. I didn’t gain all this weight in a short time and I certainly won’t be able to lose it rapidly.
My goals are laid out in 6 month increments. By June, I want to be wearing clothes that are 2 pant sizes & 1 shirt size smaller. By December I want to be wearing clothes that are an additional 2 pant sizes & 1 shirt size smaller. June 2011 should see me another pant & shirt size smaller. That’s my goal in a nutshell. I want to be 5 pant sizes and 3 shirt sizes smaller. I want to be able to buy clothes in any regular size store. I want to be fit enough to climb to the top of Whistler’s mountain. I have business to attend to there.
To help me reach my goals I have a daily calorie range to meet. There’s wiggle room but I have to eat a minimum of the bottom end of the range and no more than the top end. I’m supposed to eat 3 smaller meals and 2-3 snacks each day. I’m planning my meals at least a day in advance. My portions are being weighed and measured before being plated. I’m eating breakfast each morning, bringing my lunch to work each day, and most importantly, I’m keeping a detailed food diary. There are a few reasons for keeping the food diary:
- To ensure that I eat the minimum calorie amount outlined in my plan each day. If I don’t eat enough I won’t get the health benefits I’m looking for since my body will react poorly (so I’m told).
- To ensure that I’m not eating too much sugar/carbs each day. I don’t have a minimum amount in my plan but it does have a maximum daily intake that I’m supposed to try to stay faithful to. This has made me a lot more conscious of the added sugars in a large number of products and is driving a number of my food choices. For example:I used to drink a large amount of fruit juice because it was a convenient way to get some of my daily fruit/vegetable servings. However, juice is often filled with sugar. It might take a bit longer to prepare or eat but I’ve quickly learned that eating the fruits & veggies as opposed to drinking juice fits my sugar/carbs limitations better. Raw, cooked, or frozen fruits & veggies have naturally occuring sugars but they’re often at a much lower level.
- To know exactly what’s going into my mouth and when I’m eating. I never ate large portions in the past but I ate all the wrong things. Often at the wrong time. I’d skip meals. I’d eat 800+ fat and sugar laden calories just before bedtime. I’d drink multiple glasses of sugar laden juices within an hour. Because I use my food diary to help me plan the next day’s meals, it forces me to be more aware of what I’m putting in my body and where I’m obtaining my daily calories from.
- To have a complete record of what I’ve been eating/drinking or doing for my Dr. should my next checkup have results neither of us were expecting. I should be getting all the minerals and vitamins I need on my plan, but just in case I’m not, the Dr. should be able to figure out where I may be lacking by reviewing the food diary.
As for exercise, at the moment I have a daily treadmill routine. I’m a bit slow and it’s more of a meander than speed walking. As I get fitter I’m hoping to expand the walking to a jogging/running routine and perhaps add trips to a gym. Right now I’m not ready for that – physically or psychologically.
I’m also not ready to go out to eat or drink with friends anytime soon. I’m still learning proper portion sizes and healthy eating choices. My intent is to learn that through routine weighing and measuring of foods when I make my meals. I’ll tackle social eating once I have a good handle on what a serving size really should look like on a plate. I think being able to recognize this will go a long way towards helping to ensure I don’t overeat or choose the wrong types of foods. For now I’m sticking to Casa Mia at mealtime.
The most important thing for me to keep in mind is that I’m eating healthier, getting some exercise that increases my heart rate, and working on a plan that I can manage. The manageable plan is the key. I know me. If it’s too difficult to do or I’m expecting miraculous results that don’t appear quickly, I’ll eventually end up becoming disheartened and giving up.
Which makes me doubly glad that we don’t have a working scale in the house. There’s no temptation to hop on and off the scale on a daily basis. I have to measure my successes in other things – better sleep, lack of hunger, improved moods, decreased clothing sizes.
If you see me this week don’t expect to see many changes. I’ve just started the plan this past Sunday and don’t expect to lose more than 2 lbs a week – but more likely it’ll be just 1 lb a week – so I doubt we’ll see any visible signs of improvement for at least 8-12 weeks.