Revised Goals

You know all those goals I posted before?

Forget them.

I just read a wonderful health journey post by a man who used a more Eastern approach to lose 100 pounds and get healthy. Immediately, my heart responded with, “Yes, this, REMEMBER??”

The scientist in me likes data I can track. Quantifiable numbers. Trends. Patterns. They’re important. But I am not, by nature, a by-the-book sort of girl. I am intuitive in my body use and my habits. I track patterns by observation of non-quantifiable data as easily as I do with numbers. The difference is that the “professional” weight loss/health improvement plans are seductive. They make promises, like “do this and you will feel better!” And “don’t eat this, and you can be happier!” And, the one most likely to knock me out of my groove, “You will have company and social support if you just do what we do!” The intuitive track is by nature a solitary one, and I get so excited about not being alone with all my efforts that I hop on band wagons even though deep down, I know better.

Hope is a powerful thing.

But none of those hopeful promises ever pan out. I’m not someone who’s always been fat, or anti-exercise; someone who doesn’t know what she’s doing. I’m not someone who loves food so much she finds it hard to give it up. I’m not your “average” American go-getter. Rewards don’t work for me. Streaks do nothing for me.

What does work for me? Me. Mindfulness. Paying attention to my body and doing what I can do. For me. Without tracking it. Without comparing it to some arbitrary plan. No calendars, no systems, no “this is what you should do.” Just me,  doing what feels “right.”

So, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going back to my 2-weekers. I will try something new for two weeks, keep to it, and then if I don’t like it or it doesn’t feel right, I’ll try something else. If it does work, I’ll keep it and integrate a new thing for 2 weeks.

My central goal for the short-term: Stress release.
Gentle movements. Stretching. Breathing exercises. Meditation. Anything that will promote the release of all this stress I’ve built up is what I’m going to do. No competition. No challenges. Just experimenting with ways to make my body feel softer, looser, and more movement-friendly.

My medium-term goal: Lower my blood pressure.
I won’t be able to trust myself to do work with weights or any up-and-down movement until I stop having such significant BP spikes. This will come about through my short-term changes.

Long-term goal: Be ME in MY body again.
Healthy, limber, strong, agile, and able to enjoy my own self!

Starting Goals!

Ultimately, my goal is of course to feel good, be healthy, and be the best version of myself I can be.

That’s not exactly quantifiable, though, so I’m going to be setting goals that allow me to feel successful as I make this journey to a well me. This first set is made up of somewhat random targets, both long-term and short-term, until I can figure out how well I can do right now.

  1. Blood Pressure: 120/80
    I’m going to make that my primary target for now. I don’t know that I will ever be able to control it, but I can decrease it. Exercise helps a lot. Diet will do better. Clean it up, cut it out, and make healthy choices! 120/80 is the clinical “normal,” and climbing 25 points from there, while not exactly good for my veins (or brain), is at least not in the “Am I going to die from this pressure in my head?” region.
  2. Stamina: 30 minutes on a treadmill at 20-minute/mile
    I might already be able to do this – I haven’t tried lately. I can’t go much faster than that because of my hip flexor/pelvis issues. But sustaining it is doable.
  3. Leg Strength: Move up to 80 lbs on ab/adduction machines
    Short-term, as I’m already at 60 lbs.
  4. Arm Strength: Pick a program and stick with it for two weeks
    I really like working my arms. But I don’t want to use the weights at the gym for fear of straining too hard and increasing my BP too much. I have a hard time working out at home because my MIL is always in the main room, and I’m too self-conscious to get a good workout. So I need to find something I feel comfortable doing in all ways.
  5. Cardio: 45 minutes at sweaty speed on the elliptical
    I could do this before the holidays, back when my BP had gone down. I stopped using the elliptical in November because of my hip trouble, so I want to move back into that (hip permitting – I start PT soon).
  6. Weight: Finish shedding initial 10%, to 235
    I started at 261 last year. Chucked 5 pounds in two months through exercise. Plateaued. Chucked 6 in dietary changes in November. Gained back 4 or 5 of those over the holidays. 235 is my post-pregnancy stasis point as well as the 10% weight loss that is recommended as a bare minimum for health improvement.

That was my doctor’s suggestion today, too. Unless the cardiologist finds an underlying cause for my orthostatic hypertension, the best I can do is lose weight and control my salt intake. So here we go!