Today is Sunday, April 7, 2013 and day number 11 in my Achilles Tendon post-op. I am still at "no weight bearing" on my left foot which begrudgingly wears a stiff cast to protect and stabilize it from any movement or injury to the re-attached tendon. I borrowed this picture off the Internet This is of some one's right foot, but this is what my left foot/leg looks like right now. The cast is split on each side, thus a 2 piece cast that can be adjusted for swelling and comfort. It felt wonderful last Wednesday to get it off for a short time while my doc check the sutures and healing. Now I have a new goal-- that being that 6 days from today I will get the stitches out and most probably will go into a boot....possibly (keep your fingers crossed) I might be allowed to put some minimal weight on my left foot....I'm not sure how they measure "minimal weight", but it sounds good to me.
It's a little goal, but it's a goal none-the-less. I got to thinking about how that compares to the approach we need to take with weight loss and getting fit.....not as one whopping overwhelming goal...."I NEED TO LOSE 50 POUNDS!", but rather in a lot of smaller goals. "This week I am shooting for 1 to 2 pounds weight loss" or "I'm going to try to get in 6000 steps each day this week" (Remember steps can be counted not only by actual steps but by other activities you do....see http://www.stepup.excellusbcbs.com/stepChartPop.jsp for equivilent steps to daily activities. Or you might shoot for a goal of adding an additional 8oz. of water each day to what you normally drink in a day. Small doable goals are so much easier to work with. Adding a new small goal each week connects all the smaller goals until you eventually reach the whopping goal you once talked about reaching.
By taking baby steps you allow time for new habits to form. I've always heard it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. So at the end of 3 weeks, you could be aiming for walking 8000 steps (if you added 1000/day each week) and you might be down 3 pounds (if you lost 1 pound a week)....As I've said before and I know you've heard many times....this is a life style change, this is a marathon....not a sprint....slow and even wins. I know when you need to lose 50 (what seems like a whole ocean of pounds) to lose, 1 pound feels like less than a mere miniscule drop in the bucket. But be patient and DO NOT GIVE UP. Those drops will add up to a thimble full, the thimble full will add up to 1/4 cup, the 1/4 cup to a full cup.....so let's say you need to lose 50 pounds......and you started today--April 7th.....I'd say make your long term goal Christmas..........I know, I hear ya...CHRISTMAS!!! that's like forever away from April 7th, but if you take it off slowly, the more likely it will be that you will keep it off. You certainly may exceed that goal if you lose 2 pounds a week, but you have to ride the roller coaster that comes along with weight loss. Make that your long term goal....but to get to your long term goal.....make shorter goals....a day or a week at a time. You'll have good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks. You'll have weeks when you lose 2-3 pounds and weeks when the scale won't budge and OK (heavy sigh) you will also have weeks you may gain a pound or two. Just DON'T GIVE UP!
We are all different. You have to find things that work for you, habits you're willing to live with the rest of your life. If you know what emotions trigger overeating for you (come on you know what they are!) then try to avoid those situations....if you can't and you eat a little more than you should or you eat something you know is not great for weight loss...just take it in stride. Tell yourself....OK I strayed from my plan, but that's over and done with....now I'm back on track. I know I've said this before but please don't think of this as a 'diet'....think of this as a healthy lifestyle. And please don't make yourself feel deprived. If you feel deprived (which I think you feel with most ' fad diets'), you will never stick to it.
If you're at a gathering and there is chocolate pie and oh my how you love chocolate pie...then have a small piece, eat it slowly and savor each bite.....if you can't stand to pass it up and you have a whole piece....have it and enjoy it.....don't beat yourself up....realize that it needs to be counted in that day's calorie count....and adjust the rest of your day's eating accordingly....or go out and walk an extra mile. Most definitely you are allowed to occassionally step outside your box. Just remember as I've said before in this blog.....and as so many trainers have told me, you can't out exercise a bad diet....so indulge occassionally, just don't make it a habit.
Bob Harper of "The Biggest Loser" wears a T-shirt that says:
So, there's no vacation from staying fit and healthy but every fourth day you get a break from the exercise. I think that sounds like a pretty awesome doable goal or strategy to take.
My trainer says eat healthy and exercise 6 days a week and give yourself a break from the exercise and watching what you eat 1 day a week. My doctor was glad to hear I was exercising and eating healthy but he also advised "that's wonderful, but please tell me once a week you allow yourself a big plate of mexican food" (or fill in whatever is traditional, delicious and definitely not diet food for your neck of the woods).
I'm taking this time while I'm laid up (see picture above and previous blog post) to make myself a list of small doable goals for the rest of the year:
1) short term goal-- move from cast to boot in 6 days
2) short term goal--slowly start weight bearing in left foot w/ boot
3) short term goal--switch from boot to tennis shoe when allowed
4) short term goal--slowly start exercising as allowed by podiatrist
5) short term goal--lose 1 pound from starting weight I'm at when I am allowed to start minimal exercise
6) short term goal--increase exercise slowly from one week to the next
...and a few long term goals.....
1) long term weight goal--to lose 37 pounds by April 1, 2014
2) long term fitness goal--to do a 1/2 marathon November 2014
3) long term fitness goal--to complete a marathon June 2015
4) long term fitness goal--cycle 20 miles/day
5) long term personal and fitness goal--learn (again) to swim
6) long term fitness goal--to do a triathalon
You have to:
know where you are going and what you want to achieve
plan where you want to be
know the baby steps (small goals) that will get you there
Yours in fitness....