Ramblings from a Boston Boy stuck in New York
2011 Resolutions | #1 – Lose 35 lbs
3-January-2011Posted by on
I have been meaning to talk about the power of goal setting and some methods for setting and achieving goals on this blog. As a way of addressing this topic, I am going to talk about my four resolutions for 2011 this week.
The straight up truth is that I am overweight.
Standing at a height of 6’2” tall, I am by no means a small person. I have always carried my size well – I have always looked more muscular than overweight. During college and even after college, I would lift weights on a regular basis. This activity kept me in shape but put a lot of size on my body. I was never concerned with the size I was putting on other than wanting more. For me, lifting was a way to get bigger and stronger. I was eating in a manner that coincided with muscle gain during this time. High caloric intake that centered on clean proteins was my main dietary concern. Unfortunately, over the last three or so years, my workouts have tapered off as work, children/family and the house have changed my priorities. Despite the lack of workouts, I have still maintained my eating styles.
The added intake without exercise has manifested itself into a person who recently topped out at 270 lbs. My unhealthy increase in weight directly links to the elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels I have experienced over the last few years. Obviously, there are many gains to be had from reducing my weight: reduction in health care risks, increase in quality of life (read: I will be able to keep up with my kids even more) and probably lengthening of my life just to name a few.
In 2011, I am ready to get back to my ‘fighting weight.’ My goal is very direct – I intend to lose weight, at a healthy pace, in 2011 by eating healthy and exercising.
Zeroing In On The Goal
One critical step in setting any goal for yourself is zeroing in on the specific goal and making it clear so that success and failure are easily identified. In order to perform this step, I did a little research. I have been able to conclude that losing approximately 1-2 lbs per week is a healthy weight loss goal from everything I have read both in books and on the internet. It would be conceivable to set a goal of losing between 52 – 104 lbs in a year following that guideline. The truth is that a goal based upon those calculations would require strict adhesion to a weight loss plan – perfection if you will. Realistically, that would put me at a weight of anywhere between 160 lbs and 210 lbs (I have already begun this goal by dropping ~10 lbs since Christmas). That is a bit too light, even for me.
Therefore, I have set a solid, realistic goal. I will lose 35 lbs in 2011.
How do I achieve my goal? How do I break it down into incremental steps?
This part is relatively simple for me. First, I have begun to pay attention to how I eat. In the past, I would eat whatever was on my plate, whatever was left on my wife and daughters’ plates and maybe whatever was left in the pan. Yeah, I ate a lot! Recently (remember the 10 lbs of weight loss I talked about?) I have started paying attention to portion size. I will continue to do so. I have found that logging what I eat helps. Therefore, my micro goal for nutrition is to log what I eat each day and plan ahead to ensure that what I am eating meets my nutritional requirements.
Secondly, I will start exercising again. I have found that my body type – or somatype – is generally somewhere between mesomorphic and endomorphic (see link). What that essentially means is that I have medium to large bone structure with a large build and I am more inclined to store fat than burn it. So, what increases fat burning? Activity. I have avoided aerobic activity for years, instead relying on the anaerobic activity of weight lifting for my exercise needs. Anaerobic activity is great if you are trying to build muscle mass – which I was – but does not do much for you if you want to increase your metabolism (calorie burning capability). Therefore, for my micro goal in this area, I intend to workout at least three times per week. These workouts will have some aerobic quality to them (see tomorrow’s post about my second resolution) and can include running, biking, yoga, and weight lifting. If the workout is a weightlifting workout, it should consist of circuit training with high repetitions and low weights to garner as much aerobic quality as possible.
Constant Monitoring and Feedback
The key to implementing any plan is to constantly monitor and readjust based on your findings. In order to meet my weight loss goals, I will monitor three things each Friday: 1) number of workouts for the week, 2) nutritional history for the week, and 3) my weekly weight. The first two items will show me how well I am doing meeting my micro goals. The third item will tell me how well I am advancing to my final goal.
What happens if I am not meeting my micro goals? I will need to go back and assess why I did not meet those goals that week. Was I travelling for work? Was I sick? Maybe my social schedule precluded me from eating the way I wanted. I will then reconfigure my plan so that I can avoid such failure in the future.
Moreover, if my micro goals are being met, but I am not seeing any advancement on my overall goal, I will need to adjust my micro goals. Maybe I will need to advance my training requirements and clean up my diet even more. We can cross that bridge if/when we get there.
In my next post, I will discuss a goal that is more in line with some athletic achievements I would like to achieve in 2011.