Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Time on Target...

Target dates are flexible, you move when the target moves. Deadlines... are missed.
-- Thomas C. , Technical Project Management

It is time to look at my goals again...

When I first started this lifestyle change, I really didn't have any idea what was a reasonable amount of weight to lose. Not only that, but I didn't know what was a reasonable amount of weight to lose for me.

"They"1 say that it's not healthy to lose more than one to two pounds per week. All those various ads and commercials that say "Lose 9 pounds in 11 days..." Not gonna happen. Unless you try something a bit extreme. 1 - 2 pounds per week. That's it.

However, I was pretty sure that I was not going to lose 2 pounds a week. That's 104 pounds in a year, and honestly, I didn't think that was anywhere close to a realistic expectation. Even if I had 104 pounds to lose. Which I didn't. Not much less than that, admittedly, but I was willing to take my comfort2 where I could.

Ok... so, one pound per week... I thought I could live with that. That'd be 52 pounds gone by the end of the year. That would put me in the mid 160's by January, a weight I hadn't personally seen since Chris and I broke up in 1996, and I spent two whole weeks either not eating, or throwing up what I did eat. (Extreme stress is good for your weight. Unfortunately, the loss doesn't stick around, even if the stress does.)

And yet, further analysis of my own habits convinced me that 1 pound a week was probably not realistic either. After all, when I was pregnant and had lost a lot of weight (I went from 227 to 188 in 40 weeks) I hadn't lost quite a pound a week. And when I did that, I had some serious motivation. After trying so hard to have a baby, I didn't want to take any chances with the one successful pregnancy that I'd managed. I had iron willpower, but only - I thought - because something I wanted more than chocolate cake existed. I wanted that baby so badly that I ached, every single day3.

So... one pound a week was out. Therefore... what was reasonable?

I decided - eventually, after a lot of thought - that 35 pounds was a reasonable amount to expect to lose in a year's time. That would put me in the low 180s4 and I'd have lost a little over 15% of my body weight.

And, given how things were going, at first, that seemed like a goal I could make. It took me 16 weeks to get my first 10% gone. In those 3 short months, I'd already had gains, almost a full month of platuea... 35 pounds in a year. Totally doable.

I don't like setting myself up to fail. (It's so stupid. You don't learn anything by succeeding right away.... and yet, I hate failure... I hate how stupid I feel, how unworthy. I mean, it's not like my self-esteem is all that and a side of fries to start with, I don't need to make it worse by humiliating myself, do I? So... I sat around for years, just letting myself get fatter because I was afraid to fail. Which, in and of itself, made me feel stupid. I guess I eventually came to the conclusion that it was better to do something and be stupid, rather than do nothing and still be stupid.)

On the other hand, when my weight loss started picking up (right about the same time we switched to Core), I didn't want to make things too easy for myself. A goal isn't really a goal if it's easy. I was at -35 pounds by week 26. So, I revamped my goals again.

My husband works as a project manager. Which means, essentially, that he's in charge of making other people do stuff without having the authority to make anyone do anything.

He does this by setting Target Dates. Almost nothing he does is ever time-urgent (no matter how he might get personally frustrated when things take months longer than honestly, they should...). "Here's what I need you to do. I've got a Target Date of Oct 13th for it." And if whoever it is can't get it done by then, he readjusts his delivery time accordingly. There are no deadlines. People don't like deadlines. Deadlines get missed.

If you can't make the Target Date, he moves the Target.

I've reset my Target a few times. A few months back, I said I wanted to be at my second 10% and in size 14s by the end of September. Well, it's the end of September now, and I've made that goal. My next goal was to make my 3rd 10% and in 12s by the end of the year. (I said Thanksgiving, originally, but I still don't really expect to lose any weight during the holidays...)

I'm wearing 12s now. And my 3rd 10% goal is 160, which is less than 5 pounds away.

So, perhaps I should adjust my Target again.

There are 14 weeks left until the end of the year. Five of which are in the Dead Zone between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That leaves me 9 workable weeks until year's end.

Think I can hit another 12 pounds by year's end? That'll put me in the low 150's and will put me at -65 pounds lost for the year.

1. Oh, lookie! A footnote!

Justin: "Who decides that the work day is from 9 to 5, instead of 11 to 4? Who decides that the hemlines will be below the knee this year and short again next year? Who draws up the borders, controls the currency, handles all of the decisions that happen transparently around us?"

Sheridan: “I don’t know.”

Justin: "Ah! I’m with Them. Same group, different department."

Babylon Five, Episode 322 "Z'ha'dum"

2. Having been taught how to make footnotes, I'm probably going to overuse them for a while. But, speaking of comfort, I wanted to give you all my recipe for Rice Bowl, which is one of my favorite comfort foods. Why it's comforting, I'm not quite certain, since it comes from the day where I was poorer than dirt, but nonetheless... (Of course, if I was still as poor as dirt, I couldn't afford to make this anymore. Tomatoes are no longer cheap vegetables. Nor is 94/6 fat free ground beef cheap. For that matter, even rice is getting more expensive.)

It's sort of a mixture recipe. When my mom was serious about her diet, she used to eat rice with diced tomato, spiced with McCormick's Lemon Herb. The other recipe was from my ex-boyfriend Chris, who called it Man-food, which was basically ground beef spiced with mustard, steak sauce, and bbq sauce, served over a hamburger bun. I mixed the two recipes together - rice, tomato, ground beef, sauces - and added cheese and onions. It made for a very filling, quick meal that covered my basic food groups.

Rice Bowl

1 cup cooked brown rice (I often use leftover rice for this, or make up some of the 10-minute minute rice)
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
1/4 pound low fat ground beef
1/2 cup fat free cheese (cheddar and feta are what I use, mixed together)
gulden's mustard
A1 steak sauce
Worchestershire sauce

pan fry ground beef with onion and sauces until sauce is thick, beef is cooked through, and onions are translucent and slightly soft.

Chop tomato, mix with cheese. Pour hot beef mixture over cheese and tomato. Add rice, stir thoroughly. Serve immediately.

3. What did I tell ya? Too many footnotes. Are these better or worse than my long parenthetical asides? Opinions?

Anyway, what I was going to say is that most of my friends wouldn't have believed how badly I wanted to be pregnant. While I'm generally a fairly open person - I don't just wear my heart on my sleeve, I freaking advertise it in neon - this was something I just was not willing to share until the point was moot. But trust me, getting pregnant was my all-consuming passion for the better part of three years.

4. I have a thing about 180 pounds... comes from a weird source, and I'll quote it here for you. If you've read this book, you might have a better idea of what my self-esteem is like, that I compare myself with Mrs. Kaspbrak.

Once, shortly before actually proposing marriage, he had taken a picture of Myra which she had given him and had put it next to one of his mother, who had died of congestive heart-failure at the age of sixty-four. At the time of her death, Eddie's mother had topped the scales at over four hundred pound - four hundred and six, to be exact. She had become something nearly monstrous by then - her body had seemed nothing more than boobs and butt and belly, all overtopped by her pasty, perpetually dismayed face. But the picture of her which he put next to Myra's picture had been taken in 1944, two years before he had been born (You were a very sickly baby, the ghost-mom now whispered in his ear. Many times we despaired of your life...). In 1944 his mother had been a relatively svelte one hundred and eighty pounds.

He had made that comparison, he supposed, in a last-ditch effort to stop himself from committing psychological incest. He looked from Mother to Myra and back again to Mother.

They could have been sisters. The resemblance was that close.

Stephen King, IT, 1986, Viking Penguin, Inc

I could stand being "relatively svelte."


Cammy@TippyToeDiet said...

180 is a very good number. Mine was 179, because that was the point at which I plateaud before and it all fell to crap.

My targets haven't really been pounds/month or pounds/week. Since I passed 179, pounds haven't mattered so much until now, when I'm a few away from 100 lost. I think I probably averaged a little over a pound a week, but it kind of came off in clumps.

No matter what your target, I wish you well. You've had so much success already!

Anonymous said...

I LIKE your parenthetical asides. :-) But footnotes work too.

180 was my "too good to be true" goal for a long time. I lingered at that plateau for months because it scared the hell out of me that I had reached it and it was time to go below. I mean, when you push for something so hard but never really think it will happen, and then it does - what do you push for? It was like free-falling...

180 is a good number. I was shocked to find that I was capable of going below it, and I don't know now what is a good number. I'm still trying to figure it out...

Great book, BTW. :-)