Updated: Sep 21, 2019
Is there ever a time where a goal has to be removed? Not completed, or broken into smaller goals, and not pressed off to the side, but removed. Yes and absolutely. Goal setting is something that is going to evolve. How I set goals when I first started my fitness journey compared to how I currently set goals are almost counter opposite strategies.
In 2013, I welcomed regular activity back into my life. I had spent 4 years in high school getting in at least 2 hrs of dancing and movement as part of my musical theater curriculum. That plus having 80 min gym class 3x a week during the semesters I had PE. Growing up I was blessed to travel outside of the city and visit Salt Lake City, Utah nearly every summer between age 8 and 13. My Aunt Debbie kept me active with dog walking, hiking, biking, swimming, skiing, and snow shoeing because of her love for the outdoors.
To be honest, I stopped exercise activity in high school because of an event that I only realize now sabotaged my self-care habits. In the small church my family attended I was questioned whether or not I was anorexic by the pastor. Now, I was not bone thin in high school but I was underweight at 124 lbs walking 5'7". I had nice little shape and a fast metabolism. I ate whatever someone would put in front of me and I often asked for seconds. Buffets were my favorite thing in the world. I was active and goofy and I enjoyed horseplay with my niece and nephews. So the only thing that made sense as to why he was approaching me in this way was because of my mother.
I had been interning at a law firm during the summer before my senior year in high school. Work started at 8 am, so I found that I had gotten into a routine of waking up at 5 am and going down to my mom's cardio room and riding the bike for 30 mins before I would then pack up some lunch get myself put together and head out. I often ate breakfast at work which cost me a fortune ha ha everyday I spent $10 and got a bagel with cream cheese, grapefruit juice, and a banana and a snickers bar.
Well needless to say my mother took notice of my early morning routine and projected her own body shame onto me. I mean I was the only one using the bike but it was meant to be there for her, as was the treadmill, and the stair master, and the thigh master. Her battle with her weight was just and up and down process. I admire my mother because she will find the motivation to move when the weight is too much for her, that being said she yo-yos. So during a down period of her journey she has this teenage daughter who is already small and is working out and because of her experience with goal setting thought that I had some sort of disorder.
Body dis morphia would have been a better word for what they thought I was afflicted, just to clear that up.
My mother's relationship to goal setting involved tracking her weight. Always on the scale trying to measure progress or wanting things to feel loose. For her, the goal of exercise was to become smaller. Well I can assure everyone and my mother, I was not worried about my weight. 5 am is quite early in the morning to have to get up and 8 am is still too early to attempt to be a friendly human being. I was 17 so I wasn't drinking coffee daily let alone the 4 cups I can't live without at age 29. I was going to the bike because I wanted to wake up and feel energized. After the first time I tried it I became hooked because of the energy I had throughout the day. I was working at a law firm filing and listening to gossip and eating. but my body had been accustomed to 2 hrs of dancing 5 days a week. I know now that the body feels tired as a way to encourage movement, but back then I was just trying not to take a nap while I highlighted depositions.
My goal was internal, not external. That is what brought about the confusion. At the time I was hurt that my mother didn't speak to me before spreading to someone else that I was anorexic. I already hated my body because of it being so slight and knobby. I was embarrassed and despite of that feel good feeling I got out of that 5 am workout I ceased all cycling activity.
So fast forwarding in my life after I adapted poor goal setting habits and got out of practice moving my body 2013 comes around. I am smaller than ever at 5'9" 105 lbs. I am desperately trying to gain weight and can't seem to figure out how I lost so much after having 2 children. I had thought motherhood was going to be that miracle that gave me breasts, thighs, and ass. Total opposite. I didn't even try to lose weight, it just happened. having not known why I was losing weight turned out to be the biggest obstacle in gaining it back.
My goals used to be about how I looked externally. I used to get on a scale everyday just to see if I gained any weight. The scale couldn't give me the answer though because it only provides a number. There is no break down of water, fat, organs, muscle, and bone. I didn't even have a goal weight I wanted to be I just didn't want to weigh 105 lbs. I wanted to fit the size 0 pants that sat baggily at my waist and buttocks. Now I think more internally.
What had caused my weight loss was loss in overall strength. I was a walker and I waited tables after I graduated high school in 2008. Then when I had a baby and an apartment and a nice little job at an insurance agency in 2010 I didn't need the muscles I had developed in my adolescence so by 2013 I had wasted away to a breast feeding stick figure.
Squats changed my life. I had something to measure and when I set a goal it was obtainable. First it went from how many I could do, to how many with the bar, then to how much weight I could handle. Then the next round of goals all incorporated being unilateral or on one leg. Then it became about how I was holding the weight like on my back, overhead, or currently, front squatting. From all of this I became stronger and more confident in my abilities. Just with taking my goal to internal and not external, I adapted to many other forms of exercise. The thighs I cherish so now that they are thicker kick like no other in Muay Thai. This round wagon is not being dragged, in fact I sprint with it. My six pack comes from so much stabilization work I rarely fall and if I do I can catch myself without injury.
I look like what I do. So anyone out there with goals that pertain solely to weight loss, it is time to remove those goals and remove the stress that comes with them. Here are some sample goals and time frames that will yield toning and weight loss results:
1. Increase repetition of movement- For bulk reps of heavy weight 1-5. So 200lbs squat once. Then in the next week increase to 2x, and so on. For endurance or toning training 35% of maximum weight 12-20 repetitions. So 10lb over head press 12 times one week and then the next week go for 15. This can vary and can feel free to drop back a rep if you do not feel stable, only progress when ready.
2. Eat 2-5 oz of fruit and veggies every 2-3 hours, or at the halfway marker between meals. This goal helps prevent weight gain due to overeating at meal time and increases the metabolism. This will also help get some poop action going and assist in weight loss.
3. Sleep 6-8hrs everyday. This a goal many of us struggle with, but let's face it sleep is important. Our body needs time to repair itself and get ready for the process of being a human the next day. If we really think about it, the body does this for us without us having to tell it what to do and how to do it, so the least we can do is go to bed and let it happen. Sleep is an integral part of training to help prevent overuse injuries.