As this is my second round of this weight loss program I know what to expect. Well, mostly. Perhaps one can never really be completely ‘ready’ – that’s if one even needs to be! In fact, as I read back over my previous organising and diarising pre-season task I realise that, even just a week before the program started, I wasn’t as prepared as I could have been.
But this time around I like to think I’m an old hand when it comes to planning for the 12 weeks before me. And to help us on our merry way our second last pre-season task requires us to:
- identify any commitments, disruptions or road blocks which I need to take into consideration (holidays, special outings etc)
- plan my shopping day each week, and any supplementary shopping I may need to do
- decide when I will exercise and what I will do (for the 6 days a week we have to do exercise of some sort)
- identify milestones for the 4 week; 8 week; and 12 week marks.
Commitments and red flags
As I mentioned last round, I am pretty much in control of my own little universe and surrounded by supportive family and friends, so commitments and road blocks aren’t a big issue for me. Events can be planned around my needs and those around me are encouraging and sympathetic. Having said that, I haven’t coped well with stress recently (as per my recent resilience post) and some of that may continue over coming weeks. In addition, because I feel I need a bit of time out I ‘may’ take a week off sometime soon, which could cause me some problems (after all, holidays are usually for binge-eating!).
Grocery shopping and menu planning
Last round I’d decided to use online shopping rather than venture into grocery stores, which are prone to tempt me with all sort of evil goodies. As it happened however, I didn’t get around to ordering online. But rather than be tempted to buy shit I shouldn’t, my biggest problem was getting motivated to go shopping at all. I saved a fair bit of money, not buying extraneous crap every time I went shopping, but I also had to buy a lot of stuff at the corner store, as I was constantly running out of eggs and such. So, I might re-activate the online ordering plan. I know I can set up a regular order and that should also help me in being a bit more imaginative with my menu planning. I’d vowed first round to cook more stir fries (thereby increasing my vegetable intake) but wasn’t adventurous at all. In fact, many a night I was too bothered to cook and ended up eating scrambled eggs. (Hence the constant running-out-of-eggs issue!)
The other thing I really need to focus on in terms of planning my menus and shopping lists are my work lunches. I have survived on containers of gluten-free soup (daily) for the past four or so months. Not only are the soups low in calories (between 146 – 188 calories) but they are an easy option for a lug like me. Other than remembering to buy the bloody things, all I have to do is lug them to work, take off the lid and put them into the microwave. However… winter has just ended here in Oz and, along with my flannelette pyjamas and sheets, I think my daily soup may need to be shelved for a while. I’m not a big consumer of salads (given that they usually involve green leafy stuff) but I’m thinking I could probably find some recipes for chickpea or kidney bean-based ones, or prepare daily grass-less salads of some sort.
I’m in a MUCH better place than I was this time last round. Last time I was hoping that my 20-30 minute exercise bike-rides would suffice as my cardiovascular exercise and pilates as my strength training; but having joined a gym I’m now attending Zumba and dance classes, along with Body pump-type classes. At the moment three lunchtime classes a week feel ‘doable’ although I need to have some flexibility in my program because I won’t always be able to get out at lunch. I’ve been given a ‘program’ at the gym, which is mostly strength-training related and so those days I cannot attend a Pump class I can always just do my own program. Similarly, if I can’t make a fitness class I can try to return to my Couch to 5km (learn to run) program on the gym treadmills after work AND I have re-hired my exercise bike, which will allow me to do my 30 minute interval training program at home when all else fails.
I’ll also aim to attend some of the bootcamps and boxing classes with other program participants that I enjoyed last round. I may not commit to going every week given that I’m getting my fitness sessions in at other times, but I like the idea of having some variety. Boredom is my exercise enemy.
Last round I’d assumed the milestones were achievements in themselves (ie. losing 5kg), although I now understand that they are challenges, not achievements – although of course… completion of the challenge itself is an achievement… ugh, too confusing. And, as it happens, I still can’t quite get my head around the milestones. I know that many on the program last time climbed mountains, ran marathons and negotiated for peace in the Middle East (okay, so maybe not that last one). But in many ways the fact that I’m exercising at all is a big bloody milestone for me, so I haven’t previously been overly ambitious and or set specific challenges I want to achieve. I think I might play this one by ear and as each month-end approaches, I’ll identify something I’d like to do which might give me a sense of accomplishment.
The fact that I cannot come up with some physical challenges is interesting to me. Is it my fear of failure? Is it the fact that there are no physical hurdles I’d like to overcome? Or, do I not care that much? I have to admit it feels a bit like the latter; although perhaps I am SO unaccustomed to not-achieving great things I’ve forgotten what the rush you feel after is actually like.
But other than the milestones I have a plan in place. And although I’m sure it’s not perfect, it’s better than nothing!* A goal without a plan is just a wish. (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)