2012 goals; 2011 accomplishments

Long time, no blog! I know, I know… but I have good reasons! XD Let’s just say that my professional writing career has made significant strides in the last month.¬† Plus I learned to knit. XD More on the proffi writing very soon, but for now, I thought I’d kick off the New Year — which looks like it will be epic! — with a review of 2011.

My main takeaway from 2011? I took up fitness and exercise and I STUCK TO IT ALL YEAR. This is, by far, one of the greatest accomplishment I’ve had in a single year in… forever? It’s huge, y’all. From January to May, it was running consistently, and since May, it’s been Slimmons three times a week. Vacations and life bumps like getting sick have taken me away from Slimmons for small periods of time, but I always went back (do you know how hard it is to drag yourself back to 45 minutes of high-impact cardio after a ten day vacay?). I am super proud of myself!

I also gained a LOT of body confidence in 2011, in large part due to exercise, but also because of this blog. I don’t know why or how, but I’ve… deprogrammed myself from a lifetime of fat shame, body hate and food guilt. I mean, not *completely*, but I simply have no patience for it anymore. Yeah, it means I don’t monitor my eating as closely as before (ie: I don’t “diet” b/c I’m not trying to “lose weight”), as fitness, health and NOT dieting has become my focus, but my newfound sanity about my body has made my eating a lot better. I don’t HAVE to dive into a box of cookies because they’re not forbidden… and I can have one or two and walk away. It’s lovely.

And friends! I’ve made so many friends! Honestly, part of the reason I’ve been terrible about blogging is that I get Heidi, Patty, Alyssa and Laura all to myself in real life, and talk about bloggy topics ad naseum in person and then forget to blog them. Whoops!

So what’s ahead in 2012? My primary goal has nothing to do with health/fitness or my weight, and is already underway — career success in 2012! But relative to The Curvy Nerd? I’d like to continue my fitness routine, and then step it up. My body is now used to Richard three times a week, and I think I need to add a day (I love some of the other classes at Slimmons but the sked is the thing!), or another activity (maybe running again), in order to challenge my body more. I’ve seen a lot of positive physical changes in my arms, legs and torso… but my hips and stomach are persistently the same. Sigh.

I’m not setting a weight specific goal right *now* but that doesn’t mean I won’t later in the year. I know that sounds odd, or like a cheat. But every single year I’ve set a goal tied to a number, wouldn’t achieve it and would be so bummed out, that it wouldn’t matter if I did accomplish other things (like fitness). This year I’d rather not do that.

Well, I don’t want to set a WEIGHT number goal. I do have a clothing size number goal in mind: I’d like to kiss size 16 ANYTHING goodbye (I’m a 14/16) and make serious headway to getting into a size 12. This translates to losing at least 6 inches in my hips (since I’m a 16 down below exclusively!), so my “stepping up my fitness goal” becomes key. Obviously some weight loss will come with that. But I’m not going to say “I will lose 30 pounds!” and then beat myself up/have other people judge if I don’t get there. The thing about clothing size goals, is you can lose 10 lbs but exercise like a mofo and lose far more inches than your weight loss may reflect. Or, you can lose 30 lbs but not do ANY toning and achieve the same thing. I’d rather focus on fitness and toning to achieve body goals in 2012.

ALSO: I need to blog more. Seriously.

Enough about me! What are YOUR goals for 2012? Are they weight based? Fitness? Career? Something else?

A New Measure of Success – Body Fat Percentage!

I finally decided to splurge on a fun new toy — and a new way to measure my success. You know what’s more important to me than pounds lost? Fat converted to muscle. Who cares how much I weigh if I still have a ton of fat all over?

So I bought an Omron Body Fat Loss Monitor, for $27 on Amazon. This nifty device, which I’d seen previously at the gym, tells you what percentage of your body is fat. It also measures BMI. How does it work? You program in your details — height, weight, age, gender and body type (“normal” vs. athletic) — then hold the device at a 90 degree angle to your body for about 30 seconds. A gentle, micro-electric current runs through your body and, bam! You get your percent of body fat, as well as your BMI.

I’d like to start tracking my body fat percentage, to be sure I am developing lean muscle, and to get my body fat into the ideal range for women.

I must confess that I was a little disappointed in my initial body fat percentage. I know I had the same measured approximately one year ago in Boston, and I recall it being approximately the same. It might have been one or two percentage points higher, but essentially, it’s higher than I’d like.

So as of yesterday, I have a body fat percentage of 35.2%.

This is considered high for women my age, but at least it’s not very high. The ideal/normal range for women aged 20-39 is 21-32.9%. It could be FAR worse, but I’m still frustrated — there are fat deposits all over my body that I need to work on converting to lean muscle.

My goal for 2011: get my body fat percentage down 1-2%. The hard part? Actually figuring out how to do that! I’ll be blogging about some of my attempts, which include being very careful about what I eat before/after workouts, in an effort to build lean muscle.

If you have experience with this and have tips — please speak up! I’m reading a book on hormones, food & weight that is giving me ideas, and I also bought protein powder for before/after intense cardio workouts.

FMM: A Letter to my Future Self

I actually suggested this week’s Friend Makin’ Monday, as this was something I was already planning to do for myself. You know on The Biggest Loser where the final four watch videos their “fat selves” recorded at the beginning of the show with messages to themselves? I want to do that for myself, but instead of telling myself how beautiful and better I will be, I want to say something positive, supportive and not-self hating. No offense to The Biggest Loser, but the before vids are usually chock full of self-hate and lots of crying. No crying here. THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!

Anyway! Here goes.


Dear Alexa,

Congratulations! I’m going to assume if you are going back and reading this that you have achieved your goal — whatever that goal (or goals!) may be. As you know, we (is the royal we weird here, in this context?) decided to stop focusing on hard-line numbers so much and take this journey one step at a time. I have no idea what you might weigh, all I know is that you are feeling good. Do I hope you have reached the general goal of weighing 180? Certainly. But what’s more important to me is that you’ve kept your fitness up, missy.

The fun part of these letters is me talking about me now, so that you can reflect, right? Well, here’s a mix of how I’m feeling, plus what I hope for myself:

  • No more back fat. It’s almost gone now, but you know how much I loathe back fat. I hope it’s conquered forever!
  • It’s very strange of me to imagine ever wearing something as bold as a bikini, but I kind of hope you give it a try. Maybe not in public, but, you know, just for kicks.
  • I want to be an active person. It makes me feel good when I do, but I am so supremely lazy, as you know. Maybe you’ve figured out the magic solution to make it work forever. I’m only a few months into it, so I’m not sure what the future holds. I kind of hope you’ve run — or will soon run – a half marathon. Pressure’s on, self!
  • For the love of God, I hope you’re dating. There, I said it.
  • I hope you’ve learned to eat Doritos in moderation. I miss Doritos. And Oreos. Not that we should eat either. Just saying — just having, like, ten Doritos and then stopping would be kind of amazing.
  • I am praying to the mainstream clothing store Gods that shopping is easier. Realistically, I know it’s probably not but I HAVE TO HAVE HOPE FOR A LESS ANNOYING FUTURE.

You’re always going to feel like a fat kid, which is a good thing. Hold that humility dear to your heart, and don’t get lost in thin privilege. It’s lovely to have, but don’t forget that you once felt like a total outcast, and that’s not ok. Fight the good fight, no matter what your size is.

You might be feeling pressure to get thinner. If I know you, you’re not “thin” by society’s standards — but you’re happy, just as you are. Screw them. Seriously: SCREW THEM. And then give a thin person a hug and tell her/him she’s awesome, any way she/he wants to be. Beauty ideals need to change. So does fat stigma.

Most of all, don’t have regrets. You generally don’t, which is a good thing, but I have a feeling that, once you get that thin privilege and start letting go a bit more, you might have a few regrets. I get it! It’s natural. Imagine college without the whole “thinking you’re fat” and mainlining everything at the dining hall buffet + 30 lbs of weight gain. Also with more partying (seriously, you were boring). But you can’t change the past, and frankly you’re going to live to be ridiculously old (thank you, good genes!), so just go all out on your 30s.

Speaking of, and if you’re single with no prospects of baby-making right now, you know I’m not trying to nag or make you feel bad (that’s what old, Southern neighbors are for!), embrace pregnancy weight! Don’t go crazy or anything — remember that time you found out that you *can’t* eat anything you want and gaining 50 lbs isn’t normal or healthy? Yeah — but if you gain some weight and it doesn’t come off with the baby, don’t panic! You’ve made a lifestyle change, which means keeping with that lifestyle will make it all work out. Plus you’ll probably be so distracted that you’ll forget to eat. Just don’t be That Pregnant Lady who gains no weight and totters around in stilettos. NO.

In conclusion, you’re awesome! You were awesome even when you were “fat,” but I’m glad you got healthy and a bit slimmer as a result. Now when you’re at Anthropologie, you’ll be annoyed by how ASS EXPENSIVE their clothes are and how, even though you “fit” into them, the clothes still don’t fit right because you’re tall and don’t have an “ideal” body type (ie: giant boobs & omnipresent hips). The more things change, the more they stay the same!


Alexa @ 27 & 218, August 2011

Setting goals

When I started this blog and this journey, my goals were pretty nebulous. My main goal was, you know, actually doing this.

Now I’m doing it! I’ve reached a bit of a milestone, in fact: I have filled up one entire WW booklet, with no sign of quitting or tapering off! I get a new book next week! I think it’s time to set some goals :)

  1. Reach 180 by the end of 2011/Q1 2012. Total weight loss goal: 53.8 pounds. 38.8 lbs to go.
  2. Get my body fat percentage into the healthy range for women. I am double-checking with my old trainer what mine was a year ago. I was in the overweight range — I think 35%?
  3. Lose inches in my hips & waist. 4-5 inches in my hips & 4-5 inches in my waist would make me a “true”/standard 14 and/or 12.
  4. Run a mile without stopping.
  5. Go down 1-2 cup sizes. I miss my C cup (real or not, ha).

I have some rigid, calendar-type motivation — a wedding in September! I’m not setting a specific weight or size for it, but I want to keep working at the pace I’ve been going, and look slamming in whatever dress I get! And it’s going to be a colorful dress. With cleavage. I may even wear heels! Egads!

Goals feel more real once we write them down, right? Anyone out there have goals they want to hit in 2011, or ones they’ve met and want to share?

Weekly Weigh-in: Week 19

*happy dance* What a week! Amazingness:

  • I lost 1.4 lbs
  • Hit the 15 pounds lost goal I was aiming for (now 15.6 total!)
  • Lost TWO inches in my “favorite” places — 1 inch from my waist and 1 inch from my hips!
  • Went to the gym TWICE, plus…
  • Went to Slimmons for the first time

Though it will probably sound like BS in light of the loss, honestly I went into my weigh in this week prepared to stay the same, only lose a little or even have a slight gain. After two gym sessions in a week (a first for me in a long time), I felt awesome, and that was more valuable than a loss. Buttttttt then everything came together all at once, and about that I cannot complain!

What I was particularly proud of this week was setting the goal of going to the gym twice and sticking to it. I was really good about stretching before and after, and not pushing myself during (give me the right song and I will sprint at a ridiculous, unrealistic pace). Pleasantly surprising: my legs weren’t sore AT ALL! That is a delightful first. (I can’t say the same about my abs, post-Slimmons though XD)

The twice-a-week gym goal was pointedly meant to work on my hips & waist, where I’ve not lost any inches since February. I expected it would take several weeks of work before I saw any results, so the 2 inch loss was a pleasant surprise. I’m going to stick with the routine through June and hope to get my hips back to a point where I’m a true 14 (when I’m not lying to myself, I’m a 16… and was an 18 in January).

What does a week without snacks look like?

I went grocery shopping last night, and about an hour after returning home, as I was half-way through my coconut curry bowl (yum), it occurred to me: I didn’t buy ANY snacks.

Houston, we have  a problem.

See, I am a snacker. In a bad way. I love anything crunchy & starchy – chips, crackers, rice cakes, poppadoms, pretzels, pita chips, popcorn, etc. I don’t eat “real” potato chips and haven’t since my first Weight Watchers stint in 1998 — save for short relapses in college and at my last job, I physically do not permit myself to pick up regular potato chips/snack foods (ie: Chex Mix, Bugles, Potato Skins), buy them and take them home. Why? Because I will eat the entire bag in one sitting. For the past few years, I’ve had special allowances — namely low-cal, baked snack foods from Trader Joes & (lately) Fresh & Easy — air popped, baked not fried — which I consume in batches throughout the week. I now snack like a semi-normal person, though I still eat more in one sitting than I’m sure is adviseable (sometimes 4-5 portions, or half a bag). But I don’t buy any bag that doesn’t have points I can’t handle, just in case I have a crazy binge…

But even that feels like cheating sometimes – I always have my “healthy” snacks around, but even those I tend to mindlessly eat. What would a week without baked chips, pretzels or cheese curls look like? Can I find other substitutes (whole wheat toast? carrots?) or could I learn to get through an evening without munch-crunching on something? Would a snack-free week show on the scale, or will the absence of my familiar friend lead to eating things I shouldn’t and a gain? Or maybe it would all be the same.

Maybe this is a SIGN. Perhaps my subconscious was telling me something? (or, more likely, my hand basket was really heavy and I wanted to put it down lol) I’m now on day four without a bag of snacky goodness in my house. Let’s see how long I can keep this up, and what a week without snacks (Saturday to Saturday) looks like…

(and if I do give in and buy some later in the week, I will forgive myself — I’m just curious to see how strong the impulse will be!)