Thursday, May 23, 2013

Goals for the New Year...revisited

Live in Earth’s northern hemisphere? Summer’s (almost) here, and the time is right, for reviewing your fitness goals dancing in the your finest beach wear, right?

In my naively optimistic New Year’s resolution post, I included some tips from various sites in the blogosphere to help us all try to achieve our New Year’s fitness goals (aka resolutions). Eating and exercise resolutions are broken far more than they are followed, so how about a mid-year review?

In researching the New Year’s post and related posts on overcoming I-can’t-exercise excuses, I came across some seemingly helpful tips for actually following through with food-related New Year's resolutions:

•   Set a realistic and specific goal (willpower is a limited resource!).

•   Make a plan (track your patterns & prep for how to change them) with small discrete steps to achieve it.

•   Write it down (apparently, this little investment leads to higher success rates).

•   Rearrange your environment (Sue, keep the ice cream out of the house!).

•   Involve a friend (it helps to be accountable to someone).

•   Urge surfing (I loved this idea -- intense urges and cravings tend to last between 2-4 minutes, so if you can just "surf it" (go with the craving wave without going into it), within 2-3 minutes, it passes.

Now that it’s nearly June, I’m still liking the first few but far less sure of that last one!

Yes, it makes sense, but reality and theory sometimes disagree. Those food craving moments haven’t disappeared, so I’ve chewed a lot of sugarfree gum with the hopes of forgetting about that desire for the “special occasion” dark chocolate sitting in the back of my freezer (I live in Bangkok, so meltable foods live in the fridge or freezer). It sometimes works.

I’ve always been pretty athletic, so I didn’t even make exercise goals for 2013. Husband and I regularly meet up with other Bangkok Runners, and we’ve both ramped up our mileage and had a lot of fun doing so! Even when the group is just 5 people at 6am on a Tuesday, it’s usually an enthusiastic one.

Eating is a different story (for me!)

My own (very moderate) goals for 2013 were to:

1. eat portions that are appropriate for my weight, height, age, and activity level (i.e. similar to those other active women!), and

2. eat a (sweet) dessert no more than 3 days/week.

Progress to date:  Variable.

1. Portions: Although my diet is usually vegetarian – fruits, veggies, rice or pasta or bread (or all 3!), some dairy, and nuts – 2000 calories of these are still 2000 calories. And then there are days that, because I’ve been working from home, breakfast carries on for several dishes, basically until lunch.
Not so good on that one.

2. Sweets: There are days when that “rearrange your environment” strategy saves my bacon, so to speak. I don’t eat sweets if they aren’t near me. If there IS chocolate or ice cream in the freezer, sometimes I can avoid eating them (see the gum strategy above, or drinking tea).

And some days, a couple of squares of dark chocolate suffice for dessert. But some days, they don’t, and I end up eating more for dessert than for dinner. I’ll have a piece of fruit. Then a small yogurt. Then some tea. With milk and sugar. Then a cookie, to go with the tea. Then some chocolate, because the cookie was one of those bland English tea biscuits or whole wheat thing. Then another piece. Then...

images: Vitamin-Ha

So my goal of a sweet dessert no more than 3 times per week hasn't gone off the rails entirely, it's being replaced by a sequence of substitute foods, which are probably better for me, but still add on the calories if/when I have too much, it might be more 4-5 days most weeks, if you include that whole sequence of better-than-ice-cream foods! Sigh. If this sounds somewhat weak and pathetic, it feels that way to me too!

How about any of you? Did you make New Year's resolutions? Have you kept some, or all, of them? Broken some? Readjusted them?

I’ve kept a log of what I eat for the last 16 months (it’s actually been fun, since I don’t record the amount eaten unless it’s really big or small), and writing this post and thinking about this has made me realize I’ve forgotten many of the tips from my own blog post from oh-so-many-months-ago.

It's time to review them!

You should have a look too, as it includes just some of the heaps of institutions and motivated people with great information on their web sites. Some are funny, some serious, and some will click with your particular workout or eating style.

You can start here!

My original New Year’s resolution post, with various links throughout – I was learning too!

The very realistic personal fitness schedule and eating plan of Josie at YumYucky.

An older but humorous take at Runs With Blisters on fitness resolutions and their tendency to be broken.

Back in December, these are among several sites I found aimed to help make resolutions stick: These 5 business tricks at Time magazine are also applicable to fitness resolutions.

Don’t go back for seconds or thirds unless you’re going back for the veggies (at Margarita Stewart's blog).

This fun "New Year’s Resolution Survival Guide" at SparkPeople has resources to help you keep your motivation regarding fitness and health. A more recent article here on when and how to get serious about weight loss looks like it might help if you’ve tried and lost motivation.

Several other simple ideas for making a tough 10 New Year's resolutions work, fromCare2.

Finally, how to make resolutions stick, from an interview with an expert on change.

Good luck!


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