So, you might remember that towards the beginning of 2012, I had set two goals for myself, one to be more consistent in my scripture study, and the other to exercise more consistently and eat better.
I wasn't all that concerned with the scripture study goal, to be honest. I mean, I knew I could pull that one off, it was just a matter of scheduling and time management, and the fact is, I'm pretty good at setting aside/finding time for those things that are real priorities in my life.
The physical health one was a little more daunting to me. I've found that over the past few years, my sweet tooth (always an issue with me) has become a more and more present part of my life, and although I don't care to admit it, the fact is that I find myself thinking about food, and specifically higher-calorie/less nutritious food far more often than used to be the case in my slightly younger years.
So, I was daunted. Fortunately, through some thought, some counsel, some prayer, and some answers to prayer, I eventually came to a plan of sorts, which was simply that I would:
1) Be open to trying new things (though nothing along the lines of take this magic medicine for three weeks and all your troubles will be over with no work on your part at all!)
2) Reward myself for accomplishments, both big and small
3) Keep Heavenly Father (my very best coach and cheerleader) a part of it all through prayer--and not just prayer when everything is peaches and roses.
And so it was that, at the beginning of the summer, when Heidi invited me to join her in a fitness challenge hosted by one of her friends, that I signed up (even though I never do that kind of thing). It was $10, eight weeks, and pretty closely followed the guidelines here, where you give yourself so many points for things like drinking lots of water and eating vegetables and food journaling and not eating late in the evening and pounds lost and (and this was the kicker for me) only eating sugary sweets one time a week. At the end of the challenge whoever has the most points gets all the money. I did it gung-ho in the beginning, and half-heartedly towards the end, and had some marginally successful results.
Then, about a month after the first eight-week challenge, Heidi organized another one, one which was also very similar to the first, with a few modifications. This time I joined again, and I decided that I was going to be in it to WIN it! I figured that I could endure anything for eight weeks, and that I wanted to really try it out and see what kind of results I'd see if I really dedicated myself to change. As it turned out, I came in second place (by a nose), but more importantly, I lost twelve pounds! Woo-hoo!
Soooo, all that background brings me to this: After Heidi's challenge was over, I had a harder time sticking with my new habits than I had planned on, and I gained back five of those twelve pounds (I've since lost three of them, but more on that later). A few weeks ago I decided that I would do a challenge of sorts, but that I would modify the original one considerably, my goal being something that I felt like I could reasonably do for the rest of my life. Such a challenge would need to be something that was easy for me to remember, doable, and effective. This is what I came up with:
(I call this my "wedge 9" plan (or WWEJ9 plan)--just because it's easier for me to remember them all that way)
5 points for Weighing myself once per week and ONLY once per week
5 points for only buying or making surgary treats once per Week - (but I can eat them when I want--with the knowledge that I'm going to need to be moderate about that if I want to have the health that I say that I want to have.)
5 points per day for Exercising for 45 minutes or more -- 5 days per week
5 points per day for keeping a food Journal -- 6 days per week (I use My Fitness Pal, and love it.)
5 points per day for not eating anything after 9 p.m.--7 days per week
I've been living this for two weeks (I have it all in a spreadsheet of course), and so far, I'm feeling good about it all.
However, the most important motivational aspect of all of this for me is the reward. See, I went through all the points that are possible (there are 125 per week), and determined that if I can amass 1,600 points by March 3 (which is just 25 points shy of a perfect score), then I am going to reward myself by taking $200 and spending it on new clothes just for me. (I've started saving for this already--I figure if I don't meet the goal, I'll take the money and put it in Heather's college fund, or pay down our mortgage or something boring and responsible like that.)
If I don't meet my goal by the 3rd of March, then I can still get the money, but for every day that it takes me to get to 1,600 I'll lose either $5-10 (I haven't decided the exact number yet.) I'm hoping that this will keep me from completely throwing in the towel if I find that I have a bad week somewhere along the line.
So anyway, so far this is working for me. I've lost three pounds, I feel more in control, and for the moment, I'm pleased with how it's all going. In light of that, it occurs to me that just as I was helped by being able to join with Heidi's friends at the beginning of the summer, so might there be others who would be helped by being able to join with me now.
Hence . . .
Here's the invitation: Would you like to join me in this method? Would you be interested in a little friendly competition along these lines? Are you struggling fitness-wise and wanting a little extra motivation? If so, e-mail me, facebook me, comment here, call me, or run me down in real life and say so, and I'll tweak this into something that we can play at for a bit. I'm thinking six to eight weeks, $5 to $10, winner takes the cash. We'd do it on-line, probably via e-mail and google docs, so if you aren't in Cache Valley, don't let that stop you.
Let me know, will ya? In the meantime, I'm over here sitting pretty at 120 points (I had a practice week before I started keeping track in earnest), and feeling pretty good about myself. It's a nice feeling, one I could get used to, truth be told.
image courtesy of KP_Sonny