Yesterday, I took the time to organize my weight loss plan and goals. This is where the resources on sparkpeople really come in handy: I know how to lose weight, eat less calories than what your body burns, but it's only one very small part of the puzzle. Motivation and having your goals clearly defined are two other pieces. So, I sat down and wrote some short term AND long term goals, as well as a rewards system. [I've had people tell me that object rewards aren't proper motivators because we already have too much stuff. Speak for yourself, this girl who's been unemployed for half a year and under-employed for the two years before that DOESN'T have a lot of "stuff" and certainly doesn't object to rewarding herself with something she's earned.] I also went around the house and put up a bunch of motivators. Ready for some pictures? Okay.

First off: pictures of family members, on my bureau. My family is plagued with health problems, on both sides. My father, that handsome man in the white navy uniform, was morbidly obese my entire life [this picture was taken years before I was born], something that played a huge factor in developing and dying from breast cancer. His sister, one of my favourite relatives, has a so far benign breast lump and has been struggling to lose weight to improve her chances of staying healthy. Our family carries the BRCA2 gene [no clue if i have it, yay lack of health insurance!], and being overweight increases our chances of developing breast cancer by something like 4O%. I don't want breast cancer. That's pretty much my main motivation for losing weight.

In the small picture beneath my dad is my mom's family: her parents and brothers [no clue why she wasn't in this picture, hmmm]. My grandmother had diabetes, and complications from that caused her to lose both her legs when I was young. She also had a host of other health problems like heart disease. My grandfather is pretty much the sole exception to unhealthy behavior in my family: he stayed fit and active his entire life, barely slowing down for old age. He died a couple years ago at the age of 89, not from heart problems or anything, just from being old. Until he died, he was still walking to the grocery store and living alone in his house [my house, now], perfectly fine. He died peacefully in his sleep. That's how I want to go, at a ripe old age, not prematurely like his wife.

In the dining room, right next to where I start my day with a healthy breakfast, is a calendar where I cross off every day I exercise [I started to write down exactly what I did every day but that got boring and besides, it was unnecessary since everything's logged onto sparkpeople]. This visual is extremely helpful for me: with really bad ADD and no job to keep me aware, I tend to lose track of the days and weeks. If I don't cross off every day I exercise, I will honestly think, "Oh, I just didn't exercise yesterday, that's not too bad" but in actuality, it's been three weeks. [This has actually happened before. I have literally no grip on the flow of time unless I try really hard.] Plus, it's satisfying to look back on a month and see how hard I worked!

On the dining room table is a lovely centerpiece of oranges [or other various fruit], enticing me to both eat healthy and sit down at the table to eat. This tactic must be working: I took this picture about 24 hours ago and now there's only one orange left, plus I ate all three meals at the table yesterday! Also, hey, there's my bike, waiting for the winter to go away so we can explore the bike path.

One more picture from the dining room: my ice skates. Not only are they a great motivator for me, they also make a great decoration! [They'd probably be ~prettier~ if i took off the skate guards but oh well.] I've been ice skating for as long as I can remember. I had dreams of being a professional figure skater but I didn't have the patience for ballet [and nobody told me that I absolutely had to be good at ballet to be a figure skater... I was four, okay?], so I briefly turned to speed skating and now only skate as a hobby. Still, I've kept up with it all these years, living in Chicago was great for that because they had tons of outdoor rinks during the winter that were free as long as you didn't have to rent skates. So, while I was in grad school or working downtown, I went skating about once a week during the winter. This winter, however, I had to entirely pass the season by. I attempted to go skating once with my sister but I was, unbeknownst at the time, suffering from a protein deficiency that caused a *really* intense pain in my lower leg. So in two hours, I only got maybe a half hour of skating in because I could only skate a couple laps before having to get off and rest my leg [it got worse in a few weeks, to the point where i couldn't walk half a block, but I'm recovered now!]. Anyway, it was sad to see the entire season pass me by, and I'm determined to not let that happen again. By next winter, I'll be ready for skating. And, my 5O pounds lost goal is to buy a new pair of skates, because these are getting old and need to be replaced.

And now we come to the clothes part of the motivators. those goals were all about getting my health back; these are more about the "looking good" part of losing weight. Hey, I can be shallow at times!

I have a goal to fit into this dress, nicely, by September 21st [my brother's wedding]. It's a high goal, to do so I'd have to lose an average of 2 pounds a week, but I'm at least aiming for it. I first wore this dress in winter of 2OO5, to a friend's wedding, when I was around 16O pounds, which is a lot of weight to lose in 6 months or so. And hey, I might find another dress to wear that's even better! But at least it's giving me something to work towards.

Jeans! Okay, these are my "goal weight" jeans. They're a size four and to fit into them, I have to lose 12 inches in my hips. JUST my hips, I don't know about my thighs and anything else. Anyway, they fit very comfortably when I was 135 pounds [yay tiny frame and absolutely no hips whatsoever to speak of!]. I've been dragging them around the country for years because I'm stubborn. It's time to fit back into them. Well, it's not time yet, but you know what I mean.

And finally, a bikini. Because, like I said, I can be shallow too. I want to wear this again and look good. I don't care if people can see my stretch marks or scars [I have lots of other more noticeable scars that people never comment on as is, so I'm okay with visible scars]. I want to wear this for me. [Sadly, I lost the top to the really adorable blue with white polka dots bikini I have... but maybe I'll find something to go with it by next summer.]

Okay, now that I've spent two hours writing up all this, time to list my goals!

SHORT-TERM GOALS, for the next two months
-build up exercise to 2 hours of cardio at a time
-be able to run 5k
-work up to 15 pound kettlebell
-get heels to touch the floor during downward facing dog
-buy pair of jeans i feel comfortable in/don't muffin top out of [i only wear skirts/dresses because i feel REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE in jeans since i started gaining weight, but hopefully things will change with the numbers finally going down]

-weigh 135
-fit back into size 4/6 jeans
-run a 1Ok
-complete a cycling tour

5: new sneakers
11 [5%]: charm bracelet
2O: charm
22 [1O%]: heart rate monitor
3O: charm
4O: charm
5O: new ice skates
6O: charm
7O: charm
75: new bike
8O: charm
86 [goal]: brand new outfit

One of the things I found while browsing sparkpeople was that a lot of people have a charm bracelet for their weight loss, they start out with the simple chain and just one charm and then add a charm every time they reach a certain weight/make a big accomplishment. I LOVE this idea, especially since it's really cheap. Even if I lose a pound a week, every week, it'll take me a couple months to lose ten pounds every time. That's more than enough time to save up a few dollars for a charm.

The bracelet also works as an anchor, which I need. I had a necklace that I got for my 1O% in WW and loved it, and I used it as my anchor. I wore it every day and I could hold it whenever I felt tempted, or started to slip, or whatever. I eventually stopped wearing it... and now it's been lost for years. But anyway, I need a new anchor. The charm bracelet will be a great one.

I've been wanting a new bike for a while [I love my bike, but it's not really suited to Rhode Island. It was much more suited to commuting in Chicago!], and getting a new bike is a perfect way to celebrate 75 pounds gone. Plus, that gives me plenty of time to save up for one.

Goal weight reward is pretty obvious: by then, I'll need new clothes. Probably not a lot of new clothes, since I have most of my old clothes still from when I was at goal before [yes, I've been lugging about ten pairs of size four jeans all over the country for the last five years. I'm stubborn okay?], but one new, moderately expensive outfit would be nice. I'll most likely supplement my wardrobe up until that point solely with thrift store clothes [with the exception of, um, bras and underwear]. And I love thrift store finds, but sometimes it's just nice to have something brand new. So that's my goal reward.