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Day #3: Goal setting

Posted Jan 04 2010 1:55pm
Already, you can tell that my whole mission for the month of January is to open your eyes to reality that is health and fitness. You are not eating "healthy" just to lose weight. There is so much more to choosing an apple over a doughnut than just for the reason that doughnuts are fattening, bad for you and they will cause your butt to turn to fat (likely those are your words and not mine).
If you asked a healthy individual, who has maintained his/her healthy weight for the past 6 months, if he/she would instantly gain weight eating a doughnut, it is likely that he/she would say "of course not". Now, that person may feel that the doughnut is a trigger for other unhealthy choices but it is likely that the reality of eating 1 doughnut will not make your jeans suddenly "tight". People don't just maintain (or lose weight) by one day cutting back on calories and exercising a lot. People who live a healthy and active lifestyle look and feel a certain way because of the choices they make on a daily basis. I always like hearing from people "Marni, you are so healthy...do you ever just give in to junk food?"
If you are eating an apple and piece of cheese, 5 days a week, and you understand how to control your portions and calories through the rest of your weekly meals and snacks, than one doughnut will do nothing to your body. I have to be honest. Many health-conscious individuals (myself included), who truely see the value of food, in which it provides nutrients and fuel as opposed to a source of providing calories, fat and carbs which cause weight gain, are not afraid of food. When I say I don't eat doughnuts that is because I don't like the taste of them, nor what they provide (or do) to my body when I eat them. However, I will eat an occasional cookie, piece of chocolate candy or serving of chips because I do like the taste of those foods. Sure, they may be no healthier than the doughnut but if I choose to indulge, I will likely choose homemade cookies over a doughnut because I know I can stop eating after a small serving of cookies.
My lifestyle of being active started at a very young age. My brother and I had a Sega and that was only used when we traveled (my dad was way ahead of the times and we would travel with a small TV , VCR and Sega in the 80's and 90's for gymnastic and swim meets). We were so busy playing outside, going to practice (swim for me, gymnastics for my brother) and of course, finding time for my piano lessons and homework. Although I had a diet of cheese with everything and I could easily eat a box of cinnamon toast crunch or cheeze its in a day, we spent little time in front of the TV.
My mission to live a healthier and balanced life, through healthy eating AND exercise, is a work in progress. I have been a vegetarian since they age of somewhere around 11 or 12 but the "healthy" vegetarian didn't start until I was around 20 or 21 (I was always a picky eater and probably still need to learn to appreciate more foods...like cauliflower, beets and radishes). The "healthy" vegetarian, who trains and races in IM distance triathlons, didn't come together until about 3 years ago. As I continue with my education, I constantly find myself experimenting with new foods and training exercises/workout as nutrition or exercise-related research unfolds. So, along this journey that I call life (alongside being a life-long student and passionate athlete), I always find myself setting goals. I guess you could say that I am working towards one big long term goal of helping others with nutrition and exercise through my education, blog and writings. Although many of my goals are health and fitness related, I also have many short and long term goals involving my life with Karel...specifically, getting us a house one day soon. Campy could really use a big yard :)
I have spent a lot of time and money in my education in order to help others. You, my blog reader, are self-educated and rely on people like myself (and many other fabulous educated professionals out there) to provide you with the best tools and education to become healthy, fit and active. Therefore, tomorrow many not be the day that you suddenly know how to eat vegetarian and train for an IM. One week from today, you may still be wondering how you can stick to a workout routine and possibly train for (and actually run) a 5K race. While there may be a need to consult a trained professional to help you reach your short and long term goals (health, fitness, money, life-related), sometimes the first step is actually deciding how you are going to achieve those short and long term goals.
So, I ask you to read my latest IG article (from the FREE newsletter and BTW 2010 IG registration is open!) and answer the questions in the bottom of the article. Rather than answer them in your head, write them down on paper and post your answers on your bathroom mirror or fridge. Because many people resolve to lose weight or become more fit and active, this article will really come in handy as you work towards your short and long term goals. If you are a competitive triathlete, hoping to qualify for Kona or 70.3 world championships, ask yourself how you will reach your goals? If you are signed up for your first IM, short and long term goals will keep you focused and help prevent and injury or overtraining. If you are just getting into exercise, short term goals will get you to the gym on a daily basis if you tell yourself why it is important that you go to the gym. Rather than saying that you are going to be healthy and live a balanced life this year (my famous words), make your goals more clear and concise. As you write down your goals such as eating more fruits and veggies or replacing high fat foods for healthier fats, I hope that this article reminds you that life is all about balance. While an idea of a goal may seem practical in your head, it isn't until you take the steps to reaching that goal that you may find yourself second-guessing yourself along the way. However, there is absolutely no reason to give up on a goal, especially if it is practical, healthy, balanced and reasonable.

*after your read this blog post, I'd love to hear your short and/or long term goals.



Another Year, Another resolution

-Marni Sumbal, M.S., CISSN, ADA Adult weight management certified

The New Year is finally here - happy 2010! If you haven't already started, you are just in time to start planning for the upcoming year. Statistics show that a majority of people who enjoy the tradition of setting a New Year's resolution will have given up on said resolution by spring and some even by the end of January. It's quite clear that unrealistic resolutions are destined for failure, but without the right type of motivation and strategy, even the most realistic resolutions may leave you stressed, anxious and hopeless.

Year after year, the top resolutions set by Americans appear unchanged. With weight loss as the most notable New Year resolution, common resolutions include the topics of jobs, education, personality, smoking/drinking, family/friends, money, exercise, stress, happiness, adventure and volunteerism. While one person may desire to get more involved in the community or become more "green" at home, others set out to make more money, go back to school, stick to an exercise schedule or avoid fast foods. Regardless if you are the type of person who enjoys making a resolution or you feel that the New Year is a great time to start setting short-term and long-term goals, answer the following questions to ensure that you will have great success in 2010.

My short-term goals (6 months):
1)
2)
3)
My long-term goals (12+ months):
1)
2)
3)

Based on each of your short-term and long-term goals:
1) Evaluate your readiness for change
-Are you ready to change?
-Are you ready to commit to this new change?
-Are you confident in your ability to reach your goals?

2) Defining your goal/resolution
-Why are you setting this goal?
-What are the risks/benefits and pros/cons of your goal?
-What will change in your life if you reach your ultimate goal?
-What will change in your life as you attempt to reach this goal?
-Is this a short-term or long-term goal?
-Is this a realistic and specific goal?
-What is the importance of this goal?
-Do you have a plan of action in achieving this goal?

3) Motivating yourself
-Do you have a strong support group?
-Do you have the right resources to reach your goal?
-Are there any obstacles in your way to reaching your goals?
-How will you overcome barriers?
-What are your healthy rewards as you progress closer to your ultimate goal?

4) Achieving your goals
-How will you track progress?
-How will you maintain your enthusiasm for your goal if you being to experience failure?
-Are you sticking to a realistic timetable of reaching your goal?
-What will it mean to you if (when) you reach your goal?
-What will be the best tool to maintain your success?

No matter what mentality you have towards the New Year, goal setting can be very empowering. The ability to plan and execute a vision is a powerful process and with the right attitude and course of action, both short-term and long-term goals are within your reach. As you build self-confidence through goal setting, you will learn to create healthy habits of achieving even your most difficult meaningful goals and ambitions.
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