Monday, January 4, 2010

What Will You Promise Yourself in 2010?

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the last time I joined Weight Watchers. I can’t even tell you how many times I have signed up for that program. 15? 20? 30? I first joined in 1995 when I weighed 192 pounds. Since then, I’ve tried its meetings, the online version and doing it on my own. I’ve tried other diets but always came back to WW because it seemed the most livable one out there. My highest joining weight was in the 220s in 2000, and the lowest weight I’ve ever reached on that program was in the high 170s – though that was in the 90’s.

At the beginning of January 2009, I once again was evaluating my past year and setting goals for the New Year. This is what I wrote in my journal about health and fitness in 2008:

January 6, 2009

2008 was a horrible year for diet & exercise. I probably averaged about $50 per visit to Gold’s Gym I went so infrequently. I did join WW the last week in October and purchased 10 pre-paid coupons for meetings. I lost them in the 3rd or 4th week and was – at best – maintaining after losing 5 pounds and frustrated with paying twice to weigh in and attend meetings, so I stopped going in early Dec. I did rejoin today and bought the monthly pass. I weighed 215.4 – 2 pounds or so more than 10/08 but less than my highest ever – 220s in TX. If I didn’t walk so much for my commute, I’d weigh 300 pounds. I may be too skinny for the biggest loser but not by much. But, I haven’t given up. I joined WW (again). I have read that folks who successfully drop a lot of weight do so after failing many times. Perhaps it’s my time to succeed. One of my goals for the year is to stay in WW the whole year and make 45 – 50 meetings. I also vow to go to the gym at least 100 times in 2009.

I promised myself that I would give it my all in 2009 to achieve my health and fitness goals and spent time figuring out what “my all” would entail. At the beginning of 2009, I reflected on what had worked for me in my past attempts at weight loss, what hadn’t, and why I always quit trying. I used that information to set my two basic goals of attending WW meetings and working out and did my best to stick to them. It was never easy, but it did get easier.

During eighteen of the 52 weeks in 2009, I gained weight. Whenever I was in a stretch where I was really struggling to lose weight and keep my promise to myself, I considered if I had to expand my meaning of “giving it my all” instead of thinking about whether I should quit. Sometimes, I increased my exercise. Sometimes I ate more to see if I needed additional “fuel” for my work outs, and other times I ate less. In August, I started blogging at Healthy Writer to find an outlet to work out more of my thoughts and emotions about this journey. No matter what, I was determined not to break my promise to myself.

That promise expired with the end of 2009, and I am so happy with what I’ve been able to accomplish in terms of health and fitness. I used to think that losing 20 pounds and reaching size 14 was an impossible goal. Imagine my joy with the fact that I’ve lost around 30 pounds and wear a size 12. There’s no way I’m stopping now. I have made the same health and fitness promise to myself in 2010. In fact, I took it further. I now think of January 6, 2009, as the last time I joined Weight Watchers because I fully intend to reach my goal weight (somewhere in the healthy BMI zone for my height) and become a “lifetime” member of WW. At that point, I plan to keep up my new lifestyle for the rest of my days on earth. I love how it has improved every aspect of my life.

There was great power in the promise I made myself last year. What will you promise yourself in 2010?

Photos: The top and bottom photos are "after" ones from late Dec. 2009 in Connecticut. The two middle photos are "before" and were taken in Ireland in late Dec. 2008. The other woman pictured is my sister Jennifer.


Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on January 4, 2010 at 8:56 AM said...

Michelle, this is such a wonderful post, so inspiring for the new year and everyone who is recommitting themselves to the health/fitness effort. Pictures really are worth a thousand words, but your combination of words and photos is awesome. I love the suit you're wearing in the last photo, and you look great and happy.

My promise to myself in 2010 is to hit my goal weight, hopefully by my birthday at the end of May but at least by the RWA Conference in July, which will be a year after I started Healthy Writer. I aim to exercise at least 1 hour a day, but I'm shooting for 2 hours on days when that is at all possible. I'm combining these goals with some ambitious writing goals so I hope I have a great sense of accomplishment at the end of 2010.

snickers on January 4, 2010 at 10:19 AM said...

You look terrific Michelle! What's more important is that you feel terrific. Healthy from the inside-out:) This is a very inspiring post. Thanks!

Nancy E. Gibson

Michelle Butler on January 4, 2010 at 11:50 AM said...

Thanks, Trish and Nancy!

Best wishes for your goals, Trish! I hope you do have a great sense of accomplishment a year from now.

Debra Key Newhouse on January 4, 2010 at 12:20 PM said...

That is absolutely awesome Michelle! What a motivation for me to see how hard you worked and all you have accomplished. So inspiring. Congratulations on accomplishing your 2009 goals. I look forward to following you throughout 2010! Follow my new blogspot to help myself and others reach their goals. I'm using my writer's name, Debra McGill http://debramcgill.

Michelle Butler on January 4, 2010 at 2:14 PM said...

Thanks, Debra! I'm so glad to pass the motivation on. Losing weight - when you have a lot to lose - is very hard, but it is possible.

Elise Hayes on January 4, 2010 at 4:41 PM said...

Congratulations on your 2009 successes, Michelle! Whoo-hoo!! And you now have great momentum to carry you forward into 2010. I'm cheering from the sidelines. Rah, rah, rah!

My goals for 2010? Hmm...I have two writing goals. At the level of craft, I plan to keep focus on my characters and their emotions (I'm a plot girl, so fully-rounded characters who can articulate their emotions in non-cliche ways do NOT come naturally to me--but I'm getting better).

At the level of process, I plan to continue proving to myself that I can write a book, start to finish, in about 9 months. That gives me through April to get the current manuscript--currently in first-draft form--revised and polished. It feels like an ambitious goal, but I gotta try!

Tawny on January 4, 2010 at 7:05 PM said...

Michelle, you are such an inspiration.

I have a question -have you tried the core weight watchers program? I've had little progress with the point program and am wondering if I'd be better off continuing on my own, or if I should try core.

As for 2010 goals? Write my tushie off *g* I have three books due this year, one out this month and two out later to promote. To balance that I want to finally win the battle I've been fighting since I started writing, which is to lose the weight sitting for hours at a time and stressing has given me. Lose it, and keep it off!!!

Michelle Butler on January 4, 2010 at 7:42 PM said...

Thanks, Elise!! I've really appreciated all your help and support.

Your two writing goals are great, and I know you can do it. :) Let me know if I can help in any way.

Michelle Butler on January 4, 2010 at 7:53 PM said...

Thanks, Tawny!

I've dabbled with the Weight Watchers Fat and Fiber program, a mid to late 90's precursor to the core program I think. You were supposed to eat so many grams of fat and fiber in a day. I have a problem with portion control, so I was not always successful. That's made me wary of the core program. I do try to eat a lot of the core foods though because they are more filling. I just still count points. I also use some of the supplemental points or activity points. Once you start working out a lot, there's a real art to balancing the food intake and activity points - one i haven't always mastered.

There are people in my group who have done real well with the core program. One guy feels very strongly that counting/tracking every day is just not something he is willing to do for the rest of his life so he has to find something that will work for him - and core does. Perhaps people who have done core are reading this blog and can share pointers?

Are you going to WW meetings or doing online? Honestly, the most helpful part of WW for me is not really the nutritional information/points, etc. - it's going to the meetings. Getting weighed each week (the accountability factor) is helpful, but it's much more about the support, advice and outlet to get my fattitude adjusted as Marie mentioned on this blog once. It's a great place to work out food issues and hear how others are doing it. If the WW fee is offputting, two cheaper alternatives are overeaters anonymous or tops (taking off pounds sensibly). I've been able to make the time and location of WW really work for me and my schedule, so I'm sticking with it even though it does cost a bit.

Another thing to think about may be who will you find the most supportive. When I first started to go to WW, I had gained weight in college and was pretty young. I felt like the other members didn't get me - they were all about having gained weight having kids - even if they had last given birth decades ago. You may want to bounce around until you find a group that you get and gets you.

Best of luck with your writing goals! I need to be ambitious and determined with those this year as well.

Theresa Ragan on January 5, 2010 at 10:43 AM said...

Congratulations, Michelle. Love this post. You look amazing! I'm going for adventure and fun in 2010 while also exercising and eating healthy. I ate too much over the holidays so I really need to get busy on the treadmill.

Michelle Butler on January 5, 2010 at 11:05 AM said...

Thanks, Theresa! Adventure and fun sound like great goals for 2010. :)

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