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November Goals

Earlier this month I made a list of goals for November that I wanted to accomplish. Just a refresher: each month I am going to try to set specific, measurable goals that I hope will help me attain my long term goals (which may or may not be measurable or specific). Here is how I did for November:

Long Term Goal: 15% Body fat or less

  • Finish the Lurong Living paleo challenge without any cheats

Verdict: Yes! It was tough, but I did all 9 weeks without a single cheat!

  • Exercise at least 4 days a week every week

Verdict: Yes! I did CrossFit 3x a week each week, and played basketball at least once a week (often twice) in addition to my CrossFit classes. I also had some floor hockey, football, and some running mixed in. I always took a rest day after 3 consecutive days of working out, but I did get at least 4 days of exercise in each week, even during the week of Thanksgiving.

Long Term Goal: Be able to do unassisted pull ups for all CrossFit workouts

  • Do 5 sets of 5 pull ups with a single red band once a week

Verdict: Nope. I did this once – the first week. The second week I consciously decided to do one unassisted pull up on the minute every minute for 12 minutes instead. Last week and this week I just didn’t do this (although this week I did do 45 pull ups with 2 red bands as part of a WOD).

  • Do at least one unassisted pull up 3 times a week

Verdict: No – but close. I did this the first two weeks, but I didn’t do it last week, and I only did 2 this week.

Long Term Goal: Be able to do handstand push ups

  • Practice hand stands twice a week

Verdict: Maybe? I know I did it my first two weeks, and I think I might have done it last week? I did it this week.

  • Ask a trainer how many sets and reps of shoulder presses I should do to work toward this

Verdict: Partial – I forgot my goal was a specific number of sets and reps for shoulder presses. Instead I asked a trainer about what I should do, to which they replied (wait for it. . .) shoulder presses! They also said I could start to work on doing handstand push ups where I use a few mats under my head so I don’t have to go as far to the ground, so that I can work toward it by actually doing them in a modified way.

Long Term Goal: Get better at sports

  • Find out what exercises would help improve my vertical

Verdict: No. Probably the easiest thing on my list this month too! Just ask someone a question. I guess I just forgot. . .

  • Practice dribbling a basketball once a week

Verdict: No. Apparently just dribbling a basketball for an extended period of time is both A) boring and B) hard to do when it gets dark out so quickly during the week. I also hate just dribbling a basketball in my driveway – I don’t need to give my neighbors any more reasons to label me as the weird guy (the double under challenge I did for 30 days already gives them enough to work with).

  • Research route running tips and tricks (football)

Verdict: No, oddly enough. Another relatively easy one that I just didn’t get to.

Long Term Goal: Be a better husband

  • Go on at least two dates during the month of November

Verdict: Yes! Probably my favorite goal this month :-). We actually had at least three “formal” dates this month.

  1. We had a nice dinner out at Roam Cafe earlier this month.
  2. We went and saw the Nutcracker at the RPO with two close friends this past weekend, and we went to Java’s for coffee beforehand.

    Meg and I at Java's before the Nutcracker

    Meg and I at Java’s before the Nutcracker

  3. We went to the Park Ave “Holiday Open House” last night where we walked around for a few hours and listened to Christmas carols, ate chesnuts, and visited some local small businesses (you can read more about it in Meg’s post yesterday).

This doesn’t include the little dates we’ve done this month, like me meeting her at work today to go “out to lunch” together at Garlock (the dining hall on campus where she works).

  • Find which love language of Meg’s that I am speaking the worst

Verdict: Yes. Gift giving.

  • Go on a long walk with Meg (and Stanley) once a week

Verdict: No. Apparently it gets dark earlier and it happens to be much colder in November. Who knew. . .

  • Don’t complain when picking out a Christmas tree

Verdict: Yes (I think?)

Long Term Goal: Exercise my mind

  • Read one book during the month of November

Verdict: No. I read six pages. Six.

Long Term Goal: Financial Wellness

  • Revise and update the budget

Verdict: Yes. And I’m excited about it too! I think it will help us track our spending a little better as well as relieve some stress I feel each month when I balance our budget. We live comfortably, and we have a good savings plan in place, but we just haven’t been managing our monthly budget very well. So I end up feeling more stress than I need to because I have a hard time tracking everything. I think this will help me sleep a little easier at night, and maybe even help us spend a little more guilt-free on things we need.

  • Reevaluate current savings plans

Verdict: Yes. And we’ve also built in an account for each month to be more generous in donations. We don’t donate as much as I feel like we should be, so hopefully building this into our monthly savings/spending plan will help us give back  a little of what we’ve been fortunate enough to receive.

December Goals

So now it’s time to set my December goals! I think I learned a lot from my first month of formal goal-setting, so I’m hoping that these goals are a little more realistic, but still something I’ll need to work toward.

Long Term Goal: 15% Body fat or less

  • Exercise at least 5 days a week every week

This one is going to be a little more difficult with an entire week off from work, and therefore away from my normal routine, thrown in there. But I set it at 4x a week last month because I was afraid Thanksgiving was going to throw a wrench in things, but I still managed 5x a week the week of Thanksgiving, so I’m going to give this one a shot!

  • Only drink beer 1x a week or less

Now that I’m off the Lurong challenge some of my non-paleo food temptations are coming back to haunt me already. One of these is beer (the others are pizza and ice cream, in that order, and both of which I had for lunch today!). As I wrote about before, I’m giving myself a little bit more of a break during the holidays, but that doesn’t mean I need to be ingesting grain-filled, calorie-laden beer several times a week.

The ice cream I had on our lunch date today - not the best decision I've ever made (but delicious!)

The ice cream I had on our lunch date today – not the best decision I’ve ever made (but delicious!)

Long Term Goal: Be able to do unassisted pull ups for all CrossFit workouts

  • Do at least five unassisted pull ups at least once a week

Three times a week is too many since I don’t have my own pull up bar at home. I do want to keep the commitment to keep working at unassisted pull ups though, so I still think it’s important to do them on a regular basis. So I’ll increase the amount to five, but decrease the frequency to once per week, to see how that works.

  • Only use one red band for CrossFit WODs that include pull ups

I used two red bands yesterday during the WOD because it was a monster, but in reality I should have just used one band and taken the slower time. I need to remember to leave my ego and pride at the door and not worry about my time as much as my development.

Long Term Goal: Be able to do handstand push ups

I’m going to take this off of my goals for now. It’s still a long term goal, but I have other things I want to focus on this month.

Long Term Goal: Get better at sports

  • Find out what exercises would help improve my vertical

Yep, still need this.

  • Research route running tips and tricks (football)

And this.

Long Term Goal: Be a better husband

  • Go on at least two dates during the month of December

This is what I call a “win-win” 🙂

  • Give Meg more gifts

I want these goals to be specific and measurable, but I also think it devalues the gift giving if I say “Give Meg a gift on at least three separate occasions during the month.” So I’ll let Meg judge me on this goal on whether or not I spoke her love language sufficiently this month. And no, Christmas gifts will not count!

  • Once a week turn off my phone entirely and spend it just focusing on Meg

This is something we both probably need to work on, but I am going to make it a goal to spend at least 3 hours with our phones off and laptop off where we just spend it with each other.

Long Term Goal: Exercise my mind

  • Read one book for fun during the month of December

Well, at least I’ve already got six pages of it read. . .

  • Read a book related to my career during the month of December

Wait – I couldn’t read one book last month, and now I’m setting a goal to read TWO this month? Maybe I do need to exercise my mind, because something here is clearly not right. . .

Long Term Goal: Financial Wellness

  • Reevaluate the new budget after December to see if it is meeting our needs

And now some new long term goals:

Long Term Goal: Be able to run a half marathon

  • Decide if Meg and I are doing the half-marathon in April
  • Attend at least one CrossFit Endurance class during December to see if this method will work for me
  • Research a training plan and start to schedule my workouts/plan for the next few months

Yes, I’m considering running a half marathon with Meg this Spring. I don’t particularly enjoy running like she does, but I feel like this is a “bucket list” type of a thing that I’d love to be able to say that I’ve done. It’s also a new challenge that I can work toward, and we all know how much I love working toward challenges!

Long Term Goal: Be a better friend

  • Do not back out on any prior commitments this month

I backed out on a good friend of mine twice this month when he wanted me to come over. I was too tired both times, and while I know I needed to sleep and relax those days, telling a friend you’ll do something and then not doing it is not being a good friend. This month I will try to not overcommit myself, but also to go and join people even when I’m not feeling overly social. I rarely regret it when I do.

  • Find out what areas I need to work on to be a better friend to those closest to me

I’m not saying I’m a bad friend, but I want to become a better friend. I talk a lot about the importance of having a good community around you, and a good support system. I want to do a self-assessment this month to see if I am contributing in a meaningful way to my friends’ needs and their support systems.

Long Term Goal: Enjoy life!

  • Don’t stress about food and weight loss during the holidays
  • Enjoy time with family and friends, take time to reflect on the events and take in the moments

Like I wrote about last week, we never know how many opportunities we will have to spend with loved ones. I want to make the most of the time I will have!

What are your December goals?

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Meal Planning: Epic Fail

This is the first week in a very, very long time I haven’t meal planned. I bought a bunch of vegetables at Aldi, but failed to plan protein. That means that this week has been a bit ad-hoc.

Tuesday night I made chicken soup which was delicious, but Bob had to stop at the store to get chicken. Also, I was sick, so all I wanted to eat was chicken soup.

Last night, I made salmon that I pulled out of the freezer and some broccoli. It was good but not great.

Tonight, I’m finally feeling back to normal, so I talked Bob into going to the Park Ave Open House with me. I didn’t have any protein for dinner again tonight, so I knew we would have to eat out. After walking down Park Ave, eating delicious Eggnog gelato, and sampling roasted chestnuts and hot chocolate, I was starving. (But having a lovely time listening to carolers!)  And I wanted to go home because I am planning on going to CrossFit in the morning.

Bob and I with roasted chestnuts!

So we stopped at DogTown.

This is what happens when you don’t meal plan: you make bad decisions. And you talk your Paleo-eating husband into making bad decisions, too.  And although that Greek Stray was delicious, I am already regretting it. I know I’ll feel like crap in the morning. But I was so hungry and we had no food at home and a hot dog sounded SO.GOOD. You know what’s even worse?

I don’t even really LIKE hot dogs.

My friends, learn from my mistake. Don’t forget to meal plan. Otherwise you end up eating something that you don’t even really like, and then regretting it later.

Also, we have nothing to eat for lunch tomorrow, which means spending more money out on lunch. Fail.

What have you eaten out of pure hunger that you regret later?

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From XXL to M

I’m going to write a post at some point about all of the negatives of losing weight. One of the negatives is that buying new clothes can get expensive! I know a lot of people really enjoy shopping for new clothes. I am not one of those people. First: I’m a tightwad, and I don’t like spending money on clothes. Second: I’m impatient and don’t like trying on lots of new things and then deliberating on whether or not I want to buy it. Third: I used to hate how I looked in all of the clothes I was going to buy because I never felt like I looked good in anything I tried on.

Even though I hate buying new clothes, I have gone from a 48″ pant size to 32″, from 18.5 in my dress shirt to 15.5, and from XXL in casual shirts to Mediums. I even had to buy all new underwear a few months ago after I was doing 200 meter runs at CrossFit and my boxers actually fell off to the point where they were starting to come out of the leg of my shorts. The only things that I still have that fit are my socks.

My pants from 19 months ago!

As you can imagine, I have had several iterations of clothes in between my beginning weight and now. I definitely didn’t handle this well – I basically waited until I looked ridiculous before I bought new clothes, and then I wore those until they looked ridiculous. I repeated that cycle, and I know I didn’t look great and at times I probably didn’t look as professional as I should have at work (up until last week you could see the top of my undershirt even when wearing my dress shirt’s top button buttoned and a tie).

The good news is, that over the last week (thank you Black Friday!) I finally have finished replacing all of my old clothes. And let me tell you – it is amazing to wear clothes that actually fit! I may still lose a little more weight from where I am, and I’d like to lose a bit more fat, but I don’t think my size is going to change too much from this point. So I allowed myself to splurge and buy all new dress pants, dress shirts, a new suit, and some sweaters. My parents gave me a gift of two new pairs of jeans last month, and my mother-in-law has bought me several new t-shirts over the last few months while she has been on her travels. My workout clothes have been growing in shirts through different events/races I’ve participated in, but I probably need to replace some of my shorts soon.

Some of my new clothes!

In other words – I have a whole new wardrobe!

I still didn’t love clothes shopping, but it felt a lot better than it used to. I feel like I actually look good in these clothes – and I’m not embarassed or frustrated by clothes not fitting well. It also helped that I’ve been saving my money over the last year so I was able to buy all of these things without stressing about money at all. I’ve found the last few days while I’ve been wearing the new clothes that I feel more confident. It’s amazing how your perception of how you appear can affect your confidence and your outlook.

My pile of clothes ready to be donated!

It was a liberating feeling to take all of my old clothes and just throw them all into a big pile to be donated. It was a physical, tangible reminder of how far I’ve come as I saw these XXL t-shirts hitting the ground, while I’m wearing my medium t-shirt. It was also a little sentimental. I kept a few of my t-shirts that mean something to me, and am planning on hanging them up in my man-cave when I finally finish it. For example: I kept my part of the matching t-shirts Meg and I got on our wedding day, and I kept the t-shirt commemorating Syracuse Basketball’s 6 OT win over UConn (yes, those are ranked in order of importance to me, but it was close!).

I also kept my jeans that fit me when I was at my heaviest. I want to keep them as a reminder of how far I’ve come, and as a warning to never, ever go back. Maybe I’ll even start to enjoy shopping. Maybe not.

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Every year, I take the Monday off after Thanksgiving to decorate our house for Christmas. It helps me get into the Christmas spirit, gives me time to enjoy decorating, and helps me de-stress before heading back to work for a short but very busy few weeks.

I buy eggnog, do some baking, and make some kind of a delicious dinner that would take a while to cook but is so worth the time and effort.

After rocking out to some old-school Amy Grant Christmas tunes (I grew up listening to her), I accomplished quite a bit!

For dinner, I made sweet potato shepherd’s pie. I sort of made up the recipe, but it turned out delicious so I’ll share with you what I did:

You’ll need:

  • 5 small sweet potatoes (I used a bag from Aldi)
  • 1 pound sausage (I used venison sausage)
  • 1 16oz frozen mixed vegetables (mine were mostly thawed out by the time I used them)
  • Other random vegetables: I used half a bag of frozen asparagus, 3 diced celery stalks, 1 red onion, diced, and 8 ounces white mushrooms
  • Red wine
  • Beef Stock
  • Tomato Paste
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Thyme
  • Oregano

Directions:

  1. Cut up the sweet potatoes into 1 inch chunks. Throw into a pot with water to boil. Boil for about a half hour or until the chunks are soft enough to smash with a fork.
  2. While the potatoes are boiling, get a large pan/pot big enough to fit your meat & veggies. I used my red stock pot because I am in love with it. If you’re using a stock pot make sure to let it heat up first for a few minutes. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil and let it heat up.
  3. Once the olive oil is heated up add your sausage! Since venison is lean, I had to add olive oil first. I suppose you wouldn’t have to if you were using a more fatty kind of sausage. Cook the sausage until it’s browned.
  4. Add about 1/4 cup of red wine and mix w/ your sausage. Then add all of your veggies and about 1/2 cup of beef stock (Sorry, I didn’t measure!). If that’s not enough liquid, add some more red wine. I probably ended up with about 2/3 cup red wine.
  5. Let your veggies simmer with the top on for about 10 minutes.
  6. After about 10 minutes, remove the top.  Add two (generous) tablespoons of tomato paste and spices here — I didn’t measure, but I probably used a tablespoon or so of each: garlic powder, thyme, oregano. I used a little salt & about a tablespoon of black pepper. Stir. Let cook uncovered for about another 10 minutes or until vegetables are cooked to your liking (we like ours a little al dente)
  7. You might want to preheat your oven here. Turn it to 375.
  8. While your veggies & meat are cooking, check your sweet potatoes! Are they done? Try to mash one with a fork. If it’s easy, then drain the water and put the sweet potatoes in a bowl that is big enough to mix them up w/ a hand mixer.
  9. Add to your sweet potatoes: garlic powder, salt, pepper. Use a hand mixer (or a stand mixer if you’re fancy — I’m not that fancy) and while you’re mixing the potatoes add some olive oil or chicken stock or milk. Whatever liquid you prefer to make them fluffy. I used chicken stock. Beat until fluffy.
  10. At this point you’re probably ready to put together your shepherd’s pie! Get out a 9×13 casserole dish and spray it with non-stick spray. I actually don’t know if you need to do that, but I always spray with non-stick spray. Anyone know if you need it?
  11. Dump in your veggie & meat mixture!
  12. Spread your mashed sweet potatoes on top.
  13. Put in your preheated oven (375) and bake until the sweet potatoes get a little brown on top. It took about 35-40 minutes for mine.

And here is a picture of our decorated dining room table. Ignore the white spots on the wall… that’s where I need to paint. Remnants of our kitchen renovation project that hasn’t been completed yet. Note the tablecloth: My mom did the needlework on it when she was a young married woman 🙂 and the glasses were the Christmas glasses I grew up using — she gave them to me last Christmas. I love using them — brings so many wonderful childhood memories up!

Unfortunately, this year, I also got sick on my vacation day so I’ve spent most of today on the couch, in my pj’s, working from home on my laptop. My stomach probably was overloaded on chocolate peppermint loaf and eggnog from yesterday. I’m going to make chicken soup tonight because that’s the only thing that sounds good to me right now.  Here’s my plan for dinner tonight:

  1. Cut up some veggies. Celery, peppers, carrots, onions, and kale sound good to me.
  2. Throw said veggies in a pot with some olive oil. Cook until soft. Add some garlic powder and oregano and salt and pepper.
  3. Add chicken stock (boxed). If I had planned better I could have used frozen homemade chicken stock.
  4. Add shredded chicken from a $5 rotisserie chicken from Wegmans. (Again, if I had planned better I could have thrown uncooked chicken breasts in with the veggies and then taken them out & shredded them, but they’re in the freezer too).
  5. Let simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Eat.
  7. Go to bed.

Here’s hoping my tummy will feel better in the morning!

How do you celebrate the start of your Christmas season?

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One of the great things about holidays and vacation time from work is being able to rest. When Meg and I were first figuring out how the holidays work when you are combining families, rest was often the last word we would think of when it came to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Our first attempt at celebrating Christmas as a couple included five different cities in five different nights (Rochester, Syracuse, Bradford, Pittsburgh, and Osceola Mills). We traveled over 900 miles in less than a week, and literally did not sleep in the same area code for two consecutive nights for 6 straight nights. Needless to say, it was exhausting!

Don’t get me wrong – it was still a good holiday. We were able to see a lot of family that we otherwise would not have been able to see. The time we were able to spend with all of them was truly valuable, especially as two of them have passed away in the last year and a half, and you never really know how many opportunities you will have to see family and loved ones.

With that being said, it often takes some of the joy out of the holidays when you feel like you need a vacation after your vacation! What Meg and I have been doing the past few years is switching holidays between her family and my family. Every year we do Thanksgiving at either my parents or her parents, and then Christmas with the other. Then we pick another weekend during the month of December to do Christmas with the family we did Thanksgiving with.

Stanley says it doesn’t matter if it’s actually Dec. 25th when you celebrate Christmas – as long as you’re with family (and you give him toys!)

It’s not just as simple as switching holidays though, a lot of couples do that. What we also do is make sure we take plenty of vacation time from work to make sure nothing is rushed. For example, our first year that we switched holidays I still decided to work the Friday after Thanksgiving. So we went to Syracuse Wednesday night, and left Thursday night to return to Rochester so I could work Friday. That was the last time we did that – if we are going to sacrifice time with our family, it is not going to be to spend it at work! We also try to schedule at least one day after vacation to spend with just the two of us in Rochester so that we can have time to recuperate from travel and to spend it with just each other.

So this year we went to Bradford, PA on Wednesday night and stayed until Saturday late afternoon. That gave us three nights and the better part of 3 days with Meg’s parents, sister, aunt, and grandmother. Then we were able to spend all day yesterday together, and it was great so that we were able to get a few things done (like cut our Christmas tree), and we were able to have some quality time for the two of us (we went on a double date of dinner, coffee, and then saw the Nutcracker).

For Christmas this year we will be going back to Bradford the weekend of December 15 to spend two full nights with her parents to exchange gifts and celebrate the holiday. Then the next weekend we will spend 4-5 nights or so with my parents and brother in Syracuse, before coming back to Rochester to spend 4-5 more days away from work but with each other.

Why all of this talk about scheduling? I went to work today feeling refreshed and ready to start the work week. I skipped my workout today to give myself one more rest day from exercise (the bad food I’ve been eating didn’t help my motivation either), but I plan on launching back into my routine tomorrow. I wrote a post on Wednesday about not stressing about food so that you can enjoy the holidays, but likewise I have found that scheduling our travel so that we don’t feel rushed also helps us enjoy the holidays.

All of the wonderful pies my mother-in-law baked. No, none of them were paleo. No, I didn’t care!

Not only does it help us enjoy our limited time with loved ones, but I would contend it helps keep us healthier for a few reasons. For one: excercise. Meg and I were able to go for a 4.5 mile run on Thanksgiving, and do a “travel WOD” on Friday to try to stay somewhat active during our vacation. There is no way we would have done either of those if we were busy traveling or cramming too much into the trip. A second reason is stress management. Vacations should make you feel rested, and give your body/mind/emotions a break from the everyday demands of life. You don’t want to replace the stress from your job, home maintenance, responsibilities, etc. with the stress of travel, busyness, and lots of socialization! A third reason is eating – when you are overly busy you often pick up things to eat on the road or to go. I think we all know that most anything you eat on the go is probably not great for you (i.e. fast food, gas station snacks, etc.).

Meg, Stanley and I after our 4.5 mile “Hartman Turkey Trot”

So I think that scheduling holiday travel like this actually keeps us healthier because it reduces our stress, gives us true rest, and allows us to try to stay with the traditional healthy habits of eating and exercise. Either way – we had a great time with Meg’s family this Thanksgiving. We ate lots of great food, enjoyed wonderful company, relaxed, and allowed ourselves to rest. Now I’m ready to tackle the next month of hectic work schedules, holiday craziness, a jam packed social calendar, and of course trying to stay on top of my diet and exercise!

Meg and I picking out our Christmas tree!

What is keeping you from enjoying the holidays? Is there anything within your control that you can change to give more time for rest? How much better will your quality of life be during the next month if you are able to incorporate in more rest?

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Meg and I will be traveling to Bradford, PA tonight to spend Thanksgiving with her parents, sister, aunt, and grandmother. We probably won’t be updating the blog over the next few days, because of this. Since Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the “holiday season”, I wanted to write a quick post to join the millions of weight loss posts about the holidays – but I think this one might be a bit different.

One of my absolute favorite blogs out there right now is Holly Would if She Could. She does CrossFit and eats paleo, but that is far from the main substance of her blog. She is open, honest, and genuine about her quest to become the “best version” of herself. I love the blog because I am constantly inspired by her determination to improve herself.

Holly wrote a post last week that I could not agree more with. Her post “Here’s a Holiday Survival Tip: Lower Your Standards” hits the nail on the head for what I am going to try to do this holiday season. I would really encourage everyone who is stressed about weight gain or eating during the holidays to read that post. In a nutshell, my big takeaway from it is to keep things in perspective this holiday season. The beginning of her post includes:

I am really getting sick of reading the same old magazine articles with recycled tips and tricks about how to stay healthy during the holidays.

The holidays are a time when people eat and drink more than they should, and move less than they should. So it is understandable that there are tips and tricks everywhere, but Holly raises a great point: sometimes you need to just enjoy the moment.

My absolute favorite bit of wisdom she includes is:

I generally feel comforted by the fact that I try to do my best. I try to do my best everyday, not just during the holidays. So I am 100% ok with the fact that My Best during November and December looks a little different than My Best during the month of January.  And knowing that is a treat in itself.

Should you go crazy and eat trays of Christmas cookies? No. Should you go crazy and stress about every meal and drink? Also: no! That is going to be a very tough balance for the next 6 weeks, but I think it is important that I try to do that.

Even if you lower your standards for eating, you should not lower your standards on ugly Christmas sweaters (Christmas 2011)

I want to enjoy my time with family and friends over Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. The whole reason I wanted to start losing weight, and the reason I am putting an emphasis on fitness, is to improve my quality of life. I don’t want to sacrifice the enjoyment of spending time with those I love, and breaking bread with them and sharing drinks, at the expense of the quality of life that I am actually trying to improve!

Don’t get me wrong – saying no to a slice of cake is not going to lower my quality of life – if that’s what you’re thinking then you’re missing the point. What I am saying is stressing about that dessert, or worrying about how I am going to “survive” a holiday party, or making a host/hostess uncomfortable with my dietary restrictions – those will have a negative impact on my enjoyment of the holidays. The holidays are about spending valuable time with loved ones, and it’s time we should not take for granted, nor should we allow anything within our control to damper it.

Stanley says “Happy Holidays!”

Therefore, I am going to try to make the best decisions I can make, but I am going to also try hard not to stress about desserts, drinks, and other non-paleo choices I plan on making. I am going to have pie tomorrow at Thanksgiving – and I am going to enjoy every bite guilt-free! I am going to enjoy some of my mom’s tremendous cookies around Christmas – and I’m not going to do burpees to atone for my sins. For New Year’s I am going to toast to 2013 with something other than water, surrounded by great friends who I value and love deeply.

New Year’s Eve 2011!

As Holly wrote:

Clink a glass of your choice to your families and friendships. Toast to happiness and especially to the health that you work so hard for every single day of the year. Those pumpkin cheesecake filled moments with the ones you love are priceless and they won’t be around forever. Things change, lives change and who wants to be hand wringing over a glass of champagne or a bite of cheesecake when they can be laughing just a little bit too loud with an old pal. Sometimes we do ourselves a favor by lowering our standards.

I couldn’t say it better myself.

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When I hit my goal weight in March, I went shopping for basics to re-stock my wardrobe. Then I donated all of my bigger sizes that were too big anymore so in case I gained weight, I would have motivation to lose it quickly.

Then I gained weight this summer, and I couldn’t fit into most of my new pants (which sucked and was slightly embarrassing). I’ve been slowly working my way back into them, and every few weeks I try on a pair to see if they fit yet.

Today, I tried on a pair of pants that were so tight this summer I couldn’t button them. Today, I buttoned them and am wearing them to work (they are a little bit tighter around the thighs and butt than I remembered, though — chalk that up to all the squatting we do in CrossFit). I did a mini celebratory dance (which consisted of a few fist pumps and a little butt shaking —  I’m not ashamed of my lack of dancing movies) and then weighed myself to see if I had lost any more weight. I hadn’t.

If I’m honest with myself, sometimes I fixate on the scale far too much. I should have simply celebrated and continued on with my day.

I have only lost 3 pounds since July. I have been getting really frustrated because the scale isn’t moving nearly as fast as I would like it to, even though I feel like I’m eating insanely healthy (except for my Thin Mint binge) and exercising often.  I still have a good 6 pounds to go until I’m back down to my goal weight; more like 10 pounds if I want to get back to where I was after I hit my goal weight.

Logically, if I just lost 3 pounds, that’s not enough to get me back into my pants. So I must be building muscle & losing inches centimeters. Which brings me to an important point: always measure yourself. I have measurements from when I was at my lowest that I’m reaching towards. I don’t have measurements from when I was at my highest point this summer, and I wish I had so I could chart my progress.

I’m planning on taking measurements soon to see my progress toward my goal.  I’m hoping they’re closer to my original measurements than my weight is! I’d rather lose inches than pounds if I had to pick.

Do you allow yourself to celebrate small victories such as pants fitting again? 

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