Specifically Speaking

So… goals.  I’ve shared a lot about mine over the past month.  (Here and here, if you missed it.)  Today I’m going to get down and dirty and tell you more of the specifics that I’m working on.  These goals are evolving and flexible; I am trying to give myself something realistic and actionable.  Most of these have been informally in my brain for a long time, but thanks to you, I am going to take the big step of putting them down on paper, so to speak.

Karen’s “Very Specific, Healthy Living, Because You Asked Me” Goals, in no particular order:

  • Eat more vegetables. The old me might have gone days with none, so for the new me, I consider at least one serving a day to be an improvement.  I am shooting for 2-4 servings.
  • Focus on lean protein. The old me could have eaten carbs, glorious carbs, bread and pancakes and pasta and the like, and nary a protein to be seen.  I am trying to have some protein at pretty much every meal.  And I try to choose healthier options most of the time.
  • Drink more water or water equivalent beverages. At meals I am a water drinker but I am not one to sip during the day.  I am making a conscious effort to up my intake.  How much depends on my day, because, as you all know, drinking more means peeing more and sometimes that just isn’t convenient.  Right now, my hot decaf teas are making this goal very doable.
  • Don’t eat when I’m not hungry. Yep, this is a double negative.  A reader asked me about that the last time I mentioned it, realizing how precise I usually am with my words.  It is intentional wording:  I would like to NOT eat if I am NOT physically hungry.  This is probably the number one hardest goal for me and my major stumbling block.
  • Cut back on snacking. I almost didn’t include this as its own goal because if I didn’t eat when I wasn’t hungry, snacking wouldn’t be an issue.  Pretty much all my overeating is snacks, not meals.  But this is a biggie so probably warrants its own mention.
  • Limit refined carbs and sugars. This means choosing whole grains and no junk foods.  My goal is to cut them from my daily eating, allowing some moderation for eating out, for example, if I choose.
  • Get control of social eating. Oh baby, this would be a big one for me if it happened more often!  I want to be able to eat moderately in social settings and not pre-cheat or go on a huge bender after the event.  This includes not overeating during the happening itself.
  • Cut back on sodium. I do not add salt to any foods (with the one exception of the rare boiled egg), but I get a lot of sodium in processed foods I eat, like cheeses.  So I am trying to make better choices.
  • Abstain from trigger/red-light foods. I’m not sure if this is a short-term or long-term goal.  For now, I know I do best when I just don’t eat certain things.  Cracker crack.  Peanut butter.  Bagels.  Sigh.
  • Track what I eat. This is a new one.  Not sure how long I’ll do it.  As long as it works and I “need” it, I guess.  And, as I mentioned last week, I am also paying attention to calories.

As for non-eating related goals – yes, I have some of those too.  But this post is long enough already.  And I can’t work on my exercise goals yet (since I am still officially recovering from my hernia surgery), but soon.  So, those will wait for another day and another post.



Filed under goals

54 responses to “Specifically Speaking

  1. To use the theme of a highly respected blogger friend of mine, I give this post a double “thumbs-up!”

  2. Karen, we are here for you! Lots f goals & I like them! I think that eating when one is not hungry is very very very common! 😉 I still struggle with it & that is when I have to both stop & give myself at least 10 minutes to ask why eat it before I stick it in my mouth & also looks for other activities to get me away from it. And yes, snacking is art of that.. 😉

    I do love to get my lean protein in & I also use protein powder which helps… I make some pudding like mini meals with it.

    I know that social eating one is hard for you.. just say to yourself that it is about you & not them. I just don;t eat because others are.

    YOU CAN DO IT! Good luck & we are here!

    • Karen

      The social eating thing is probably less about the other people and what they’d say or think (although that is a small piece) and more about the array of foods to be found that are typically not ones I’d have. It is about the temptation. And the resentment at having to deal with that food being there and my reaction to it. If that makes sense. I just need to get over myself and go and only eat the good choices and not have the emotional reaction. So easy, in theory:)

      • Karen, I totally get your answer! I had so much resentment early on because I had to work so hard to take weight off & keep it off while everyone around me could eat… now it still crops up BUT the thing I learned is it is what it is & I know I can’t do anything about it unless I want to gain weight. It is inevitable that some people can eat & not gain & others, like us, have to work at it harder.. it sucks but it is what it is…

  3. All very reasonable specific goals! Snacking is a problem with me too. I’ve found tracking what I eat really makes me aware of what I’m putting in my body. I use the Lose It app on my phone. It will track exercise too.

    Good Luck!

    visiting from SITS

  4. Great goals and lots to work on! Social eating is probably my biggest issue that I have. Definitely a hard one.

  5. I, of course, love the fact that you are articulating your goals. They seem quite reasonable.

    I used to be a non water drinker. What helped me is to start the day with a tall class. Gulp that down and I am well on my way. I am not a sipper either, but having a few large glasses for me works.

    What will be the measure for your of success on your goals? Will you reward yourself?? Sing a song?? Dance??

    • Karen

      I’m getting a lot of mileage out of that little question you asked me:) Yes – measurement. Some are easy: like how many veggies I eat or how much water I drink. Pretty quantifiable. Some are harder because I have not put measures on then or they are less quantifiable. As for rewards, I never think along those lines. I guess, for me, the reward will be how I feel, physically and emotionally. And maybe when I have gotten to a place where I feel “normalcy” and maintenance, there will be a lot of shopping:)

  6. I like your list here! The biggest thing for me is writing down what I have eaten for the day. Then, when I feel like eating something, I will check back and remind myself it might have only been an hour since then and I will wait. It reminds me that I just ate or I’ve eaten enough for the day. Thanks for the advise

  7. Jan

    These are very measurable goals – especially if you track 🙂 Be sure to keep us posted so we can give you “woo hoos!” along the way.

    Also, you are a great role model for the many folks who read your blog. Setting specific goals is such a great method for success – much more achievable than just saying something like, “I won’t yo-yo.”

    • Karen

      Your comment got me thinking. What would I have said for my goal if I did this when I first started blogging. It might have been as simple and naive as “not yo-yo.” So I guess I am learning:)

  8. Those are great goals… I have the same problem with social eating and I wish that I could have better control of that.

    Make it a great day!

    • Karen

      I have another chance to work on it tonight with my book club. There is always something tempting there that I should not be eating:)

  9. A blueprint for sane eating and eventual peace with food. The social eating is something I haven’t really wanted to deal with, and it continues to be my most frequent boondoggle. I believe you can and will be successful – a day at a time.

    • Karen

      Honestly, Leslie, I’d avoid it for a while if I could. Until I felt all under control:) But who knows when that will be and I can’t just hide my head in the sand. Sigh.

  10. There is so much power to putting your goals on paper – bet you will have lots of success to report along the way! BTW, I can send you a copy of the paper sheet I use to record my food intake, as it includes a column to spot emotional eating…just let me know!

  11. These are very good goals… and they mirror many of mine. I’ve worded the one about eating only when hungry as follows: Don’t eat unless physically hungry.

    Yeah, that social eating can be a HUGE problem.

    • Karen

      I thought about wording it as “Only eat when physically hungry” but for me, it just feels more accurate the other way somehow. But, the meaning is really the same.

  12. Excellent ‘going inward’ work, my friend! Print your list. Carry it with you. Read it once a day. 🙂

  13. HI, Karen,
    I was making a salad today for lunch and thought of one more suggestion I had after reading your blog post today about your goal to eat veggies. I am not sure how you feel about salad, but that is a daily way I get a number of veggies. Almost daily. I like my lettuce cut up fine, almost like cole slaw so I prepare a head or bunch of lettuce at one time every 4-5 days. I am not a fan of a number of veggies like carrots and zucchini, but if I grate them up in my salad, I love them! Today I threw in a sprinkle of cashews, some great olives and some grated carrots. I love enjoying the plethora of tastes and textures of everything in a salad this way. So, maybe salads would be a way for you to increase your veggies intake. TTFN, Michele

    • Karen

      I’m not a big salad eater for some reason. Not sure if it is the work that it takes to really have a lot on there or that it is hard to find a tasty yet healthy dressing. Must have that taste boost! What kind of dressing do you use? At one time I did a lot of chef salads for lunches but haven’t in a while. Maybe I should try that again. I have gotten pretty good about having a side of veggies with lunch though and most afternoons I have a big serving of “green bean fries.” I bet if I made salads with dinner my husband would eat them too. Okay… I need to get some fixins’. Thanks for the suggestion:)

  14. Yeah, Karen, how is recovery treating you these days? I was LOL’ing about the double negative.

    I think your goals are very sensible. Good idea that Sunny mentioned about printing your goals and reading them once a day…just as a reminder. I’m sure you have them noted down somewhere. Thanks for your constant support on my blog 🙂

    • Karen

      Ah, but I don’t! My first thought when she wrote that was to add a page here so at least they are easy to access. The nice thing about blogging is that I can (mostly) ignore all those grammar rules I learned once upon a time. Actually, my kids have shared that some are not even the same! Recovery is great:)

  15. Great goals, a perfect roadmap for getting to where you want to go!

  16. OK, so one of your comments has me posing a question because I’m writing a post on it myself. Bagels: do you have to stay away from all bagels because of the calories OR would you be able to allow yourself bagels in the house if they were lower in calories? Asking because I know of two companies that have excellent bagels for 140 calories or less.

    • Karen

      All! Here is the thing about them – once upon a time I could eat them in moderation. Just one more thing that I got out of control with. I suppose if I only bought one I would only eat that one. But I might then eat other stuff. A few times I have tried the bagel thins and I overate them too, despite not liking them as much. It is pretty much bread products in general. Something about the texture of bread. Ahhhh!

  17. Your goals are my goals, mon amie. 🙂 And most of your stumbling blocks are mine also. The only difference is that I’d have an Excel spreadsheet with the goals across the top and the dates to check off if I met the goals along the side.

    • Karen

      Interesting! Do you do it more to see how you are doing or to does it motivate you to meet the goals? Some of the online trackers I have been experimenting with have a place to track meeting of goals. Now you have me thinking, thinking. I am not sure I’d want to report on mine here, because when I did that for the challenge in the fall I was a total bust. But maybe somehow. Hmm.

  18. Yep.
    So simple, isn’t it?
    I could copy your whole list and put it on my wall…
    Too tired to think about it today.
    Good luck to you!!

  19. i am right with you fighting the same battle trying to get healthy

  20. Great post. Not snacking when your hungry is such a good thing. Drinking a glass of water before dinner is a great way to not overeat.


    • Karen

      Strangely enough, overeating at meals is not a problem for me. But I think I will use that suggestion when I go to my book club tonight and drink a lot first and during!

  21. I bet it will help you to have figured them out and written them down! Snacking is my downfall too. Some days I get half my calories from snacking and am 1,000 over my calorie limit! Duh.

    • Karen

      I get a huge amount from my snacks too! But, I also probably eat less at a meal, saving things for later, so they count as a snack. If that makes sense.

  22. Brilliant list and something that we are all guilty of doing from time to time at least. I’m with you on the not over-eating but not on the snacking. I eat 6 times a day, 3 meals and 3 snacks to keep my metabolism up and running through the day. My snacks are nuts, raisins, and apples in halves but i still think of them as snacks and i wouldn’t be without them.

    @Ellen – i don’t eat bread of any kind so no bagels for me

    • Karen

      Some of my snacks are veggies, but I count those too as snacks. I replied to Ellen above that for me it is pretty much all bread products. Bagels are just one of the yummiest:) Do you not eat it because it triggers overeating or to lower carbs or because of a gluten issue?

  23. Nicole

    I cannot say it enough Karen, I absolutely love your writing!! I relate to all of your goals.

  24. Most of your goals are mine as well- I think it’s good to be specific as possible.

    Mine are
    1- stick to medifast plan
    2- do not deviate from lean and green meals
    3- keep up with water
    4- find things to keep busy so you don’t think about food!

  25. Love your goals! I totally agree about the one on eating moderately during social occasions–it’s too easy for me to convince myself that I have an excuse to eat as indulgently as possible–not helpful in working towards my goal of eliminating for getting rid of the the black-and-white thinking when it comes to dieting (meals are either all “good” or all “bad”).

  26. Great goals. I have to say one think I struggle with is vegetables. It seems like so much work to eat them, fruit too. LOL! I am working on drinking for more water, cutting back on snacking and increasing my protein intake. I think everything you listed is important to success. If we can’t do all of them pick a few and make them a big part of your day, I plan to! We shall see what happened in a couple of weeks. 🙂 Have a great rest of the day!

    • Karen

      One thing that has helped me is to roast veggies. That doesn’t help with the work part, but they taste a lot better to me that way! I keep thinking I should find actual recipes for them and jazz them up. Another thing that works well for me with veggies is to have them cooked for a few days. Like with spaghetti squash.

  27. looks like you got a game plan, good luck to you! mine should be to eat more protein, i just wished i liked it more! sigh….why can’t protein taste more like carbs?? 😛

  28. That is quite the list! I think it makes it all more real when you write it out like that. You are on the right track!

    How is your healing process going after surgery?

  29. I think setting specific goals is great for so many reasons. Good for you Karen!

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