A few days ago, I shared that identifying my most likely times to sabotage myself was my first step towards becoming healthier. To recap, looking over the journal I created in the previous step, I learned that I wasn’t nearly as active as I thought I was. We ate out 4-5 times a week, which was stretching my budget and my waistline. I rarely ate if I was alone and was prone to late night snacking. Arming myself with that information prepared me to start some personal goal setting.
Identify Long-Term Goals
Goal 1 – Lose Weight
What should your goals be? The most basic one should address the weaknesses you pinpointed while journaling. Of course, losing weight is your ultimate goal, but what does it take to get there?
First, how much do you weigh now? What is your ideal weight range? No single magic number exists on a scale for any person. However, there are healthy weight ranges for your age, sex, and body type. I like WebMD’s Body and BMI Calculator. Whether you prefer to aim for a healthy BMI (body mass index), that calculator gives you both. Their calculator also shows you where you currently are in the scheme of things.
Summary: I needed to lose 55 pounds based on the latest relative medical advice.
Goal 2 – Get Healthier
Do you have health conditions that may be aggravated by carrying around a few extra pounds? If you don’t know what your numbers are, talk to your doctor or visit a wellness clinic. According to the American Heart Association, a healthy blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg. WebMD says that healthy fasting blood sugar levels are below 100. WebMD wrote a good article to help you understand your cholesterol numbers, but the latest advice is about the ratio of good and bad cholesterol.
Even as a 10-year vegetarian, I had high cholesterol. One of my not-so-astute doctors told me to lay off the sausage. I pointed out to him that I’m a vegetarian and switched doctors, but that’s a story for a different blog post. My blood pressure began a slow creep to the high side, as well. Thankfully, my blood sugar hasn’t also risen, despite a family history of diabetes.
Summary: I am blessed to have healthy blood sugar levels, but I was Hypertensive stage 2 (had high blood pressure) and high cholesterol. I needed to lower both.
Goal 3 – Get Stronger
Is your weight keeping you from doing things you normally could do?
As if my health falling apart wasn’t bad enough, I found that I couldn’t do the things I used to be able to do. I don’t mean riding a bicycle in a marathon (although it was keeping me from that, as well). I mean things that were eventually going to mean significantly restricting my daily care abilities. I had a difficult time reaching around behind me or bending over. While I do have a touch of arthritis, this was different.
Summary: I wanted to increase both my strength and flexibility.