Friday, August 30, 2013

Kowalski! Progress Report!

Sadly, my plans do not involve lemurs. (Maybe they should.)
So, after the turmoil of the past week, I sat down and really looked at my goals to try to calm the classic goal-frenzy that I usually succumb to. I'm quite sure I haven't recorded them all, but I got a pretty good working list of all the goals, dreams, and desires tumbling around in my head. Everything from grand ideas of travel plans and career aspirations to specific goals like "organize the basement" or "learn how to utilize explosive hip power to improve thrusters and 'wall balls'" (both of which require moving weight efficiently overhead from a squat to a standing position) made the list. I even, reluctantly, wrote down "figure out student loan repayment plan." (Ugh.)

I've scratched out giant lists like this one before, but I get so enthusiastic/overwhelmed that I rarely get anywhere. This time, after setting some bigger, longer-term goals to keep in mind for the future, I also settled on ONE thing to work on for September that I will then practice in two areas of my life: track everything.

The first aspect of this goal will deal with my finances. I recently started a new job, so this week I redesigned my budget into something I will actually stick to. I use Mint to track my finances, but for September, I'm going to track them on my own, too, with the intention of sticking to my new budget categories and funneling the extra money towards paying down some student-accumulated debt.

The second aspect of this goal deals with my diet. I eat fairly well, but I have terrible self-control when I'm not eating at home. Donuts at work? Please! Friends going out for ice cream after the movie? Sign me up! I may have a relatively healthy number on the scale, but my half-healthy, half-whatever diet doesn't often make me feel healthy, strong, or energetic, and that's what's important to me. However, just as I'm relatively new to fitness, I'm also pretty new to nutrition. I know I feel better after some meals than others, but without data, I can rarely remember enough details to make significant changes. The solution? Take detailed notes on how I regularly eat for the first two weeks to accumulate some "baseline" data for reference. Then I'm going to experiment with Zone* eating for six weeks, until Halloween!

I think the biggest key to succeeding is believing in yourself, and that's absolutely one of the things I struggle with the most. Despite the progress I've made in the past year, I still see myself as the mildly asthmatic shy girl who brought books to parties and was terrified of throwing a frisbee. It's exciting to see myself developing some muscle, but I still don't think of myself as athletic -- and I think that self-doubt is really holding me back.

That's why I tried really hard to make these goals seem doable. I drew up a sheet to record all purchases instead of logging into Mint at the end of the month and going "Oh no, why is everything red?" I also ordered a kitchen scale this week so I can better analyze my food intake instead of writing "I had some yogurt this morning" and not knowing what that means. I'll also need it when I start trying Zone to make sure I'm getting the right balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in each meal.

I've never successfully attempted something like this in the past. However, this time I've gathered the tools I need to succeed, and unlike before, I haven't picked twelve new things to do daily. I'm just going to start writing everything down, which sounds much better than "Work out every day, go full Paleo, stop spending money, and re-paint the house." I'm feeling more motivated than ever and -- dare I say it? -- I really do believe that I can accomplish these goals by September 30th.

To add to my optimism, enthusiasm, and self-belief, I've got some extra motivation going on where food tracking is concerned. For some reason, I have a hard time finding comfortable (and, alright, flattering) shorts for working out, and lately a number of my fitness idols have all popped up wearing the same kind. They're a little super pricey, but if I fulfill the goal of sticking to my budget and of tracking my food for the month, I've resolved to finally pick up a pair!

Bonus motivation: I'm not a very crafty person and have never made a costume, but I really, really want to do my first cosplay as the newest rendition of Lara Croft for Halloween this year. You'll notice that my 6-week Zone timeframe lines up with Halloween... As I work out and prepare my meals, I'll keep her in mind for some kick-@$$ inspiration to stick to my goals!


What are your goals for September?

*Questions on Zone? I'm new to it too, so here's what I know so far:
--I first found out about Zone eating from Claire over at The Ascent Blog. Check out her tips, experiences, and inspiring before/after pics!
--The 2004 article in the CrossFit Journal (issue 21) also has some great insight on Zone eating.
--I also have "Enter the Zone" by Barry Sears in my Amazon wishlist, but I have yet to read it!
(Please note that I am not a doctor, professional nutritionist, etc. Claire's pics are inspiring, but be sure to check with professionals before attempting anything drastic. Feel free to ask questions about my experiences with Zone/Paleo/CrossFit/Whole30, though, and I'll do my best. Just be safe! :) )


  1. I was going to comment and say that I had this book and I would send it to you but when I looked I actually have "Omega RX Zone by Dr. Barry Sears"... it's one of the ones my dad gave me (he has this idea that Atkins and Jonus Salk and Linus Pauling are all gods and he is their disciple or something... it's kinda freaky) anyways.... I read a couple pages but it just seemed like more of the same hokus pokus stuff my dad is always touting.... if you want it I can send it to you... pm me on fb :)

    1. Thanks Jenn! I'm usually super skeptical of "diet fads" too, and I honestly don't think most of them are that great. This isn't one of those "low carb" or "low fat" trends, though - all zone really is is a way to make sure your food intake is balanced between carbs/proteins/fats, to scientifically maximize your body's potential. Every single person is different and all of our bodies have different needs, so it'll take some experimenting for me to find out what specific foods I do the best with (or without). The Zone part will just help me balance whatever it is I choose to eat. :)

      Thank you for the kind offer of the book! Let me give this a try first and let you know. :)

  2. I love your goals, motivation, and list ideas! Those are some big kahunas to tackle but I think it's great how excited you are about it! SERIOUSLY! You're inspiring me to track more again (even stuff outside of my health).

    1. Thanks! Just got home from my trip up north for Labor Day weekend, so it's time to start tracking! I was actually reading your post about the FitBit and I decided it was really time to start gathering some reliable data. :)