Changing My Stripes

I have been thinking a lot lately about change and who I am and what I want. I have been reading Change Anything by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. I have not finished the book, but one of the concepts I have been employing in my health journey is the idea of being a “scientist,” which really just means that I am observing my life from a place of curiosity and non-judgement. I am looking at the influences that encourage me to make bad choices and stray from my goals. I am also looking at the attempts to correct my behavior and analyze if they really work for me. The process takes the pressure off of being perfect. I will make mistakes. But when I make a mistake, my journey is not over. I have the ability to learn from my mistakes and then try something new. The key is not giving up.

For the last two weeks, I have successfully lost about four pounds (2 pounds per week). This achievement is not a random fluke. I have been working hard to employ change tactics in my life. I am cooking more and eating out less (I take Sunday to prep all of my food for the week and package the meals so I can grab and go, which takes pressure out of having to cook during the busy week, which allows me to exercise more after work). I am going to a weekly in-person Weight Watchers meeting, which adds an element of accountability that I did not have with the online app, which is encouraging me to not give up. I have also been trying to combine the food from Betty Rocker‘s meal plan system to fit with my Weight Watchers points so that each week I can end in the positive, which will lead to weight loss (having positive points means I have leftover calories I could consume and still lose weight; being in the negative means I have consumed too many calories for the week and will most likely maintain or gain weight). Using Betty Rocker’s plan means I am eating more nutritious food, which helps me feel full and satisfied, but since I am sticking within my Weight Watchers points, I have the ability to add in treats and alcohol and still stay on target to lose weight (I do not have to give up everything I love forever, which keeps me on track).

Having said all of that, I am not out of the woods yet. Two weeks of sticking on plan does not mean I am healed. Last weekend, my sister and I went to 6 Flags New England. We packed food to save money and calories. I thought I was prepared emotionally to make healthy choices for the day, but then I walked into the park and was immediately hit with the delicious smells of fried dough, ice cream waffle cones and images of nachos, candy, and treats at every turn. I started to obsess about all the treats I wanted to consume: funnel cake, a caramel apple, nachos fully loaded, cheese fries, Cold Stone cake batter ice cream with ALL the toppings, and so much more. I tried tracking all the treats to see how many points they would set me back: funnel cake was over 33 points (I only get 30 points a day for food). A small Cold Stone ice cream with no toppings was about 17 points. A caramel apple was the least disastrous at about 11 points. At some point, I found myself not caring: I like food so why do I want to be thinner?! Thankfully my sister was there and offered support. She did not encourage me to eat the junk food but helped remind me of what I was trying hard to achieve: better health and fitness for a more enjoyable life. I settled on a plate of nachos and requested less cheese and way more lettuce, tomatoes, salsa and jalapenos (all 0 point items). I got a treat but still kept within my points for the week.

I celebrate the 6 Flags experience because I know that the influence of food and treats is stronger than my desire to be healthy, but I am not, nor did I give up. The change process is not immediate but it is also not impossible. We can all change. I can change. I AM changing.



Break Habits to Become Happier

I wanted to share this great article on some common habits we have that are preventing us from being happy.

Happy Fourth of July weekend!

May this Independence Day also help you find independence from a few bad habits that will help you lead a more fulfilling life. We only have one shot at this life, so might as well try to be our best selves and experience as much joy as we can.

Flawed but Still Thankful

I am not always good at being Solution-Focused, or positive for that matter. I can easily focus on my disappointments and let them overshadow everything great in my life. And sometimes I am a downright brat. I can be cranky and moody with some of the people I love the most, who do not deserve to be treated that way. Add in female hormones, past trauma, and insecurities and sometimes I am a hot mess. This past weekend, I was not at my best.

Maybe each week, I need to spend some time publicly thanking and being appreciative of the important people in my life.

This week, I will start with the two people who are in my closest circle and deal with my flaws in an up-close-and-very-personal way: my sister, who I live with (god bless her), and my partner.

Katie: thank you for being my sister. I know we have had our struggles but I am thankful that you are here with me. You know me better than I know myself sometimes. You challenge me to be my best self and cheer me on toward my crazy dreams. Thank you for the note in my lunch bag last week. Your words meant a lot to me and the note reminded me of our mom. I know she would be so proud of you. You are a survivor and a strong, smart, beautiful woman. I’m thankful that when I just need to cry, you let me. You believe in me, and I am thankful for your tireless support, even when I’m being a brat. I am thankful that we both have a love of cats and can laugh through the craziness that is our lives right now. I have no doubt you will be an incredible nurse, and I’m thankful to be able to support you in achieving your dreams. I love you and am grateful that you are my sister. Thank you for taking a risk on me and moving to Boston. Though I am not always good at showing you, I am very thankful you are here with me.

Eoghan: I know life is not always easy being with a crazy ginger. I have a temper, I need constant assurance that you love me, and I do not always make sense. I am thankful that you work so hard to show me you love me in actions, like taking time off work to spend time with me because you know that time together is important to me. I am grateful that you know how to make me laugh and smile. I am thankful for your kind heart and your willingness to help the people in your life. I love your ingenuity and your boldness in life, and that when you have a dream, like the PaddyWagon, you seize it and go after it with all of your heart. You inspire me to go after my dreams. I am grateful that you try to encourage me to see the positives in my life and in all of the people in my life. No matter what else, please know that I love you.

I love you both.

And to everyone else in my life, I love you too. I am blessed to be surrounded by courageous, amazing, hilarious, smart, beautiful (inside and out), and down right awesome family and friends.

On this Monday, however you are feeling, know you are loved and that there is always something to be thankful for.

Anyone can be an Ironman

I do not consider myself to be an exceptional athlete, but I have successfully completed two Ironman triathlons, which is a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike, which is concluded with a 26.2 mile “run” that all has to be completed within a strict 17 hour time limit, otherwise, you do not get a medal and you are not an official finisher. I have been an official finisher twice in my life. I finished because I am stubborn and wanted the goal so bad I could taste it. That desire carried me through pain, doubts, and ultimately kept me moving forward to the finish line. I do not think I would have had such a strong desire to finish an Ironman had I not believed that I could do it. Sure, I doubted, but ultimately, I believed I was capable. Again, I am not a stellar athlete, which is why I strongly believe that anyone can finish an Ironman…IF you believe in yourself and WANT to finish an Ironman, then yes you can (this desire has to be almost a laser-like focus, cutting through all the pain and making training a priority in your life). Do not get me wrong, an Ironman is one of the hardest things I have had to physically do in my life, which is why I got the Ironman logo (the mdot) tattooed on my left wrist as a reminder that YES I CAN do anything when I believe in myself.

I am now trying to apply this same philosophy to getting in shape and healing my relationship with food. I do not think I have ever really believed in myself. I love food. I love the comfort I have felt while eating food that is rich in processed carbs and sugar. As a kid, I used to sneak junk food into my room after school and watch TV while eating a whole bag of Cheez-itz. I knew I was not supposed to eat the junk food because it would spoil my dinner, but I did it anyway. The secret became a sort of private comfort, and twenty plus years later, I still go to food as my comfort during stress or boredom. Did I already mention that I LOVE food?!

But this relationship is addictive and does more harm than good. I want to change my relationship with food. I want to eat foods that are good for me and provide fuel and nourishment to help me be my best self. I want to melt the fat off my body by making healthy choices so when I do my track workout with the Quincy Running Dawgs on Tuesday nights, I can push hard and not feel the pain in my knee from the impact my heavier physique is having on my joints. (By the way, I have pushed through excuses and gone to the track workout two weeks in a row! The workout is hard, I am the slowest person in the group, BUT I love how I feel afterwards.)

Slowly, I am starting to believe in myself.

Losing weight has always seemed like a mystery to me. I remember my first time doing Weight Watchers, I would do my best to stick to my allotted points and when it came time to weigh myself, I was terrified. I knew the program worked for others, but I did not believe the program would work for me. Then I had the opportunity to be a part of the Boston Children’s Hospital’s Food Study at Framingham State University. While eating the foods provided for me on the study, I lost weight. Cutting calories works. I am not an exception.

But beyond just cutting calories, I want to eat nutrient dense foods, like fruits, veggies, sprouted grains, etc. I want to build muscles. I want to scale walls, run faster triathlons, and see what my physical best can be.

And slowly, I am starting to believe in myself. YES I CAN!

Solution-Focused Check-In: What has been going well since starting this fitness goal?

  • I have successfully gone to two track workouts over the last two weeks. Track workouts will help me become a faster runner, which will help me to beat my 3 hour triathlon goal.
  • I am on week 2 of meal prepping and eating clean foods. I FEEL GREAT! I look forward to the food, am not tempted by junk food as much, and am even starting to see the scale go down. Meal prepping is a ton of work, but after only a few hours on Sunday, I have all my meals done for the week, which is making life so much easier overall!
  • I am sticking to my triathlon training plan so far, which will help me to build endurance, which will eventually lead me to work on building speed.

The Plight of an Overachiever

I have been thinking a lot lately about the idea of failing or being “less than” some set standard. These are just broad observations and maybe because I am an overachiever, I attract other overachievers into my life, but I am noticing that overachievers create a lot of stress for ourselves that probably does not need to exist. Ok, nothing earth shattering here, but sometimes I forget that I have done a lot of great things and I focus on what I am not doing well instead of celebrating my accomplishments. And I know I am not alone with this behavior.

For example, today was the first day in a long time that I was only negative 4 points at the end of my week on Weight Watchers (WW). Negative points mean that I have eaten all of the points I have been allotted, or earned, through exercise and then some. I have overspent my bank account, so-to-speak. For months, I have ended my weeks at negative 130 points, which is like maxing out your high interest credit cards with no repayment plan in sight. I have toyed with the idea of giving up and quitting WW (why keep paying each month if I am not working the system), but I did not give up and I am now getting back on track (I had a two pound loss today for my weigh-in!). I posted about this fact on the WW Connect community and got a ton of responses. People are discouraged and want to give up. I was there too because I would see people’s success stories on WW and feel both encouraged and discouraged. The stories only highlighted how unsuccessful I was at this whole weight-loss business, which made me feel pretty bad about myself, which made me want to eat more junk food, which made me feel even more like a failure.

Some of the most frustrating and disheartening moments are those moments when we just feel like we are failing at life.

Failure sucks. But why does it suck?! We should celebrate failures for what they teach us about ourselves.

The above picture was taken on my cell phone around mile 16 or 17 of the Portland Marathon (for New Englanders, that’s Portland, Oregon). I had completely blown my training and was in pain before crossing the bridge. I was in a downward spiral of self-hate because I knew better. I knew how to train and I didn’t. I failed at this dumb race and was mad at myself, which reminded me of other past failures, like the Honolulu marathon where I had to quit at mile 5 because of knee pain, or how I never really applied myself fully to my Ironman training (I was a midnight finisher each time and felt I could have been faster if I had properly trained). But what I neglected to focus on was the fact that I showed up for the race in the first place. With a lack of training, I still made my way to mile 17 and I had a lovely trip to Portland to see family and friends. With the Honolulu marathon, I failed the race but still raised over $4,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and with the Ironman triathlons, I still FINISHED both races.

In each instance, I would compare myself to others and see only my weaknesses, my “less than” moments because my friends were finishing the marathons, running faster triathlons, and losing weight successfully week after week.

High standards are a blessing and a curse. Being an overachiever is both a blessing and a curse. Being an overachiever means I work full time at a great university, I am pulling straight As in my graduate program and just earned a spot in the Phi Kappa Phi honor society, and I am signing up for triathlons, trying to be fit, and above all, I’m working hard to be a good partner, sister, friend, family member, coworker, etc. I have traveled the world, finished two Ironman triathlons, and so much more. But instead of being content, I focus on what I have done wrong: the fact that I did not summit Mt. Kilimanjaro over a year ago, the fact that I gained weight back after losing 22 pounds, the fact that I failed to finish two marathons that I started, etc. I am not saying that I should give up goals and be content with failure, but maybe I should be a little less hard on myself. Maybe we all need to be a little less hard on ourselves.

Instead, let us focus on what a failure teaches us. Let’s celebrate the times we have fallen short, or been “less than” because as an overachiever, that means we will correct our mistakes. We will work hard until we find a solution. We will keep setting goals and moving forward because that is just what we do. But in the meantime, we need to be a little bit more forgiving of ourselves. Failure is just “U r a Life.” A life that is full of positives and negatives: Yin and yang, balance. A life that is full of blessings and opportunities to grow. We fall, but we learn how to walk in the process. When we realize we do not have wings to fly, we build airplanes. Good can come from crap (seriously, flowers bloom in manure).


Do What Works

I have been thinking a lot lately about “what works” for me regarding weight loss. My grandpa sent me a supportive text to check in the other week, and said something along the lines of “you know the food study worked, so do what works.”

Last fall, I was blessed to be a part of a nutritional study at Framingham State University. As a participant, all of my meals were provided for me. I did not have to do any cooking or grocery shopping…NOTHING. I had a team of scientists carefully planning all of my meals down to the exact ounce I needed of fats, carbs, protein, etc. The diet had hardly any processed food, very low salt and sugar, and was well-balanced, so I felt good after every meal. With all of that support, I lost weight. I lost about 22 pounds or more. Then I got a new job and had to leave the study. I gained about 10 pounds back, not all at once, but eventually because I went back to old habits.

When my grandpa sent the text, I dismissed his words at first. Ok, yeah, what worked was having a team of people make all of my food. OF COURSE  I lost weight!! But I do not have the money to pay for a personal chef or nutritionist and I cannot go back to the food study. So now what?!

I have been trying to look up different recipes and think through my weekly meal plan, but nothing has really worked great. I think I blogged about her already, but recently I discovered Betty Rocker. I decided to buy her 30 Day Meal Plan because I was curious. Today I am on day one of her 30 day meal plan, and I LOVE it. The biggest thing that I love is her style. She provides you with a complete grocery list and meal prep guide. Yesterday, I went to the grocery store and followed her guide. I bought all my food and then went home to prepare (the picture above was taken before I started cooking). She also provides a guide to mass-produce all of your meals for the week in one long cooking session. I am not a cook. I have limited experience but her guide helped me get all of my meals made and boxed up. Essentially, all I have to do now is pull a Tupperware container out of my fridge and eat. IT FEELS JUST LIKE THE FOOD STUDY! I know that this lifestyle will take prepping and lots of work. But the food tastes yummy and I feel good physically so far.

I can do anything for 30 days, right?!

The biggest thing I am learning is that being healthy has to be a priority or nothing will change. I know myself enough to know that during the week, if meals are not prepared ahead of time, I get lazy. I do not like coming home and cooking, so I eat out. Eating out is ALWAYS a struggle for me because I rarely make smart choices. I like comfort food and when I look at a menu, I cease to think rationally. I pick the cheesy, creamy, high fat/processed/sugary options. I eat with my emotions when I am paying someone else to cook because eating out is an indulgence for me. Having meals already made takes the emotions out of eating. I do not have to think, I can just grab the pre-portioned meal and eat, which is why the food study worked. I did not have choices, so I ate the right amount of the healthy options. And because I am not a cook and do not enjoy meal planning, I DREAD creating a menu for the week, which is why I am grateful for Betty Rocker’s plan. She has made cooking ahead of time easy for me, for which I am SO grateful.

Since today is only day 1, we shall see how this process unfolds, but I am learning I can do anything for 30 days. I am learning to follow through even when I am not perfect, and I am learning that being healthy and muscular and strong is something I really want. I am also learning not to dismiss those moments of success as dumb luck or times that cannot be recreated, like being on a once-in-a-lifetime food study. In those successes resides clues to who we are and what we need to continue to be successful. When you focus on what works, the solutions will come.

When is a Problem NOT a Problem?

One of the aspects of Solution-Focused Brief therapy that I have been thinking about a ton lately is the idea that a problem is no longer a problem if the client and the client’s community no longer view the problem as a problem. I have been particularly thinking about this idea in terms of my weight loss goal. Right now, I view my size and weight as a problem. I do not like how I look or how I feel in my clothes. I do not like how hard it is to run, and overall, I want a change. But if I am healthy, is my size really a problem?

I am 5 feet 4 inches tall. For most of my adult life, during times of better fitness, I have never weighed less than 159 pounds. I would say that the 160s were always a good maintenance weight for me until recently when I have crept up to 180 pounds. So, what if I never achieve the 140 pound goal? Why is that my goal?

I know that I am ingrained with images and visions of skinny people. The media always shows me what the ideal figure is and I have definitely received messages from family that I should be smaller. But do I want to be smaller? Sometimes I do. I would LOVE to look in the mirror and feel great and wear smaller sized clothes and wear shorts or skirts or dresses without fear of inner thigh chaffing. But I should be able to look in the mirror at ANY size and see my value, worth, and beauty. And I like food. I really do. So, if I’m still active, medically healthy, and a little plump, is that really a problem?

But then there is the other side of the coin. I do not know if I have ever believed in myself enough to follow through on a goal, like losing weight. I have quit too many things to count. I have quit and re-joined Weight Watchers countless times. I have quit blogs that I started, I have quit exercise programs, fitness challenges, training programs, over and over again before I reach my limits or my maximum potential. Which is why lately I am trying to follow through on things even when I fail and am not perfect. Case in point: on Weight Watchers, I signed up for a challenge of 30 minutes of exercise for 30 days straight. I hit day 20 and ran into some obstacles. Instead of quitting, five days later, I started back up from day 21 and finished the 30 days. It wasn’t perfect, but I did not quit.

I think for me, part of this journey is allowing myself the freedom to fail. But with that freedom comes discovering and fostering my strength to pick myself up and keep on moving forward.

I recently discovered Betty Rocker. There is something about her and her videos and food preparation that is so inspiring to me. Why do I think I am any different? Why can’t I choose healthy foods and daily fitness to get my body to my peak level of fitness? Because if I am honest with myself, I do not value the number on the scale as much as I value the look of muscles on my arms and legs. What do I really want from being smaller? I want to be like Betty Rocker, full of defined muscles and raw strength. I want to scale walls, run triathlons, and do a pull up for once in my life. And I want to be faster!

So, I am re-framing my goals. I am focusing more on exercise and how I feel physically. Food is absolutely a part of this process, but the step I am focusing on right now is increasing my activity and working on getting faster. I signed up for an Olympic distance triathlon in August. My goal is to finish under 3 hours. For me, that will take an immense amount of work and follow through, and eventually it will take making better food choices. And if I get under a 3 hour triathlon and still weight 180 pounds, then WHO CARES?! Not this girl right now. Right now, I want to build muscle, make better choices and work on loving myself a little more.


Find a Happy Place

Today I am not doing well. I feel grumpy and want to hide. I do not want to be at work today, which is not the best way to start a Monday. I found this article on Forbes about the 11 Ways to Beat the Monday Blues and think there are definitely some valuable tips. #3 is speaking to me, so in an attempt to break free of my Monday Blues, here are some of the things that I am looking forward to this week:

  • Seeing my friend Mary on Tuesday for a walk/run and salads for dinner. It will be good to catch up and she is one of my favorite people here in Boston.
  • Getting some work trips planned to California, New York, possibly the Pacific Northwest, and more! (I love that I get to travel for work.)
  • I am excited to get my bikes. My Dad is AWESOME! He took time last weekend to figure out how to ship my bikes to me from Portland, OR. Once I get my bikes, I will be able to resume some of the hobbies I love, like bike riding and triathlon racing.
  • I’m excited to start triathlon training. Last week, in the spirit of taking steps toward achieving my fitness goals, I signed up for an Olympic distance triathlon in August (0.9 mile swim, 26.2 mile bike, and 6.2 mile run). I did this race with Team In Training 2 years ago on a mountain bike, so it will be great to see what I can do with my triathlon bike and more consistent training.
  • I bought a kayaking rental package off Groupon last week, so I am so excited to find a weekend to book the rental. The picture above is from a trip to the Bahamas I took back in 2009. My Grandpa had signed up for a kayaking trip and unfortunately was not able to go, so he graciously let me go in his place. It was an AMAZING trip. I am blessed to have my Grandpa as my grandpa. He has opened my horizons to a lot of things, such as bike riding, running, kayaking, back packing, and more. Without his influence, I probably would never have completed two Ironman triathlons. Thank you Grandpa!
  • Seeing my handsome partner Eoghan tonight for a romantic stroll on the beach.

Today, I am going to think about that kayaking trip when I need a moment to escape and get my mind on better things. The water was a gorgeous crystal clear turquoise blue, the sand was white and pristine and warm, the water was calm and easy to maneuver as a beginning kayaker, and I had no cell phone or technology to distract me, so I got to read, think, exercise and soak up the sun. That trip is my happy place for today.

Friday Inspiration

Today I was inspired by this lovely video of a young girl drumming on Facebook (hopefully the link works):

Badass Drumming

Which prompted me to find this awesome festival (I want to go to this in 2017): Hit Like A Girl Contest

Anyway, drummers in general are amazing. I can barely walk without tripping over my own feet much less have enough coordination to play an instrument like the drums. And female drummers are SERIOUSLY cool because they are kicking butt in a typically male dominated field.

Then you have these women, who are taking their passion to the masses and inspiring movement and fitness in a unique and fun way (I hope these classes make it to Boston): POUND Workout.

Today I encourage you to find your inner badass. What are you good at? Is there something you have always dreamed of doing? If so, take a risk and take a step toward that dream today. For me, my step is signing up for a triathlon this summer and starting to plan out my training program.


The Magic of Scaling

When you think of scales, probably any number of images come to mind: scales of justice, scales on a reptile, bathroom scales, those dreaded scales in a doctor’s office, scales on a survey/questionnaire, etc. The above image is the scale I want to talk about today.

What is scaling? Scaling is a way to name and focus a situation. In some ways, scaling temporarily removes the emotion of a situation and helps create a plan to move forward. Scaling is also a great way to make sure you are on the same page as someone, like a family member, partner, coworker, supervisor, etc.

What do I mean? Well, a scale is linear. You can draw it on a piece of paper. You can put as many numbers as possible. 1-10 is nice because it makes the solution, or goal, seem within reach. A scale of 1-100 can feel daunting in some situations, but in other situations, you may need that many steps laid out to get to your goal. The point is that you find a scale that works for you. I recently witnessed a classmate use a scale of 1-10 with a child she was coaching. The 10 on the scale represented great classroom behavior that the child would model consistently. She and the student discussed the scale and the end goal and where he was at currently (they both agreed he was at a 4 on the scale). They took time to celebrate the fact that he was at a 4 on the scale and not a 3 (clearly he was being successful in some areas of his classroom behavior, which she pointed out as a way to build his confidence in his abilities). Then they discussed what it would take to get him to a 5 (e.g. what behaviors and actions would he display at a level 5 that he was not currently exhibiting at a 4). However, he was struggling to get to a 5 and needed some extra motivation, so they broke the scale down even further and added a 4.25, 4.5, 4.75 to get him to the 5. It worked! A scale does not have to be perfect. A scale is adaptable as we are adaptable. Feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and unmotivated is a great indicator that you might need to break the steps down even more. The goal of a scale is to celebrate success and to keep you moving forward.

How do you scale? Start by drawing a line and marking 1-10 on the line. Figure out what the situation, goal, hope, dream, behavior, etc. is that you are working on or toward. Make the 10 the ultimate goal and get specific, so what will being a 10 on the scale look like, feel like, be like for you? The more details the better because you can use those details to help you assess where you are at currently and to create steps to get you to a 10. You can even write all of this down next to the 10 as a reminder of what you are aiming for personally. Then the 1 on the scale represents the opposite of this goal. Once you have this figured out, circle where you think you are at on the scale. Then ask yourself the following questions: what makes me a ____ on the scale and not one point lower? If you are at a 1, then give yourself props for working on this goal (we all have to start somewhere). Then ask yourself: what would it take to raise my number by one point? What else would it take? If you tend to be really hard on yourself and need help getting a better assessment of your situation, ask your loved ones where they would rate you on your scale and why? What do they see as your strengths and what do they see as a next step to get you to the next higher number?

A scale is creative and a great way to get unstuck.

You can apply scaling to ANYTHING. Get creative.

I used scaling with my boss to make sure we were on the same page about a huge event that we had finished in March. I asked him on a scale of 1-10, where 10 is us knocking the event out of the park and it was a huge success, and 1 is the opposite, where would he rate the event? He said a 7 and I agreed. Then we discussed why it was a 7 and not a 6, and what it would take to get the event to a 10. It was a great check-in opportunity that did not point fingers or cast blame, but the discussion gave me clear, concrete goals for future events.

Scaling also creates buy-in. So if you are working on a scale with someone, then you both have investment in the success of the scale. The process is about your perception of the scale. There is no right or wrong answer because if you disagree with your co-creator about the current number on the scale, then you can talk about it and find out why the numbers are different. This discussion can create solutions, uncover hidden talents and strengths, and can also lead to conflict resolution as you work toward agreeing on the number.

The image above is the scale of my goal toward successfully losing weight and improving my health. I placed myself at a 3 on the scale because I recently had success and lost over 20 pounds, but I have gained some of that weight back (about 9 lbs back). My 10 is a place of peace. At a 10, I will be at my natural weight (maybe that is 145 lbs., I’m not sure, but I will feel comfortable and not have unhealthy weight around my middle). I will be better at moderation at a 10 and will choose to eat healthy foods to fuel my person. My emotional addictions to food will have minimal power over my behaviors at a 10, and food will be about fuel instead of comfort. To get to a 4 on the scale, I am trying to exercise for 30 minutes daily. 30 minutes is not enough to significantly get me to lose weight with the food I’m eating, but 30 minutes feels achievable and I want to build on success. 30 minutes also feels less overwhelming with everything I have going on in my life. To get to a 4, I am also working to reduce the number of points I eat per week. I am not trying to be perfect but just eat a bit less. I have been overeating by over 100 points a week on Weight Watchers, so if I can only overeat by 60-70 points, that would be a win and get me to a 4. I will work to build on that success so I stay motivated to keep working toward my 10.