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SMART Goals 2018

Instead of a New Years Resolution, this year I want to set SMART goals.

S – SPECIFIC: without a very specific goal, it is easy to turn a goal into simply a dream
M – MEASURABLE: how am I going to measure my success and achievements? Is it a date? Is it a number? Is it a quantity?
A – ACHIEVABLE: we see it all the time in here, “I want to lose 20 pounds in the next two weeks!!!” Nope. Goals should be achievable; they should stretch you slightly so you feel challenged, but defined well enough so that you can achieve them.
R – RESULTS-FOCUSED: Goals should measure outcomes, not activities, unless the activity itself is your goal.
T – TIMEBOUND: Don’t be one of those who is constantly saying, “I will start ‘tomorrow’ or ‘Monday.'” Guess what happens when we don’t set a specific time-deadline? We NEVER BEGIN.
So what does this look like for me?
When I had my VSG surgery (Jan 2014), I started at 256 and had gotten down to 140#. I maintained at 140 for quite a while. Then I slowly started allowing back in bad habits and started gaining. After Christmas this year, I had gotten up to 182#. I decided as of Christmas day, that I was getting back on track and losing this regain. I’m drinking protein shakes, and having 1 good meal. But I haven’t really set any goals or parameters. Since Christmas day, I am down 10# to 172. I am working to lose this regain plus 10 more. I would like to get to 130# as my goal weight. That means I have 42# to lose.
SPECIFIC: I want to lose 42# more.
MEASURABLE: Obviously this will be measured by the scale. At 2# a week, this would take me to the beginning of June to lose this amount of weight.
ACHIEVABLE: Yes, I think this is possible!
RESULTS FOCUSED: I am focused on the end result, focused on getting my health back and feeling better.
TIME BOUND: I am doing this now! No time to waste.
This all sounds great, but how am I going to get there? What is my plan? What support do I have? What do I need?
I plan to keep up on at least 2 shakes a day to get my protein in, and 1 health snack and 1 healthy dinner. No grazing, no unhealthy things like crackers, carbs, etc. I want to stick to whole healthy foods, not processed foods.
I am also going to the gym and exercising. I’ve been going for 2 weeks now, just doing the treadmill. I want to focus on getting in the routine of going to the gym, not killing myself when I get there. Plus since I’m not taking in that many calories, I don’t want to over do it.
I also need support. I need to utilize the support groups and friends I have found on facebook that are going through the same things I am. I am not alone. I’ve also thought about doing the Healthy Wage website where you basically bet on yourself and your goal. It intrigues me.
I am really scared about where I’m at. I’m scared of going back to what I was 4 years ago. I don’t want that with all my being. I just struggle with consistency. I struggle with believing in myself. I struggle with staying motivated. I have to find it within me to push myself and want better, to do better, to be better. I don’t know how to do that. I guess I just have to get up every day, and put one foot in front of the other. Constantly remind myself of what I need to do. Keep the end goal/result in the forefront of my mind every day. That HAS to be more important than any food or craving.
I fell off the wagon today with movie theater popcorn. I also have eaten a lot of life saver mints. Having that sugar I think makes me crave other things. I need to stay away from the candy. That just leads to other bad choices. It’s like pot, the gateway drug! I also realized today that I may not be getting enough vitamins in. I’m going to start taking the all in one vitamins from Celebrate and see if that makes a difference in how I feel too.
No matter what, I can always start over. I don’t have to wait until the next day, or the next Monday. I can start over ANY TIME of day! Focus on how I feel, making good choices, being active, and the end goal.
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Have you ever wondered what superpower you would want if you could have any? I’ve always thought I would like to have the superpower of invisibility. I’d love to be able to go places and not be seen. I would love to see and hear what goes on behind closed doors when someone doesn’t think you are listening. I guess this speaks to my insecurities and thinking that people are always talking behind my back. I think people have a hard time being honest, so it’s hard to know what people really think about you. I lack critical self awareness.  Criticism is hard, but I think it’s the only way to make positive changes. How can you change what you don’t know?

What I’ve discovered is that having the power to be invisible when you choose to, is completely different then feeling like you are invisible. I’m feeling invisible a lot, and it doesn’t feel good. There are times when I feel like I’m talking, but no one is listening. I truly feel like, can you see me? Can you hear me? I’m talking over here. But no one is paying attention. Then someone else says what I just said, and then it gets heard. How does that happen? How do I get heard? Why is what I have to say so unimportant?

What about when someone asks your opinion, but then doesn’t want to listen or hear what you have to say? If it is in any way is contradictory to their opinion, it is wrong. There is no discussion, there is just a long diatribe of why you are wrong. How do you deal with that? I deal with it by just not engaging in the conversation with that person. It makes me sad. I feel like I am not smart enough to have these conversations. I feel like my mind is wasting away. I’ve lost the desire to engage in discussion because I’m not going to be listened to anyway. I feel like my feelings and opinions don’t matter. What’s the point of talking if no one is listening or cares what you have to say anyway?

I put on a good front (I think) that I’m happy and all is well. Truth is, it isn’t. I’m insecure. I’m not happy a lot of the time. I feel unintelligent and uneducated. I’m depressed. I wish some things were different. I want to live a simple life. I want to enjoy life and all the people in my life. I want to feel important and valued. I want to be strong. I want to have opinions. I want to stand for something. I want to be important to the people in my life.

Where do I go from here? How do I change these things? How do I become seen and not invisible? How do I get my voice heard? How can I help others if I can’t help myself?

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Surgery day

The week leading up to surgery was quite stressful. I wanted to get my work done at work so my co-workers wouldn’t be bombarded with work. But I was so anxious, it was really difficult to stay focused and concentrate. So a lot of things going through my mind. I really couldn’t shut it off.

The night before surgery, I couldn’t sleep. I wasn’t really nervous about the procedure, just really anxious. I had a lot of friends praying for me, and I could feel them helping to calm my mind. I knew that my life would be changed forever after surgery. But I was ready for the change.

We get to Methodist Hospital Thursday morning. Let me tell you, they work like a well oiled machine. they were all so kind and supportive and professional. They really kept my mind at ease, I wasn’t scared or worried.

The surgery went well. I had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy. this is where they remove part of your stomach, and so my stomach is shaped like a tube, like a small banana. The also found a hiatal hernia that needed repaired also. I’ve got 6 small incisions in my abdomen. I went home from the hospital Friday afternoon. Glad to be home!

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Starting over in 2014

It’s been over a year since I’ve blogged. My life has changed, and it will continually change more this year. I was on such a good path to health to achieve a healthy weight. However, it seemed that I was stuck in a pattern of losing and gaining the same 5#. for months. I’ll have to admit, I was more committed to the exercise than I was the food. Food has always been my downfall. I am an emotional eater. It took me a very long time to admit that I was an emotional eater. I have done a lot of work over the last couple of years to try and figure out how I work, what makes me tick, and why I struggle so with weight loss. I haven’t found the answers yet! 

Back in April of 2013, I had an accident at the gym, and hurt my back. So I was out of commission for a while. It was only a few weeks, but it was enough that I was totally derailed from the healthy lifestyle I had adopted. I just let my fear and low self esteem take over. I never went back to the gym, and I began to eat anything and everything that I wanted. It’s amazing to me how quickly I can gain weight, but how slowly it comes off. I just quit, I gave up. I just didn’t care anymore. But where has that gotten me? Nowhere! I feel miserable physically and mentally. I’ve gained back all I lost, plus some. I’ve gained at least 80# since April. I’m not going to lie, I enjoyed the foods that I was eating, but the end result is horrible. 

So I’m back at it here and now in 2014. I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life. Even when I would lose some I’d gain it back plus more. So I made a decision to have surgery to help me beat this weight battle for good. 

I went to an informational meeting at Unity Point Weight Loss Clinic. It was about a 2 hour meeting where the Physicians spoke about the ins and outs of obesity, diets, and surgery. At this point, I began heavily thinking about surgery. I went through the motions to get prepared and approved for surgery. I finally decided to move forward and my surgery was on January 16, 2014.

I thought I would get back to blogging now to share my experience with this surgery and weight loss. So keep reading! 

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Defeated…I think not!

Defeated…I think not!.


Defeated…I think not!

If you would have talked to me last week, there would have been a different answer. Last Saturday I was totally defeated and ready to hang up my running shoes. I had an 8 mile run on the schedule. I knew I hadn’t been completely on track the last few weeks, but I knew that I needed to get back on track to be ready for the half in a few weeks. So I went out on the trail for my scheduled run. The first few miles were good. I stretched often. As I got closer to the 4 mile mark, I was having more trouble getting my IT band stretched out. But I was 4 miles out, and I needed to turn around to come back. I kept alternating my run/walk and kept stretching, but it didn’t matter. I was in excruciating pain along my left knee. I finally got to the point that I couldn’t run anymore, and I was just hobbling along the path as other runners and bikers passed me by.

It took so much to not just bust out crying. I kept going, because I had to. At one point, a couple on a tandem bike went by me. I thought about stopping them to see if they could give me a ride back to my car. But my pride wouldn’t allow that.  I finally made it back to my car, it took me about 45 mins or so. The whole time walking back, I was defeated. I had decided that distance running was just not for me. I was just not cut out for it. I was no longer going to train for the half, and just stick with the 5k. I had quit in my mind.

I have been so stressed out lately with various things going on, and with not getting my workouts in, I was just an emotional wreck. I went out and visited with my mom and as soon as I saw her, I burst into tears. I just let it ALL out! I’m sure I totally freaked her out, but she just held me and let me cry, and told me it would be ok. THANKS MOM!!! Amazingly, after my cry and visit with my mom, I felt better. I was still limping around, but emotionally was better.

I also emailed my trainer and told her my revelation that I was not a distance runner, and I was going to quit. She told me to not be defeated, but to look at how many miles I had done over the last 3 weeks. Well, doing that, I realized that I was no where near ready to run 8 miles. I had been lax with my running the last 3 weeks, and my body just wasn’t ready for it yet. Not that I couldn’t do it, but I just wasn’t ready yet. So the plan was to back my training up by a few weeks, and let myself get back on track. So I had to change my mindset as well to believe that I could do it. I revised my running schedule and got it on the calendar.

So I’ve been doing that this week, running just 2-4 miles. I’m also adding a day of running, so doing 4 days a week now instead of just 3. I don’t know how much of the half I’ll be able to run. My goal was to run the whole thing, but I’ve just decided that I will do what I can. I will work hard over the next 6 weeks to get my training in and be in the best shape possible by 10/21/12. There is no room or time for slacking here! I am not going to let anything defeat me again! I am strong, I am capable, I am motivated. I can do it!

Have you ever had a situation like this where you have been ready to quit? What did you do? How did you come out of it?

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Let’s Get Motivated!

Here’s some motivation for you!

Losing Weight to Find Myself









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Week 14 wrap up

My total weight loss since 04/02/12 is 15#. I could be disappointed by this number, but I am not. I feel that this is a solid 15# lost, not just water and trickery. I am happy with my progress and continue to keep pushing. I’ve had 2 weeks of PTO, so completely off routine. I was in Denver for 7 days, home for several days, and then in Cedar Falls/Waterloo area for 3 days. I was a little nervous going into my weigh in today, not really knowing what to expect, but confident in the good choices I have been making. I lost 3.2# from my last weigh in 2 weeks ago, so I am thrilled with that.

My trip to Denver was for a mission trip with my church. It was an amazing experience. We worked through Denver Urban Ministries and had different activities every day to choose from. We spent a great deal of time learning about the homeless population, what they go through, what life is like for them and what services are available to them. Here we encountered folks with real problems, real stories, real troubles. It really made me evaluate myself, my life, my problems, etc. Where I struggle with what healthy options do I have for meals, some are struggling with if they are going to get a meal at all. One night we served a meal to the homeless youth in Denver and there were several who hadn’t eaten for days. What a blessing it is that I don’t have to worry about where my next meal is coming from. It should be easy to be grateful for what I have and not take it for granted and make good healthy choices because I can. Some don’t have the option to make a healthy choice because sometimes what you need to buy to stretch the money to feed your family isn’t the healthiest and your places for shopping may be limited.

Another amazing day was when we visited KADEP. It is a day facility for adults with MS and traumatic brain injuries. We were fortunate enough to be able to spend an entire day there participating in activities with them. Most of them are in wheelchairs or walkers, and their minds are completely there. They loved telling jokes!  In the morning, we played tennis and volleyball. This was my first time ever playing tennis! I just really tried not to hit anyone in the back of the head. It was amazing to see their determination, strength and skill. They inspire me to continue to be active, because I can.

Then in the afternoon we visited with clients while they took turns on a power plate machine. It is a machine that sends powerful vibrations through your body that contracts your muscles 160 times in 45 seconds. It helps get the blood flowing and the muscles working. One of the exercises was a push-up. They let us try out the machine too. So 2 ladies went first, knelt down on their knees and pressed their hands onto the machine in a modified push-up form. Next was myself and a 17 yr old boy. I knelt down like the others, then the trainer said to the boy that he could do regular push-ups. So I thought, so can I! So I got in regular push-up position too! So the machine starts to vibrate and off we go, push-ups, 1 to 1. I kept up with him the whole time, or should I say, he kept up with me! Anyway, it was a great feeling to know that I was strong enough to keep up with a fit 17 yr old boy. And I didn’t gloat too much! Now my arms were tired when done as the vibrations from the machine really work. But it was AWESOME! So the lesson here again is to continue to be active, because I can.

I really embraced this experience and learned what I could from it. I am truly grateful for my freedom, my right to believe in the God of my choosing, I have a place where I call home every night, family all around me, and food to nourish my body. What else is there that I truly need? My needs are met, and for that, I am truly humbled and grateful.

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I was really excited to go into my weigh-in today. I had been feeling really good all week. My scale at home showed a 2# loss, so I was ready. I go and step on the scale at work, and it shows a dismal .5# loss. Yes, that’s right, and HALF A POUND loss, which basically is nothing.

I was really disappointed in myself. I have been watching my food intake and writing it down, but haven’t been tracking it online and counting the calories. When I told my trainer that I was just writing my food down, but not tracking it, she asked how many calories I was eating a day? I didn’t know. Point taken. So just disappointed in myself that I continue to slack like this, and allow these behaviors to sabotage my success.

So I sulked a little bit today. So I decided I was going to have a pop. I went to the cafe and got a 16oz pop. Couldn’t find just a can! But then was tempted by all the other sweets and treats like candy, fresh popped popcorn, trail mix, etc. But I opted for a Nature Valley Granola bar that was only 90 calories. So this counted as my pm snack. I felt good about the small victory of making a good choice when I really didn’t want to.

I decided that I needed to quit sulking and FORGIVE myself. As I found out the other day, it is powerful! So I did more visualization and labeled my disappointment and .5# loss in a bin, and put it away in the closet. Oops….I think I forgot to shut the door.  Ok..door shut…and locked. Moving on now.

So now I have tracked my food for the day, and I am done. I’m at my calorie max. I’ve had supper and feel satisfied. Now I’m going to get my food ready for tomorrow and get ready for bed.

I need to take all these lessons in stride. I cannot expect myself to be perfect. I cannot play games with myself. I cannot ‘cheat’ at the game and expect to win and be successful. Recognize, own, forgive. accept,  learn, move forward. That is what I need to keep doing on a daily basis.

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My New Blog site!

I’ve moved my blog! Check it out at under gretchensjourney.



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