Home It's All Mental Setting Goals: How, Why & Who Do You Tell?

Setting Goals: How, Why & Who Do You Tell?

by Erika Nicole Kendall

Stemming from a few comments the other day on Weight Loss Is For People With Low Self-Esteem,” comes this issue of goal setting.

Conversations about weight are always brought to me in terms of numbers.

“How much have you lost? Oh, my gosh! What’s your goal weight? Are you there yet? Are you still losing? How much more do you want to lose?”

Numbers, numbers, numbers. It’s so bizarre.

I can tell someone I weigh 110, and that person has no idea whether or not that weight is “sensible” for me or my daily functions. Why? Because “sensible” includes my height (110 looks very different on six feet tall and five feet tall), my body composition, and everything in between. It’s just not that simple.

We grind things down into bare bones numbers because it simplifies the conversation – I get that. And there’s nothing wrong with having even a passing interest in what’s going on with me and asking “typical small talk weight questions” – particularly if you’re someone I care about. Those aren’t what my problem is, though. My problem is, really, something that’s my own fault… and really isn’t even a problem at all, if you ask me.

My problem is that I don’t have a weight loss goal. All this weight gone, and I still don’t have a weight loss goal. That’s right. I said it.I have no “once I reach this number, I’ll be happy” weight. And I don’t think I ever will.

My experience with numbers is that they don’t quantify much. They just… don’t. The scale (and, subsequently, losing weight) don’t quantify how healthy you’ll be or how able you are to handle your daily business.

Here’s an example: I’m a lover of pole fitness. I had to learn how to use my muscles in conjunction with one another in order to accomplish the moves I wanted to do. No matter how thin you are, if you don’t have the upper body strength to lift yourself up off the floor… if you don’t have the leg strength to keep them in the air as you spin… if you don’t have the abs to be able to flip yourself over… you will be limited in what you can do. No scale could quantify that ability.

Here’s another example: I, a former asthmatic, am a runner. I run. I run to become faster. I run because I have nightmares of outrunning zombie— errr, let’s just say I’d like to be able to protect Mini-me and myself if need be. The first time I ran my first full mile, I cried. Like a total wuss. No scale could predict when I’d be able to accomplish that. Hell, I couldn’t even predict when I’d be able to accomplish that… and I’m the one doing the running.

One last example: I want to look svelte and sleek and sexy in my progress bikini. I want well-built thighs, tight arms, a six pack and a toned neck and shoulders. I lift weights because I want to achieve that. I spent 6 months lifting weights like nobody’s business, and lost maybe 7lbs on the scale. I also lost almost 30lbs of fat. I lost, but what I gained was so much more valuable and important. If my focus was purely on “reaching my goal number,” I might be silly enough to stop weight lifting just to reach that goal number. (Calm down, I said I might be.)

I accepted a long time ago that numbers won’t decide whether or not I look how I want at a certain weight. And even though I get the general gist of the questions.. I do wonder what people think a “goal weight” quantifies other than “a loss of mass.”

I don’t think I ever had a goal. I changed my habits and kind of just enjoyed the weight loss and increased activity levels as they came.

That does make me wonder, though. Do we see goals as something to politely and calmly reach, and then relax upon reaching there? Or do we see them as “mile markers” in a marathon – “Yeah, I reached this marker, but I think I’ll still keep going?”

And do we see goals as public property and “small talk?” As complicated as my current goals are, I certainly don’t think I can talk about them in a conversation with people who are only slightly interested in me. I don’t say that to imply that people shouldn’t ask – I don’t mind that – but I do mean that perhaps we should be careful regarding how we discuss our goals and who we share them with.

Enter the video above, sent to me by @quiethaylestorm. I actually think it’s cute that he references fitness in his slideshow. I also think that’s appropriate.

When I first started, two people knew. My then-boyfriend, and my Mother. He knew because he’d have to deal with my changing body and lifestyle, and Mom because she was watching my Mini-me while I worked it out at the gym at night. When I first began working on my eating habits, another two people knew… and again, only because I needed their guidance and support. The only people who were aware of my goals were the people directly related to me achieving them.

I kept my goals to myself because I knew that I was unsure of myself – unsure of the mechanics behind why I was successful – and I didn’t want to leave myself open to bad advice and negativity. I knew that I was insecure about it, and the only way to change that was to spend time educating myself before I thrust myself into the open about it. Not only that, but I tend to be really dismissive of unwanted advice and unnecessary criticism. I don’t care to hear about how someone thinks women who lift weights are manly. I just.. I’d rather bypass the entire situation and choose my words more carefully.

The only reason I started publicly talking about my weight loss was because, after a certain point, I couldn’t really hide it anymore. Otherwise, I’d still be hiding away from everyone but my “investors”… and just bust out with my phenomenal physique like “Ta-dow! How ya like me now?!”

I agree with him, though. I believe that using your time to reflect on your goals (instead of allowing yourself to be patted on the back for actually having the goal) is much more effective in helping you get there. I understand why people tell me their goals – especially considering the position I’m in with having this blog – but in general conversation? Some things, to me, should be better protected.

While being able to see a specific number on the scale might be exciting, it’s not as long-lasting as the abilities you might develop on your journey or the knowledge you’d acquire along the way. Maybe I’m silly for thinking it’s more valuable to set a more meaningful goal than “losing a few pounds,” but for someone like me… that was the best thing I could do for myself. The abilities I’ve developed on my path have changed my quality of life forever. I’ve developed new habits that have changed my life. They ensure that I’ll never have to worry about putting on those “few pounds” ever again.

To wrap this up… I love my goals because they’re meaningful, and what’s more – they’re going to prevent me from backsliding. I love my trusted support system, because they’ve stood beside me as I’ve gotten this far… through the entire thing. I love myself enough to recognize that I don’t need anyone else’s validation of my goals. They’re good enough for me, and as long as I keep striving towards them… the important stuff is all under control. Everything else, to me, is unnecessary.

What about you? Do you prefer to set number goals over anything else? Do you keep your goals to yourself, or do you share? What are your thoughts on the video?

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Amber J. November 4, 2010 - 12:32 PM


Talk about great minds thinking alike! I JUST wrote about this very video today on my blog. Crazy! I wasn’t thinking about weight loss, but you make a great point.


And great job as usual 🙂

Erika November 4, 2010 - 12:46 PM

Thanks! I checked out your post: http://thefablifeproject.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/value-in-not-sharing-your-dreams/

I just think we should value ourselves enough that the accountability and validation that comes within should be enough… besides, negative people can’t throw wrenches in your machinery if they don’t know where you stand. 🙂

…and we ALL know about weight loss sabotage, LOL!

Streetz November 4, 2010 - 12:46 PM

Good Post!

I think theres a difference between setting a goal and quantifying results. In my line of work, we use metrics constantly to plot trends, the ebb and flow of business, and to see where we can improve and strengthen. I take the same approach to fitness.

I look at my “goals” as markers in a marathon. I set them to have a destination, and re-evaluate once I get there. I agree that the scale should never be the end all be all to determine your overall fitness. You can lose 20 pounds in 2 days (water weight) and reach your goal, but you’ll most likely look like a smaller version of your current self, instead of losing fat, trimming, gaining lean mass, and gaining strength.

Its always good to get feedback from people who are fit already, or have the body type that you want. While all bodies are different, they obviously went on a good path to fitness, so that type of sharing is cool. I like plotting my progress because it keeps me honest and keeps me motivated. All the calorie counting, scale watching, body fat testing, picture taking, heart rate monitoring, etc can get cumbersome, but if people can buy flossy clothes, rims for a car, the newest video game or TV, they can invest the time into their health, which is one of the most valuable commodities you have!

Sorry for the long comment, lol

Erika November 4, 2010 - 12:51 PM

I don’t mind long comments! I promise! I feel like.. if y’all can read my hellalong posts, I can certainly read a few long comments, LOL.

“I look at my “goals” as markers in a marathon. I set them to have a destination, and re-evaluate once I get there. I agree that the scale should never be the end all be all to determine your overall fitness. You can lose 20 pounds in 2 days (water weight) and reach your goal, but you’ll most likely look like a smaller version of your current self, instead of losing fat, trimming, gaining lean mass, and gaining strength.”

This needs to be seen twice. “Weight loss” INCLUDES “losing water weight,” hence those silly detoxes and saunas… people just don’t realize that “losing weight” doesn’t equate to “getting fit.” So, again… this needs to be seen:

“I look at my “goals” as markers in a marathon. I set them to have a destination, and re-evaluate once I get there. I agree that the scale should never be the end all be all to determine your overall fitness. You can lose 20 pounds in 2 days (water weight) and reach your goal, but you’ll most likely look like a smaller version of your current self, instead of losing fat, trimming, gaining lean mass, and gaining strength.”

Jubilance November 4, 2010 - 12:48 PM

Great & timely post. This is something I’ve been thinking abt a lot lately.

I’ve been losing this year, and so far I’ve lost a significant amount of weight, though I still have a way to go. I’ve always had a # goal in mind, but I don’t tell most people. I barely tell most people how much I’ve lost at all. Generally ppl will just ask me if I’ve lost weight & I’ll answer in the affirmative & keep it moving.

I always liked your idea of judging progress not by the scale but by using particular clothing you want to fit or certain things you want to do, and that’s been my marker & motivation so far. My biggest thing is that I dont want to get some pre-determined # & then say “ok that’s it I’m done”. I want to see what potential my body has & figure out what’s the best place for it to be, both in appearance, fitness & the actual # on the scale.

Not sharing is also another reason why I haven’t blogged abt it yet. That & also the fact that I’ve blogged abt my weight loss attempts before & I’ve always ended up falling off the wagon & re-gaining what I lost. I really haven’t wanted the judgement & also the scrutiny, which is why I havne’t blogged abt it or even told a lot of ppl. When you tell ppl you’re losing weight, they feel like its their job to police what you put in your mouth, how much you work out, etc and I don’t want the hassle. I do have a goal for the year, and if I reach it then I will probably blog abt it in-depth only because I’ll be proud of what I accomplished.

Erika November 4, 2010 - 12:59 PM

I can hear a lot of myself in what you’re saying, ESPECIALLY “ok that’s it, I’m done.” THAT is why I haven’t set a “goal number.” I don’t want to be so overwhelmed with the work that it took to get there, that the unhappiness with my appearance coupled with that “completion” feeling would compel me to slow down.

For me, one goal is developing a lifestyle that promotes activity – fitting yoga, strength training AND running into each day EVERY DAY is a challenge that I actually look forward to every day. When I’m successful, I enjoy the benefits. When I fail, I feel the guilt and the sadness and I actually feel deprived… and it compels me to go harder the next day. Using numbers to quantify that… I can’t even imagine.

I will also say this is why I don’t blog track of my weight. I mean, my numbers matter because I run a blog about weight loss, but I’m not down with detailing my life to people to whom I’m not accountable. I genuinely don’t recommend it. I see other bloggers do it and it makes me nervous for them – I don’t know that many people could deal with that scrutiny… and the pressure to present progress every week could compel someone into an eating disorder.. something else that makes me uncomfy. Don’t do it if you’re not ready.

Loved everything about this comment! 🙂

Streetz November 4, 2010 - 12:56 PM

@Erika, you my soror, so I wasn’t gonna mention hella long posts. I got hood don’t worry, lol.

I’m not gonna front though, and I know you’re going to throw something at me, but at my fitness level the detox might could make it. *ducks*

I’m just not sure I have anything to “detox” you know?

Sidebar: Your moms ever give you the effin laxative as a kid to clean you out?! I HATED that sh*t #doubleentendre

Erika November 4, 2010 - 1:04 PM

At “your fitness level”… if you’ve got anything to detox, #urdoinitrong

Besides, you and I both know a detox doesn’t burn fat or build muscle… it rids you of the Popeye’s you ate yesterday. [insert blank stare]

Skee-Phi, tho’. LOL

MANDA November 4, 2010 - 1:00 PM

I am starting the goal of eating better. I know how to work out and do cardio, but I don’t know how to incorporate weights. This is the most I have ever weighed. My goal is to get back in these jeans I have had for over five years. I wan to be able to run. I am making short-term goals that will lead to longer goals. I feel that if I say I want to lose X amount by December, I may set myself up for failure. As long as I lose the weight, I shouldn’t worry about how fast it happens, just that I have the tools in place that I won’t get this size ever again.

Erika November 4, 2010 - 1:05 PM

Trust me – there is nothing more demoralizing than the “lose x by y date” system, because you almost always fall short…. especially if you’re lifting.

What questions do you have about incorporating weights? Maybe I can help?

Trina November 4, 2010 - 1:00 PM

It’s interesting I have also kept my journey close to me. My goals are my own because I don’t need anyone else’s ‘advice’ like you wrote. I have a weight loss number but at this point it isn’t about that. I have a goal of being able to do a bicep curl with 40lb weights by the end of the year and run a full mile. Things that make ME feel strong. Being healthy and making my own food, especially since I cooked before but not like I do now. I am trying to taylor my goals to little victories to keep me moving in the right direction. I can see my sides, ya’ll and that’s a big deal to me…One day my toes!!

Erika November 4, 2010 - 1:11 PM

“Little victories…”


And girl, I remember the first moment I looked down and saw my toes… I sat in my bathroom and cried. Not because I could finally see ’em, but because of just how long I’d gone without noticing that I couldn’t see them. I’m looking forward to the follow-up comment that tells me how nice it feels to see those piggies!!

Tina November 4, 2010 - 1:18 PM

I like you am not a slave to the scale, there was no magic number and still is not for me. I have lost about 60 lbs during the course of this year, and I was only a 14/16 . It all depends on your build and what makes you feel good. I am a runner now preparing for my first race, a half-marathon and my 35th birthday and all of my friends are constantly trying to get me on the scale, as well as trying to convince me that I am getting to thin or should stop now. Its all subjective, and since I am the subject at hand I will work out to live and feel great and fall back on worrying about the number. I did in fact have a goal of seeing my collar bones cuz those bad boys are sexy and yes I am there and still working. Great post!

Erika November 4, 2010 - 1:42 PM

Girl!! I LOVE my collarbone! Considering the ring I used to have around my neck, there is nothing better than sliding on a thin top and seeing that bad boy!

Yesssss on the half-marathon!!! I’m trying to get on your level.. planning to do my first mini this winter! LOL Let’s do this!

Streetz November 4, 2010 - 1:38 PM

You had to go there with the P word, lol…

I agre though and by the comments everyone seems to be doing well. It’s all your own journey. Getting there is the part you will appreciate most when you succeed!

Erika November 4, 2010 - 1:42 PM

Yes. I am throwing immense amounts of shade at you. Popeyes.

MANDA November 4, 2010 - 1:54 PM

Erica, I don’t know when to incorporate the weights. What weight machines to use first. At what point in the weight loss do you start weights? Questions like that.

Erika November 5, 2010 - 12:05 PM

Hmmm… if you e-mail them to me, I can try to cover it in next week’s Q&A Wednesday. How’s that sound? Because by just looking at the two you’ve asked here, I can tell that’d be the longest comment I’ve ever written, and I’ve written some doozies. LOL!

keisha brown November 4, 2010 - 2:36 PM

well i of course like this post..cuz well.. im in it! lol.

when i 1st watched the video, i watched with a sideeye..that grew. i ended it understanding the argument..but not quite sure if was a healthy way of thinking.

but erika explains that she had 2 investors and that was enough. which i think is key. i’ve never told anyone my number, but i’ve put my goals out there. this video had me questioning if i sabotaged myself. no one does anything by themselves and without some sort of support.

i have set those goals for myself (some of which i tweeted/shared), and have put things in motion to set myself up for success (the 1st being getting a trainer). i know that having someone (incl my bank account) hold me accountable to achieving these goals is necessary for me to eventually take the training wheels off and keep going for myself.

but blogs like this, are a definite source of encouragement!

so thanks!

Erika November 5, 2010 - 12:08 PM

Heeeeeeeeey girl! LOL! Thank you for sharing the link!

I’ve written before about our support systems and how its important to keep them small because, as with a LOT of other things, we run the risk of involving people who aren’t really putting our best interests first. It’s opening ourselves up to sabotage in more ways than one, IMO. With anything, you have to make sure that trustworthy people are around you at all times.

…and thank you for including my blog in that. I’m so honored! 🙂

Value in NOT sharing your dreams? « The Fab Life Project November 4, 2010 - 3:01 PM

[…] I found the TED talk because an amazing thing happened today. A blogger that I follow,  A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss, posted about this vid today, too. Her post deals with discussing your weight loss goals with […]

Streetz November 4, 2010 - 4:59 PM

You know if you changed the name of this post to “Reaching Goals” it would be more accurate #kanyeshrug

**ducks and runs out the blog**

Erika November 4, 2010 - 5:34 PM

You know… if I responded to your comment the way I usually would… you’d really be ducking and running. #shruglife


Ladi Ohm November 4, 2010 - 7:30 PM

This is such an interesting post. I have always been one to share my goals, though, in many facets of my life, I’ve achieved them. They, of course, always evolve once I’ve reached a certain point, but now, I wonder if I’ve made my journey a little longer or harder by doing so.

In regards to my fitness and health goals, I’ve recently reevaluated what my goals are and should be. I was a slave to the scale until the number quit going down, and even went up a few pounds. I still wear the same clothing size, but I can lift more, run farther and my cooking skills are better than ever! I’ve never been a ‘runner’, but this month, I’ll be running my first 5K, and I couldn’t be happier. Every time I add even an extra 30 feet to my running distance, I feel like I’ve won. I’ve even found myself more excited to buy workout clothes than shoes (and I love shoes). I really think, though, that as my fitness goals continue to evolve, that I will keep things quiet… I might be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Erika November 5, 2010 - 12:14 PM

Yesss!!!! @ the 5k!! 🙂

I think the other element of sharing your goals with people is that they don’t seem to respect/support things they don’t understand (or like.) Like, I know that *I* can understand dragging your hind parts another 30 feet LOL, but if you’ve got a friend who resents running because of “sweat”… what kind of support would she give you? Hopefully she’d support you because she acknowledges that you two think differently… but if she hates on you at each turn, then what? It’s demoralizing. And it sucks. LOL

I think it bears reflection, but if you come out on top regardless… then you’re better than me. LOL I like secrets. I keep ’em often. LOL!!

Athena November 5, 2010 - 12:53 AM

I just started losing weight and my first goal was a number goal, My mother and sisters placed such a strong emphasis on what the number on the scale was that it was how I began to determine my weight loss success. Having gotten a little older and wiser I care much more about my health but I still struggle with the numbers some days!

Erika November 5, 2010 - 12:16 PM

I think it’s sensible to struggle with the numbers still, because everywhere you turn, it’s about numbers. It’s about making sure that the numbers aren’t the top priority, to me. When the NUMBER is the top priority, you start to do things that jeopardize your health… and your body won’t allow you to engage in that for very long. Once you change.. sure enough, the weight WILL come back, you know?

That being said, here’s to your journey and hoping your family has a “come to fitness” moment, too! 🙂

Thembi November 5, 2010 - 5:16 AM

I think about this a lot. I’m more of a talker than a do-er when it comes to things and procrastinate on my destiny more than I procrastinate on paying bills. When it comes to weight loss there is one thing I know for sure: people LOVE telling you that you look like you lost weight, even if its only 10 or 15 pounds. Gain 75 and they’re quiet as church mice. You can see it in the faces of people who haven’t seen you for a while that they notice you gained weight, its almost funny in a sad kind of way, kind of like when a client or employer thinks you’re white over the phone and you show up all brown and nappy. For this reason, I like to announce my goals to certain people but only those who know me well enough to not even bat an eyelash when I’ve lost or gained. It’s those people who are slow to congratulate a loss too, because they’re just happy to see me.

This post really made me think. Maybe one day I’ll grow to not hate fitness, in fact I’m sure I will – it usually clicks when I realize that I’m not losing weight just to fit into smaller spaces – and at that point I’m sure I’ll have more practical goals. But my ultimate goal is hefty numberwise yet not really about the number – I want to go to the doctor and not have them mention my weight. I want to be not medically overweight ONCE in my conscious life. Can a sista have that? I don’t know because I’m not that close to it yet, but the idea that I might be able to say I’ve been overweight my whole life for the rest of my days on this Earth just does not sit with me, so I’m working on changing that above all else.

Erika November 5, 2010 - 12:23 PM

Giiiiiiiiiirl, lol. I feel you, but I also remember when I was bigger and having my father’s step-mom say to me “Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen you… back then you were wayyy younger… and skinny.” And she whispered it through those three front teeth she had.. and she almost lost ’em that day, too. LOLOL I’m just sayin’… I can’t imagine hearing “Wow, you’ve gained weight” as much as we hear “Wow, you’ve lost weight!” I’m cringing at the thought!

Hating fitness… you just have to reframe it. No one loves that burning pain in your muscles, but dang if you don’t love the result. That’s all about reframing. It’s really that simple. When you reframe it, its easier to accomplish, and much easier to embrace as a part of life… not just something to talk about over coffee, lol. (Yuck, btw. LOL)

Bri November 5, 2010 - 10:10 AM

Again you’re telling us you don’t worry about your weight loss. I call bs. You can’t have a toned body unless you take weight off. Why is that factor being minimalized on your alleged weight loss blog? I don’t know why I expected rationale from a greek who never even graduated. Dah, well.

From Erika: Who says I didn’t graduate college? LOL How familiar are you with me that you’re firing blank shots? Did I hurt your feelings, since you’re grasping for straws? Aw, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that you aren’t reading what I’m saying to you.

I’m sorry that you didn’t read the post you originally commented on, you didn’t understand that I said “Stop focusing on weight loss and think about your health” as a response to women who use the “I don’t need to change. Weight loss is for people with low self-esteem” line as an excuse to not address the fact that something is clearly wrong and YOUR rationale was severely lacking.

I’m sorry you lied about my site “not being your thing,” yet you’re still here, still reading and… still commenting.

I’m sorry that you’re not realizing the connection between improved health and weight loss… ESPECIALLY with the hormonal imbalances that we trigger in our lives with emotional eating and eating the wrong things altogether. I’m sorry that you’re intentionally holding onto that myth that weight loss brings improved health like it’s the last gasp of air on Earth. I’m sorry that you’re not going to lose and/or KEEP OFF your “little baby weight” that you referenced until you recognize what I’m talking about here… and I’m pre-emptively sorry for the broom and dustpan you’ll need to pick your face up off the floor when you start to change your life and experience exactly what I write about on my site. I’ll spring for the dustpan, but the broom.. you’ll need to buy yourself.

I’m sorry that you think trolling my website will give you something to do all day, boo, but this is the last comment you’ll leave and the last bit of my attention you’ll get. Believe that. I work damned hard to make sure that this is a positive environment and I’d rather spend my energies posting and sharing with the people who do the same than spend my time changing your diaper and giving you your bottle. You’re not my kid. Demanding my attention by throwing rocks through windows ain’t gon’ work.

In short… best of luck to you in your endeavors, but no one will read about ’em here. Not with that name, not with that e-mail address, and certainly not with that tone. I’m sure when you DO have your own “come to fitness” moment, you’ll come back with new info and a new attitude – and you’ll be welcome then. But UNTIL then, fall back.

How’s THAT for rationale?

Randi November 5, 2010 - 10:22 AM

This is a great post.

When I started getting serious about my health and weight loss I only told my bf, mother and my close friends (about 4 people). I only told them what I planned to do in order to change my habits but kept my goals closely guarded. I guess it was mainly because I really didn’t want to hear anyone opinions about what they thought would be good for me. As my year has passed I have consulted only 2 extra people (my uncle a personal trainer and my step-father an ex-body builder) about my progress and have gotten great advice.

In the beginning I had a set goal weight but as I have progressed throughout the year it’s become less and less important (despite the fact that I do write a blog where I track my weight) compared to the other things I would like to achieve. I would still like to see my goal weight eventually but it’s most definitely not my end all be all weight. I may get to that weight and want to continue in my quest for fitness or I may never get to that weight and be just as happy being fit and healthy.

Erika November 5, 2010 - 12:32 PM

“I guess it was mainly because I really didn’t want to hear anyone opinions about what they thought would be good for me.”

That’s what I had in the back of my mind when I was writing this – it always seems like sharing fit goals turn into “a request for unsolicited advice,” that is often full of myths and questionable logic. Booooooooooo! LOL!

Thembi November 5, 2010 - 1:31 PM

“I’ll spring for the dustpan, but the broom.. you’ll need to buy yourself.”

Check and mate.

Erika November 5, 2010 - 2:09 PM

Can I please go back to being the happy hippie? Please? Now that I’ve shown y’all that I still have a bad side? LOL!

MANDA November 8, 2010 - 2:27 PM

Can you share some weight lifting methods please?

Erika November 8, 2010 - 2:39 PM

That’s a really vague question, because weight lifting encompasses a lot. Do you mean machines, free weights or something more specialized like a kettlebell? And are you referring to general rules to abide by or specific tips for body parts? “Methodology” covers a lot of ground! I am planning to talk about it Wednesday, in regards to learning gym equipment and getting comfy putting in the work though.

If you’ve got a specific area that you want to see addressed or want to explain more, please share! 🙂

MANDA November 8, 2010 - 8:04 PM

I want to know at what point should you start weight training? What machines, weight exercises work for arms, legs, stomach? What is the purpose of the kettlebell? I have so many questions about weights, but I guess that is a good start.

JoAnna January 22, 2011 - 1:49 PM

Loved the video. Derek Silvers revolutionized music marketing and knows a bit about setting goals.

Since I’ve been working out, I’ve had a few relatives make comments and suggestions. They found out thru my gossipy housemate when I go to the gym, what I eat, what size I might be when I lose the weight, etc… I finally told my housemate that it’s none of her business when I go to the gym or what I do when I get there. I’m concerned with my health, not fitting into a particular dress size. Although there is this pair of 2 1/2″ heeled thigh high boots I’d like to comfortably strut in a some point…

This week I was able to trot on the treadmill at 2.0 miles and an incline of 1.0 for 20mins, AFTER being on a seated stepper for 16 mins, and AFTER rowing for 5mins. When I started in December, I couldn’t last 2mins on a treadmill without being out of breath and in pain. Working on the seated stepper had me sweating and my heart racing. I did not see a time coming when I would be pleasantly tired by a workout and not done for the day. It just occured to me driving home that I was walking like a normal person, and my workout was just another errand in my day.

So my goals have changed. And I’m keeping them to myself until I’m ready for the grand reveal! I remember something my Nanna used to tell me about people: It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than to get permission. To paraphrase: I believe it’s easier to show results than to ask for people to share your vision.

Debbi Estelle January 26, 2011 - 10:18 AM

Good Article! I agree with the video… Getting there! 🙂

My mom has always said we should ‘not let our right hand know what our left hand is doing’ and I think it’s valide advice. I, like you, think it bypasses a lot of negativity. Sometimes well meaning people can still become ‘haters’ when we share too much… (About our lives’ in general).

With goals I think we do share because: 1) A lot of us are looking for that validation… someone saying ‘yes you CAN do it’ (when we are still doubting ourselves); 2) To be accountable and 3) Sometimes just to make small talk (sheesh!) … maybe we think we will look better in their eyes? Something to prove?

Anyway… I have noticed that sometimes the most quiet among us are actually the ones who DO the most… They don’t have a need to ‘go public’ with everything… they do regard things as sacred.


DianaLyn January 23, 2012 - 11:29 PM

Glad I’m not the only one that dreams about having to outrun Zombies lol.
I haven’t set any specific numerical goals other than to finally see that scale go below 200 ( it’s been over 10 yrs). Where that stops will be when my lifestyle of healthy eating and being active no longer feels like work and just feels like me.

angela January 26, 2012 - 6:12 PM

I despise numbers- weights, sizes, all of it- so I’ve been acknowledging my weight loss in non-numbers ways: “I’m wearing a dress I haven’t worn in a few years,” “Took a double spin class today to make my body stronger,” “I broke my personal record on the treadmill today,” etc. Yes, coworkers, friends, etc., I know you can see that I’ve lost weight, but I don’t speak numbers with anyone…

Yet, I am 6 pounds away from 50 pounds lost, and dammit if I don’t wanna announce that 50 pound mark to the *world* when that happens.

Me March 4, 2012 - 4:09 PM

This was a great post. I’m a numbers person by trade, hobby, and plain old personality, so a lot of my goals get quantified–I’m the hammer, goals are my nails. That said, I absolutely appreciate the qualitative goals just as much–although I can usually find a way to quantify those too–so I don’t necessarily take numbers to heart; they’re moreso tools or “mile markers,” as you put it, on the way to the rest of my journey. And if I do share my goals, it’s usually with my closest friends just so they can check on me & keep me honest.

(My $0.02: Not sure what “Bri”‘s problem is, but I definitely don’t think you deserve the attitude, nor need to explain yourself or apologize for the contents of your blog. Sometimes people take their obsessions to czar-level and feel the need to attack/chastize anything contrary to their personal paths, so if I were you, next time I’d just delete, block, & keep it moving.)

Erika Nicole Kendall March 4, 2012 - 6:19 PM


Dominique June 19, 2012 - 2:17 PM

I learned you have to be “picky” who you share your goals with when I was in college. Obviously if you live with people you can’t. Some people will support you, others will do the complete opposite. Then there are those in the middle who will annoy you to no end with their questions/comments/research/input you didn’t ask for nor care to hear.

Yanis Michelle December 22, 2012 - 8:11 PM

This post was awesome. I’m in college, and I want my GPA to go up, but no one seems to think I can do it. This semester my GPA went up .4 points…which is a lot, my goal was .5. Then again, like you said, it’s just a number.

I’m pretty fit, for someone my age (23 years old) but I don’t look it, I’m a jeans size 8, I jog almost everyday, I go to the gym (I used to compete in Olympic weightlifting) and eat healthy, yet I still feel fat. Fat compared to my friends who are sizes 5 and 2, who have washboard abs. But they can’t run as much as I do, nor lift the weights I do reps in.

Today I bought a dress, and it fits pretty tight. I know that if I drop a few sizes, not necessarily weight I will look awesome in it. I dropped from size 11 to 8 in 2 months, and I still weighted the same. Reading this has helped me review my goals, and realized that it’s not a number, it’s how I feel that matters.

Eloquence, Inc. May 31, 2013 - 2:05 AM

Lehwego writes on his blog to forget the scale cause no one cares how much you actually weigh, they only care how you LOOK…so he recommends making the tape measure the replacement.

Makes sense…

If people like numbers though, I think if they buy a scale that has a body fat counter built in and not just weight, and it’s a scale that reads to at least the first decimal place, they can watch both fat count and weight, and if weight isn’t changing or even increasing but fat is dropping, they know right there it’s muscle they are gaining and can feel great not bad.

I am nervous to try just going by measurements and never touching the scale until I’m the measurements I want to be…it’s so…radical…lol.

@Curvy_Jones June 13, 2013 - 8:22 AM

I mark my weight loss in number goals but also non scale ones. Because I lose slow(ish)ly, having small non scale related goals keeps me from leaping off of a roof into a bag of nacho cheese doritos. But because I had a procedure specifically designed to drop weight and I DO have a number centric goal to shoot for, it gives me a target at which to throw myself. Along the way I have mini goals and mini accomplishments. I did my first 5K last weekend… never ever ever thought I’d do that. I love the couch!

I share my goals with like minded people. I’m not walking around telling Joe Blow that I want to be at XXX lbs by XXX date. Most people don’t care and I’m cognizant of that. And since a lot of people want to lose weight and struggle with it, seeing someone hit any number in any amount of time is encouraging. I could say it took me a year to lose 20lbs and people would say, GOOD! That means it’ll stay off, cause it came off slow!

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