Fitness Tips: Setting goals and rewards

This is a repost but slightly edited. My progress has been slow. But I’ve remained determined to meet these goals.

I just came back from a doctor’s appointment and was weighed for the first time in a long time. My weight has always been a big yo-yo. It’s up and down. Two weeks ago, I was doing great and was down about ten pounds. But then I got sick, and sick again, and here I am. It’s a constant yo-yo effect, and I’m getting tired of it.

So, today – starts a new beginning. A new fitness year with new goal settings. Here is my general guide for those who are new to the world of fitness and weight loss.

Part of the reason I’m not losing weight, is that I’m not sleeping properly. And part of that is because I can’t breathe properly. We’re working on resolving the issues. My counter is stacked with medicine and I think I’m actually high as I’m re-writing this.

Update: I’m happy to report I’m the lowest weight I’ve been since writing this original post. I’ve dropped a few pounds in recent weeks since switching to intermittent fasting and clean eating. I’m even down two inches around the waist.

Background Story

For six years, I worked with therapists, occupational therapists, mental health therapists, and counselors in my professional career. Personally, I have worked with fitness trainers, coaches, and dietitians. The advice I give is based on personal experience and information passed on by health professionals. And yes, a whole lot of research into best practices from reputable resources.

So, am I an expert in the fitness field? Absolutely not.

But I speak from the heart and the advice I give is based on my own personal experience. And from other health groups that I am part of. I do my homework before investing my time into anything. This is what I learned when working with a personal trainer who taught me the importance of setting small and achievable goals.

Setting small and realistic goals 

One thing that I learned about weight loss is that setting small and realistic goals really helps to succeed and keep you motivated. Rewarding yourself when you meet those goals is important. Many people reward themselves with food. But I disagree with this. I think that just sets a person back.

I’m on board with cheat meals or even cheat days. But I fully believe that if you allow yourself the foods you love in moderation, this helps to prevent binges later on. I realize that this doesn’t work for everyone. But for me – this is key.

When I lost 70 pounds in 2010, I had cut out all my favorite foods like bread and chocolate. Only to regain that weight in 2014 when I injured my knee on a mountain hike. Now I know better. While this method may take a lot longer to lose weight – at least I’m not obsessed with what I put into my body.

I find instead of focusing on how much weight to lose each week – setting workout goals is more realistic and achievable – for me.

I’m giving myself a four month deadline to meet my first goal of forty pounds. It’s doable. There may be setbacks. There may be days where I won’t feel like doing anything. But – I’m determined to make this work.

So, without rambling any further – here are my goals for the next four months.

Create a workout schedule and stick to it.

My activity level fluctuates from week to week. Now that I’ve upped my physical activity, I’m ready to stick to a strict schedule – and it goes a little something like this.

Monday, Wednesday, Saturday – cardio for 45 minutes, strength for 15 minutes

Tuesday, Thursday – strength 30 minutes, walking on my lunch break 15 minutes

Friday – 1 hour work out (fitness class)

Sunday – rest day

Not everyone needs a rest day. But I know for me, my knees need a break every now and then especially when the weather changes.

Exercise – mix it up, join a fitness class

One thing I have learned is that your body will become accustomed to exercises if you repeat the same routines over and over again. It is important to mix up exercise routines. For me, I get bored easily and like trying new things. These are just some examples of exercises I do. Keep in mind – that my knees keep me from high impact activities. I have found workouts that are suitable for those with chronic pain.

Cardio: speed walking, stationary bike, climbing the stairs, treadmills, chair workouts (these are really great – you do get a good workout for the core section) – and hiking, when I’m in shape for it.

Strength: pilates, exercise ball, lunges, crunches, squats, dumbbells, weight training

Fitness class: zumba, spin class, water fitness, water zumba (tons of fun), dancing, yoga – the list goes on.

Exercise doesn’t to be boring. Find something you enjoy.

Sometimes I mix it up. I’ll hop on my mini-cycle while watching a movie and use the dumbbells. I know some folks like to speed walk with 2 pound weights. There are cardio workouts you can do with weights as well.

Today for example, I did some resistance training for twenty minutes and then hopped on the mini cycle for thirty minutes. Yesterday, I went for a walk with my sisters and did a few crunches, squats and stretches before bed.

My goal in the next two months after dropping 10 pounds – is to join a fitness class like aqua fit or water zumba. All you need is one class, once a week to notice a difference. If you don’t know where to start – hire a personal trainer. Just shop around first to find the right trainer.

Kitchen Experiments

A few years ago, I hopped onto youtube and learned to cook. I mean, I knew how to cook before but only the basics. I challenged myself to learn one new recipe each week and try new and interesting foods. I learned to cook things like eggplant lasagna, baked zucchini, soups, stews and even bean dips.

It’s time to get back into the kitchen. During the winter, I got extremely lazy. I relied heavily on frozen meals or lazy foods. Now that I have more energy, I find my inner chef is dying to get back into the kitchen.

My goal is to batch cook at least once a week and share my recipes and photos with you. Batch cooking is a great way to eat healthy and save some cash. I’m getting back into this – I promise. Especially with my upcoming move into a building with a gym.


The main reason I want to drop weight is so I can be in shape for a trip in September. I went to Montreal two years ago. I was at my heaviest weight at 250+ pounds. The humidity alone nearly killed me and I spent three days of my trip locked in a dorm room – wishing that I had booked a spa trip instead. So, before I travel again – I need to get into shape. I need this for me – not anyone else.

Moving Forward

So, unfortunately, I did not meet my original goals from this post. But onward and upwards. It’s time for new goals. It’s time to grab my health by the “balls” and really get a grip on this. I owe to myself, and those in my life around me.

But I did take a trip to Toronto in July and was able to do most of the things I wanted to do.

Update: I went to Toronto and fell ill soon after. I’ve been battling some health issues since as many of you know about. But in the past month, I’ve been clean eating and focusing on a fasting schedule. I’ve started exercising again. I’m 18 pounds lighter than I was in Montreal two years ago in 2017. Here are some pictures from my TO trip. I loved the boat trip to the Toronto Islands. Simply beautiful.

I won’t be traveling this year due to financial hardship. But I’m hoping for a trip to the east coast or maybe even Europe in 2021 – should I meet my weight loss goals. This is about getting healthy more than anything.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Great post 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  2. brianlazanik says:

    Great post Jen. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. haolmsted says:

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Heather Wood says:

    How are you doing? I am starting a fitness blog too with personal journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Loved the post and the tips!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Setting small goals is always important! Feeling that sense of accomplishment is one of the best things for you when it comes to commitment. I just posted a blog about some things that will help you to stay more committed. Check it out, I think you might find it helpful!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wendy says:

    Not interested. I am here to help others.


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