As I'm adjusting to life with baby, I'm faced with a difficult challenge. Out of the 12 weeks I have off of work, I'm not allowed to work out for 6 weeks. That gives me 6 weeks to get myself into shape to go back to my very physical job. Begin panic mode.
Since Jon gained a little bit of weight when I was pregnant (totally not his fault-I would sneak extra cheese in his dinner so I wouldn't look as big in comparison), he wanted to do something that we could work at together. Since I had six non active weeks to think about this, I went all out. I wanted to focus on something that would reward us for changing the behaviours we wanted to modify, but didn't seem overwhelming. I originally wanted to do something competitive between us, but since Jon and I have very different views on competition (I'm Miss Congeniality, Jon believes that second winner is the first loser), I veered away from that. I decided instead that we should compete with ourselves.
We're working on our fourth week of this program and LOVE it! We've both registered a weight loss each week. In total, I've lost 45 pounds. Here's the program that we use, though it can be modified for any goal you would like to reach.
1. Initiate an immediate spending freeze for the house. You are allowed to purchase groceries, pay bills, and pay for anything on a list of essential purchases (such as Jon's haircuts) that you both agree on. You can read more about our spending freezes here.
2. List the goals that are most important to you. Focus on smaller aspects of your main goal. For instance, don't just list “Lose Weight”. List “Work out 4x per week” and “Eat 3 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.”
- The goals that we listed are:
- Log what we eat every day into the free calorie counter myfitnesspal.com (they also have smart phone apps). We have to have it set to show our diary to our “friends” (each other), and we must log by midnight, so that the diary is shared to our “friends”.
- Be under our calories for the week. We wanted to focus on a weekly calorie goal versus a daily goal. That way if we eat the chocolate cake on Monday, we can focus on eating healthier the remainder of the week to make up for it. myfitnesspal.com has an easy to read chart in the home page which tells you if you are over or under your weekly calorie goals.
- Work out 4 times per week. For now, we have a goal of 30 minute work outs 4 times per week but will increase it to 60 minutes for week 6 of this program.
- Eat absolutely no fast food. To us, fast food is defined as any restaurant that has a drive thru. Since the spending freeze is in place though, there shouldn't be any restaurants involved.
- Take a multivitamin every day. This is more for Jon than me, since I feel like I've been taking prenatal vitamins my whole life.
- Register a weight loss at the end of the week.
- Don't drink any soda or energy drinks. We wanted to try to focus on healthy energy and break our addiction to MIO (Jon) and Dr. Pepper (me – but I did a pretty good job breaking that addiction when I was pregnant, so now I'm just reinforcing).
3. Assign points for each of the goals you listed in order of their importance. To earn the points, you must meet the goal each day of the week (except for things that are determined weekly such as working out and weight loss). For us, Logging our food and working out were worth 5 points each, since that was most important to us. Registering a weight loss at the end of the week was worth 3 points since that's the next most important. Everything else is worth 2 points. There are a total of 21 points with our goals. Out of those 21 points, we need to earn 14 points to earn the reward. Judging is very strict. If you don't meet the requirements of the goal, you don't earn the points, and you don't get a reward.
4. The reward for meeting your goal for the week can be anything. Date nights, back rubs, a fun family activity. My darling loves money. To be fair, he really loves hobbies. The hobbies just happen to cost money. His current hobby is brewing his own beer. No Mr. Beer kits for this guy. He's Jerry-rigged our downstairs closet as a brewery complete with carboys and his own labels. Sigh. While it would benefit me if he loved reading or blogging instead of flying, brewing, cake making, and ham radio equipment, I love his passion for life and would give anything (except our house and our retirement account) to not stifle that. I set a small monetary reward for our goals. We can each earn $20.00 per week that we achieve our goal point balance. If we fall short, the $20.00 is deposited into our Roth IRA account (get it? It's a win-win! I love win-win's).
5. You can also use this to teach savings, whether it be to your teenager or your 30 year old husband. You have the option every week of either buying something with your $20.00, or saving it for the next week to buy something larger with $40.00.
You can edit my chart to meet your needs and print it off by clicking here. Good Luck!
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