January 01, 2020

My BIG Goals for 2020--How I'm Going To Be The Very Best Me

This year feels like it's going to be big for me. I've been thinking so much about it and I want 2020 to be the year of ME--working my best to be the best me I can be.

This year is a milestone for me--10 years since I lost 100 pounds, and then hit a "normal" BMI. And eventually, hit that number of 125 pounds lost, which was what would later become my reason for starting Runs for Cookies.

My initial reason for starting this blog was to basically keep a record of gaining the weight back! Hahaha. I'd lost weight several times before (nowhere near 100+ pounds, but still...) and I'd always gained it back. I wanted to know WHY. I wanted to see what I was doing that was causing the shift and piling the pounds back on.

It has served that purpose and so many others through the years! I'm hoping this year will be no different. I like to set goals, and writing about them has always helped me to stick with them.

New Year's Resolutions are usually something that people (including me) make and then rarely stick to. I might stick to one of two of them, which is better than nothing. Last year, I made resolution to quit drinking for a year (and I really didn't think I could do it). Well, midnight came and went last night, and I haven't had a drink in 365 days.

I am working on a post about the whole experience and my thoughts on it, but for right now, to answer the big question everyone has been asking, am I going to start drinking again?

The short answer is no. I am not going to say that it'll be FOREVER, but I know that I can't handle moderation right now, and I don't know if I will ever be able to again. I used to have no problem moderating my drinking, but I feel like if I was to drink again, I wouldn't be able to do so without it becoming a problem. So, no bold "never again" statements, but for now, I am choosing to continue not to drink. I will publish my post about it soon.

But moving on...

My goals for 2020! I absolutely love setting goals and making lists. Even if I don't end up following through, I can imagine it. And writing them down at least makes me try. This year, I have a couple of big things planned. Here goes:

Goal #1. Write a blog post every single day.

I know I've said this umpteenth times over the last few years, but I never really felt like my heart was in it. The desire to write was there, but I didn't have anything I desired to write about, if that makes sense. In 2013, I wrote a post every single day, and it helped me so much! It was therapeutic in a way.

My life has changed quite a bit over the years, so I don't expect I'll be writing the same things. Back then, I used to just recap my days (and I do kind of miss that). But since my life has gone in all sorts of directions and I have several different interests now, I'd like to branch out and write about those things.

My blog started as a weight loss/maintenance blog, and in 2020, I'd definitely like to make that a focus again. I really want to drop this extra weight and I feel like I'm ready to put in the work (more on this later). I've also found a love for anything DIY, so I'd like to write step-by-step posts about projects I work on. I've started running again, and I have a big plan for that--which I'll write about later--but that will make appearances as well.

I will still post the occasional recipe, and I had an idea for that the other day when I was looking for a particular recipe. When I got married, my favorite aunt gifted me the city's heritage cookbooks that she'd put together and had printed.

I came from a very small town (literally two square miles) and every knew everybody. Lots of the townspeople submitted their best recipes, and my aunt put together the cookbooks. So, my idea is to choose a heritage recipe from the books once a week and cook it, share the recipe, and my thoughts on it. The other day I came across a cake recipe from 1890 that I thought would be fun to try!

Jerry and I have continued to stick with our budget, and so I'd like to write some more finance posts. Things change here and there (Eli got expensive braces, we had to pay for a future class trip to Washington D.C., and there have been other things that we've had to re-budget; so I'd like to update that stuff). I've also learned to maximize the benefits we get from credit cards, and it's been awesome.

I still love seeing before and after photos of things, and I miss doing Transformation Tuesday posts! So, please please please send me some pictures--before and after photos of anything at all. A piece of furniture you restored, a new haircut, your pet before/after adoption, weight loss, etc. You can read about how to submit them here.

When I asked on Facebook recently of what you'd like to read more of, several people said they'd like to read guest posts by Jerry. He would love to do that, but he says he's a terrible writer and he wouldn't know what to say. So, I was thinking that if you have a question for him, you can email the question and then he'll answer questions in a post every once in a while. (I created an email for it--you can send your questions to askjerry (at) runsforcookies (dot) com.

On the occasions that I don't feel like I have anything to write about, I am coming up with a list of writing prompts. I'm going to put each of them on a slip of paper into a jar and I'll draw one when I need a topic.

And when I'm really just not feeling like writing, or I don't have the time that day, I might just post a simple picture for the day with a short caption. I hope not to do that often, but I really do want to make daily blog posts a routine for 2020.

Goal #2: Reach a "normal" BMI (body mass index) before I hit my 10-year weight loss anniversary. 

I started losing weight on August 19, 2009, and I was 253 pounds. My weight has had lots of ups and downs over the last 10 years, but I've not come anywhere close to my starting weight (or even the 200's) since then. (You can see my weigh-ins chart here.) I reached a "normal" BMI on August 15, 2010 (a year later, almost to the day). So, I think it would be really cool to be back at 144 or less by August 15, 2020. And it's certainly do-able with some lifestyle changes.

The first one... and this is a MAJOR one... give up ice cream for a year. Just like I vowed last year to give up alcohol for a year, I want this to be a major goal. I've come to rely on ice cream like I did alcohol (a comfort) and I know it's wreaked havoc on my weight. So, I am declaring loud and proud that I will not be eating ice cream (with one exception) for 2020.

The exception is that I can have McDonald's ice cream cones or sundaes. I know that sounds really odd, but when we first started budgeting our money, the family and I would go out for ice cream at McDonald's now and then--their cones are only $1 each, and their sundaes are less than $2. While they're not healthy, they are a million times better than pints of Ben & Jerry's and Haagen Dazs. Not to mention cheaper!

As far as my diet... this is also major (at least for January).

As you know, I've been doing the MAF heart rate training when I run. However, the heart rate training is only one part of endurance training as far as the MAF method. There are three parts: Nutrition, Exercise, and Stress.

I am challenging myself to do all three in January. The nutrition part starts with a two week test that is completely against everything I've ever said about "dieting"; however, it's literally a "test" for your body to figure out what foods work the best for you as far as negative symptoms you may be experiencing.

Since I haven't been feeling great lately, and I've had chronic pain for the last few years, insomnia, bloating sometimes, etc., I think that I can handle a two-week test to see if there are particular foods that are causing it. It's essentially an elimination diet, and then you add foods back in one by one (one per day after the two weeks are up) taking note of whether symptoms return.

The catch? It's a super low-carb diet. I swore I'd never eat low carb! And I don't plan to after these two weeks. I don't want a lifestyle where I can't have carbs. I believe in moderation. However, I also want to see if changing up the things I eat will help me to be the best me in 2020.

The test is obviously going to be very challenging for me! I have always been against low-carb diets, but this is only a two-week test. Then I will add carbs back in one by one to see how I feel. If certain foods make me feel crappy, then I will know which ones they are and hopefully, I will feel crappy enough to want to avoid eating them.

You can read all about the two week test (for carbohydrate intolerance, according to Dr. Maffetone, who developed the MAF endurance training method) on his website here. I spent a couple of hours reading through all the comments--it was actually really interesting and made me very curious whether this may help me learn about my body.

Along with the two-week carbohydrate intolerance test, I'm going to follow the MAF endurance program right to the letter. Dr. Maffetone developed a series of surveys on his site (or phone app) that determine your risk factors for certain diseases and ailments as well as your MAF heart rate. I scored terribly on all of the surveys, and according to those, I'm basically going to die a horrible death tonight in my sleep.

Jerry scored poorly, too, so we are going to do this experiment together. We'll do the two-week elimination diet and then we'll spend the rest of January experimenting with adding back foods to our diets to see what works well with our bodies. I'm hopeful that this will help with the digestive symptoms that Jerry's been having, too.

Depending on the results of our January plan, I'll determine an approach to moving forward with weight loss. I'm hoping that this two-week test will give me a good idea of works well for my body and help me to get back to eating healthier. I've never been a super healthy eater, but I would love to feed my body well to be the best me in 2020!

The first step for the program is to do a MAF run test. For me (based on my answers to the surveys) it consisted of a 12-minute warm-up (basically walking so that my heart rate very gradually gets up to MAF); then running at my MAF rate for 2 miles; then a 12-minute cool down. (Dr. Maffetone REALLY stresses that the warm-up and cool down parts are crucial to having success with the training.)

The hardest part about this is going to be that the app calculated my MAF rate at 133! I've been using 146 bpm for the last three months. The reason for the change (again, due to my answers on the surveys) is likely because I take medication daily (for bipolar) and taking regular medication automatically gives you a lower MAF rate. So, with a rate of 133 bpm, I am fully expecting to have to walk some, if not most or even ALL of my workouts until I start seeing some progress.

(Jerry and I did our MAF test today, so I will write about that tomorrow.)

After the MAF run test, the training workouts (for me) are to start with a 12-minute warm-up, then run for 30 minutes at 133 bpm heart rate, and then end with a 12-minute cool down.

The 133 heart rate is going to be very hard for me to do without getting frustrated, but I want to commit fully to his method so I'm going to comply. On tomorrow's post about our MAF run test, I'll write about how it went with the 133 heart rate. I like that I'll be running every other day. It'll take nearly an hour, but the whole workout is going to feel very easy on my body.

I will also write more about the two-week test (diet) as I go. Today is the first day, but I'd like to document each day just the little things I may notice. The list of foods is very restrictive, but I think I can manage to get by--it's only two weeks!

ANYWAYS, I will write as much as I can about the carbohydrate intolerance (CI) two-week test and I'll try to document about it as I go. I'm very curious to see what happens!

Today, I took down my weight, my body measurements, body fat percentage, took a full-length photo, did the MAF run test, prepped some food, and started the CI test. It's a lot! Let's hope I stick with it and see some progress. I'm going to do it all again on February 1st (not the two-week CI test, but documenting my numbers and things). And I'll post the results.

This was a very long-winded way of saying that I'm trying something new as far as my nutrition and learnings what's best for my body... again, to be the best me in 2020!

Goal #3. Prepare for my big running goal.

In 2008, I walked my first ever race--a half-marathon in Indianapolis called the Indy Mini. I had NO fucking clue what I was getting myself into. Then in 2009, I walked the same race, only I was even heavier--my heaviest, actually, of 253 pounds. That's where my infamous "before" photo of me in the blue shirt and black pants was taken. I vowed that the following year, I wouldn't be the fattest person in the race. (Or, at least, the "fat girl" in our group).

I walked it again in 2010, at 165 pounds, feeling fantastic. My older brother had run it, and I remember him jokingly telling Jen (my sister's friend) that they were going to go "sub-2:00" next year. At the time, I had no idea what that meant; I just knew that seeing that they had RUN the race made me want to set a goal to run it myself the following year. It felt like a pipe dream, but I was pretty determined.

It was then that I became a runner. After I was able to work my way up to three miles on my own, I started following training plans. In 2011, I started half-marathon training for the race. (It was in April 2011 that I started writing Runs for Cookies, too!) And on the first Saturday of May in 2011, I ran my first half marathon. I finished in 2:10:40 (a 9:59/mile pace) and I felt great! Running a half marathon "sub-2:00" was a goal I later set (and met!), but for that first one, I just wanted to finish. And I felt so proud of it!

While the 10-year anniversary of running (not walking) my first half-marathon is a long way off (May 2021), I am going to officially set that as a goal to work toward. I'd like to run that same race (The Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini Marathon) the first Saturday in May of 2021, with a finish time under 2:10:40, and at a weight of less than 144 pounds.

I'm going to invite any of my family or friends who may want to join me in celebrating the huge milestone. I'd like to make it a big deal; if I make a big thing of it, then I'll be much more likely to follow through with it! Jerry has already said he'd like to do it with me. I'm going to see my sister tonight, so I'll see if she's interested.

The good part about it being so far away is that I have lots of time to do this MAF heart rate training. With a MAF heart rate of 133 bpm, it's going to take me MONTHS to even be able to run the entire workout. However, I do believe this program will work if I have the patience for it. So, I want to follow it right to the letter (as a sort of experiment, I guess) to get in my best shape possible for the race.

That race changed my life in so many ways, and I can't think of a better way to celebrate 10 years. So, even though the race is nearly a year and a half from now, I'm going to work the training plan. I want to get in shape slowly and carefully--no injuries, no burnout, just a structured plan that I'll follow.

Those are my major goals with lots of steps to take in order to make them happen. I also have other mini goals (basically habits I'd like to set). To work on this, I have a brand new planner (the same planner I wrote about before, only I got a brand new one for the new year).

Included in those habits are things like drinking lots of water, reading 30 minutes a day, flossing daily, taking a daily vitamin, etc. Jerry and I would also like to plan a date night once a month, and I'd like to implement family nights now and then. I'm going to use that planner to track (and obviously plan) all of these things.

I've also finally started working on a vision board. I've been wanting to make one forever, and I am just a perfectionist about it, so I never really get started. I need to not care if it's not perfect and just do it.

Finally, I'll continue to work on my 40 Goals by 40 Years Old List. I've completed several goals, but I still have a lot to work on. So I'll continue to chip away at those--I only have a little over two years left! My 38th birthday is on the 25th of this month.

While my list may seem overwhelming, I've actually been working on for a few months, trying to set myself up to succeed as best as possible. Hopefully I'll be updating frequently, considering I'll be blogging every day ;)

Anyone else have some goals for 2020 that you'd like to share?


  1. You’re a unicorn Katie! Happy New Year! You can do this!

    1. Thank you so much! And happy new year to you, too!

  2. What a wonderful, inspirational post! We are doing the “20 for 2020” goals/activities as per Gretchen Rubin’s “Happier” podcast, so a lot of our activities match yours.

    1. I love the idea of 20 for 2020! I'll have to give that a listen :)

  3. Best of luck on these goals! Very excited to watch you work on them.

    Holy cow on the MAF stuff. I went and got the app and took the tests. Oof! Pretty much the same rough results you got on your surveys - 2 moderate risk and 7 high. And my HR - 129! I've been doing my runs at 80% MHR - 143bpm. I would likely also be walking if I honored the 129.

    1. I know, right?! I have to do a lot of walking to get the MAF heart rate on target. It's so frustrating! But I really hope it works to build my endurance. I guess we'll find out!

  4. Great goals to work towards. I think I have only one goal: To maintain my weight loss (wouldn't that be different?) this year and be at a healthy, happy weight on 1/1/21, when I hit 70! WOW! I am SO OLD! But in these last 10 years since I started my journey to get healthy I feel so much better than I ever did in my 30's, 40's or 50's! So here's to the 60's and BEYOND and good health into my 90's!!! Good luck with your goals Katie, thanks for all your inspiration all these years! Next time you are in my area, I PROMISE I will make it to the meet-up!!!

    1. You've been doing SO WELL this year--I'm so proud of you! I'm sure you're going to be able to keep the weight off and hit 70 feeling amazing.

  5. The 133 HR sounds good for fat burning which at least is good for weight loss. I want to lose weight this year. Just get out of the obese BMI first, which is not too far.

    1. I am getting very close to the obese BMI again! It's scary! I don't feel like I look obese (overweight, yes, but obese?). I really do want to drop these extra pounds.

  6. Hey, Katie! Just wanted to say I'm thrilled to hear you're going to be blogging every day and that you're going to write about weight and health again. I'm renewing my own health goals this year and reading about your journey has been really inspiring for me. Happy new year and best of luck with all your goals!

    1. Thanks, Sarah! I'm excited about blogging more frequently, too. I hope I can keep it up (sometimes I literally have nothing to say). Congrats on choosing to renew your own health this year!

  7. I’m so happy to see that one of your goals is blogging more. Selfishly, I love your posts and am bummed when you go a long time between writing. I know you have a lot going on and I totally understand, but I’m really excited to read your posts more often this year!!


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