Claire’s Corner – Goal setting, accountability and taking on the challenge with a loved one helped us lose weight and keep it off.

Goal setting has always been part of my journey with Declan, but I don’t think it ever really hit home until we did the 31-Day Drop a Jean Size Challenge. One of the first things we tried to work towards a few years ago was fitting back into a dress I loved that had been way too small for ages and which I never got back into until recently.

It has got to be a result of knowing that there was a weigh-in with other members of the group on a certain date and my progress would be accounted for. This time it was a pair of trousers, and admittedly they were a little snug on the day of the weigh-in, but they were on and the zip was up and at that point I knew I’d wear them soon. And I did.

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Claire enjoying the weigh-in knowing she had put in the work!

Right from the start I was motivated by sharing my performance or progress. Each time I travelled with work I’d text Declan if I managed a work out, no matter how little or small, and knowing he was waiting to hear if I’d got up early for a swim one day or done a yoga class in my room, made me do it. It still works. If I feel proud of a workout or a healthy meal, I find sharing with the group or with Declan a massive boost.

Having an achievable goal is so important. Or having a larger goal split up into smaller chunks works equally well.

I was chatting to a colleague just the other day and she was asking how I found the motivation to get up before work and exercise or go running and the simple answer was because I have a goal. A good friend of mine bought me a ticket for the 10k urban trail run in Brussels for my birthday and I’ve only really ever run 5km so now I have to pick up my game! That’s an achievable goal with accountability.

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Make exercise about more than you as an individual to increase uptake and adherance! Join a friend or a group to begin the journey…

My husband, Anthony, has always been super encouraging and complementary, and even more so since I started the challenge, but he has his own goal now. After a few health issues before Christmas, he knew something had to change this year, but ultimately, he has always wanted to do a parachute jump.  Naturally, there’s a weight limit, so it became his goal in the New Year to get under the 90kg limit by the summer. It’s a big challenge, which is why he started with a goal for Easter of getting to or under 100 kilos, and he smashed it. Again, by sharing with colleagues and me and friends that this was his aim really helped with his motivation and rubbed off on me too. There were times at the weekend when I thought I just can’t be bothered and he’d jump on his spinning bike and I’d be like..ok, good effort, then so will I. Boom!

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Claire and Anthony after a recent yoga and spin session.

One thing I never thought I’d see was Anthony running. He’s always had issues with his knees from rugby injuries in the past. He’s undergone numerous operations, physio and generally just never been able to run without pain. But this time he was determined to do it. Running is such an easy form of exercise and takes up way less time than going to the gym or going swimming etc. He set himself goals of interval running, then reaching 1km without stopping, then 2km, then suddenly he could do 5km and then at a faster speed and within a month he managed a run of 8.5km on some very hilly terrain. He’s now running at lunchtime at work and sharing his progress on Strava and planning to get his whole team out one day. I must admit his determination is a massive factor, but ultimately, the key to his success is achievable goals and sharing them. When he hit 99.9kg this morning, I couldn’t have been prouder or happier for him.

On a nutritional note, Anthony isn’t as strict with the nutrition plan as I am but has made notable changes to his diet since the New Year. He’s eating much less white bread, is open to no-meat Monday, eats more fish, fruit and veg. Other positives are also smaller portion sizes, trying to eat at the table and not in front of the TV and less snacking. He’s the first to say I don’t want to drink alcohol today when we’re on holiday or let’s not eat crisps this weekend (with me pulling a face). And this motivation comes from wanting to achieve his goal!

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