Weight Loss Goals Made Easy and RealisticPosted: February 17, 2011
With the new year comes resolutions. Some are new and some are recycled from year’s past, either because they are worth repeating and/or were never fully accomplished. Resolving to lose weight is a common one, but how do you get from where you are now to that new, slimmer you? It’s all about having a vision and setting goals that are realistic, specific and measurable.
Your Vision: You close your eyes and you envision yourself after weight loss. You are more energetic and your clothes fit better, or perhaps, have even gone down a size or two. In order to make your vision a reality, you need to start by setting some goals.
Keep It Real: Is your resolution to lose 50 pounds for a spring wedding? Do you dream of returning to the weight you were in high school or when you were married? These are examples of what tend to be unrealistic goals for most of us. A resolution along these lines may set you up for discouragement and failure. There is nothing wrong with resolving to ultimately lose 50 pounds, but break that into smaller goals. An initial goal to lose 20 pounds in time for the wedding is realistic and still challenging.
Let’s face it, losing weight takes work. Although I do not regularly watch the show, I know the contestants on The Biggest Loser are removed from their families and weight loss becomes their full-time job. There are teams of professionals not only telling them what to do and eat, but also making sure they actually do it. The results are dramatic, which is great for the show’s ratings, but this is not a reality we can duplicate at home. You may feel you have almost as much to lose as some of the contestants, but concentrating on smaller, achievable goals is what will yield you results.
Please keep in mind that even a modest weight loss of 5-10% of your body weight has been shown to have significant health benefits by lowering your risk for diabetes and heart disease. In addition, losing weight at the rate of 1-2 pounds per week is recommended to preserve muscle mass and increase your chances of keeping it off. Once the initial weight loss goal is achieved, it can serve as motivation for you to continue as well.
Make A Plan: So, let’s say your resolution is to lose 20 pounds by the end of April. Not only is this goal realistic, it is specific and measurable. The next step is to determine what lifestyle changes you need to make and create an action plan and list of steps you will take to reach your goal. Resist the desire to change everything at once and focus on just 1-2 new goals each week. You can add new goals to your action plan as you go. It took a long time to develop the lifestyle you have and it will take time to change it.
Research has shown that it is a reduction in calories that is the primary factor driving weight loss. Exercise is important in terms of preparing your body for a level of fitness that will be necessary to maintain your weight loss. So, to begin with, try focusing your action plan on ways you can reduce calories during the day. For example: “This week I will”……
1. Eat salad with low-calorie dressing 2X per week before dinner
2. Eat at the kitchen table every night (instead of in front of the TV)
Notice that the goals in your action plan need detail as well, not just “eat more salad”. With this plan in mind, list the steps you will take, for example:
1. Purchase salad ingredients and low-calorie dressing
2. Wash and prepare ingredients and place in containers in the refrigerator
3. Clear off the kitchen table of any clutter
4. Put away the TV trays
Writing down your action plan, with your goals for the week and “to-do” list, will keep you focused and hopefully, make you accountable. Place your goals and list somewhere that you will frequently see them, so you are reminded of your “contract” with yourself. Most of all, remember your vision and the reasons you started all of this goal-setting in the first place. You determined it is time for a change, your goals are clear, it’s time to take action!