How many times have you tried to lose weight before? How many times did you succeed and then gain it all back? How many times have you said “I just want to lose this freaking weight”?
First, let’s talk about the programs you’ve tried. They’re coming from a one size fits all perspective. And well, one size doesn’t fit all. They can work, in the short term. But you’re not taught how to keep that weight off for life. The point is, if you want to keep the weight off with their program, you have to follow it…..FOREVER! Ugh.
You weren’t armed with the right plan in place for you. You were provided with a system created for some made up individual. You needed a blueprint for yourself. And you needed to start with a personal goal. Yup, we need to have goals, specific ones.
Setting goals can be tough because we tend to make them very generally. Like “I want to lose weight”, “I want to feel healthy”, “I want to tone up”. And while those ideas are something we may strive for, there’s no way to measure our progress or decide if we were actually successful.
So, let’s get into this whole goal setting business 😊. For you to successfully reach a goal, it should:
- Be specific (including a deadline)
- Be realistic, but challenging
- Be measurable
- Be attainable
- Have a strategy
- Be reviewed (through feedback) and evaluated (generally bi-weekly)
For example, if I want to lose “this freaking weight”, I have to get clear about what I really want. First, I have to physically write my goal on paper. So, I can refer to it often and review it when I need to. And then I have to break my long-term goal (to lose the weight) into smaller, more attainable goals for the short term. I have to have a plan. I also need to try and figure out the obstacles I may face in day to day life so that I’m not surprised when things come up (like get togethers with friends and family).
My written goal would look something like this: (Remember this is just an example)
Long term goal (specific): To lose 20 lbs. in 4 months, 16 weeks (set the date = deadline).
Measure: 20 lbs. of weight loss over 4 months = 5 lbs. of weight loss per month. So, my goal is to aim to lose about 1.25 pounds per week. The recommended amount of weight loss weekly to ensure long term success is 1-2 lbs. (So, this would be considered attainable, but you should review your goal as you progress and reevaluate it if need be.)
*Note: I do not advise clients to focus on weight alone. Although it is a good baseline for goal setting, it is not the most effective way to measure fat loss. Measuring inches lost and monitoring how clothes fit are great indicators of actual body change. So, I advise that you measure both weight and inches around your neck, waist, hips, thighs, and arms.
Strategy: Your strategies should be the changes you will implement during the set time frame.
*(This strategy is written with the assumption that I already incorporate movement to my routine. If you are someone who is just getting started, your goals should be much different. The point is to start where you are, not where someone else is.)
- Prioritize my sleep (7-9 hours per night)
- Increase my vegetable intake from 3 to 4 times a day
- Increase my water intake from 75 to 100 ounces of water a day
- Decrease my calorie intake from 3000 to 2200 calories per day
- Increase my leisure walks from 30 to 45 minutes 5 days a week
- Increase my moderate exercise from 2 days to 4 days a week (20-30 min each session)
Short term goals: These goals will be reviewed either weekly or biweekly, according to your progress.
- Weeks 1 & 2: focus on my sleep and water intake
End of week 2: review and evaluate my progress with sleep and water intake. Take weight and measurements again.
- Weeks 3 & 4: focus on vegetable intake, track food on app
End of week 4: review and evaluate progress with food tracking. Take weight and measurements. Decide if current long-term goal is still attainable. If goal of 1.25 lbs. lost is met, continue. If not, make necessary changes. Perhaps decrease overall goal of 20 lbs. to 15 (depending on progress) or choose to wait until activity increases.
- Weeks 5 & 6: increase moderate exercise to Mon/Tues/Thurs/Sat for 20-30 minutes each session. Continue to monitor progress on sleep, water, food tracking and vegetable intake.
End of week 6: review and evaluate my progress with sleep and water intake. Take weight and measurements again.
- Weeks 7 & 8: Increase leisure walk time to 45 minutes for 5 days a week. Continue to monitor progress on food/calorie intake, water intake, moderate activity and sleep. Review and evaluate goals.
- And so on….
The idea is to put your attention on the short term so that your long-term goal is more attainable. Have a plan. Don’t try to incorporate too many changes at one time. They won’t stick. And most importantly, focus your energy on the process, not the end goal. The more you can appreciate your small wins, the better off you’ll be in the end. Last, be prepared for when life happens, because it will. You will have parties to attend, you may get sick, shit happens. Think about those things before they happen and know what you’ll do about them.
Don’t jump into major life changes with someone else’s generic plan. Think about what you need. Think about your life, your schedule, your priorities. Be patient. And go out and crush your goals.
Keep it burnin'