Weight loss is one of those scary touchy subjects, especially in the run up to the holidays. It’s easy to forget about your weight loss goals. Eating salads for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, isn’t going to give us long term success. Nor will skipping meals be of any benefit. What we need is a plan of attack. A SMART strategy. And, in my personal opinion – room for a little cheating!
A Word From a Pro
Danielle Brown, a team GB Olympic Champion who won gold at the Paralympic games in 2008 and London 2012, recently wrote an article here on Zaggora. She talked about what it took her to win a gold medal. She said,” winning at the Olympics came down to one thing: goal setting.”
While weight loss may not have the same wow factor, or seem as important as winning a gold medal, they both have one thing in common. Goal setting.
Practical and realistic weight loss goals help keep us focused and motivated. They provide us with a plan for change as we take on a healthier lifestyle. But they have to be well planned, and achievable in order to be successful.
Setting Long-term and short-term Weight Loss Goals
A long-term goal, is making the decision to make a lifestyle change. It’s the bigger picture. Because it’s the bigger picture, a long-term goal can seem too far away. Or too big to achieve. Which is why we need short-term goals, to help us continue to see the bigger picture. A short-term goal is a set of smaller goals. A series of goal accomplishments. This may be something as simple as taking a walk for 30 minutes each day, eating 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Or drinking more water.
The SMART Weight Loss Goal
There is a popular and effective goal setting strategy called the SMART goal. It has been used in classrooms as an effective learning method for students. It’s an effective tool in business practice, and highly beneficial in weight loss success.
Specific – who, what, where, why? Being direct with a specific goal rather than a general goal. For instance, instead of making it our goal to exercise more, we decide we’ll go for a 30-minute run, or fast walk, every day.
Measurable – how much, how many? Can I track my goal? A goal of simply eating healthier can’t be measured. Making a goal to eat only 1,500 calories is measurable.
Attainable – is my goal reasonable? Easy to be accomplished? Do I have a busy work schedule which doesn’t allow me the time to go to the gym for a full hour each day? A more attainable goal may be to only go twice during the week, and twice on the weekend.
Realistic – is my goal relevant? Is it consistent with my other goals, and the bigger picture? Is it something I can realistically achieve? How much weight can I realistically loose in a specific amount of time? If I make it too hard to achieve I may lose the plot all together.
Timely – what is my deadline? How can I track my progress? If I track my progress, this will help me meet my deadlines. How many pounds I have been losing per week. Keeping a food diary for the amount of calories I’m eating.
Your Cheat Treat!
I firmly believe every successful weight loss strategy has to involve a little bit of cheating space.
A friend of mine and her husband are on a weight loss plan, which I think has a fun aspect to look forward to every week. Basically, they have a strict eating plan, followed by intense exercise for the week. They can’t drink alcohol, coffee, or eat certain naughty food during that week.
But here is where it gets fun! Once a week, they’re allowed a cheat day, where they can eat anything they like – drink coffee, a glass of wine, or a decadent dessert.
The catch is they have to decide ahead of time, what day will be there cheat day. And stick to that day only. No last minute changes. I believe this is a very effective strategy for the bigger picture of weight loss. It gives something to look forward to each week. It helps keep the goal alive and achieve success!