Losing weight or getting in shape is always a favorite for those making New Year’s resolutions. Focusing on healthy habits has many benefits including increased confidence, abundant energy, and improved health, so why is it so hard to see your health and wellness goals past resolution season?
Many who set out to lose weight embark on a diet, this is the first mistake if lasting weight loss is the ultimate goal. Diets, by nature, are temporary and produce the mindset of deprivation. One becomes so focused on the foods that are no longer acceptable "diet" foods and suddenly the well-intentioned diet now seems like punishment. Tormenting yourself is not an effective way to reach your goals. Instead of dieting and focusing on foods that are off-limits, focus on incorporating more healthy foods that you enjoy, and after time healthy eating becomes a lifestyle, and not a punishment. That is not to say that achieving your weight-loss goals will not be challenging, change is always challenging, but when you are realistic about where you are currently and where you would like to be, real change is attainable.
Setting smart weight-loss goals, is the same process one can use when setting goals of any type, just follow the SMARTER mnemonic:
- Specific-Be clear about what you want. I want to lose 20 lbs. instead of I want to lose weight. A reasonable goal for most people is to lose 10% of body weight, even with this modest amount functional improvements in blood pressure and blood glucose levels can be achieved.
- Measurable-How will you know when you have reached your goal? Tracking your weight-loss will help you visualize your progress. Try taking a full length picture weekly to help you see the changes you may miss on a daily basis.
- Attainable- Is your goal challenging but still realistic? Losing 50 lbs. in a month is not just unrealistic, it’s unhealthy. Aim for 1-2 lbs. of weight-loss per week, a healthier and more sustainable rate.
- Rewarding- Is the goal rewarding enough to you that you are willing to put in the effort needed to be successful? The benefits of changing have to outweigh the benefits of the status quo for you find success.
- Timely-What is your target date? When will this goal be accomplished? Keep in mind the healthy rate for losing weight of 1-2 lbs. a week.
- Engaging- How will you stay motivated? Do you have the support system you need? How will you fit healthy eating into your current lifestyle?
- Reevaluate- What is working and what is not? Don't be afraid to try something new when what you are doing isn't working.