How to Make Your Weight Loss Goals A Reality
If you are aiming to lose a significant amount of weight, it can be daunting and overwhelming just thinking about where to begin! But don’t let that prevent you from getting started. By breaking down your goal into smaller, manageable pieces, you’ll get to your goal weight in no time. Here are the best ways to focus and make your goals a reality.
1) Break it down. If you need to lose 100 pounds, start with a goal of just 15 pounds. Losing even 5% of your body weight can have major health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and improving blood sugar control.1 Additionally, making small changes and losing weight gradually helps improve your chances of keeping it off in the long run.
2) Maintain your progress. Once you’ve lost those first 15 pounds, focus on maintenance. After you lose weight, you’ll need to maintain your new habits in order to maintain your weight loss. Letting old habits sneak back in can sabotage any long-term weight loss efforts. Keep a food journal and weekly weight tracker to help you notice small changes in weight and behavior before they get out of control. Share your new lifestyle with friends and family. Having social support can help you keep on track. Plus, healthy eating and living is so much more fun when it’s shared!
3) Add some resistance training. Strength training is an important component of a healthy lifestyle. It helps maintain muscle mass as we age, which in turn keeps our metabolism revved up. However, if done incorrectly, strength training can lead to injuries. To avoid injuries, but still reap the benefits of weightlifting, start small. Choose light weights, such as 3 pounders, and practice correct form. Work with a qualified personal trainer or physical therapist. Once you can easily do several repetitions with good form, you can slowly increase the weight and build that muscle!
4) Get specific. Setting a huge goal can be intimidating! It may feel like you have so far to go to reach it. To help your goal seem more tangible and achievable, set mini goals for each month, week, and day. When big picture goals are the only ones made, it can be too easy to fall off the wagon. For example, if you usually drink a full glass of wine with dinner, cut it back to half a glass on half of the days of the week, then eventually all 7 days. When you’re ready, you can then start having a half glass every other day, and then perhaps only on weekends or special occasions. Having mini goals help you change your behavior gradually and keeps you from becoming overwhelmed. Eventually these mini goals become habits, and you’ll reach your big picture goals faster than you imagined. Learn how to accomplish your health goals by committing to a few simple steps.
5) Think slow and steady, not all or none. Oftentimes when we are faced with a large task ahead of us, we fall into the trap of all-or-nothing thinking. For example, if you’re trying to cut back on drinking wine at dinner, but you end up indulging anyways, it is easy to over do it. You might think to yourself, “Well, I already had a glass when I said I wouldn’t, so what’s one or two more going to do?” Instead, take a kinder, more mindful approach to your behavior. Acknowledge when you haven’t stuck to your goals, and try to understand the deeper reasons behind it. Are you stressed? Overwhelmed? Unsupported? If so, what can you do instead of eating or drinking to satisfy those needs and make yourself feel better? Once you have accepted your behavior and tried to understand it, let it go! Forgive yourself and move on, continuing to make the healthy lifestyle choices you truly desire, without getting hung up on the poorer choices. Each moment is a new one!
Use these tips to help simplify your goals and make them easier to achieve. By thinking big but planning small action steps, your weight loss goal will be here before you know it!
- Losing Weight. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Published August 17, 2011.