New Year's Resolutions: Weight Loss
- Friday, 22 January 2010
The New Year brings new hopes and aspirations of achieving lasting weight loss and fitness success.
We all start the year with a bang. We tell ourselves this is going to be the year we finally flatten our tummy, shed body fat, and become completely happy with the person staring back in the mirror. We search for the perfect diet or the perfect exercise routine, but by the end of January that spark starts to fade away. The inspiration and drive that we started the year with seems to have dwindled. Sound familiar?
The secret to success is setting goals and finding the motivation to stick to and achieve them, no matter what.
Why Do You Need To Set Goals?
You need to set goals because they give you something to strive for. They are something tangible; something to be achieved. In fact, every successful person I know is shamelessly goal driven. They know exactly what they want and develop a plan to accomplish it. Furthermore, they prepare for every possible roadblock they may encounter in their path to success.Use the following three step process to help you achieve your weight loss goals.
Step One – Setting Your Goals
This is where it’s time to get specific. It’s not good enough to say: “Well, I just want to get healthy and lose weight.”
Everybody wants be healthy and lose weight, but WHY is this important to you? What is it that’s going to get you up at 6 A.M. for your morning workouts or take a couple of hours on Sunday to plan and prepare your meals for the upcoming week? It sure isn’t “being healthy” because for some reason this just isn’t a very powerful motivator.
Be very specific. You need to dig deep and find the real reason you want to achieve your goals. Some people want to wear shorts and sleeveless tops without feeling self-conscious. Others want to get back into their favorite pair of “skinny jeans” or ignite passion back into their relationship. Then there are those that want to prepare for a special event with a built-in deadline, such as a wedding, reunion, or vacation. This is the stuff that gets people hyped up and ready to commit to making some real changes.
Step Two – Track It
You can't improve what your don't measure! When it comes to weight loss, there are four major ways I track “look better” progress.
1. Pictures: Pictures don’t lie. If you want to look better, what better way is there to assess this than pictures? I cannot begin to tell you how important this is. Taking a before picture is essentially you telling the whole world you are ready to change and you are ready to do whatever it takes to make those changes.
The key is to take pictures wearing the clothes that you want to look your best in. Maybe it’s a bikini. Or maybe it’s a pair of shorts and a sleeveless top you want to wear during the summer. Take a front, side, and rear view picture. Your “before” pictures will become your trophy and they are an absolute must if you really are serious about getting results that count.
2. Dress/Pant Size: This is the most simple and effective unused method of tracking your weight loss progress. Your best bet is to also select one dress or one pair of pants that you really want to get into since that is the true end goal in mind. Assess how you are fitting in your preferred dress/pant size tracker on a bi-weekly basis. There’s nothing more powerful than being able to comfortably get into clothes that you couldn’t imagine fitting into a couple of months prior.
3. Girth Measurements: Circumference measurements are a key indicator of inches lost. It’s crucial to measure each body part in the same area every time. Doing this will ensure accurate measurements. Measurement areas: UpperArm, Chest, Waist, Hips, Thigh, Calf
4. Scale Weight: This is by far the least important measure, but it gives a number that’s worth tracking. The key is taking your initial weight before you start and then not weighing more than every 2 weeks. Most people do their best when they track their weight once a month. There are simply too many variables for controlling your body weight and the natural fluctuations based on diet (and for women, their menstrual cycle), means the less frequently you do this the better. If the scale is just too de-motivating for you in general, then just skip this one altogether.
Note: It is best if you weigh yourself at the same time of the month every month. Preferably, women should avoid weighing in when menstruating.
Well, there you have it. You’ve set your goals, now take a few measurements and your before pictures.
Step Three – Preparing for Roadblocks
Now that you know what you want to accomplish and you’ve taken some baseline assessments, it’s time to plan and prepare for any obstacles that might get in your way. What are the obstacles that will prevent you from achieving the success you desire? What has contributed most to past failures?
How important is it to you that you reach your goals? If it’s important enough you will find the time to do the work. I can spend hours and hours getting you psyched up and giving you dozens of reasons why, but the fact of the matter is this: If you have a burning desire to fit into those “someday” clothes and be completely happy when looking at yourself in the mirror, you will do whatever it takes to make it happen.
Now that you have set your goals and have a burning desire to achieve them, you have to make a plan. It’s not enough to simply set a goal with a due date. You have to make daily and weekly plans with to-do lists and back-up plans. Plan your day. Schedule time for exercising and eating well. Don’t let life happen to you. Make things happen in your life.
Lastly, many of us struggle with emotional eating. We eat because we’re happy or sad; as a reward or to drown our sorrows. The solution here is to track your daily food intake, so you can get a complete understanding of your behaviors. Remember, you can’t improve what you don’t measure.
Once you get a complete understanding of your behaviors towards food and your emotional triggers (work, social events, home alone, etc.) you will have the information necessary to conquer any roadblocks that stand in your way.
At the end of the day the key is to be honest about your roadblocks and to plan and prepare for them. This is where social support and accountability come into play. Those who have the most success undergo their transformation with the support of other friends or family members. This is so critical, especially since most of the poor food and drinking choices that sabotage one’s progress occur on the weekend, when most people hang out with their friends and family.
Be sure to tell your family and friends about your goals and desires. Their support is critical to your success. The last thing anybody needs is sabotage or peer pressure from those closest to them, so get your friends and family members on board.
Develop your game plan, stick to it, and make this the year you finally achieve your New Year’s resolutions!