Creating SMART Weight Loss Goals
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” -Tony Robbins
Medical weight loss can help you reach your goal weight, but it will take time to achieve this important objective. As you gradually make progress towards your goal weight, setting smaller goals can help you plan out your path to success and stay motivated along the way.
Think of your weight loss program as a football game. Winning takes strategy and steady progress. You’ll need to work your way down the field play by play, planning out how you’ll reach each first down, field goal and touchdown. Setting goals is like choosing plays: it will help you keep moving forward until you’re victorious.
The goals you set during medical weight loss should be “process goals,” like exercising regularly, instead of “outcome goals,” like losing 50 pounds. Because changing your habits is the key to long-term weight loss, these process goals can be the incremental steps that guide you to success.
To keep your goals as helpful as possible, you should make them SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Tied to a Deadline.
A vague or general goal will be difficult to evaluate and won’t provide any framework for reaching it. Though a goal to simply “eat better” may have good intentions, it will be impossible to track your progress, and it says nothing about what you will need to do to be successful.
Think of when, where and how you’ll work towards your goal, and everything you’ll need to get started. Instead of a nonspecific goal like, “I will start exercising this year,” try something more focused like, “This week I will walk at least three times for 30 minutes each time.” With this precise objective in mind, you can start thinking of exactly how to reach it.
It is much easier to evaluate your progress towards a goal if it has units that can be easily measured. By establishing goals that can be tracked—in terms of minutes exercised, number of days writing down what you eat, etc.—you’ll be able to clearly see how much progress you’ve made and how successful you were in achieving your goal.
Time is a useful measurement in the above example. If you track your exercise habits this week and see that you walked three times for 40 minutes each time, you have exceeded your goal. If you see that you walked only twice this week for 30 minutes each time, you may need to reevaluate your approach. It will help to have a journal or other means of tracking these measurable elements of your goals.
Though your goals should be challenging enough that they push you to do your very best, you will need to make sure that you can achieve your objectives. Successfully reaching goals that get progressively more difficult will be highly motivating, but goals that are just out of reach will be ultimately frustrating and unfulfilling.
Start small and make each goal slightly more challenging that the one before it. For example, after you’ve walked three times a week for 30 minutes each time, try walking three times a week for 35 or 40 minutes each time.
Make sure that your goals are closely related to the changes you’re trying to make during your weight loss program, and the reasons you’re making those changes. If you want to walk three times this week, reminding yourself of why this goal matters will help you stay focused on reaching it. Is more exercise important to you because it will help you control your diabetes, or perhaps because it will help you have more energy to play with your children?
Tied to a Deadline
We’re more motivated to get things done when we have a set time limit. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time to complete your goal, but not so much that you feel able to procrastinate. For many goals, a week is an appropriate amount of time.
Learning how to set effective and appropriate goals can help you stay motivated and successful during medical weight loss.
Understanding Weight Loss Plateaus
Sometimes after a period of steady weight loss, the scale stops moving. Without making any conscious changes to your diet and exercise habits, your weight loss halts. This is known as a weight loss plateau.
In nature, a plateau is a flat and expansive piece of land that contrasts with the surrounding landscape. During your weight loss program, a plateau can be a frustrating period that may test your will to continue striving toward your ultimate weight loss goal.
Through advertising, bulk packaging and ever increasing meal sizes, perceptions of portions and serving sizes have become skewed.
A TV commercial will pan across the image of a whole pizza, breadsticks, a two-liter of soda and usually a large dessert. The pizza alone averages around 2,000 calories, so the calories represented in a single commercial far outweigh the average recommended daily allowance of calories. In contrast, a single slice of pizza contains around 250 calories.
Keeping Hydrated for Your Health
Staying hydrated throughout your day is one of the healthiest lifestyle changes you can make. Proper hydration habits can reduce your risk of heat-related injury, benefit heart health, boost your metabolism and give you more energy throughout the day.
Preventing Regain after Weight Loss
Medical weight loss can give you the tools you need to lose weight and keep it off, but sometimes no matter how closely you follow a program a slip-up leading to weight regain can happen. It’s almost inevitable, and it’s nothing to beat yourself up about.
It’s important to be able to take personal responsibility for any slip-ups. If you’ve regained weight, it’s possible that it was your body adjusting to all of the lifestyle changes you’ve been making.
Stress and Weight Loss
As you go through your medical weight loss program in Scottsdale, it’s important that you learn to manage any health problems that may affect your weight loss, such as stress. Stress is the body’s neurological response to events in life that make you feel pressured, threatened, upset or anxious. Believe it or not, stress is meant to help you. When managed properly, stress can motivate you to perform well under pressure. However, if you find yourself in a constant stressful state or if you don’t know how to deal with stress, it can take a toll on your overall health, especially if you’re trying to lose weight through medical weight loss.
Healthy Sleep Habits during Medical Weight Loss
Getting enough sleep is an integral part of any medical weight loss program. If you aren’t well rested, it can make losing weight more difficult than it needs to be. If you’re excessively tired during the day, sticking to even the simplest of exercise routines can be a chore. To get the most out of your medical weight loss program, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting at least eight hours of uninterrupted, quality sleep every night.
Handling Setbacks during Weight Loss
When it comes to losing weight, the journey may sometimes seem a bit overwhelming; especially if you have been struggling with your weight for a long time, without any results. Medical weight loss is a great way of encouraging long-term weight loss and lifestyle changes with the help of your physician and weight loss team. However, like any endeavor, you can’t begin your weight loss program believing that you have found a “miracle cure” to your weight and health concerns. Even with a great support team, your weight loss journey may not be totally smooth all the time.
How to Make Mindful Eating Part of Your Weight Loss Plan
How much do you think about what you eat? The weight loss industry has a phrase that is becoming more prevalent among consumers, as well – mindful eating. It is a common sense approach to meeting your weight loss goals and learning to better your relationship with food. Get educated about mindful eating and find ways to incorporate it into your healthy lifestyle.