Is Your Weight Loss Goal Realistic?
Learn how to set (and meet) healthy goals
Changes You Can Live With continued...
Adopting a new lifestyle means finding the behaviors and attitudes that led
to weight gain and, once you've figured out your bad habits, gradually changing
them into healthier patterns.
For example, are you a member of the "clean plate club"? Do you
mindlessly consume your food in record time? Do you eat in front of the
television? Are you always eating or drinking something?
Start to adopt more healthful behaviors such as leaving a few bites of food
on your plate at each meal, slowing down and tasting every bite, eliminating
interruptions to your meals, and filling your spare time with activities other
Or your own "better behaviors" might include wearing a pedometer and
walking 5,000-10,000 steps each day; switching to fat-free or light food
products; giving up fried foods; starting each day with a nutritious breakfast
-- the options are endless. The trick is finding changes that are easy for you
to incorporate into your life. And when you do something repeatedly, it soon
So set "process goals" (such as eating five servings of vegetables
each day or logging 10,000 steps three days in a row) instead of "outcome
goals" (such as losing 30 pounds). Process goals are key to changing
behaviors, and that's what will ultimately lead to permanent weight loss.
Besides, a healthier lifestyle is more important in the long run than the
number of pounds you shed.
The Top of the Mountain
In the beginning of your program, everyone is noticing your weight loss,
passing out compliments and cheering you on. But get to the third month or so,
and the cheerleaders often all but disappear.
Yet studies show that three to six months after making behavioral changes is
an important time for reassessing your strategies. It's a critical point to
continue moving forward while maintaining the new habits that got you
Think of this time as the top of the mountain -- and you need to get over
the top for the new, healthier habits to become routine. Challenge yourself to
find ways stay energized during this time: Experiment with new recipes, find a
diet or exercise buddy, or try a new type of physical activity.
Take a minute right now to rethink your weight loss goals, and remember you
are in this journey for the long haul. Accept that healthy weight loss is slow
and steady. Your goal is to lose a pound or two a week. And even if you only
lose half a pound, isn't that better than gaining?
Make a list of all the ways your life has improved because of your weight
loss so far. Celebrate these victories, write them down, and revisit them
Realistic goals will improve your self-esteem and provide the reinforcement
you need to help you continue the journey.