So you have your goal in mind, now what?
First thing I suggest your doing is take inventory of what has worked and what has not in the past. Have you tried to lose those 30 lbs. in 2 weeks by not eating a single thing? We all know how that story goes …. By setting a measurable, realistic goal, you have taken a big first step in the right direction. In the past, were you successful toward a goal for a day or two, or ’til the weekend and then did you get off track? Take a look at what worked, if anything, and then try to figure out why, so you can replicate that action. What did not work? Take the same inventory of what didn’t work – it is important too. You want to modify the things that did not work so you won’t be derailed this time. Some other things to look at within yourself: do you like to make changes for the long haul or do you put the hard press on for a shorter time? Do you prefer to work alone or with others? Do you like when life is the same or when it’s always changing? Think about your motivation. Do you want to (whatever your goal is) be better or would you like to change to avoid something? If we use our losing weight goal, would you like to lose weight to attain a healthier body vs. lose weight to avoid getting diabetes? The end result you might say is the same but the motivation is different. How you frame the goal for yourself and therefore find motivation, is important. Keep the answers to these questions in mind as you formulate your plan for successful change.
If you are interested in losing weight, diet and exercise will be your two key elements. I know, no surprise there. In thinking about changing your diet, there are two ways to look at making changes. One is to make some life-time decisions about altering the way you eat. Maybe this is something you need. Do you drink soda all day long, every day? Well, if so, you might look to remove soda from you life – never to be seen again. This is one type of change – on-going and sweeping. Is there something or some things in your diet that are just bad for you, that you know aren’t doing you any favors and that need to go? I’d encourage to make that change – get rid of them. Can you do that? If you can’t just cut them out totally, then consider limiting them or cutting them out for a certain time. Perhaps you can not have that certain thing for a day, two, a week? You decide what works for you. <br>
You may also decide that to achieve this goal, until you achieve it, you are going to limit or avoid a certain food or foods. I often hear bread talked about like this. The conversation generally starts with the confession, “I LOVE bread!” I know, me too. I eat if often and I know I shouldn’t, people tell me. Ok, if this is something that you feel is adding additional calories, you might choose to cut down or cut out a food, such as bread, until you have reached your goal. You know that you aren’t going to eliminate this food entirely or forever, but for now, it’s on the list. Foods are easy to think of this way. You might also think of exercise this way. For example, I will add 20 minutes of cardio in daily until I reach my goal. You realize that you won’t continue doing this behavior forever but for now, until your goal is achieved, you will change your behavior. For some people, this is an easy way to make a change because they don’t have to think about it going on for such a long, long, long time – even though it might be such a good thing that it does become forever 🙂
Another aspect of updating your diet might include what you can add. This is a more novel approach in my opinion. When I think of diet, I think restriction, deprivation and deleting items. However, this doesn’t need to be the focus – think addition. What can you add to your diet that’s healthy? Remember, eating is about feeding your body so it will have the energy and power to do all the rewarding and demanding things you require of it. Yes, that bag of chips is right in front of you and you are hungry but instead of just slamming the cabinet door on them and having nothing (deprivation – or gobbling them down!), can you give your body something else that it can actually convert into nutrients?
Ok, so you have a goal – if it fits with your style, I’m encouraging you to work toward the goal for this week. Take stock by looking at past successes and failures (and these can be partial successes and failures.) The idea is to mine your past for information on what worked and did not, to use as you dive in here. Once you have your plan, prepare for success. What do you need to do to be successful for this coming week? If your goal is weight loss (I keep talking about this because many of you mentioned that it is), have good, healthy food choices in the house. Perhaps you don’t buy the Ben & Jerry’s that’s on sale this week! No need to tempt yourself 🙂 Think about snacks and lunches. Make a plan so you can avoid finding yourself ravenous, grabbing for the nearest whatever which is probably NOT what you would have chosen had you been in your right mind.
Two final thoughts – do you need accountability to achieve your goals? Do you find that you’ll exercise if you know we have an appointment but might not if you were just going to the gym ‘sometime?’ If this is you (and it IS me), feel free to use me to help you achieve your goals. Tell me what you’re looking to do. Yes, then I AM going to ask you how it’s going! That’s kind of the point. Ha! If it’s going well, we will celebrate 🙂 And if it’s not, we can talk about what’s going on and decide how to alter the plan or just get you back on track. If you don’t want to tell me or we don’t see each other often enough to be effective, tell someone else.
Exercise is an important aspect in this equation. Because I do see many of you on a very regular basis, I chose to say more on the diet aspect today. You have already chosen to add Pilates, Red Cord and Rowing into your life. Congratulations, truly, on that decision! As you are already figuring out, gaining strength will help you to be able to do more. Building muscle will also help you to lose weight as muscle burns more calories so the more muscle you build during your sessions, the less calories your body will convert to fat. If you are interested in doing more work in the studio and/or some home-work, let me know. We can figure out some options for you. I hope to see you, often and regularly in the coming weeks so that we can continue to excellent work you have been doing.
I have an idea – how about we combine the accountability and exercise aspects …. Who would like to participate in a friendly studio competition? I have created a competition on the Under Armour Record App (download for free) to see who can complete the most steps. You can connect your Fitbit or Jawbone directly to this app. Let’s cheer each other on or prod each other – whichever the case may be! If you’d like to participate, please send me an email and I will send you an invite. I set the competition to end each week but it will renew. This could be fun!! Maybe there will be prizes??
If you haven’t begun Pilates or if you have been away from it, now is the time!
I look forward to seeing you and working together to achieve your goals!
Thanks for reading this especially long post 🙂
P.S. I have been reading Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. This is a great book on mastering habits. It’s a great book and many of the ideas I have suggested above were suggested in the book and then taken to specifically apply for our uses. I would recommend Better Than Before if you are interested in reading more about creating habits!