You have to set a goal
This one seems obvious, but the goal you set will make or break your health and weight loss journey.
This is the area that always caused me frustration or set me up to fail. I would set goals like “lose weight”, “lose 50 lbs”, or “get healthy”. On the surface these look great, but the purpose of this post is to show you why generic, lofty goals won’t work and to help you set a goal that you can achieve.
You have to set a SMART goal. Not the opposite of a stupid goal, but:
- Specific – Simple, significant
- Measurable – Motivational, Meaningful
- Attainable – Appropriate, Adjustable, Action-focused
- Realistic – Relevant, Result-based
- Time-able – Trackable, Tangible.
I’ll be focusing on the first words, but for your situation some of the other options may work better.
Set an overall goal, and then break it down into smaller goals that make it become a SMART goal. For me it was lose 50 pounds in one year. My smaller goals were to lose 1 pound a week and to exercise for 30 minutes 3 days a week.
Specific. If you do not have a specific goal, you will not know if you have made progress. To keep moving forward, you have to know what you are moving towards.
Measurable. You have to have a way of knowing how successful you are. While one pound lost seems small, doing that week after week, month after month adds up.
Attainable. If I had decided to lose 3 pounds a week and only lost an average of 1, I would have quit.
Reasonable. There is no way I could have even gotten myself started if I had decided to exercise 5 days a week for an hour at a time.
Time-able. Set a timeframe and stick to it. Losing a certain amount a week or a month is something you can work toward and see progress on. If you don’t have a big picture broken down into small steps, it is too easy to give up.
Goal setting is a great place to involve a trusted medical professional. While consulting with your doctor, I would recommend doing some baseline measurements to not only make you aware of where you are health-wise, but to give you motivation in moving forward so you have more markers for health than just the number on the scale. I would recommend starting: weight, waist circumference, hip circumference, cholesterol and triglycerides. Things I would have loved to do and would be great if you have access, is to find out your percentage of body fat and muscle. I wish I would have done more of this, because seeing all those numbers change for the better is so exhilarating and I personally wish I knew how far I have come. Hormone and allergy testing may be helpful to get as well (I’ll get more into this in a later post).
The most important thing: unless you are on The Biggest Loser or are being supervised by a doctor, losing more than 1-2 pounds a week is not only unrealistic but could be very dangerous. If you do have an honest need to lose weight very quickly, there are programs out there like SHAPE that may be effective, but have to be done under doctor supervision. There are a few people at my church that are either doing SHAPE or a similar program. It has been working really well for them.