Monday, December 29, 2014

The Key to Successful Resolutions Involving Weight Loss

as written for "The Citizen of Laconia"

Statistics show that a large percentage of New Year’s resolutions involve weight loss.  Many of us have the best intentions of carrying these resolutions out, however they often are forgotten soon after the New Year hits.  There are certain steps that can be taken to prevent this phenomenon from happening that just may work for you:

Step 1:  Have a plan and put everything in writing.  This not only involves writing down what your ultimate goal is, but also what goals are going to lead you toward that ultimate goal.   These goals need to be specific and measurable; Instead of saying “I need to eat more vegetables,” try “I will eat more vegetables by filling half of my plate with them for at least 12 meals per week.”  This gives you the ability to clearly identify whether you’ve achieved your goal or not.   

Step 2:  Be sure you have the supplies on hand to carry out your plan.  If one of your goals is to increase certain foods, stock your refrigerator and freezer.  Make these foods accessible by preparing them for eating as soon as you get home from the supermarket.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, rid your house of foods that may sabotage your goals, or at least make them less accessible.  

Step 3:  Be accountable.  Food journaling can be incredibly effective and it doesn’t have to be anything fancy.   A notebook will do, or you can use a free web site or Smartphone app, such as “My Fitness Pal,” which gives you a calorie goal and tracks calories consumed.  Another effective accountability measure is to enlist a resolution buddy that you can communicate with on a daily basis - one with likeminded goals.

Step 4:  Have a relapse prevention plan.  There will be situations where you may not be as headstrong about your goals; during vacation, for example or when you go out to dinner with a friend.  Be sure your initial goals are realistic enough to allow for some give in these situations, or else you will end up feeling too restricted to carry them out.  Also, a vision board can be a great tool to get you back on track after a relapse or if your motivation starts to dwindle.  A vision board is a bulletin board that you look at often that includes motivational pictures or quotes to keep you on task with your goals.  This could be an actual bulletin board or a digital collage, such as a Pinterest board.  

Step 5:  Seek professional help if you are having trouble.  Dig deep to figure out the reasons you are not succeeding.  There may be underlying emotional issues that cause you to sabotage yourself.  If you cannot solve these issues on your own, consider therapy.  If you have a lot of specialized dietary needs, likes or dislikes or have encountered a roadblock with your meal planning, consider a registered dietitian.  If you are having trouble figuring out an exercise plan, consider a personal trainer.  

Step 6:  Reassess your goals often.  Sometimes goals that are too rigid or unrealistic prevent success.   Don’t be afraid to revise your goals to be a bit more lenient, as long as they are still leading you to your ultimate goal.  

By using this model, you will be more likely to achieve your goals, giving yourself the freedom and confidence to move on to a new resolution next year.   The best part is these steps can be tailored to any type of resolutions you might have, whether related to weight loss or not.  

Photo by:  Lori Ann of MamaWit