As with most things in life, setting goals is very important when dieting. When you look at things truthfully and objectively you should notice that most of the things you’ve accomplished in life have been accomplished because you not only had a goal but also had a clearly planned and well thought out process for achieving that goal. That being said, why is goal setting so important when it comes to dieting?
First of all, it is difficult to achieve a goal if you do not have a clearly defined goal. There are times in life when it is almost impossible to tell whether you are succeeding or failing because you aren’t certain exactly what the desired outcome should be. Identifying your dieting goals before you begin eliminates this particular possibility.
Second, having dieting goals gives you a measuring stick by which you can judge your process. This is important so that you know when your efforts are failing behind and when you’re moving along schedule or ahead of schedule. In other words, you will know when to celebrate and when to give yourself a swift kick to the rear.
Now that we know why we set weight loss goals, let’s discuss how we should go about setting those goals that are so important for dieting success. You want to set goals that are aggressive without being impossible to achieve. If you set goals that are beyond your reach you will find that frustration will be your dieting partner until you reach the point where you give up all together. In order to avoid this you should take great care to insure that your goals are possible for you to achieve.
When it comes to weight loss be specific when setting your goals. Rather than setting a total goal of 40 or 60 pounds start with a specific goal such as 10 pounds in one month. Then you can extend the goal to the next month until you’ve reached the overall goal of 40 or 60 pounds. It is much easier to lose 10 pounds four times than it is to lose 40 pounds at once. It’s a trick of the mind but it works. Ten pounds sounds simple and achievable. Forty pounds sounds like an insurmountable obstacle.
Another thing about goals is that you want to hold yourself accountable but you shouldn’t call the whole thing off if you only lose 9 pounds instead of 10. Instead, find out where you dropped the ball for the final pound and set your 10-pound goal for the next month.
You should also take great care that you are working with your personal goals and not the goals that someone else is pushing on you. The truth is that if it’s personal to you, it will be much more rewarding than if you are doing this for someone else. If your heart isn’t in it, there are very few goals that are going to motivate you properly.
Finally, you should establish small (non-food) rewards for accomplishing your dieting goals. Perhaps your reward will be a new accessory for your new (or new old) wardrobe or a pedicure for your new look. Make your reward something fun and frivolous and teach yourself that accomplishing your goals can be accomplished by something other than food. This is a key to dieting successfully.
When it comes to dieting, far too many people set themselves up for failure before they even begin the process. They literally dread going on their diets and before they start the process are planning their mishaps along the way. Sad to say but true, far too many would be dieters are planning their first Rocky Road mishap while eating their last bowl of Rocky Road before the big event.
I have no idea why we tend to do this to ourselves but it is something I see in dieters everywhere. The far too popular notion is that one must binge on the foods most loved and enjoyed before beginning the dieting process because these things must be completely eliminated in order to shed those unwanted pounds. If you are honest with yourself, nothing could be further from the truth. Moderation is simply a concept that many of us are loathe to embrace.
You must change your way of thinking about food and your personal enjoyment of food in order for any diet you embrace to be successful. Food isn’t the enemy. And that is something that not enough people really understand. Even the ‘tasty’ foods aren’t the enemy. The enemy is your personal inability to properly portion the foods you eat. The problem is that the vast majority of us eat the wrong foods far more often than we eat the right foods. This is where the problems lie.
Our bodies need the nutrients we are lacking by not eating the five servings of vegetables and three servings of fruit each day that we should consume. Our bodies know that something is missing and we feel hungry or deprived. If we were actually consuming the proper balance of fruits and veggies each day we would find that we were far less likely to feel hungry and desire those foods that aren’t as healthy. This means we would be much more likely to enjoy them in moderation as they should be enjoyed.
Portion control is another problem that we have. We live in a society of “up selling”. Super sized fries and empty calories by the gallon of your favorite cola are offered with almost every fast food meal that can be bought. You must learn to say no to these things and avoid situations in which you may feel tempted to partake in these up sized orders.
To be truly successful when dieting you need to embrace the process as building a healthier you rather than depriving yourself of something. Do not think of your weigh loss plan as something negative but rather a positive force in your life to make changes for the better. When you have negative thoughts do not direct them at your diet. When you feel deprived remind yourself that you are depriving your bones of carrying around that excess weight. Remind yourself that you are depriving your wardrobe of those bulky clothes that are designed to hide the bulges. Remind yourself that you are depriving your body of years of bulges and bringing back the body of your youth.
Do not get so caught up in the dieting process that you forget to enjoy some of the goodies that life has to offer. Watching your weight and counting your calories does not mean that you can never go over your allotment. The goal however is to find balance. If you learn to portion your food correctly, indulge in moderation, and incorporate enjoyable calorie burning activities into your daily routine you may be amazed at the results.
Dieting for weight loss and health is only depriving if you allow it to be. If you cannot control yourself when it comes to indulging then by all means avoid indulging. However, if you can learn to incorporate those small treats into your routine in moderation and burn those extra calories as well, then you should find yourself a much happier and more successful ‘dieter’ than you have ever managed to be in the past.