Plan to Succeed and the Skills Will Follow Trying to lose weight without a plan in place is kind of like driving to your favorite restaurant with your eyes closed - you think you know the way, you're excited to get there, but a lot of things can come between you and your destination.
Trying to lose weight without a plan in place is kind of like driving to your favorite restaurant with your eyes closed - you think you know the way, you're excited to get there, but a lot of things can come between you and your destination.
Most people who are successful in achieving their weight loss goals set out with a definite plan - "I want to lose X pounds by this date," or perhaps they set a weight loss rate or goal for exercising a certain number of minutes per week. The important part was that they had a plan in place. Additionally, new studies are now showing that creating and sticking to a weight loss plan also builds valuable life skills which extend beyond the pursuit of slimming down.
The first step in creating a plan is identifying and addressing your potential barriers. Do you lack specific fitness or nutrition knowledge? Do you struggle finishing tasks in which you feel alone? Do you suffer from low self-confidence and need support from others? Whatever your barriers may be, find the solutions before moving on.
Every goal needs a finish line, and great goals have little checkpoints along the way. While your goal might be to get back to your high school weight before your wedding day, you can still set mini-goals along the way - such as lose five percent of your body weight in a certain number of weeks, or fit into a specific size pants by the next holiday. By breaking up your journey, it won't seem as long.
Add fitness goals to your weight loss goals. Your plan should be comprehensive; don't make it all about the numbers on the scale. Set fitness goals, such as taking the stairs at work every other day, or walking during lunch twice a week or completing a 5K next month. The American College of Sports Medicine says it takes four to six weeks of committing to an exercise program to experience significant improvements in fitness, so be patient. Losing weight and getting healthy require lifestyle changes, so plan for your entire day - not just the eating part of it.
In a recent issue of BioPsychoSocial Medicine, those who developed the skills to self-regulate (both food intake and exercise) were the most successful in losing weight. So by setting a plan and sticking to it, people learn to self-regulate and improve their self-efficacy, and then the weight comes off. It's a symbiotic relationship. And as a bonus, self-efficacy is a skill that improves self-confidence, allowing you to overcome peer pressures or feelings of negativity.
So what's your plan? Share with us and others what keeps you on the road to success. Exercise->Goals