How-To-Series: Goal Setting & Sticking to the Plan

Welcome, goal-getters!

Our How-To Series will cover a variety of subjects that hopefully will help you navigate the challenges of trying to lose weight with all the resistance around you.

Yes, there really is resistance!

When you’re head-down in your routine with a hard line goal in mind, an invitation out to dinner with friends can become a stressful and anxious event. But it doesn’t have to be.

It’s important to set a goal, but more so, it’s imperative that your goal is measurable and attainable.

How you choose to measure your goal is entirely your choice. Do you have a really big goal in mind? Then let’s use the elephant. Ever heard the saying, ‘how do you eat an elephant?’ While no one is actually eating elephants (I hope!), the answer is ‘one bite at a time’.

That’s how your goal will be. Have 100 lbs to lose? Let’s set up 5 milestones; 20 lbs each. Once you lose 20 you’ll level up to stage 2 and only have 80 left. Make sense?

The point is, you need something to work toward; something to chip away at (no pun intended). And, you need a way to celebrate!

Calorie counting your life away becomes tedious, trust me on that. A habit forms and before you know it, you’re the person pulling out your MyFitnessPal app at a family function grilling Grandma about what’s in her homemade shortbread.

But the secret to being able to achieve this lifestyle in the future is to remember that occasionally, you can have Grandmas shortbread without worrying about how much butter she put in there.

So how do you keep your mind on your goals when you’re out with friends? Or traveling for work?

You plan for it. Have a plan to succeed no matter what.

Prepare yourself for a dinner out by looking at a menu ahead of time and deciding what you’re going to order before you ever get there. Making this decision in advance takes the guess work and the pressure out of what you’re going to eat.

So many times I have found myself sitting at a restaurant table pouring over a menu; getting distracted by the pictures of salty fries and cheesy bread – it’s a set up for failure. But, if I’ve already committed to what I’m going to have, then I don’t need to look again and be swayed by the deep fried goodness staring me in the face.

I travel for work fairly often, and I will admit that those are my most challenging days. Sometimes a long day of planes and cars make for an easy environment to make a real bad choice.

Try to pack snacks in your carry-on bag that are easily accessible to grab on the go. Try to make sure you have a bottle of water handy that you can refill. You can purchase singular packets of protein powder, bags of jerky, and energy bars before you ever leave for a trip.

Make a plan and commit to what you plan to do before you ever get to your destination. Track it in MFP before you eat it to let yourself know the decision has already been made.

Remember that you’re in charge here. This is all within your control.

Check on the status of your goal frequently; but not too frequently!

Choose a day of the week to weigh yourself and try to refrain from weighing in between. Remember that weight can fluctuate an incredible amount even in a 24 hour period depending on sodium, water, carbs, the weather, witchcraft… etc.

This daily roller coaster on the scale can be discouraging if you see the numbers fall backward. Try to keep in mind that your goals are long-term, and you want them to be that way so you can sustain your result for a long time! We’re looking for a downward trend over time so try to weigh just once a week.

Track and celebrate your success! If you’re using MFP, you can update your weight each time you see a change. Tell your friends, and choose a treat to enjoy when you meet a milestone. Not all treats have to be food.

While you can choose to treat yourself to some froyo, a frappuccino, or an extra glass of wine, you can also get a little trigger happy and end up eating half of a buffet line while you’re busy celebrating so if you’re going to choose food as your pat on the back; be responsible and reasonable in your selections, and account for it as you normally would.

You could also participate in my favorite pastime; shopping! A new pair of jeans? A new shirt? After all, your clothes will need to be replaced both during and after the journey. Get your hair done; maybe get a pedicure. Just remember to reward your achievements as they happen so you have something to look forward to each time.

Lastly, realize that your goal might change over time. Life is fluid, and so are your decision making abilities!

When I first started out, my weight loss goal was purely numbers based but as I lost the weight my goals morphed into a mix of weight loss and strength gaining. Then lifting goals. Then a certain bikini… You get the point. Be ready to flow with it, and accept that as your body changes, your mind will too, and that’s perfectly alright.

Survival Tips:

• Build an attainable timeline with measurable goals.
• Plan to succeed every single day.
• Forgive yourself for the mistakes, and start over again right away.
• Share your successes with others!
• Ask for a to-go box and take the leftovers home.
• Try to eat at restaurants that are transparent about their nutritional information.
• Treat yo’self.

Go get ’em!

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