Before we get there, we need a plan. Just like a good road trip, this journey needs a road map.
Plans are great. Planning and dreaming are different, however. Dreaming about how amazing it will feel to be free of all of the extra weight literally dragging us down and the confidence that will radiate from us is inspiration. That alone, however, will not get us there. We need a plan.
How do we start planning for weight loss? Much like you would for a strategic initiative. You need a mission and a vision. Let's start with the big picture. What will your life be like when you reach your weight loss goal? What will you be able to do? This is the dreaming stage, so think big. A mission goes hand in hand with a vision and is more of a purpose statement. What is the purpose of this weight loss journey?
One of the most important areas to think through before embarking on this journey is why you want to lose weight and improve your health. Are you hoping to fit into a smaller dress size for an upcoming event? Are you tired of having no energy and feeling run down? Do you realize that you deserve so much better than how you have treated yourself and your body? There is no wrong answer to this question. Do keep in mind that while it's always great to look great at a particular event, that cannot be the reason why. If it is, it will be very difficult to sustain your weight loss. Been there, done that. That can definitely be a driving factor in the short term, but find a long term motivation as well. This is different for everyone.
Now that we know why we want to change our lives, we need to set some goals. What are you going to do? By when? There can be multiple goals. We want these to be specific. For example, I want to lose 4 percent of my body weight this month. This is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. SMART goals are smart for a reason.
How are we accomplishing these goals? What actions will make it happen? This is where you pull out the calendar, schedule your workouts, and plan some meals. Add any other activities that motivate you and assist in accomplishing your goals.
Big goals can be overwhelming. It can help to break the large change into milestones. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Let's revisit the example of losing 4 percent of body weight in a month. The overall goal may be to lose 10 pounds. 10 pounds can seem like a lot when you are struggling during a workout or not used to your healthier meal plan yet. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel assists with perseverance.
You'll also need a plan for when life gets in the way and things get off course. Since you are planning, it's obvious that you do not want to give up. What can you do to get back on track immediately? How will you be kind to yourself about the slip up? How can you prevent it from happening again?
Accountability. Without it, you may fall off the wagon. Each of us are different and the method of accountability will also vary. A personal trainer is wonderful accountability, but a fitness-minded friend can also fill the role. If you'd rather not check in with anyone, check in daily with yourself in a journal. Did you meet today's goals? What can you improve on tomorrow? You may have to try a few methods before you find the one that clicks with your life.
Enjoy the process!
For other weight loss advice, check out these posts:
The secret to weight loss
What happens when you get injured
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