In a day and age when nearly everything we do produces instantaneous results, most of us expect our diet changes to lead to immediate results, as well. Of course, we can't expect to lose 20 pounds or be able to run a marathon with the snap of a finger! The human body simply does not work that way.
We have to start by setting reasonable goals that are objective and methodical. Learning to set these goals reasonably is truly the only way we can expect a positive physical and emotional result from the changes we engage in.
Unfortunately, for every positive lifestyle habit, there are many more scam programs marketed by sales people who spend huge amounts of money on displays and fancy tactics to sell you on quick-fix schemes. After all, it is an easy sale - it's what everyone wants to hear.
We can all certainly share a good laugh at the all-or-nothing approach that everyone has tried and failed, but in reality, this approach is unhealthy for us, both physically and emotionally. It puts us in a metabolic slump and puts our mind in a negative downward spiral.
So, what can you do?
Start today setting reasonable goals.
If you set one reasonable goal each month and accomplish 12 goals in 12 months, that's 12 more healthy habits you've acquired!
What is a reasonable goal?
- It must be OBJECTIVE.
- It must be METHODICAL.
- Your goal MUST NOT BE EMOTIONAL.
- Your goal must be based on a measurable outcome.
Let's take emotion out of the equation and use the SMART acronym to help us accomplish our goals.
I will increase my vegetable intake to 4 cups of vegetables daily and, by the end of the week, maintain this level of intake consistently 6-7 days per week. On the days I do not meet the full goal for vegetables, I will have an extra 1-2 fruits.
I will substitute water with lemon or brewed iced tea for diet soda 6 days per week beginning tomorrow. If I have a diet soda on an unexpected day, I will ensure my soda cheat day becomes a water or tea day.
I will use my phone's app to record every piece of food or fluid I consume and exercise I engage in beginning today for 7 days. Using this information, I will determine my baseline for calorie intake and exercise regimen to lose 4 pounds per month.
As you see, each of these goals is individual. Some are simple, while some are a bit more complicated. However, all are practical for the individual who developed them. The important thing is to make the goal mean something to you for now and the long term!
It has been my experience that when goals are not focused on weight management, they accomplish a lot more, as well. So think about your health as more than your weight. There are blood glucose numbers, cholesterol, triglycerides, exercise for improved sleep, stamina, relaxation, etc. You can make goals for any reason. Simply think about your goals being objective and methodical and your success rate is sure to increase.