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How to Avoid 6 Common “I-want-to-lose-weight” Resolution Pitfalls

New Year Resolutions listWeight Loss Resolution Solutions

How to Avoid 6 Common “I-want-to-lose-weight” Resolution Pitfalls

Weight loss is one of the most popular New Years resolutions, if not something along those lines; lose weight, lose fat, get tone, eat more protein, eat less sugar, exercise more, sleep more, get fit, get healthy, etc. No matter how you word it, fit and fat alike will set a health-related resolution this year.Starting off the New Year on the right foot usually isn’t the problem; it’s maintaining that new lifestyle where most stumble by Valentine’s Day. Statistics show that most people give up on their resolutions before the first quarter is even over. These tips will help you avoid the common pitfalls of lofty resolution visions while helping you to incorporate your healthy New Year’s lifestyle the whole year through.

PITFALL #1: I do not have to write down my goals because I already know what they are in my head.

SOLUTION: Write down the specific ways you are willing to modify your behavior in order to achieve your goal and review them every day.

A goal un-penned is not really a goal at all. It’s just a pipe dream on an imaginary wish list. One study shows that people who explicitly write down their resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t write them down. By writing your goals down, you are affirming to yourself that you are indeed making a commitment.

While many may eventually ditch their resolutions, statistics show that setting goals is valuable. Research shows that 75 percent make it past the first week and as much as 46 percent make it past the six-month mark. Set aside some time to actually write down your goals. You’ll want to keep this list somewhere that you can look at it on a regular basis. Tape it to your bathroom mirror or inside the pantry door. It’ll make you think twice before reaching for an unhealthy snack.

Remember to break down the goals into long term and short term, with the short term goals serving as stepping stones to the larger, long term goals. Then even if you aren’t able to reach your final goal, you will have many smaller but still significant achievements along the way. For example, if your goal is to complete a 10K race, your smaller goals could be running a 5K in less than 30 minutes, adding upper and lower body strength training to increase your muscular endurance, and running 2 miles with a personal best completion time.

Set performance goals vs. outcome goals. You have control of your performance, but you do not have control of outcome (like weather on race day). Success should mean you have exceeded your own performance goals, not the performance of others.

PITFALL #2: I want to lose weight (vague resolution).

SOLUTION: Define a precise and specific goal along with the root reason WHY that goal is imperative for you to achieve.

Why are those goals important to you? Dig deeper. If you said “because you want to be healthy” then ask again, “Why is being healthy important to you?” You may say something like “because when I’m healthier, I have more energy.” OK, dig deeper again. Again? Yes, again and again until you get to the root reason why your goal is important to you. You’ll know you’re there when you evoke emotion.

As you continue to dig deeper, it may look something like this:

Why is having more energy important to you?

Because I will be able to play with my kids.

Why is it important to you that you are able to play with your kids?

Because my son is always asking if I will play catch with him but I make up excuses instead. I would be able go to the park to actually play with him instead of watching from a distance.

Why is that important to you?

Because I want to bond with him and create happy memories for him while he’s still a kid.

Bingo! An emotional reason equals the root of your goal! Write this down. This is what will keep you going in mid-January when you’re already ready to throw in the towel. “Being healthy” won’t motivate you to do 60 minutes of cardio in the cold early morning because there’s no emotional commitment and you don’t really have anything to lose. But, the vision of spending quality time with your son playing catch on a summer afternoon, golden sunlight highlighting his hair, and the sound of his giggle etched into your heart forever as he laughs because you throw like a girl—now that will motivate you.

PITFALL #3: I am going to work out 2 hours a day, twice a day, seven days a week and fit into my clothes I wore in high school by the end of the month.

SOLUTION: Limit promises to your self by choosing reasonable and obtainable goals.

What are you willing to do to make your goals come to life? Be honest. If you hate to run, then signing up for a running club isn’t realistic because you won’t stick with it. Instead, commit to an exercise that you enjoy like swimming or group classes.

If your current exercise routine consists of putting the remote down and going to the fridge to forage for food, then a 7-day a week work out plan is only setting you up for failure. A goal of going for a 20 minute walk 3 days a week would be a better starting point. You can increase the duration as your fitness improves.

If you work 60 hours a week, it’s probably not realistic for you to commit 4 hours a day at the gym no matter how mighty your intentions. Squeezing in a shorter duration, high-intensity workout before work with nutritious foods packed for your lunch & snacks will be a more practical and provide efficient results.

The main reason you fail to meet our New Years resolutions is because you aren’t willing to commit to your resolution past January. Give yourself some time to achieve your goals. Chances are you didn’t get to where you are now in a matter of two weeks or even in a month. It will take more than a week to notice a significant change in your health. You will notice slight changes along the way, but you have to give it time. It usually takes about 8 weeks of consistently following a healthy nutrition protocol with regular exercise for the body’s metabolism to really kick in and produce the results… which is usually 2 weeks shy of when most people give up on their resolutions. So don’t give up!

What is a reasonable and effective amount of exercise? The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you get 60 minutes of exercise on most days (5-6) of the week. You need two types of exercise. Cardiovascular exercise is any activity involving the major muscle groups that raises the heart rate like running, walking swimming, or cycling. It will create a strong heart and lungs, move lymph throughout the body to improve immune function, burn calories, and reduce stress. Resistance training is any resistance against the shaft of the bone like weight lifting and body weight exercises. It will increase your resting metabolic rate so you can burn more calories at rest, build stronger bones & muscles, and support joints.

PITFALL #4: I will starve myself with a ‘diet’ to achieve my weight loss goal.

SOLUTION: Eat small, planned-out, nutritious meals every 4 hours.

First of all, ‘diet’ is a four letter word! Take it out of your vocabulary starting today! Cottage cheese sales must go through the roof on January 1st because New Year’s dieters think “I have to eat only cottage cheese to lose weight… oh, and by the way, I hate cottage cheese.” Gee, that sounds like it will work out long term!

Regardless of your health and fitness goals, here are a few steadfast fundamentals you’ll need to incorporate into your lifestyle to ensure a successful 2011 and you can do it without eating endless tubs of cottage cheese! By the way, this list isn’t multiple choice. Follow all the steps like a recipe and you’re sure to win:

1)PROPER NUTRITION- Be sure to include the following into your daily nutrition plan: Lean protein like chicken breast, turkey breast, buffalo, beans, legumes, and low-fat dairy (yes, that includes cottage cheese, if you like it), colorful assortment of fruits and vegetables like broccoli, spinach, bell peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, berries, and apples, whole grains like old fashioned oats, brown rice, sprouted grains and omega 3 fats like walnuts, flaxseed meal, and salmon. You should be eating at least 5 small meals and snacks a day, or about every three hours. If you’re still not sure about what to eat, invest in a Nutrition Coach who can develop a personalized plan for you.

2)LIMIT SWEETS AND JUNK FOOD- Life will happen and that’s why we have birthday cakes! But, save these treats for the rare special occasions only. They should not be any part of your normal routine. And just to clarify; once a day does not constitute a “rare special occasion”. Avoid processed food, foods with long ingredient lists that you can’t pronounce, and anything in a “crinkly” bag (chips, crackers, cookies, and 100 calorie snack packs).

Save yourself the agony from the will power face-off because you just won’t win. That bag of cookies will stare you down until you break- and it won’t even blink! The easiest way to win that battle is to simply not allow those items to make their way into your house. Leave the creepy cookies on the super market shelf and stock your fridge and pantry with healthy alternatives.

3)WATER- You need half of your body weight in ounces of water every single day. Your body is made up of 80% water so if you’re not drinking it, chances are you’re dehydrated. Water is the transport system providing your body with all the essential nutrients it needs while eliminating toxins. It is required for lubricating joints and muscles for proper functioning. Even mild dehydration can cause headaches, fatigue, and afternoon sugar cravings. Don’t be fooled by the cooler temperatures- dry winter air and indoor heating units can be equally as dehydrating.

PITFALL #5: I’m not sure I’ll hit my goal since I haven’t in the past.

SOLUTION: Visualize your weight loss success with a dream board and rehearse mental picturing.

The mind does not know the difference between what’s real and what is imagined.

Cut out pictures out of magazines with images that communicate what your life would be like once you’ve achieved your goal. For instance, if you love to water ski, but you’ve been too embarrassed to put on a swim suit, then you’ll want to include a picture of someone water skiing. The pictures should be meaningful to YOU and solicit an emotional response. Include pictures of family members that motivate you and as a reminder that they are the reason why you need to continue with your goal. You can even put motivational phrases, scripture verses, or feelings throughout the board. Then put your dream board in place where you will look at it every day.

From Napoleon to Kobe Bryant, successful military leaders to professional athletes have used targeted mental imagery to achieve success. In the Maxwell Maltz book Psyco-Cybernetics he suggests “Instead of trying hard by conscious effort to do the thing by iron-jawed will power, and all the while worrying and picturing to yourself all the things that are likely to go wrong, you simply relax the strain, stop trying to ‘do it’ by strain and effort, picture to yourself the target you really want to hit, and ‘let’ your creative success mechanism take over.” To practice mental picturing, spend a few relaxing moments alone each day in quiet imagination visualizing yourself achieving your goal. Maltz says “The way you do this is pay attention to small details, sights, sounds, objects, in your imagined environment... See yourself acting and reacting appropriately, successfully, ideally.”

Imagine taking your son to the park to play catch. Feel the strength in your arms as you throw the ball to him. Hear his laughter. Feel the full breaths of air filling your lungs as you run after the ball because you’re no longer winded. The same technique can be used to overcome areas where you usually struggle, as in nutritious food choices for instance. Visualize your self passing up an unhealthy fried cheese appetizer and enjoying a crisp green salad loaded with nourishing veggies.

“Hold a picture of yourself long and steadily enough in your mind’s eye and you will be drawn toward it. Picture yourself vividly as defeated and that alone will make victory impossible. Picture yourself vividly as winning and that alone will contribute immeasurably to success. Great living starts with a picture, held in your imagination, of what you would like to do or be.”

-Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick

PITFALL #6: I will try to do this on my own.

SOLUTION: Surround yourself with supportive people who will help you on the journey to accomplishing your goal.

Don’t be afraid to tell others about your goal. Many times we won’t say anything because we’re afraid of failing. But, you’re actually doing more harm than good. First of all, you’re giving yourself a way out from day one. You turn your goal into a dirty little secret instead of something positive because if no one knows that you have a weight loss goal, then they won’t know if you fail. Nothing lost. On the contrary, if you tell your family, friends, and coworkers about your goal, they will actually turn out to be some of your biggest cheerleaders. They will hold you accountable when you’re feeling tempted and they will encourage you when you need it the most. And who knows, you will likely inspire those loved ones to a healthier lifestyle too. You wouldn’t want to keep that a secret now would you?

When you need an extra boost, enlist the help of fitness professionals. If you are serious about hitting your goal, then hire a personal trainer, a nutritionist, or join a group challenge. Everyone needs help sometime and studies show that people who work with a fitness professional see greater results than those who try to go it alone.

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