Losing weight can seem like a challenge – because it is. Changing habits is never easy; weight loss requires constant attention to prevent mindless eating, manage cravings and ensure that you don’t get off track. SMART goals can help you lose weight and keep it off.
Take Up the Challenge
One of the reasons weight loss is challenging is that people can have a considerable amount of weight to lose. It can seem overwhelming to think of losing 30, 50 or 75 pounds. It’s important to remember that you didn’t gain the weight overnight and you won’t lose it overnight. Even more important, losing weight too fast increases the risk of nutritional deficiencies and of rebound weight gain. Losing one to two pounds a week is safe and will keep you healthy.
Preparation Makes a Difference
Like many other endeavors, weight loss is often more successful if you do plan and prepare ahead of time. Spend a week or so actually tracking everything you eat, your sleep patterns, exercise and/or daily activities, as well as your emotions – write all this down. Sit down with the data you’ve gathered and go over it; you’ll probably see some patterns. Maybe you tend to hit the fridge the minute you walk in the door. On the other hand, you might find that late-night snacking is your downfall. Once you’ve identified the patterns you can start to craft strategies and set some SMART goals.
SMART is an acronym that means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. Each goal you set should include these factors. For example, I will keep my caloric intake between 1800 and 2000 calories a day for the next 30 days. The goal is SMART as you’ve specified the calories as opposed to saying “I’ll eat less”; the goal is measurable – you can track calories with a calorie counter or an app; the goal is attainable – the caloric amount is low enough for weight loss but high enough to prevent intense hunger; the goal is relevant – you must reduce calories to lose weight; and time-bound – you will do this for one month.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
No matter what weight loss/diet plan you choose – and there are many out there – it should fit you and your lifestyle. First, the meal plan must be healthy and well balanced, with real foods from most of the major food groups, keeping in mind your primary source of carbohydrates should come from vegetables and limited fruits. It should include foods you enjoy eating and that are readily available. Your diet plan should fit your lifestyle and budget. Finally, remember that weight loss should always include regular activity and/or exercise – you will gain a variety of benefits, from increased metabolism to muscle strength and flexibility to increased endurance and heart health. There’s also some evidence that regular exercise can suppress appetite.
If you need some help with your weight loss planning or are struggling with a particular issue, please contact us at 360 Medical Weight Loss Specialists. We offer a medically supervised plan – which is a bit different from the standard weight loss program. Medically supervised weight loss includes the management of any chronic conditions like diabetes, low thyroid or heart disease that may be affecting your weight. Please contact us if you have questions or to schedule an appointment.