Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How To Set Goals for Weight Loss --or so they say... :)

727 days to go...

Since the whole reason I set up this new blog to replace my Once Upon a Diet is to set concrete goals that I can measure week by week and month by month within a two year time frame (as opposed to the nebulous "once"), I thought I'd post some simple guidelines on how dieters can set goals.

A post over at The Diet Blog gives the four critical steps:

1. Be Specific
2. Be Realistic
3. Be Intrinsically-focused
4. Be Prepared

Well, I've been specific. Lose a pound a week/4  pounds month for 24 months. (4.08 pounds a month to be precise, but that looks weird.) Lose 98 pounds in 2 years. Specific.

Realistic? Seems like it. A pound  a week loss is considered reasonable in nutrition circles and it's not so high that I can't have treats and special occasion feasts. It's slow enough that I can adapt to new habits, but I'd still have to develop those habits, because it's still a 3500 calorie deficit, and that's 500 calories a day fewer than to maintain weight. I maintain at about 2200, 2300 calories, so I should not eat more than 1700 to 1800 a day. That's far from a starvation diet. In fact, that's the caloric intake that it would take to MAINTAIN a weight close to normal, so if I plan to keep the weight off for life, 1800 calories (or less as the years go on or activity declines)  is pretty much what I need to get used to eating. Period. Now and forever..... So, I think it's not unrealistic as long as I learn to handle my triggers, keep activity in my life, and develop a me-specific satisfying eating plan with sufficient nutrients. It's doable. I just have to do it.

Intrinsically focused: What does that mean? Let me quote from the Diet Blog post:

When considering goals, try shifting the focus towards attitude, mindset and lifestyle goals. Building positive thoughts about yourself and your thoughts on exercise is crucial for long term success. How do you want exercise to feel? How are you going to attach joy to it so it will become a pleasurable experience?

Wikipedia has an entry on "motivation" which discusses this, too. It defines intrinsic motivation this way:  "Intrinsic motivation refers to motivation that is driven by an interest or enjoyment in the task itself, and exists within the individual rather than relying on any external pressure"

For exercise, I pay a trainer, because I am NOT intrinsically motivated to do it. I have been unsuccessful in getting myself to exercise on my own since I got morbidly obese. Up to about 190 lbs, I exercised at home aerobically several times a week--to music, to tv shows--or I walked. After I got pretty big, moving got harder and I had no desire and a lot of negative feelings about movement. When my knees went bad, that just made me want to sit even more.

So part of my success on this journey is to find the connection again, the joy, in movement, in treating myself well, in gaining health by losing weight and increasing movement. I must find the motivation IN MYSELF to keep on track with my objectives so I can meet that large goal of losing 98 pounds.

I plan to set more specific goals about fitness (the exercise portion, other thann my 2x a week sessions with a trainer), but first I need to do the affirmations, write, self-intropect, find ways to make the connection--body and movement --again. Find the pleasure in it again. I suspect that when I'm again under 200 and movement is freer, this intrinsic motivation will be easier to fine/nurture.

The Diet blog post suggests guided imagery for this purpose. This will go on my daily to do list. :D  Or maybe get a CD or MP3 download to help me do it. They exist! Wait..I need to be specific: I will either develop or buy a guided imagery system to help with this critical component of being "intrinsically focused".

The fourth component: Be prepared.  I'll quote from the Diet Blog post here:
This means mapping out situations which may pull you from your exercise and healthy eating plan and penning out solutions to those potential problems. This means jumping back on the wagon quickly. It means figuring out why it happened and learning from the experience. This is a vulnerable time in which it is easy for a lapse to become a full-on relapse. And remember, be forgiving of yourself.

My previous post is kind of a "figuring out" regarding my poor eating on Sunday evening. I got back on the wagon today. But I do need to be more careful and plan a better strategy for similar situations. I don't HAVE to derail, even though I know I will, I also know I have the ability to STOP the obsessive thoughts, the poor food decisions. I've sometimes said no. So, how do I get to the place where I can say no more easily and increase proper responses to temptations and binge-urges?

I am partly prepared in what's in my environment now--

~I stocked up on lower carb, hunger-satisfying foods and produce.
~I rejoined my organic food coop to get weekly fresh and (later in the year) mostly local organic fruits and vegetables.
~I set up Pilates equipment in the living room
~I placed exercise videos to "watch instantly" via Netflix
~I have learned to keep a glass of water handy while watching tv or using the computer
~I subscribed to "positive and affirmative" weight loss emails via SparkPeople.com
~I had my doctor re-examine my thyroid regimen and we're tweaking it
~I this week set a specific "exercise" activity goal for when I'm under 200 pounds (take a paddleboard class)
~I made a specific weight-related travel goal with hubby (and we never travel, sot his is a major one)
~I this week downloaded encouraging materials to my new Kindle reader (diet and motivation)
~I bought a pair of "goal jeans" for my next milestone (I'll probably fit in 20 pounds less).

I still have a lot of work and commitment to do as I learn the art of setting goals with the desire to master the art of being the most healthful me I can reasonably achieve in 2 years.

And as far as the self-forgiving aspect when one has a stumble or all-out crash?

Well, I love the philosophy from Our Lady of Weight Loss:  "All is forgiven. Move on."

What are your goals? How did you get intrinsically motivated? How have you prepared for trouble spots and temptations and derailments?

Let's cheer each other on!


Anonymous said...

I’m so glad that I came across this blog. It’s great to see someone else who is into living a healthy and fit lifestyle. I myself has lost 125 lbs. and my weight loss story will be featured in the November 2010 issue of Shape magazine. This is really exciting for me! I also have a blog http://www.LauraGetsFit.com which documents my own weight loss and fitness endeauvers. Come check it out if you’re interested :) Anyway, I look forward to reading more of your weight loss journey. Take care! <3 Laura

Lanie Painie said...

I was totally digging this post until Our lady of weight loss popped up.

I've been afraid to set weight goals tied to dates. I worry that I will not make my mini-goal and then be disappointed in myself. I'm going to watch you and see how you do and maybe I'll change my mind.