Once you have made the most important step in the transformation journey -- choosing to change -- it is time to map the course. If you have been reading my blogs,
you understand the importance of commitments in the transformation process. I am going to lay out several commitments in each successive blog and highlight tips, tricks and shortcuts along the way!
Step 1: Set Your Goal
To begin any journey, we need a clear-cut path to where we are going. This process is about creating results by design, not by coincidence. So get out the pad and pencil, because it is time to make some important commitments to yourself.
Proper goal setting goes far and beyond just saying "I want to lose weight," or "I want to fit into my high school jeans." First and foremost, we need to set a SMART goal. By following this simple acronym for goal setting, you will create the parameters and rules for your journey.
Your SMART goal must be:
Specific -- you must state exactly what your goal is. Be as specific as possible and use the word "will" instead of "want." For example, "I will lose 46 pounds" or "I will weigh 120 pounds" or "I will fit into a size six."
Measurable -- it must be quantifiable and measurable. for example: a number on the scale, clothing size or circumference measurements in inches or centimeters.
Attainable -- you must be able to achieve the goal within your daily time and financial constraints. If you are a single mother working two jobs, keep your time commitments to exercise at an attainable level! Even if it is just 10 minutes a day, it is better than what you are doing now, and it will eventually grow.
Realistic -- Keep your goals realistic! If you want to lose 60 pounds, don't expect it to happen in two weeks. Don't expect more than you are willing to commit to this process. A good rule of thumb for expected weekly weight loss is to divide your weight by 100. For example, a 200-pound individual can lose around two per week. A 150-pound individual can lose around 1.5 lbs per week. Get it? But let's get real ... you can definitely lose more than this number starting out, but expect the number to get smaller as you get closer to your goal weight.
Time Sensitive -- Give yourself a specific time and date upon which you will reach your goal.
NOTE: Now take the paper with your SMART goal and hang it where you will see it
every day -- the refrigerator, bathroom mirror or desktop ... maybe even all three of these places. Keep the commitment in front of you!
Step 2: Nutrition
The next step is to begin cleaning up your nutrition. The first three nutrition commitments on the weight loss journey are:
1: Eat breakfast every day. This "most important meal" seems to be a thing of the past these days. Unfortunately, skipping breakfast triggers a hormonal response in the body to store the majority of your later meals as body fat. In addition, skipping breakfast has also been proven to increase appetite, leading to overeating later in the day. This combination is a one-two punch for packing on the pounds.
2: Remove or at least reduce sugar, flour and fried foods. Our food has changed more in the past 50 years than in the past 5,000, and these three foods are some of the main culprits in the obesity epidemic we are facing today. Removing them from your diet may seem difficult since they are in the majority of our processed foods.
Make the switch to foods with natural sweeteners like stevia or xylitol, whole grain breads and pastas, and baked, grilled or steamed foods. By feeding your body real, whole, natural foods, you will see an instantaneous drop on the scale ... and an even greater rise in your energy levels!
NOTE: if you are a sugar-addict you may go through one to three days of withdrawals. Hang in there, it will be worth it!
3: Drink at least a half-gallon of water daily. When you have this down, build up to one full gallon daily. The rule has typically been to drink half your bodyweight in ounces daily, but when coupled with daily exercise, our hydration needs skyrocket. We need a yardstick ... something to make SURE we get all of our water in daily. That is why I recommend carrying a gallon of water with you daily. You can break it into smaller one-quart or liter containers, but by the end of the day, finish off the gallon. Here's why: The majority of Americans are dehydrated. Our brain has a weak mechanism for detecting thirst and often mistakes it for hunger. The more water you drink, the less you eat. The fewer calories you eat, the more you lose. Pretty simple.
NOTE: Make your water taste good! Use different water flavorings, from teas to calorie-free, naturally sweetened mixes. It will make your daily gallon that much more fun
Step 3: Exercise
The final step is to begin daily exercise. The three things to focus on are:
1: Set a daily appointment with yourself to exercise. It can be as small as 10 minutes, but be sure to schedule this time for your health and happiness, because otherwise it won't happen.
2: Walk as much as possible. From parking in the farthest parking spot to taking the stairs over the escalator, make your legs move as much as possible ... they are your calorie-burning engines!!
3: Begin to explore activities that you want to do every day and will enjoy doing for a lifetime (dancing, tennis, kickboxing, hiking, basketball, weightlifting, etc). By selecting activities that you enjoy and have fun with, you are setting up a foundation for lifetime success!
Enjoy the journey and stay tuned ... so much more to come!