Starting Your Weight Loss Journey: What Are Your Goals?Article posted in: Nutrisystem for Men
Each of us has our own reasons for wanting to shed extra pounds. Some may be urged by our physicians or family members to lose weight for our health. Others may be unhappy with their appearances or they feel limited in what they can do or where they can go. Special events, such as weddings or vacations, motivate a lot of people to make changes. Whatever the reason, making the decision to lose weight is a big first step on the journey.
The next step on the way is to set goals, so you get where you want to go. Losing weight, you might say, is your primary goal. But defining more specific short-term and longer-term goals can help you make steady progress and reach the end point—a healthier, happier you.
While you are focusing on dropping extra pounds right now, keep in mind that weight loss is actually the starting point for a bigger goal. What you are truly aiming for is a change in your choices, habits and lifestyle that will help you achieve your immediate goal and maintain your health for the rest of your days. This is why you want to stay away from “crash diets” and other quick-fix solutions. With them, you may get encouraging results in the short term but they can’t be sustained for your whole life.
Instead, go with a weight loss program, such as Nutrisystem, that helps you to learn the keys to success that can last you forever. Those keys include understanding healthy food options, how to create balanced meals and proper portion sizes.
Weight loss programs that help you reach your long-term goals also adapt as your body and your needs change. This keeps you from getting stuck at a plateau that is short of your goal. Once you hit your weight loss goal, your program should help you to transition to a healthy maintenance diet, preventing the discouraging yo-yo effect of losing and regaining weight in a continuous cycle.
Nutrisystem has worked for so many people like you because you are preparing your own Flex meals with your own groceries along the way. This helps you to build the knowledge and skills needed to make healthy meals for yourself long after you reach your weight goal.
If your long-term goals are the destination of your journey, more specific goals you aim for right now are the checkpoints along the way that ensure you are staying on course. Your short-term goals need to be realistic so they are attainable, measurable, relevant to your ultimate goal, and time-specific. Life coaches and other experts refer to these types of goals as “process-oriented” rather than “outcome-focused.”
Effective goal setting is an important part of making changes in your behaviors. The use of the acronym SMART is a well-established method for creating effective behavior change goals. When creating goals as part of your weight loss journey, remember to come back to this acronym to set SMART goals that will work best for you. Check out some examples below to help you set SMART goals for success:
If your goal is to have more energy for your daily life, for instance, you want to increase your level of daily activity. You can turn that into a SMART goal when you commit to walking for 30 minutes after lunch five days a week for the next two weeks. If toning up your muscles as you lose weight is an important goal for you, make a plan to do 30 minutes of strength-training three times a week for the next month.
One of the most important guidelines for losing weight with Nutrisystem is eating four servings of non-starchy vegetables each day. This can be challenging for people who have not been eating vegetables regularly or who believe they don’t like eating them. One way to overcome this hurdle is to set a SMART goal. For example, your goal could be to try one new vegetable twice a week for the next month. You can break down each obstacle that you encounter on your way to losing weight into a series of goals that help you overcome it.
Setbacks and Adjustments
We’ll be honest here: almost no one reaches their weight loss goal without running into a setback or two. They are a normal part of making significant changes to your life and habits. Maybe you eat unhealthy foods at a family get-together over the weekend or you skip exercising on an especially busy day. Short-term goals help you to push past setbacks by reminding you of how you make progress—step-by-step, day-by-day. If you don’t hit your goal one day, you can wake up the next day and remember what you can do to start going forward again.
Sometimes you might make your goals too difficult to reach, which can be discouraging. If you are consistently failing to hit the goal, adjust it until you can be sure you will. If you are having trouble getting in 30 minutes of walking each day, for instance, start with 15 minutes a day for two weeks and then go five minutes longer for a week. Continue to increase the time each week until you get to 30 minutes. If you are breezing past your goals with no effort, challenge yourself to make them a little harder, so you are not just holding steady with no further progress.
Writing down your short-term and long-term goals is an important step in holding yourself accountable to them. You also are more likely to succeed if you have healthy support systems around you. For many of us, that includes family members, friends and co-workers who encourage you to stick with your goals.
Your Nutrisystem weight loss plan also comes with a support system. Connect with a Nutrisystem Weight Loss Coach or download our super-handy, and totally free, NuMi app. It works on Apple and Android mobile devices, laptops and desktop computers. You can use it to track your weight, exercise and meals. Even better, it can guide you to set realistic goals and remind you to stay on top of them.
Finally, Nutrisystem’s free, content-rich blog, The Leaf offers you tons of fresh tips, recipes and healthy living ideas. Check here often for more inspiration and information as you make progress on your goals.