Friday, June 22, 2012

In addition to your weight goals (see the previous section), several other types of goals are essential to the long-term success of a low-calorie lifestyle plan. They include your

Setting up your lifestyle goals Low Calorie Dieting - Beginner's Guide
Food goals: These goals are the changes you want to make to your diet, such as how much you eat, the types of food you choose to eat, and the amount of calories you consume.
  • Your long-term food goal is to make a low-calorie diet plan part of your permanent lifestyle.
  • Your intermediate-term food goal may include preparing and eating more low-cal meals at home.
  • In keeping with these far-reaching goals, one of your short-term food goals may be preparing a low-calorie dinner tonight. (See Chapter 14 for several ideas.)

Behavioral goals: When your long-term goals include eating better and permanent weight loss, behavior modifications are necessary for those goals to become permanent changes.
  • Your long-term behavioral goal may be to eat mindfully, that is, pay more attention to what and how you eat (see “Eating mindfully,” later in this chapter for details).
  • One intermediate-term goal may be to take your time and eat slowly.
  • A short-term behavioral goal toward that end may be to start practicing putting your fork down between bites at your next meal.

See “Giving Yourself a Lifestyle Makeover,” earlier in this chapter for more about changing your overall eating habits.

Psychological goals: If you’re going to change the way you eat forever, you probably have to change your emotional relationship with food.
  • Your long-term psychological goal may be to avoid emotional eating and overeating, the type of eating you do when you’re sad, angry, or lonely.
  • Your intermediate-term goal may be to find something else to do other than eat when you’re not happy or to seek professional help to make changes you can’t make alone.
  • Your short-term goal may be to dig out those knitting needles, paintbrushes, or toolbox, and get to work right away on a new project that can keep your hands busy tonight.

See Chapter 9 for more about adjusting your mindset.

Exercise goals: If you’re going to supplement your low-calorie diet with increased activity, exercise goals can help you pace yourself.
  • Your long-term goal may be to swim 15 laps at least four times a week.
  • Your intermediate-term goal may be rearranging your schedule so that you have time to add that much swimming to your exercise routine.
  • Your short-term goal may be joining a gym that has a pool or to start using the pool at the gym you already attend.

See Chapter 8 for advice about how to work more physical activity into your daily life.

When setting your goals, keep these two important points in mind:
  1. Make sure your goals are realistic. You want to be able to complete your goals within the timeframe you give yourself. For example, if you say you’re going to cook a low-cal dinner tonight, be sure you have the ingredients on hand when you get home. If you find that any goal is unrealistic, don’t stress out. Redefine the goal.
  2. Make sure your goals are as specific as possible. The clearer your goals, the easier it is to measure your progress along the way. For example, you don’t just want to be thinner; you want to lose 60 pounds. You don’t want to simply cut back on the number of calories you consume; you want to stick to a 1,200-calorie plan.

Putting your goals in writing can help you clarify them. Make a goal organizer, something like the one in Table 4-1, to jot down your long-term, intermediate term, and short-term goals in each lifestyle category.

Focus Goal Time Framer Step to Take Date Reached
Food Eat less chocolate Short Give away the rest of the truffles
Behavior Skip my morning snack Medium Stay away from the snack cart at work; start by skipping every other day
Psych Positive attitude about self Medium Wake up every day and say out loud: “I can do it!”
Exercise Start jogging Short Buy new running shoes this week
Exercise Start jogging Short Get up earlier to jog before work every day

Table 4-1:
Writing down your goals can help you keep track of where you stand.

These pointers can help you use your organizer to its fullest potential:
  • Separate your goals into food, behavioral, psychological, and exercise categories. Write down any steps you can think of, big or little, that you can take to reach that goal. You can write down as many goals as you want, but remember, you don’t have to work on them all right now! Your goals reflect the changes you’re going to make over the next few days, weeks, months, and, in some cases, years.
  • As you reach each goal, write down the date. Doing so helps motivate you when you look back over your goals and see what you’ve accomplished.
  • Review your goals weekly to remind yourself which areas still need work. As you reach your current goals, you may want to establish new ones and write them down in your goal organizer.

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