Thursday, June 14, 2012

One benefit of using a self-help weight-loss method like the plan in this blog is that you have plenty of flexibility within the plan, and you don’t have to answer to a nutritionist, a group leader, or a weight-loss counselor. But because you’re going it alone, you have to do a little more thinking for yourself. You have to set yourself up on a personalized program and to do that, you need to use the same tools any professional would use to set that plan up for you. These tools include goal setting, journaling with a food diary, and keeping track of your weight.

You don’t have to use every tool in the blog or answer every question in every quiz, but the more you discover about yourself and your eating habits, the better your chances of developing a plan that works for you.

Establishing your weight goals

The amount of weight you want to lose, the lifestyle changes you’re willing to make to help you lose it, and all the little steps you’ll take along the way make up your long-term, intermediate-term, and short-term goals. (Before you settle on your goals, you can use the formulas in Chapter 2 to figure out how much weight you want to lose.)

  • Long-term goals: Your first long-term goal is the total amount of weight you want to lose, or, if you prefer to put it another way, the final weight you want to reach. Your primary long-term goal may also be a normal Body Mass Index (BMI), which is a measure of weight for height that may be a little more accurate than most standard weight charts. (Flip to Chapter 2 for more about BMI.)
  • Intermediate goals: These goals are the ones that you establish and change along the way. Right now, one of your intermediate goals may be the weight you hope to be when you’re halfway to your long-term goal. For example, if you want to lose 60 pounds by this time next year (a very reasonable long-term goal for someone with 60 pounds to lose at the recommended rate of 1 to 2 pounds a week), then two of your intermediate goals may be to lose 15 pounds in the next three months and 30 pounds six months from now.

Unless your weight seriously compromises your health, for example if your BMI is 30 or higher or if your doctor has told you that you’re already at risk for developing obesity-related medical problems, your goal needs to be gradual weight loss, which means losing 1 to 2 pounds a week. If your weight is putting you at immediate risk of health complications, you may want to consider faster weight loss in a medically supervised program. Speak to your doctor about your health risk and to find out what type of weight-loss program is right for you. (See Chapter 11 for more on medically supervised programs.)

  • Short-term goals: These goals are immediate goals you focus on from day to day. For example, you can set a goal to lose 11 ⁄2 pounds this week.

Establishing mini-short-term goals to help you reach your short-term goal and to satisfy any need you may have to do something about your weight right now is a good idea. For instance, deciding to eat steamed fish for dinner tonight is a mini-short-term goal that can help lead to your 11⁄2 pound weight loss goal for the week. Another mini-short-term goal may be to buy a pocket-size calorie count book today, make copies of the calorie counter pages in Appendix A and Appendix B, or locate calorie-count information on the Internet so you have it available wherever you are.

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