Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Setting Goals To Motivate You for Weight Loss

Setting goals can be immensely helpful in the process of reaching our target weight. The idea of losing 40 or 50 pounds seems overwhelming moreso than motivating, and can leave us vulnerable to comforting ourselves with food, of all things!

Take some time before beginning your weight loss program to outline some specific interim goals you would like to reach. These will keep you feeling motivated and heighten the awareness of progress as you move towards the larger goal of losing a number of pounds. Here I share some very helpful examples from clients of mine to illustrate those that painted a colorful picture for me.

1. Emily wanted to be able to shop in the misses department instead of the women's sizes for clothing. Even though a size 14 is not her goal, it was a great moment for her when she realized she did not have to shop for larger sized clothing. She told me, "Now I go try on clothes even when I'm not buying, just because I love fitting into the smaller sizes!" A weight loss of only 20 pounds had accomplished this tremendous change in Emily's lifestyle.

2. Sheila had a very specific picture of what she wanted to look like; she pictured herself walking along the beach carrying her sandals and wearing nice-fitting capri blue jeans with a crisp, white button-down shirt. Whenever she was tempted to give in to a craving, all she had to do was picture this look, and she new what was really important to her. She was able to pass on so many high-calorie foods over a few weeks that she reached her first goal quickly and easily.

3. Marjorie's goal was more about getting away from what she was currently experiencing; her thighs rubbed together when she walked and it irritated her, both physically and emotionally. She heard the sound of her pant legs swishing back and forth against each other whenever she walked down the quiet halls at work and was convinced everyone else did, too. More than anything, Marjorie wanted to lose enough weight to let her walk comfortably and quietly. This was enough to motivate her to keep her food diary and continue other actions that led to the weight loss she desired.

4. Pam had an idea of how she wanted her figure to change: She was always proud of her curvaceous physique, but recently as she had put weight on, she noticed her belly protruding far more than made her comfortable. "My goal," she told the group, "is to have my profile show my bust larger than my belly". We all nodded in agreement with Pam's idea. This was by no means her final goal, nor did it involve a number of pounds to lose, but it was a picture in her mind that was going to keep her motivated to get her sneakers on every day after work and hop on the treadmiill for 45 minutes---like she had been planning to do for the past 16 months.

5. Victoria's goal was to get off her cholesterol and blood pressure medications. "I don't want to be on these for the rest of my life!" She has a doctor's appointment coming up in four months and knows if she can lose weight by then, along with establishing a regular exercise regimen, her numbers will be good enough for her doctor to discontinue those medications.

How do you picture yourself in your dream life? Are you happy and healthy and fit and active? Start living the life you want now! Take actions to eat healthier, be more active, and work towards the goals that will keep you motivated as you help your body take the shape you want it to have.

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