You've tried all the fads. Here's how to take off pounds in a safe way. How many times have you decided to lose weight, only to fall off the wagon in just a few weeks? What makes some diet attempts successful, while others become casualties of the "diet-of-the-month" club? The secret to achieving your weight loss and exercise goals is to be specific and realistic by using the SMART approach.
To give you a little background information to work with, each pound that you want to lose equals 3,500 calories. Those calories have to be either reduced from what you eat in a day, burned off during exercise, or both. To lose one pound per week (a realistic and safe number) you would need to have a 500-calorie deficit each day from both eating and exercising. Walking or running burns 100 calories per mile (running just burns it in less time). So if you walked for 30 minutes (approximately how much time it would take you to briskly walk two miles) three days a week, you would burn 600 calories--not to mention the health benefits of all of that great exercise. The remaining 2,900 would have to be eliminated from your diet, which comes to about a 400-calorie deduction per day.
Effective dieting uses effective goal setting or the SMART approach. This stands for Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Timed. When you say your goal is to lose 20 pounds before the holidays, it has few of these qualities. A SMART goal would be to lose two pounds in two weeks by having a piece of fruit as an afternoon snack instead of a candy bar and the same thing for dessert after dinner, both of which reduce your daily caloric intake by 400 calories, and to walk 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
As you read on, use the worksheet to write down the immediate ideas that come to you. Come up with lots of ideas (not just one for each category). The more plans you have, the more alternatives you can use if your first idea doesn't work for you.
Come Up With Specific New Behaviors
To begin the SMART approach, you must be specific. Break down your long-term goal of losing 20 pounds into smaller components of that goal. This could be to reduce the calories you eat in a day by 400 and walk three times a week for the next two weeks. Yes, you want to lose 20 pounds; but wanting the weight gone is very different from coming up with specific behaviors that will allow you to achieve that goal. Unless you come up with specific behaviors that are different from what you are doing now, you are never going to look any different from how you look now.
Measure Your Success
Next you need to be able to measure the goal. Losing one pound a week or 20 pounds by the Fourth of July is definitely measurable, but "getting into shape" is not. Does "getting into shape" mean being able to walk a mile in 14 minutes, having tighter upper arms, or being two sizes smaller?
The more you can pinpoint what your goal is, the more it can help you to find ways to achieve it. In the beginning your goal might be to lose that 20 pounds, but as you progress you might realize that being able to walk that flight of steps in front of your office building without getting winded is another good goal. As you progress, don't be shy about changing and updating your goals. It's not about moving the carrot; it's about being specific.
Be Ready to Start
You then need to be action-oriented. Saying that you are going to exercise when you get some free time is a plan for failure. Do you have any idea how you would like to exercise? Is it exercising with your spouse at a health club? How about using that stationary bike that is sitting in the basement? Can you schedule yourself to walk during your lunch hour for 20 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday? These are all action-oriented steps. The same thing applies to eating more healthfully. Start by buying healthier choices at the supermarket. You can't make a bad after-dinner snack choice when there aren't any bad options to choose from in your cabinets. Bringing pop-top canned fruit and plastic spoons to work and keeping them in your desk drawer to eat instead of a candy bar is another action-oriented behavior.
Have Realistic Expectations
If your goal isn't realistic, you probably won't accomplish it. Saying that you are going to exercise for 60 minutes, six days a week when you haven't exercised in more than two years is a good example of an unrealistic goal. So is eating 800 to 1,000 calories a day using the latest diet book that totally eliminates some of your favorite foods. Drastically changing your lifestyle into something that is painful and unpleasant will never work in the long run. However, saying that when you eat out, you are going to order a salad with dressing on the side instead of buffalo wings as an appetizer is a realistic choice. So is walking with coworkers during your lunch hour or walking your children back and forth to the bus stop every day.
Give Yourself Enough Time
Determine specific time frames for both your long- and short-term goals. Losing two pounds in the next two weeks, five pounds in the next six weeks, and 20 pounds by the Fourth of July are all examples of this. Allow yourself to celebrate each of those accomplishments along the way. Reward yourself with something that is not food related but, instead, something that further fuels your determination. How about a great pair of walking sneakers or a massage? Come up with a nonfood reward list and use it every time you reach a goal.
While all of this might sound like the slowest way to lose weight, remember: This is about long-term success. There's a reason so many people stop exercising after only a few weeks or gain back the weight (with interest) after doing a fad diet. Join Venus factor review weight loss program and changing your lifestyle. A successful eating or exercise plan also needs to look at whether it's something you can do long-term. It's also not about being "good" all of the time, but instead about changing your behavior that is occurring right now. It's OK not to exercise every day, but you need to exercise on some of the days. It's also OK to eat a candy bar, but not every day. Take steps to determine what will work best for you and then put one foot in front of the other. Good luck!