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How to achieve your weight loss goalRosemary Writes - Aug/Sept 2005

We all need goals to motivate us into action. But we need to make them specific if we are to succeed

I cannot imagine anything worse than going through life without having goals. We all need a reason for making that extra effort or trying that bit harder. With goals to aim for, we will achieve so much more than if we have nothing to focus on.

I’m writing this at the time of the year when villages hold Open Garden weekends. As we drive through the countryside, we see relaxed folk meandering from one garden to another, clutching their map of beautiful gardens to visit.

Can you imagine the motivation and sense of purpose that develops over the months running up to the event? If you were going to open your garden, you would be working tirelessly to remove every weed, trim every hedge, carefully place every bedding plant and arrange the hanging baskets to look their absolute best.

You would water the garden regularly and replace any poor specimens. And you’d love every minute of it. Why? Because there is a goal. A date. A reason.

Then there is an added bonus. Your garden would look the best it has ever done. Dozens of people would come and admire your handiwork, congratulate you and no doubt be inspired to try harder with their own garden next year!

On the evening of the last day you might sit down with a glass of wine and declare the whole event a huge success – knowing you have a beautiful garden to admire for the rest of the summer, with memories of all those compliments still ringing in your ears.

Any regrets? None!

Imagine the Benefits

Before we relate this to our weight-loss goals, let’s consider the factors that have spurred our gardener into action:

  1. Goal I’m going to open my garden.
  2. Timescale It’s the last weekend in July.
  3. The hard work invested brought rewards My garden looked fantastic.
  4. Recognition The compliments flowed.
  5. A feeling of satisfaction I felt I had achieved something.
  6. Long-term benefits The garden will look wonderful for months.

So, if we want to lose weight, we need to imagine the huge benefits we’ll enjoy and say them to ourselves in the first person, eg I will have more energy, I will look more attractive, my clothes will fit better, my joints won’t ache, my health will improve, my self-confidence will increase and I will receive compliments about how good I look and recognition for what I have achieved. Wow!

The good news is that these goals ARE DEFINITELY ACHIEVABLE! Just read the slimmer success stories in this magazine. Look at what they have achieved and the challenges they have faced before they reached their goals. It wasn’t easy for them to lose weight, but they did it. And you can, too!

Setting Your Goal

It is down to that initial decision – "I am going to lose weight" – and then the preparation should start. It does take a bit of planning, making some changes to your shopping list, how you cook your food and what you do with your leisure time.

Sitting and watching TV for 27 hours a week is not an option if you want to see real results – and quickly. Of course you can watch TV. Mike and I love watching our favourite programmes, but I know that if I sat for almost four hours every day I would gain weight. I must stay active if I am to stay trim and eat the quantity of food I want. 

Goal-setting sounds easy, but it’s not just a case of saying, ‘I want to lost 2st by Christmas and I want to get fit’. How are you actually going to achieve this goal? Perhaps you are thinking of joining one of our classes or our online slimming programme? Perhaps you fancy taking up jogging or joining a gym? These are all ways to help you but what are you going to do yourself?

You need to be very specific and you need to make a plan.

Achieving Your Goal

If your goal is to lose 2st by Christmas, think about what that means. If Christmas is 21 weeks away, you’ll need to lose about 11/2lb a week. That is achievable and easy to measure. So write down on your Goal Sheet: Lose 11/2lb a week.

How will you achieve this? You’ll need to follow a diet. Which one? How is this going to affect your normal way of life?

Write down a few pledges to yourself like this:

  • No chocolate at work. Take chopped raw veg instead.
  • I will drink only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings - a maximum of two glasses of wine on each day.

Now, what about exercise and activity? “I’ll try to do 20-30 minutes of exercise five times a week - that's right, isn’t it?” Yes, but be more specific. Try this:

  • Monday Go to RC Diet and Fitness Club class pm.
  • Tuesday Meet up with Sally and take dogs for extra long walk after work.
  • Wednesday Mow the lawn pm.
  • Thursday Do toning workout to fitness video before work.
  • Saturday Do housework then take children for long walk and picnic if weather fine; swimming if not.
  • Sunday Gardening plus 30 minutes of physical activity with family in garden.

And in the kitchen, what changes can you make to your food preparation? Try:

  • Stop using oil or fat when cooking.
  • Stop adding butter to vegetables and mashed potatoes.

You know where your danger zones are and, if you want to achieve a slim attractive, healthy, enjoyable body, you will have to make some changes to the way you feed it and look after it.

The rewards are so enormous. If you could feel them today you wouldn’t hesitate to start right now. Take my word for it, and the word of the wonderful, successful slimmers in this magazine. Don’t waste another day of your life – just do it!

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