If you ask me what exhausted me on my weight loss journey, it was not achieving my goals or sometimes even going backward because I set unrealistic goals! How many of us feel that we are always in ‘diet-mode’ and fed up of not getting any results? How many of us are only going forward and backward but not reaching the end goal?
This is a huge percentage and that is why the fitness and weight loss industry is massive! There is a saying – ‘if you want a different outcome, then take a different route’; it really applies here because something sure seems off when being healthy and fit seems like a task we aren’t getting through
It has now been a while where I would feel exhausted or eating mindfully would be hard for me or yo-yo weight changes happened to me – here is the secret to how I defined ‘achievable health goals’. These are just broad guidelines to which you can apply your own specific parameters.
1. An achievable goal is a sustainable goal: Come January, most of us make some crazy commitments to ourselves such as work out 7 times-a-week or ‘no eating out for a month!’ or ‘dessert means crime’. We think miraculously and even in an unhealthy fashion, we will achieve our fitness goal by the end of January! It doesn’t even matter if we do because we cannot sustain such choices. So in no time, the hunger and craving shoots up and we go back to where we were or even worse. To begin with, let’s make sustainable goals. Realistically how many times can you go to the gym in the week given that you might have social events or even need some rest days? I would say, 4 days a week and that is enough if we have our food and rest in place; this can give great results over time. Similarly, be realistic about how many times will you end up eating out? Eating out is also an experience of connection that we do need as well. I would say 3 meals (even if you stop at 2 then that’s a bonus!). This will help you plan backwards and not feel guilty if you went out all 3 times. Making sustainable goals made me achieve my results and maintain it on a long-term basis.
2. An achievable goal is knowing your cravings: Aggression has never helped sustain any health goals. We all do have cravings – they come from foods habits passed down the ages by our ancestors, our menstrual cycle, visual stimulation of something we like or even missing nutrients because of excess dieting. Today simply put - where are you at with your cravings? Knowing specifics always helps with this. Then figure out the reasons for it. There will be tiers to this – some are tough to overcome, some can be replaced with a healthy option and some are avoidable. Like instead of eating a big piece of cake, you can always opt for a homemade smoothie made with stevia and fruits to curb your cravings. I would say do not touch the ‘tough to overcome’ list. Rather deal with the other two areas. This itself is not only a significant improvement but also achievable for a long period of time. Dealing with cravings with love and compassion is highly important. There are exceptions where it occurs due to stress or it has become a toxic habit. If you know you are there, immediately meet a professional to help you with it. You do not have to do it alone. In fact, it can be easier to overcome this long term with someone to walk the path with you.
3. An achievable goal is clarity of goals: Most people miss out on this one because each one of us wholeheartedly believes in what they hear from a friend or social media. Nobody is clear what he or she wants to achieve from a health standpoint. Building muscle is very different from fat loss and fat loss is very different from weight loss. Each of this will have a different roadmap. This will lead us to follow a plan not meant for the health goals we want to achieve and then we get disappointed with the outcome.
These 3 were my biggest learnings in setting achievable health goals. It made me eat what I liked, never felt like I was depriving myself, created mindful eating habits, created mindful non-eating habits and also achieve specific goals that I kept setting for myself.
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