Probably because when a person makes a “resolution” it probably wasn’t a serious commitment to a specific goal in the first place. When it comes to making the effort with
weight loss, with a mere 5%-10% success rate it feels futile to keep
trying year after year. But there is hope…
Let’s look at all this from a more reasonable stance. A resolution
actually means a real commitment to change; according to one
definition in the dictionary: a resolve or determination; to make a
firm resolution to do something. This is about the inner resolve of a
person to start taking action oriented steps for change.
On the other hand a goal is: the result or achievement toward which
effort is directed which stems from the original inner resolve. You
actually need both the resolution and a goal.
Smaller manageable goals frequently build on each other to accomplish
the final successful result. In weight loss this is particularly true
because losing weight is so multifaceted.
Numerous lifestyle changes have to be changed in order to lose weight.
You have to change what you eat, you have to plan out your meals, shop
for the food, so you have what you need to prepare these healthy
meals/snacks which contribute to your weight loss. And that’s only the
tip of the iceberg because you also have to contend with socializing
around food, emotional/stress eating, exercising regularly, and all
the while keeping your focus with it all. There are of course numerous
other factors. So how do you do this exactly, especially if you’ve
tried to lose weight multiple times?
Once you have really made the heart-felt honest commitment to follow
through with all the changes around weight loss (your resolution) you
set up reasonable goals toward that end. I suggest you utilize John
Meyer’s SMART goals modified by the Mayo Clinic:
Each letter in SMART stands for a component for setting these goals:
S means specific,
M is measurable,
A is attainable,
R is realistic
T is for a timeline
Due to the vast scope of losing weight I suggest you make very
realistic goals around each component of the weight loss process
rather than just trying to do everything all at once.
For example “S” in SMART is “specific.” First define how much weight
you need to lose and what plan you will need to choose which will
within the context of your busy lifestyle.
“M” in “SMART,” stands for “measurable.” In other words how do you
actually see and track your overall progress? Weigh yourself every
week and chart it. Keep a food diary to help you see what you are
doing every day. Weigh and measure your food so you really know what
food portions look like.
You should also find someone to be accountable with who can make sure
you are following your program correctly. (Most studies find most
people underestimate how much they eat and overestimate how much they
exercise!) Seeing it in black and white in a food diary shows you the
reality of what you are really doing.
“A” in SMART stands for “attainable.” Are your weight loss goals
actually attainable? Usually they are if you have the proper help and
support. Some people may need real medical help to check if insulin
resistance, allergies/food sensitivities, depression, or even thyroid
may be interfering with weight loss.
“R” stands for “realistic.” This may seem the same as attainable but
it means reviewing your actual capacity to achieve them. Know what
your strengths and limitations are.
For example can you follow your food plan if you are dining out three
or four times a week? Would it be sane to think you can lose three
pounds a week with this type of lifestyle?
“T” stands for “trackable.” I’m using “timeline” to keep the focus
going. Establish a specific starting time, a half way point and an
estimated ending time. This will give you some of the motivation and
drive to keep you going toward that destination. Many motivation gurus
suggest you mark these points down on a calendar. This can be done on
your food log and/or a calendar.
This ultimately looks something like this: I will start my new food
plan in January fourth and by March 1st have lost 10 pounds. And if
you don’t make that, figure out why you didn’t make that timeline and
set up some another outline to get back you back on track with your
weight loss efforts. It’s important at this point to understand where
you made your mistakes and how you can overcome them. For example if
you had everything in place but emotional eating and stress derailed
you it’s important to address that component before attempting another
Written by Elaine Murphy, certified nutritionist and GreenLite Health Educator