Dieting 101: Setting Realistic Goals and Reaching Them

We’re working on a plan for healthy weight management without dieting. If you’re just joining us, you need to catch up. Read the last post, Dieting 101: Getting Started, and make sure this is a journey you want to be on. If you’ve rejected dieting and prepared yourself for changes, it’s time for goals.weight loss goals

Setting realistic goals is so important. You build success upon success. By starting small, you will repeat the easy changes and they add up to big results. So first thing, give yourself permission to set easy goals. Take the struggle out if it!

Goal-Setting Tips

  • Think short-term: What is a small change you can do today and repeat tomorrow? Maybe you do no exercise at all. How about measuring how active your lifestyle is with a new, inexpensive pedometer. Wear a pedometer and see how many steps you take. If you have a desk job, I’d be surprised if you get more than 3,000 steps a day and you need 10,000. Does this motivate you to walk 30 minutes at lunch or after dinner?
  • Be specific: Say what you will do by when. Give it a due date. Write it down. Remember it is a small goal. “I will buy two types of fresh fruit at the grocery store on Saturday.” You can’t eat fresh fruit if it isn’t in your house, right? So buy it and give yourself a chance to choose a meal to have with it.
  • Move forward: You should always be progressing. As you convince yourself that these easy goals are going to be repeated, think of what’s next. For exercise, maybe it’s time to take a swim lesson or go to a yoga class. Maybe you need a cookbook for making healthy meals at home. If you aren’t succeeding at your goals, re-evaluate them. Maybe it is not a good time or maybe you reached too far. Take a step back and rethink your strategy. There will be barriers. You need to find a way around them.

Ideas for Small Changes

Here are just a few ideas for small changes you could make today. Which ones are on your list?drinking-water

  1. Don’t skip meals.
  2. Order your latte or hot chocolate with fat-free (skim) milk.
  3. Drink water or club soda – zest it up with a wedge of lemon or lime.
  4. Eat leaner red meat or poultry.
  5. Eat more carrots, less cake.
  6. Eat off smaller plates.
  7. At sandwich shops, ask for leaner cuts and smaller amounts of roast beef, turkey, or ham; extra lettuce and tomato; and whole-wheat, oatmeal, or rye bread.
  8. Make half your grains whole. Make your sandwich on 100% whole wheat or oatmeal bread or snack on whole grain crackers.
  9. Swap your usual sandwich side for crunchy broccoli florets or red pepper strips.

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