I want an
By starting a diet
plan, you have made a commitment to yourself about the changes you
want to make with your health, and for most people, body weight as
well. It is important, and for some, it is even urgent. It is a life
goal and a value for you to do this. So, this should be at the top
of your “to do” list every day. But is it? What things get in
the way of starting and maintaining your eating and/or exercise
If you are like most
people, just about every day is filled with tasks that must be done,
at work, at school, and at home. Your “to do” list is longer
than the day allows, and you are probably doing many things at once.
And, if you are not getting an average of 7.5 hours of sleep, you
are getting through the day sleep-deprived, and you’re not
functioning as well as you could. Many of you eat throughout the day
haphazardly, eating whatever is handy or convenient at the time.
Most of you said that work or school gets in the way of eating well
and exercising. Many of you have asked for a plan that considers
your habit of snacking and eating convenient foods. But having a
plan that gives you goals and strategies to deal with these issues
isn’t enough. You have to put it into action, and you have to
repeat these new strategies until they become a habit, something you
don’t have to think about, you just do.
Commit to the plan
your eating habits and getting in shape are long term goals, and
like most long term goals, it is important, but not “urgent”. If
you’ve ever taken a course in time management or read Seven
Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, you
know what I mean. (If you haven’t read this book, I recommend it,
it’s worth the time). The thing about important, long term goals,
is that often daily, less important, but more “urgent” tasks get
in the way of accomplishing them. Most of us are really good about
getting the daily things done (doing homework, doing errands, etc.).
But pretty soon, a year goes by and we are no closer to the
important life goal, no matter how important it was, or still is.
So, to make sure that you are making headway on your diet plan, you
must put it on your list of things to do, every day. By the way,
this has good scientific support. It has been found that just
writing down the foods you’ve eaten every day leads to weight
loss, all by itself. It seems that the act of being conscious of
what you’ve eaten by writing it down can lead to eating better, or
less, which leads to weight loss.
So, here are some very specific
suggestions on how to keep your long term goal of losing weight
improving your health at the top of your daily tasks.
Write down what
you want to accomplish with your health and your body weight. Be
specific. “I want to lose 10 pounds by the end of the year”
is much better than “Someday I would like to lose weight”.
Another goal might be “I want to have my cholesterol or blood
pressure in the normal range within six months” or "I
want to reduce my body fat by 2% over the next 6 months".
These are examples of long term goals.
It’s not enough
to have the goal. You have to remind yourself of it every day.
Put this goal in your day timer, calendar, computer, or where
ever you keep your list of “things to do”.
The long term goal
might be specific, but you need short term strategies to get
there. Your plan should be designed with this in mind. The point
is, where is your plan? Do you keep it with you during the day
and refer to it?
cannot make all of the changes at once, and realistically, you
can’t do everything right every day. It is definitely a
process. Pick one or two strategies that you can focus upon.
Most of you have identified snacking and “overeating” as two
key elements that need to be worked upon. Write down your
snacking goals, read the strategies in your plan. and pick one
or two you can actually put into action this week. Be realistic
about what you can do. Write your specific strategies in your
daily organizer every day. Check it off it you accomplished it.
If you didn’t
put your strategies into action, evaluate why. You may need to
change something about your day to make this happen for you. For
example, if your plan is to bring healthy snacks to school or
work, you need to put them on your grocery list and actually buy
them first, then set them out where you can remember them! If
you brought the healthy snacks, but didn’t eat them and
instead ate the higher calorie, high fat snacks, evaluate why
this happened. Are you sabotaging yourself? Do you really want
to put forth the effort to make the change? Based on your
findings, make a plan for tomorrow to accomplish your goal. When
you set out to do something hard (like changing your life
habits), you will make mistakes, but it is bigger mistake not to
try, and to keep trying every day. What is life without goals?
Take fifteen minutes
and get organized with your plan. Write down your long term health
and/or weight goal. Write down your specific strategies you want to
work on this week. Put this in your organizer and take it with you.
Take a few minutes at the end of the day to evaluate what happened,
and to plan the next day. The small amount of time you take to plan
will make a big difference in your ability to realize success. Give
your important goal the time it deserves!
Finally, if you're stuck and feel hopeless about your diet goals
and you're interested in getting help - look no further.
Whether you want to lose weight and improve your health or need
a special diet plan, seek help from a diet and nutrition expert.
experts have been providing personal diets
and offering expert diet help online from today's diet and
nutrition experts: registered dietitians.