It’s the new year, when many people are thinking about resolutions – especially around their health and weight. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight through proper diet and exercise is a great goal. If you find yourself in this group, make sure that you are setting yourself up for long-term success by setting realistic, incremental goals and planning for reasonable actions. A large part of your success will come from sticking to your plan, which is harder to do if your plans are too rigorous and involved, you aren’t achieving small goals, or you feel deprived and depleted. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself in order to achieve your health goals:
- IS THIS A FAD DIET?
There are many diets in existence and many of them become popular because they promise fast and easy weight loss. Often, these diets are very restrictive, require you to eliminate whole groupings of foods, or severely restrict your caloric intake.
Unfortunately, many times these diets are founded on faulty research, or aren’t researched at all. Because of this, fad diets can cause rebound weight gain once you stop following them, or they can cause long-term or permanent health issues.
- Is my plan achievable?
Don’t plan on running a marathon in 3 months if you’ve never owned a pair of running shoes, or start a diet that requires you only eat lettuce and grapefruit if you hate both of those foods.
These kinds of unrealistic goals can be both dangerous to your health and unsustainable because you will be miserable and hungry. If you want to be successful, you will need to take small, manageable steps in a plan that is wholly achievable.
- Are my goals reasonable?
Depending on your current level of health, it may take a while to achieve your health goals. To help you see your progress, set reasonable short-term goals.
These goals don’t always have to be ‘scale goals.’ You can set goals for the number of times you exercise or how well your clothes fit that won’t always be reflected by your weight.
- Should I work with my physician?
If you have significant amounts of weight to lose or complex health issues, work with your physician to determine the best plan for your long-term health.
- Would I be this hard on a friend?
Be patient with yourself and extend the same encouragement to yourself that you would offer a friend. Every person’s body is different and weight can fluctuate throughout the course of a day, let alone across months or years.
Have patience and know that not every day will feel like a ‘win’ but over the course of months, the small wins will add up to your larger goals.
Remember that your diet and exercise can have huge impacts on your overall health and wellness. Making strides towards eating right and getting regular exercise will likely make a big impact on areas of your health that you may not have even realized were suffering. Best wishes on your health goals for the year!