Set a goal for sustainable weight loss

Fit4Life gives you some simple measures that make your weight loss goals concrete, congruent and sustainable!

Sustainable weight loss happens when we are in the least amount of discomfort which happens best by taking baby steps and not by taking drastic measures. For example, If you have not been exercising for a long time, your first step should be to make a routine that includes exercise every day and your first form of exercise should be to do simple cardio exercises such as walking/low intensity aerobic exercise/going to the gym to do cross trainer, treadmill, cycle or even yoga. An important thing to remember is to start with low intensity exercise and increase the intensity a little every day.As you get more comfortable with exercise, increase the intensity to more intense exercising regimes. This method puts you and your body at ease while providing benefits of exercise and making it sustainable. The mistake most people do is start off on a high intensive work out on the first day after a long hiatus of a totally sedentary life especially since you want to lose weight. If you decide to start running for a number of kilometers or indulge in a high intense workout like Zumba etc on day one, the intensity of the workout is bound to affect your body. The sequence of events that follows after an intense workout (if you take to high intense work-out suddenly) is physiological – the body goes through aches & pains, it feels extremely fatigued and dull which leads us to moving around like a zombie at times, we then look for pleasure or ways to make us feel more energized in terms of our food intake, teas, coffees, juices or pleasure meals which; often is much more in calories than the CALORIES BURNT. Behind the scene, hormonal action also takes place. More discomfort implies more stress which translates to more hormone release of cortisol, which generally is linked to more insulin release which causes more fat storage and less muscle building. On the other side, the mind registers the experience as discomfort. Our minds work like auto respond systems. So every time, we think of exercise (which happens early in the morning, time to wake up), we put it off to the next day and the day after.

If we work in a corporate sector, we have often heard of, or even made SMART goals for ourselves. SMART – stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. It is often a good idea to break down our (BHAG) Big Hairy Audacious (health) vision into smaller SMART milestones and shorter goalposts. It is a very good idea to have this grand vision for ourselves of the ultra fit, super body, getting to the ideal weight – very often it is losing the 30 – 35 kilos in a span of 5 to 6 months or even lesser. However, the moment we set ourselves such a BHAG vision without having SMART short term goals, we are already setting ourselves for failure or at best, short term success but a long term failure. A couple of scenarios normally happen – Scenario 1: We tend to look for drastic measures which are not sustainable in the long run. Scenario 2: The goal we set for ourselves is very overwhelming and daunting, so somewhere we have already given-up before starting.

Hence ideal sustainable weight loss will be to want to lose 30 to 35 kilos. However make smaller milestones like 5 to 10 kilos. Scientific research says that if one were to lose 10 to 15 percent of weight and has been able to successfully to keep it off, for a period of time, then the person will get long lasting health benefits. Some examples of a SMART goal are eating every 3.5 to 4 hours as per our body rhythm. No intermittent snacking for one month or intermittent junk food snacking should be replaced with healthy snack for 1 month (If I see myself snacking quite frequently). The nos. of teas and coffees is restricted to 1 – 2 a day (for those who have 3 to 4 teas/ coffees or more) for 21 days. Having alcohol once a week and restricted to 2 glasses and without any added beverages for one month (for those who have lots of alcohol during the weekend and if the alcohol that you have is laced with sweetened beverages). The Journey is the process,and remember; reaching small goalposts in the right direction will take you in the right direction and will eventually help you meet your health goals. It may take a little longer, but the journey will be happy and therefore sustainable.

Finally, dynamic visualization can play a very crucial role in sustainable weight loss, for many it is a game changer. By visualization, it signifies visualization of us with our ideal weight and health goals. When we close our eyes, we should be able to see ourselves (in our mind), the way we want ourselves to look like or be. By dynamic visualization, it means the visualization in a movie format. We should be able to visualize ourselves doing the things we do everyday, in our new look along with the feelings associated with that of having achieved the goal. The movie should be as vivid and as precise as it can be for optimal results. The pictures and the movie format should preferably be bright, big, in a close-up. This activity is easier said than done and does need some persistence to get the activity right for optimal results. Many people, who have set themselves BHAG goals find it very difficult to see themselves as thin as they desire to be. Hence, having shorter milestones and visualizing yourselves as slightly thinner is a more practical approach.

As they say, every discovery, invention, or a goal that was met started with a thought/idea and a strong belief that it is possible to get to desired results. The thought/idea registers in our mind in pictures or in our body as feelings etc. Dynamic Visualization which includes pictures associated with feelings help us makes our belief stronger which, translates into our actions on a daily basis which leads to sustainable weight loss. 
Make your weight loss goals congruent and sustainable by simple techniques mentioned.