10 Tenets of Effective Weight Loss – #2 – Have a fitness goal

2) Stay focused on a goal

Of first importance is to have a goal in mind, whether it be fat reduction, muscle gain, or fitting into those old clothes. It may be useful to find a picture of your ideal body appearance as a motivating factor. Your goal may change once you begin, or you may discover a new goal once you reach the first one. Be open to some change, but don’t give up on your goal if it seems unattainable once you begin.

This tenet also implies a long-term commitment. The word “diet” is usually used in the sense of a short-term change, such that after you change your eating habits to get to the point where you’re satisfied with your body, you may return to your original eating habits – the ones that got you to your unsatisfied state. You need to make lifestyle changes that you will sustain long-term in order to maintain the fitness level you desire.

The “diet” mentality is the reason that so many people are able to lose weight for a period of time, but then gain it back (and often more). Failure to maintain the changes that led to the initial success is incompatible with maintaining the improved fitness level.

There will be times when you feel that it would be easier to revert to your old ways, especially after realizing some progress. Sure, you can get back to that point with some renewed discipline, but you must recognize that it would be easier to stick with your plan and further your progress then to recover after a lapse in discipline.

In addition to whatever you visualize as the benefits to this new lifestyle, there will most certainly be other benefits that you had not thought of or imagined. Obviously, you could expect improvements in a number of health-related measures over time. Other benefits may involve social interactions (e.g. ability to participate in activities with others, appearing more attractive, etc.) and even financial situations (e.g. health insurance discounts, fewer healthcare visits, fewer medications).

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