It's all about the planning! Well planned goals make the difference between success and failure. Planning can help you convert your thoughts into actions and make a true transition to a sustainable healthier lifestyle.
Focus on the process:
Goals for weight loss or weight gain often focus on a specific number or the end result that you hope to achieve in the end. While this goal may give you a target, it does not address HOW you will reach it.
A process goal is necessary to achieving a desired outcome. Here's an example; if the end goal is to lose x number of pounds, process goals may be to eat a serving of vegetables with every meal, to meal prep at night for the next day, to take prepared meals or my own treat to a party. Process goals are helpful because you focus on changing behaviors and habits and things that you can control vs a specific number on a scale.
Long-term and short-term goals.
Long term goals help you see the big picture. They can change your mindset from simply being on a restrictive diet to making a long-term lifestyle change. Yet, long-term goals can seem difficult or daunting and distant.
If you have a specific goal weight in three months from now, break it down into separate goals by month. Now break that down into a process of what actions you will need to take, such as, I will prepare my meals for work ahead, and then gradually move into meal prepping all your meals. Or exercise if you currently do not lift weights, start by adding in one day, then increase the frequency. It’s about starting where you are and building and improving. Too often we jump to the "ideal" of what we think we should be doing and when that shift is too dramatic from our current status quo we risk goal whiplash and we end up giving up or failing because it's too much too quickly. It won't happen fast but it will be sustainable and the results will be long term.
Allow for setbacks.
Setbacks are a natural part of behavior change. Everyone who successfully makes a change, experiences setbacks. It is better to expect them than be blindsided and derailed for the long term. Identify potential roadblocks, like holidays, vacations, midnight cravings, and brainstorm specific strategies to overcome them.
Tips and Tricks:
- Pantry makeover: start inside your pantry and fridge. Keeping tempting foods around makes it hard to stay healthy. Learn what to keep and what to throw away. Personally, my kids had to give up their coveted goldfish because it is one of my major weaknesses.
- Weigh and measure: yes, it is tedious and time-consuming, but it is crazy how inaccurate our eyes and stomach measure foods, especially when we are hungry. Do not guess, get a scale. I leave my scale out next to the stove, as I am dishing up my plate it is just as easy to measure at the same time as scooping. No, the scale will not live with you forever, as you measure you will get better at knowing and “seeing” your portions.
- Document: not only the food and macros you eat but your moods and experiences. You will start to see patterns of what worked and areas for improvement.
- Plan & Prepare: the single most important thing you can do when eating healthy is being prepared. Often that is taking extra time in your day to prepare meals. I have found when I am most successful is when I have prepped either a day or weeks of food in advance vs in the moment. In the moment, my cravings get the best of me. I struggle the most with frequently being in a hurry to get to appointments, kid’s practices, and having to grab food on the go. If it is already prepared, measured and in a container, it not only meets my macro needs it reduces my stress and later regrets. Believe me, preparing food ahead of time has been the foundation for my success and reduced stress.
- Back up foods: no matter how much you plan and prepare there will come a time when you are rushed or running late. Have a bar, shake or a go-to food you can purchase when these moments arise. For example, when I am traveling, I know what I can order in an airport (Starbucks has the best egg whites and oatmeal), and I always have a protein bar in my bag.
- Keep things balanced: Counting macros and eating healthy is important, but so is enjoying life and not obsessing over every little detail. Sometimes being too restrictive can lead to binging on the very things you are trying to avoid. Having a dark piece of chocolate has helped me feel like I can have a treat but not ruin my progress. My husbands' guilty pleasure is bacon. We must all find the right balance.
You have the power to make real changes in your life. Start where you are. Make small changes in your habits each day and continue to build momentum until it becomes a lifestyle.
Kristi Brewer, Olympic Weightlifter and Auya Co-Founder
Paul Brewer, Kristi's Husband 3-month progress from left to right.