After writing last nights blog post, I reflected upon my NSVs which made me think about the importance of goals, and having something to aim for. My overall aim is to reach a figure as close to 11st as I can get. The professionals on the weight loss surgery team at the hospital told me I am unlikely to ever reach that weight and will probably stop losing weight at the 15st marker…but this Weight Loss Bitch is determined to prove them wrong!
And this is where goal-setting really becomes important. I have heard, ‘you can’t’ or ‘you won’t’ or ‘it just won’t happen if you don’t have surgery’, from so many people – and it is really frustrating. So I am working hard to switch my focus to, ‘I can’ and ‘I will’ and ‘this is bloody how!’ – and goal-setting helps me with this. I used to dream about having a Gizelle-like beach bod, and although I know this won’t ever be the case, my dream now is to be healthy, happy and fit. And turning this dream into a goal is easier than you might think – all I need to do is define it and give it some structure…and turn it into a SMART goal. Some of you will have heard of this term before, but I thought it might be interesting to look at it from a weight loss perspective…as I only used to use them when goal-setting for either myself or my teams at work.
Let’s look at this in a bit more detail – using ‘lose weight’ as the thing we want to achieve…bear in mind that I might be playing ‘devils advocate’ a little, so stick with it…
A goal needs to be specific. And in order to make it so, you can ask yourself a few questions…
Why? Why are you doing this – what will the benefits be, and how will it make you feel?
Who? Who is going to be involved – you, your personal trainer, a weight loss group, your Twitter network?
How? How are you going to do it? How will you reach that goal?
You know how much of a fan I am of ‘positive mental attitude’ and focussing on the good. So before we look at making the aim more specific, we need to ensure that we phrase it – or think about it – in such a way that it makes us feel positive. We need to try and think about how we will feel when we have achieved our aim, or reached our goal.
So, for me, I was 43st+ – felt tired and had no energy, my health was really suffering, I couldn’t exercise, and life was pretty shocking. I just wanted so desperately to lose weight in order to feel better and to feel human again. At that point in time, it was incredibly hard to imagine what reaching a healthy weight would feel like…but I tried hard and found that I could now say – ‘I feel fitter, healthier and happier – full of energy – and have lost my weight with the support of Slimming World, my family, and my extended support network; through healthy eating, walking everywhere seven days a week, and working on changing my attitude towards food.’
This is so much more specific than just saying ‘lose weight’. But it can be improved!
A goal needs to be measurable. If you can measure something, you can see how much progress you are making – and it works much the same as measuring your waist with a tape-measure! ‘…and have lost my weight with the support of…’ doesn’t really mean anything. I need a milestone – is it weight, or body fat percentage, or achieving a dress size? As I mentioned before, I have decided that I would like to weigh 11st, but what I have always wanted is to weigh single figures…so 9st 13lbs it is.
So my goal now becomes – ‘I feel fitter, healthier and happier – full of energy – and have reached my target of 9st 13lbs with the support of Slimming World, my family, and my extended support network; through healthy eating, walking everywhere seven days a week, and working on changing my attitude towards food.’
Attainable (or achievable!):
But a goal needs to be attainable, too. I have my ‘specific’ and my ‘measurable’ covered…but is it something that I can really achieve? Now I know your jaws probably hit the floor when I mentioned 9st 13lbs! Of course I can’t reach that bloody weight – and at 5ft 7 I don’t want to either! I was trying to prove a little point. A single figure may always have been my dream but I know that it isn’t going to happen, ever! And as for walking everywhere seven days a week…it might sound like a good plan, but how likely is it to happen?
My goal now becomes, ‘I feel fitter, healthier and happier – full of energy – and have reached my target of 11st with the support of Slimming World, my family, and my extended support network; through healthy eating, walking for at least 150 minutes across four days each week, and working on changing my attitude towards food.’
This looks like a good goal, but there are still a few ways that I can make it even better!
Whatever you want to do, and how you do it, has to have meaning and be relevant for you and your interests and abilities. The part about being ‘fitter, healthier and happier – full of energy’ is relevant as I really do want this. The same for the ’11st’; I really want that too and I think that it is a good aim as it is within the higher end of the healthy BMI range for my height.
Now, I do like walking and it is something I want to be able to do more of. But I also love going to gym, and swimming, and of course horse riding. And the thought of being able to do these things is a big motivator for me.
So my getting ‘SMART’ goal now becomes, ‘I feel fitter, healthier and happier – full of energy – and have reached my target of 11st with the support of Slimming World, my family, and my extended support network; through healthy eating, exercising for at least 150 minutes across four days each week – through walking, swimming, attending the gym and horse riding – and working on changing my attitude towards food.’
There is now only one improvement to make!
A goal needs to have a time-frame. When losing weight it is recommended that a steady loss of 1-2lbs each week is safe and realistic. I had 453.5 of the buggers to lose, and that means it would take me over 8 years! But going on the losses in the past year, I am allowing myself four years to reach my goal.
Which means it becomes, ‘By February 2016, I feel fitter, healthier and happier – full of energy – and have reached my target of 11st with the support of Slimming World, my family, and my extended support network; through healthy eating, exercising for at least 150 minutes across four days each week – through walking, swimming, attending the gym and horse riding – and working on changing my attitude towards food.’
This goal makes sense to me (even though it is a bit of a mouthful!), is relevant, and it has a framework – I can see how I am going to achieve it. But it is pretty bloody major! If your goal is going to motivate you, it needs to be something that you know will spur you on. For me, my long-term goal is the biggie – but I have many short(er) term goals too. And this is why I have split my weight loss into 3st chunks, so that I don’t overwhelm myself. It is why I set myself a challenge of losing 4st before my holiday last year, and 8st by the last weigh-in of 2012. It is why I have set myself the challenge of being under the 30st mark for my birthday in mid-June.
I have found that setting goals has created a focus in me that I didn’t have before…I am confident now that I will get there! Setting these little interim goals has really helped me to focus – I think about different ways of achieving them and have realised that, for me, it wasn’t just about focussing on the weight and the exercise, but also about changing my thoughts and attitudes towards food. I even started meditating and reading philosophy which, for those that know me personally, is a big step for someone who was closed to that sort of thing.
The simple act of writing down your goals gives you a level of accountability you didn’t have before. It kind of reminds me a little of the Secret Eaters show…when they highlight just how bad the habits were of people who thought that they were eating healthily. Or the way in which we are encouraged to record our eating, or the way in which I now take pictures of my food. The simple of act of focussing upon a goal, and really planning in your mind how you will achieve it, makes you feel more inclined to do something about it.
I will finish up soon! I just wanted to say that although my overall goal seems quite huge, it isn’t for me as I do have these mini-goals – but there are so many of them to share and I just wanted to give an overview. It is crucial to break your goal down. You can then see how well you are doing – a bit like the online progress graph with Slimming World, or a homemade ‘sticker chart’…yes, I have one of these with my 3st mini-goals! So don’t make just one massive goal that is so overwhelming that you can’t bear to think about it; but don’t make so many that you have no idea where to begin!
One last consideration is that of learning styles! Any teachers or trainers or coaches out there will be well aware of these; as will any of you who have been forced to sit and listen to a lecture when you would rather read a book, or watch a film, or look at pictures! We all have different ways of learning and some of us are motivated by pictures, others by words. I have posted my motivation board on my website – so you can see that I am a fan of cutting out pictures of healthy-looking people doing healthy things, or eating healthy foods – and this works for me, as do words. So write a diary, or stick old pictures of you when you were slimmer on your fridge, or cut out pictures from magazines…do whatever you need to do to turn your goal into reality!
And if you want to do some goal-setting, then have a go, and if you get stuck I would be happy to help – just drop me an email! 😉 One final point is that a goal is exactly that, a goal…and ask any good footballer and they’ll tell you that sometimes they get them and sometimes they don’t! A goal doesn’t have to equal life or death pressure…it is something to aim for and something to help you stay focused…but you don’t have to beat yourself or feel guilty if you don’t reach it on time!
The usuals are calling…
I woke up a few times in the night and somehow managed to sleep with a crooked neck…which put me in a bit of a grumpy mood! I soon snapped out of it though! We popped to Asda – and yes, I went in again – and we were there before the checkouts opened at 10…so I managed to sneak into the queue first and was first out of the store. It was then a morning spent at the horses cleaning water troughs, filling up haynets (21 of the buggers!) and just general cleaning up there. The dog had come with us and spent most of her time sun-bathing, bless her! We then headed home for a lazy afternoon – and a bloody freezing one…I always find coming in from the sun makes me cold – so I spent most of the afternoon under a fleecy blanket, mooching on the Internet. The horses needed bringing in for dinner early-evening, so we did that and then settled down for the night. I am not sure what’s on TV later, so it might be an early one with my book again! It has been a quiet week with the kids away, although I did manage to speak to them last night. My niece has been pony-riding, my sister has sunburn on her scalp, my Mum has been drinking lots of Baileys and Whiskey and ginger, and my two-year old nephew went head first down a small water slide and had to be rescued by his Dad…who waded in Baywatch style…but with shoes on…I think David Hasslehoff is safe for now! My nephew hates water and hates slides and never goes near them…but on this occasion he decided to whizz up a few steps whilst my sister had just turned away for one second to put her towel down…just shows that you have to watch them like a hawk! It was only the baby splash pool, but even so! And my brother-in-law just sounds nice and relaxed. I hope they all have a lovely time, as they deserve a nice break!
Breakfast: Banana and a Benefit bar (0.5 HEB).
Breakfast was a quick affair as I wanted to get to Asda before the Sunday shopping rush started! Lunch was rather nice, although we can never quite get the porridge pancakes to look appealing. I used a sachet of oats which was 5 syns and a Greek muller coconut yogurt for 0.5 syns and two eggs – just soaked them overnight and then tried to make pancakes…you can use the oats as a HEB but I just decided to syn them today. A nice fruit salad meant it tasted a bit tropical…even though I ate them under my fleecy blanket as I was so cold! Dinner was lovely – just quick and rather self-explanatory. My snacks were ace! I love the Finn crisp anyway, but this was the first time I had melted LowLow in the microwave…it was epic! And of course, my Snack a Jacks were saved for the evening.
Exercise: Another two shifts at the stables and my little mooch around Asda.
Thank you for reading my lovelies; I do hope that this weekend has been good to you all…and that the diet fairies give any ‘losers’ amongst you a nice sprinkling of magic dust before you step on the scales this week!
Weight Loss Bitch xxx