The statistics are grim.Â Two out of three Americans are overweight but often times we donâ€™t see our weight like health professionals do.Â Despite the statistics stating otherwise, only 38% percent of Americans think they are overweight. How can this be?
We are living in an environment where everyone is gaining and obesity is getting more difficult for us to see. It has become the new normal.
Over the past two decades, adults are 20 pounds heavier. The average man weighs 196 pounds and women are tipping the scales at 160 pounds. So be realistic and honest with yourself.Â If you have gained weight in 2011 and it was unintended, chances are it isnâ€™t muscle.
How do we tackle weight loss? Â Consider developing a SMART goal strategy.
SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable and realistic. Â Take the time to write it down.Â Create a file on your computer or keep a journal. Here is how the SMART goal strategy would work for weight loss.
â€śI want to lose 20 poundsâ€ť.Â This goal is specific but adding more detail can be helpful.Â I will lose 20 pounds by giving up all sugar sweetened drinks such as soda, sweet tea, flavored coffees, energy drinks and juice. If you eliminate two sugar sweetened drinks per day, you can lose 10 pounds this year.Â Small changes with a big result. Â This adds a level of detail with a strategy to get you there.Â Take inventory of your diet and determine your individual trouble spots.Â Maybe it is fried foods, or the second serving. Most of us know our weaknesses. Â Once identified, set your specific goal. Small changes do matter in the long run.
If your plan is to increase your exercise in 2012, nothing is better than a pedometer.Â The Centers for Disease Control recommends a minimum of 10,000 steps per day.Â A pedometer or some phone apps track your daily steps that you can record on your smart phone or on your computer.Â It is an easy way to measure your steps. Measuring your progress is motivational.
When you accomplish the 10,000 step goal, consider adding more.Â According to the National Weight Control Registry, 98% of those who lose weight and keep it off exercise regularly.Â Investigate the website Exercise is Medicine for more motivating information regarding exercise.
Have you looked at all the barriers that prevent you from achieving your goals. Set a goal that you can attain.Â Although it might be ambitious to set a goal to go to the gym every day you might start by walking 30 minutes at lunch.Â Break down large goals into smaller steps.Â If eating more fruits and vegetables is a goal, make it attainable by stocking your freezer with frozen vegetables so you donâ€™t â€śrun outâ€ť.
Realistic and Relevant:Â
Can you accomplish this goal and is it important enough for you to work hard to achieve. Are you willing to devote the time and effort to accomplish the goal?Â Most people I work with will describe their motivation to lose weight as 10 out of 10.Â But when asked, â€śhow hard are you willing to workâ€ť?Â The answer is less impressive, often a 5 out of 10.Â If weight loss was easy, everyone would be thin. When you diet, you will experience some hunger. This level of discomfort is difficult for some people to tolerate. Anything worth achieving is worth your time and attention.
When setting goals, ask yourself the question, what can I do today?Â Can I pass on the seconds?Â What can I do this week? Can I plan snacks rather than just raiding the pantry?Â A time bound goal often adds a sense of urgency.Â Make your small changes time sensitive. Donâ€™t wait until after Valentineâ€™s day or your next vacation to improve your health.Â Start today.Â Just think how much healthier you will be at the start of 2013!