Set your goal!
One of the best ways to stay accountable to a program is to set realistic goals. This gives you something to strive for, an attainable end to your hard work.
What is a realistic goal?Realistic goals are achievable aspirations to be completed in a set duration of time. For example: “I want to lose 50 pounds in a month for my high school reunion” is not a realistic goal. Chances are you’ll fall quite short of this goal, and will feel a sense of failure rather than success because your goal was impossible. But check this one out instead: “I will lose 1-2 pounds a week through healthy eating and consistent exercise, and will look and feel fabulous in two months for my high school reunion.” That sounds better, and much more positive. This is a goal that can be achieved.
Design a long-term goal that is realistic, then write it on a big piece of paper. Post it on your fridge, on your bathroom mirror, in the hallway – anywhere you’ll see it several times a day to remind you of your intention. Now set several smaller short-term goals that will help you attain this goal. These can be set once a week or every day, depending on your personality. For example, one week your goal could be learning to do squat variations correctly on your AB-DOer® Twist™ machine. Your daily goals could be mastering each of these variations, such as: Monday learning the Moguls, Tuesday the Body Boogies, and so on. See how that works? It can also work for nutrition: Your weekly goal could be to eat more frequently. Your daily goal could be to set a timer on your computer or phone to ring when it’s time to eat.
A great way to track your progress and stick to your plan is to keep a journal. For each entry, inscribe these things:
- What did you do for a workout? AB-DOer® Twist™ machine? Cardio? Upper body?
- How long was your workout?
- How did you feel before and after your workout? Tired? Energized?
- What did you eat today?
- How did you feel before and after eating? Hungry? Satisfied? Full?
- How do you feel about your eating today? Guilty? Great?
- Did you eat on time, or miss any meals?
- If you strayed, what happened and how can you remedy that in the future?
- What was your mood today? Were you happy, edgy or blue?
All these questions can help determine your reactions both physical and mental to your program, and when you review them, you might notice patterns emerging. For instance, you might always crave chips or chocolate when you’re emotional, even if you’re not hungry, or maybe you’re tired before you exercise but energized afterwards. Identifying these patterns can help you see through roadblocks and get you back on the path to fitness.
Dining out is troublesome for many people because they feel like they are not in control of their food. Here are some ways to take control of your dining experience while still enjoying a night out:
- Choose a restaurant that you know serves healthy dishes.
- Ask your server not to bring bread and butter to the table.
- Request that any sauces, condiments, and dressings be put on the side.
- Order an appetizer as your entrée.
- Request that your food be prepared with no oil or butter.
- Ask for your entrée to be grilled or broiled instead of sautéed or fried.
- As soon as your entrée comes, put half of it into a to-go box. Eat whatever is left on your plate and save the rest for lunch tomorrow.
- Order a side salad or fresh steamed vegetables as a substitute for a starchy side.
- If you’ve having a glass of wine or a cocktail, forego the starch in your meal to accommodate those calories.
- For every alcoholic beverage you have, drink one 8-ounce glass of water.
- When choosing a cocktail, go for lighter options such as vodka and seltzer or a martini straight up instead of a strawberry margarita or a gin and tonic.
- If you must have a dessert (and sometimes you just do!) get one for the whole table to share. If possible, go for the lower calorie options such as sorbet or fruit.
- If your food does not come out prepared as requested, send it back – politely – and have it made to your specifications. You’re paying for it, both with your health and your credit card!
Sweets and Desserts
Remember sugar and trans- and saturated fats? Unfortunately most desserts worth a darn contain all those bad boys. Here are some tips on that front:
- Go for homemade treats. Processed packaged cookies, cakes and other treats contain tons of bad fats and preservatives.
- Stop eating it if it’s not great. Why waste calories on a so-so treat?
- Eat it slowly, savor the flavor and make the most of every bite.
- Give up the guilt. Eat your treat happily and relish the enjoyment you get from it.
- Stop when you should. One cookie and a few bites of cake is all you need to satisfy a craving.
- If you can’t stop, pop a piece of strong peppermint gum in your mouth after a few bites. That flavor kills just about every urge you have to nosh on more treats.
- Remember that treats are treats - not food staples. Eat them only occasionally, not every day.