Thursday, May 23, 2013

Losing weight...Go big or go home

One of my favorite mantras during my cycling career was "Go Big or Go Home".  I paste that little phrase on my stem or handlebar just about every race I completed in.  For me it was a way to remind myself to not leave anything on the course; go as hard as possible and if I can't do that then I might as well just go home.

The same can be said for those who are trying to lose weight.  According to the Journal of Health Psychology, "setting the bar high when it comes to weight loss could help you drop more pounds".   I see clients all the time who want to lose 10, 20 or even 30 lbs.  When I do an initial assessment with a client, I am trying to determine short and long term goals.  When someone tells me they want to lose 30 lbs. I calculate how many weeks it would take them (realistically) to lose the weight so that we can establish a benchmark of time.  When they realize that it might take 6 months to lose that weight, some get immediately discouraged.

The best way to approach is big weight loss goal is to NOT focus on the long-term goal, but rather set short-term goals and set out to achieve those along the way.  In the process of doing this, you will be getting closer to achieving the long-term goal without even thinking about it.

One of my clients came up with a great idea to help motivate her to achieve her weight loss goal of 30 lbs.  She purchased six (6) 5 lb. bags of flour and lined them up next to each other and took a photo.  Each time she loses 5 lbs she will smash one of the bags of flour and take another photo, and will do so until the photo is blank.

According to Emely de Vet, Ph.D. of Wageningen University in the Netherlands, "if you set a timid weight loss goal, you're telling yourself you don't need to work very hard to be successful, and so you're less likely to divert resources like time and energy away from activities such as being a better parent or making time for friends.

When trying to lose weight, a combination of strength training and aerobic exercise is your best bet, along with a healthy diet.  Doing just one or the other will still get you results, but it will take much longer.  There is some controversy about whether to set exercise and diet goals at the same time.  According to Abby C. King, Ph.D., a professor at Stanford University's School of Medicine, "making both healthy behaviors from the beginning helps make sure one doesn't slip off your radar".

Here is an article on 10 easy ways to lose weight that will help get you stated with your nutrition goals.

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