From the time I was small I always had some goal or achievement I was striving for. Whether it was being the class monitor in grade school, or winning a prize in high school, I was always trying to better myself. I didn’t always succeed in meeting my goals, but I always tried. Even as I got fatter and fatter, I still had many goals for myself. I wanted a large family. I wanted a good marriage. I wanted to be more committed to my faith. I wanted my family to not worry about material things. But in addition to all those family and faith related goals, I had one overriding goal: I wanted to lose weight! And believe me I did try.
As time marched on and the scale inched up, I continually set weight goals for myself. “Okay,” I’d tell myself. “I’ll lose 5 pounds this week, 4 pounds the next week and by Easter I’ll be down to 270.” When Easter rolled around and I hadn’t lost an ounce, I’d reset the finish date for the 10 pound weight loss in my head. “Okay, now I’ll weigh 270 by Mother’s Day,” I’d reassure myself. No matter what time of year it was, I always had a specific goal floating around in my head with regards to weight loss, but I never could seem to reach even the first week’s goal. Surprisingly, after ten years of never reaching the first weight loss goal I had set for myself, I still didn’t completely give up.
I think it is very important to set goals for yourself in every area of your life. When you aim for nothing that’s probably what you will get. What’s the best way to set goals for yourself with regards to your weight? Well, I was pretty unrealistic during my obese years as to how much weight I could actually lose during a given period of time. I just hoped that I could lose “x” number of pounds, but didn’t stop to examine whether that was an appropriate amount of weight to lose, or if it was even possible. When I finally developed my weight loss strategy, I acknowledged to myself that I had to set some realistic goals. No, I wouldn’t be able to lose 50 pounds in one month. No, I wouldn’t be running in the 5K for charity in two months.
Goal setting for me became less specific about pounds lost during a period of time, and more about handling specific situations. You see, when I stopped being obsessed by the scale, and started focusing on habits and behaviors I had developed and wanted to change, I started having success. The actual weight on the scale was still very important to me, as that was my first tangible measurement I could see change. But other goals became important as well. Here are some examples of goals I wrote down for myself as I was starting to lose weight:
- Stop buying chocolate
- Don’t eat after dinner
- Walk every day
- Stop going through drive-thru restaurants
- Eat only one portion of a food at a time (ie: not the whole box of crackers, even if they were low-fat)
- Weigh every day
- Enjoy the food I was eating instead of inhaling it so fast I forgot what it tasted like in two seconds and had to have more to make sure I really liked it
- Spend more time actively engaged with my family
- Get off the couch most of the day
- Work on developing new social relationships
These were just some of the goals I set for myself that weren’t all about the number on the scale. Because I had some goals that weren’t just about pounds lost, I saw success on an hourly and on a daily basis. Even when my weight loss wasn’t quick, I could always look back at my list and know that I was slowly conquering my obsession with food in a healthy, practical way.
Are there goals beyond the scale that you have set for yourself? Diane