Thursday, January 25, 2007

Obesity - Be SMART

Once again the daily newspapers are filled of stories about obesity, with MP's describing current policy as "confused" or "dithering".
Surrounding all this negative talk about obesity, there seems to be little printed about any constructive weight reduction advice.
This blog offers a helpful weight loss motivational acronym SMART:
S - specific
M - measurable
A - agreed
R - realistic
T – time bound

Using the framework ‘Be SMART to be kind’, offers helpful motivational tips for weight loss:
When setting a goal, be as specific as possible, don’t be vague. If you want to loose weight you must consider the details of your weight loss programme.
To be motivated to loose weight you need to know how much you weigh now, how much weight you want to loose and over what time period. Only by collating this information will there be a quantifiable scale to measure. This will help understand how to adjust performance in order to attain the set targets. Interestingly, tracking is unpopular as a motivational strategy, because it often involves receiving unpleasant feedback about how badly you are doing. However, unless you track then you have no idea how you are progressing, meaning you can not modify your behaviour to become successful.
It is helpful to have an agreed and structured weight loss programme. Agree it by telling everyone about your plan to loose weight, as this makes it much less likely you will back out and also gives others the chance to offer support and encouragement. Involve others in your routine, this may include going to weekly gym classes with your friend. Link up with others with similar aims of weight loss and all learn form each other.
Any plan must consider resources necessary to attain the goals, this is often overlooked as an important part of the strategy. For loosing weight this may include a budget for buying scales, healthy food, trainers and tracksuits etc. Also be prepared, there will inevitably be setbacks during the weight loss programme, but the key is not to let failure put you off persisting. Learn from failure. See setbacks as a resource and a learning opportunity, a necessary part of any journey. Be aware of your own weaknesses, as if you are aware of them you can think of strategies to overcome them. So, if for example, you know you have a weakness for chocolate midnight feasts, then you may decide upon a strategy of not keeping any chocolate in the house
Time bound
Goals need to have fixed timetables and timescale for success, and include sub goals within your timetable. Timescales add pressure to help you continue with your vision. Tracking progress is an essential step in goal attainment but it’s vital that you can be flexible, as any completely rigid timetable is unlikely to work especially if goals are totally unrealistic. Plans may need to be revaluated, but don’t get put off, keep up with the programme.

Finally, be kind to yourself, give yourself a break. Always remember to congratulate yourself on each success, this should be done throughout the programme, with lavish praise each time your sub-goal target has been achieved. This will help you continue with your next target. After all if motivation is analogous to a seed; you need to provide the right conditions and environment for the seed to develop and grow into a flourishing plant. So, don’t forget to provide yourself with the correct environment by praising yourself so this can lead onto a breeding ground for successful sensible weight reduction results.

More of these helpful tips will be available in a book published later this year entitled 'Why Lawyers Should Surf'. (publishing details)

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