Have you ever tried to hit a target with your eyes closed? Or tried to catch something without seeing it? Or tried to drive somewhere without directions?
Not having a specific objective can get frustrating. It is impossible to get anywhere, and if you do it’s just by luck.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t let luck control my life. I set a target and go after it. This is how goal-setting works.
Sometimes people create vague goals that end up being unhelpful. For example, many people choose to lose weight, increase strength and be healthy.
However, in order to truly be goals, they need to be specific, attainable, reliable and measurable.
Let’s take one of those goals into consideration: to lose weight.
How To Set Weight Loss Goals
First, we need to know why we want to lose weight. Perhaps we want to avoid disease, enjoy a longer lifespan or improve our appearance.
After we’ve determined our purposes, we need to find the specific objective, such as losing 48 pounds in a year.
Next we break down the goal into smaller goals, such as dividing the year by 12 months, which leaves only 4 pounds to lose per month. We can be flexible, perhaps losing 5 pounds one month and 3 in another month.
The long- and short-term goals are now set up. We know that to achieve them we need to honor exercise and diet commitments.
At this point we can brainstorm and ask ourselves exactly how we are going to achieve our monthly goals. What do we need to do? What aspects of our life are we willing to change? For weight loss goals, we will need to institute changes in our lifestyle, exercise and eating habits.
Minor and major everyday commitments will lead to every-week commitments, which in turn will lead to achieving monthly goals.
We can get more specific to how many days we are doing strength training and how many we dedicate to do cardiovascular training and for how long.
It can be Monday, Wednesday and Friday strength training and Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday cardiovascular training. This can also get brake down in periodizations.
To this we could add the habit of eating a healthy breakfast, decreasing extra calories, walking to places, and perhaps even learning to play some type of sport.
We can define these changes of habit more precisely, for example decreasing 500 calories per day overall, which quickly turns into 3,500 fewer calories per week, which should result in losing four pounds of fat a month, or one a week.
If we have the habit of eating junk food, perhaps that’s the way we lower our calorie intake: just cut out junk food. Or maybe we substitute water foralcoholic drinks and soft drinks or replace some high caloric foods with veggies or fruit.
These changes will decrease our caloric intake and still give us enough important nutrients for health.
All these new commitments can be adopted one by one, at different times in our health journey
After we are settled in these exercise habits, we might even be able to increase caloric expenditure if we increase our exercising commitment.
Depending on the exercise, this could help us lose an extra 500 to 1,000 calories, which is the equivalent of 4 to 8 pounds of fat per month.
As we can see, it’s useful to be clear in how we create our exercise and diet goals. The more specific and realistic our goals are, the more successful we will be.
When you set up your goal properly it is very clear what you need to do every day to achieve it.
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“Sandro, I heard you have a secret to help people lose weight,” Jessica commented.
“It’s been a while since I’ve seen my friend, and I saw her yesterday. She looks great; she has a beautiful body. She told me that she is training with you.” I replied, “You friend is doing all the work. I’m just giving her the tools. Everyone knows the ‘secret’ to losing weight. It is very simple: strength training, cardiovascular training and a healthy diet. The three concepts work perfectly together. Practicing them together will give you optimum results.”
Jessica was interested in the conversation, so I continued explaining what she wanted to hear.
Strength training can be done in many ways, such as plyometric, calisthenics and weight lifting.
Strength training, when properly done, will increase live tissue, which increases the individual’s metabolism. Live tissue requires energy and the more live tissue the more energy it needs. In other words, the bigger the muscle mass, the faster the metabolic rate. However this is not the only requirement for losing excess body fat.
Cardiovascular training also helps to speed up optimum weight loss. Practicing such training will increase stroke volume, which is the amount of blood that the heart sends to the entire body each time it beats. Increasing the stroke volume will increase the amount of oxygen that the cardiovascular system (heart, lungs and vessels) delivers to the body.
Now, fat burning happens between these two agents, oxygen and fat. This is called fat oxidation. This will allow the individual to further increase the metabolic rate. Moreover, by doing any of these two types of training (strength and cardiovascular), the body burns calories which also contributes to weight loss.
A healthy diet is the base of any weight loss program.
No one can get to a healthy body weight without a healthy diet. Eating healthily has been defined in different ways, according to the professionals’ beliefs. However, I have found that eating 3 to 5 times a day, eating breakfast, staying away from processed foods, cooking at home, eating fruits and vegetables, cutting down your meat intake, eating organic and drinking only water has yielded results without negative consequences.
Find the right foods for you. A healthy diet will help the individual not eat excess calories.
As is true for the other two techniques, a healthy diet by itself is not optimum. As the body ages, it loses muscle mass and stroke volume. Therefore, the body needs fewer calories, and the individual should eat less to maintain a healthy body weight. To be able to eat healthily and stay healthy, the human body needs to be rejuvenated by exercising.
Strength training, cardiovascular training and a healthy diet are a perfect combination to achieve weight loss.
Strength and cardiovascular training increase the body’s metabolism and will create a caloric deficit. A healthy diet will also create a caloric deficit by avoiding calories the body doesn’t need. It is important to do all three things to achieve a healthy body weight.
“So, all I need to do is lift weights, run and eat healthy and I will look like my friend who is training with you?”
“Yes, it sounds easy, but it requires more than ‘wanting.’ It requires action. However, ‘wanting’ is a great starting point. Now follow these recommendations and get more information to keep you on track. Or you could simply hire me.” We laughed.
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Where do you stand in the statistics of weight loss?
According to studies nearly 95% of people fail to achieve their weight loss goal and 95% of the 5% who lost weight, will regain it back. This means that out of 400 people 380 will drop their weight loss program. Left are 20 people who completed some weight loss. Out of these 20 people 19 will regain the weight lost. That leaves only 1 successful person out of the original 400 people. What does this 1 person have that the other 499 don’t have? It’s the accumulation of many factors. However, he or she has a burning desire to lose weight. He or she is willing to do anything that requires effort to get to his or her goals. He or she exercises and eats like the last and first day of their program, with the same passion they had when they started, and with the feeling that time is running out.
Let me tell you a story that I heard:
It was about a youngster who wanted to be successful and in his town was a guru who knew how to achieve anything in life. He was a successful man in all areas of his life. The youngster went over to the guru’s house and asked him to teach him how to succeed in life. The guru replied, “Meet me by the beach tomorrow and get ready to get wet.”
The youngster met the guru the next day at the beach and he told the guru that he was ready. The guru told him to get in the water until the water covered his ankles and the youngster did so. The guru told him to go in deeper until the water covered his knees, following his hips and then his chest. Once the water covered the youngster’s neck, the youngster said, “I’m here to learn how to be successful and not how to swim.” The guru got close to the youngster and pushed him just ahead to where the water was deeper. The youngster started to desperately swing his hands and feet to get to the safe spot. He was able to manage and make it to a safe spot.
Once the youngster was calm, the guru replied, “When you are in your comfort zone, you don’t give the best of you, but when you get out of it, you do your best to survive. This is how people succeed.”
The story reminds me of when I was drowning in a river. I’m not a good swimmer. In fact, I don’t know how to float. On one of my vacations in Chiapas, Mexico I was swimming in a river and did not take into considerations that rivers have deep spots. Once I got tired and I wanted to stop; I tried to touch the ground and couldn’t. I panicked for I realized I was drowning. In 5 seconds, my past, and my future came into my mind. I couldn’t believe I was about to die in just a blink of an eye. The human being gets resources from his inner self when it is in threat. I decided not to die there, I did my best to catch my breath, and get enough energy to swim back. I made it and I could touch the ground!
The 1 person who succeeds out of those 400 hundred lives his or her life like it’s their last. She or he does not leave things pending for the next day, next month, or next year. He or she understands what counts is what she or he is doing right now in the moment, and to give the same effort to every moment. The only thing that matters to him or her is what he or she doing right now. She or he is committed to their desire to lose weight and get in shape; no excuses are big enough to stop them. When was the last time you wanted something and really fought for it? Did you make excuses or did you give it your best? Are you living your life to succeed or just going with the flow? You want to get rid of that “muffin top,” “love handle,” and get a flat stomach? Achieve your ideal weight loss? Exercise like it was your last opportunity, eat like you had a deadly disease caused from bad foods, meditate like it was your last day of life, and love yourself like you never have before.
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