And how to finally see the number on the scale drop
February 9, 2015
Who hasn’t set out to achieve a weight-loss goal—whether it’s to drop those last five pounds or look great in a specific little black dress—but not followed through? We hate to break it to you, but there was a problem with your previous approach: Your goal, while admirable, wasn’t specific or actionable enough. What you really need are smaller, easier-to-follow targets. Here, Brigitte Zeitlin, M.P.H., R.D., a dietitian at B Nutritious, shares five that will help you lose those extra pounds in no time.
1. “I Will Eat Two Cups of Vegetables (About the Size of Two Fistfuls) at Lunch and Dinner.”
“This is a specific and achievable goal to write down because it states exactly how you are going to achieve eating more vegetables without being too broad by just saying, ‘eat more veggies,'” says Zeitlin. “By giving yourself a specific amount—two cups—and a visual way to set up a plate—two fist-sizes—you’ve given yourself a concrete way to put that plan in motion and achieve that goal.”
2. “I Will Exercise Three Times a Week”
Yes, when you’re ready to lose weight, well, yesterday, it’s tempting to scratch out the word “three” and replace it with “every day.” But that’s probably unrealistic—and simply ‘exercise more’ is too broad, says Zeitlin. “Planning to exercise three days a week is realistic yet flexible enough to work with when your life demands of family, work, errands, etc.,” she says.
3. “I Won’t Drink More Than Twice a Week—And I’ll Only Have Two Drinks Each Time”
You sip more calories than you likely realize with every glass of wine. “A great goal to help with weight loss is to drink less alcohol,” says Zeitlin. But in order to achieve it, you’ll want to specify exactly how many drinks you will have and how many nights a week you will have them. Again, it is all about the concrete numbers to visualize and commit to.
4. “When I Crave Soda or Juice, I’ll Drink Water Instead”
“Drinking more water during the day and cutting out juices and sodas will help promote healthy weight loss,” says Zeitlin. “A great goal is to aim for eight to 10 glasses of water a day because not only will you stay hydrated, but you are also aiming for a specific number of glasses, making it easy to know when you have accomplished that’s day’s goal.” And by focusing on H2O, you’ll automatically take in less of the surgery stuff—win-win.
5. “I’ll Log Eight Hours of Sleep Each Night”
When you’re conked out, your body is still hard at work. “A good night’s sleep is a big contributor when it comes to successful weight loss and maintenance, and it is often the most overlooked,” says Zeitlin. “Aim for eight hours of sleep a night, but if that seems too unrealistic, then the smaller, more attainable goal of going to bed 30 minutes earlier every night.”