" For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land. " Song of Solomon

February 4, 2010

Changing Goals

I've added a new blog link to my sidebar. I'm going to keep up with this blog and see what I can learn. The blogger is a mature lady who is retired . She and her husband live full time in a travel trailer, motoring all over the U.S. She shares her insights and struggles with weight maintenance. She's lost a lot of weight and is now working hard to maintain her loss. She really desires to beat the odds.

The hardest part of weight loss--keeping it off-- comes after you've lost the weight.

When we set a weight number as our goal, once we've reached that goal, our incentive ends--the prize has been achieved. There isn't as much motivation to continue. And with the passage of time there is even less motivation.

Our goal was to reach 'x' number of pounds. We did it, we made it. What follows is anti-climatic. It's akin to sexual desire. Once the desire is appeased, the motivation to continue dissolves.

I have lost 50 pounds--twice. Both times my goal was a number on the scale. I changed many things behavior wise, but my goal was always that number on the scale. My goal was never changing a specific behavior.

Having spent almost a year examining the past few years, I've come to this conclusion: if I want to be successful in the weight loss/maintenance arena I must change my goal.My goal can no longer be a number on the scale. That number represents a desire. What I'm after is a goal--a specific goal-- that will produce my desire.

I must find a goal that I can achieve that will continue to produce my desire. The desire cannot be the goal. The desire is the product of that goal. With that in mind, I have set as my goal thus: counting the calories of everything I put into my mouth. Why?

The one thing that I have learned about losing or keeping lost weight off is this:

must control how many calories you intake EVERY day. And the only way to do this is to keep track.

I haven't done this and I think it is my ultimate downfall.

Yes it is tedious. But--would I rather count my calories or have to re-diet?

The mere act of keeping a running tally of your caloric intake puts the brakes on overindulging.

It is an eye opener to see that the snack you just polished off contained 500 calories. That alone is enough to make you rethink your snack choices. Often we can be just as happy, not feel deprived, on a lower calorie snack. This is what strategy is about. Making strategic choices can save us from feeling restricted.

If we keep a calorie tally and we have a high calorie meal we can offset it later-- or even the next day-- by choosing something we love that is lower overall in calories. Ever heard of income averaging or dollar cost averaging? We can practice that with our calorie intake.

What we don't want to do, or at least I don't want to do, is feel that if I overeat at this meal, I must 'PAY BACK' instantly. (Some people exercise their brains out to burn off those 'too many' calories. Worse than that some 'purge'--they take laxatives or make themselves vomit. They trade one harmful behavior for another.) Nor do I want to toss it in, and say 'what they hey, I messed up, so what's the point?'. I've done that--it doesn't work. Doing that = failure.

Counting calories is a tool that can aid us in achieving our desire. Counting the calories in every morsel we eat is a behavior that is achievable. At most it is a tiny inconvenience..like brushing your teeth. But the benefit is tremendous.

It is hard to change behaviors and habits. It is much easier to just shovel the food in and hope for the best. But the likelihood of achieving one's desire is drastically reduced by this risky behavior. If you're an alcoholic, you want to put habits into place that help you, that protect you, so that you can maintain your sobriety. And those of us who desire to lose or maintain a loss must behave similarly. It's called being proactive.

So then--- if we want to realize our desires we must change our behavior patterns to those which will yield such.

Old goal: to weigh 'x' number of pounds. Gone.

New goal: count my calories every day .

My old goal was not a good goal because it is not necessarily achievable-- I may not be able to achieve that set number. It fits the category of being a desire.

But my new goal is good as a goal because it is achievable. I can achieve my new goal. I can keep a tally of the calories I eat every day. Short of losing my brain function there is really nothing to prevent me doing that.

So, that is my hurdle--my stepping stone or stumbling block, depending on my response.

Will I do it? The answer is up to me. I can do it. It is easy. It is a behavior that will benefit my desire.

For others reading this post, you might set your goal as counting your carbs if you are carb sensitive. Each person must figure out what behavior they need to change--to set as a goal to produce the desired end.

Whatever you choose, choose as a goal that which is realistically possible. As you become adept at your new behavior, then, and only then, add additional behaviors as might be necessary to achieve your end desire.

Often it is only one thing standing between us and our desire. Figuring out what is blocking us attaining that desire is the first step on the road to success.
"....there have been many times when I have shed bitter tears, when if I had understood the situation better, I would have celebrated my good luck instead."


I am not a doctor and all information, suggestions, etc are my personal opinion only.