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Setting Goals When Dieting

As with most things in life, setting goals is very important when dieting. When you look at things truthfully and objectively you should notice that most of the things you’ve accomplished in life have been accomplished because you not only had a goal but also had a clearly planned and well thought out process for achieving that goal. That being said, why is goal setting so important when it comes to dieting?

First of all, it is difficult to achieve a goal if you do not have a clearly defined goal. There are times in life when it is almost impossible to tell whether you are succeeding or failing because you aren’t certain exactly what the desired outcome should be. Identifying your dieting goals before you begin eliminates this particular possibility.

Second, having dieting goals gives you a measuring stick by which you can judge your process. This is important so that you know when your efforts are failing behind and when you’re moving along schedule or ahead of schedule. In other words, you will know when to celebrate and when to give yourself a swift kick to the rear.

Now that we know why we set weight loss goals, let’s discuss how we should go about setting those goals that are so important for dieting success. You want to set goals that are aggressive without being impossible to achieve. If you set goals that are beyond your reach you will find that frustration will be your dieting partner until you reach the point where you give up all together. In order to avoid this you should take great care to insure that your goals are possible for you to achieve.

When it comes to weight loss be specific when setting your goals. Rather than setting a total goal of 40 or 60 pounds start with a specific goal such as 10 pounds in one month. Then you can extend the goal to the next month until you’ve reached the overall goal of 40 or 60 pounds. It is much easier to lose 10 pounds four times than it is to lose 40 pounds at once. It’s a trick of the mind but it works. Ten pounds sound simple and achievable. Forty pounds sound like an insurmountable obstacle.

Another thing about goals is that you want to hold yourself accountable but you shouldn’t call the whole thing off if you only lose 9 pounds instead of 10. Instead, find out where you dropped the ball for the final pound and set your 10-pound goal for the next month.

You should also take great care that you are working with your personal goals and not the goals that someone else is pushing on you. The truth is that if it’s personal to you, it will be much more rewarding than if you are doing this for someone else. If your heart isn’t in it, there are very few goals that are going to motivate you properly.

Finally, you should establish small (non-food) rewards for accomplishing your dieting goals. Perhaps your reward will be a new accessory for your new (or new old) wardrobe or a pedicure for your new look. Make your reward something fun and frivolous and teach yourself that accomplishing your goals can be accomplished by something other than food. This is a key to dieting successfully.

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Dieting with a Busy Schedule

When it comes to dieting many of us find that the number one hindrance to our success is the lack of time to prepare the proper meals and snacks for our dietary needs. It is often much more convenient to throw one thing in the crock pot for the family or resort to the fast food last resort rather than preparing the healthy and nutritious meal that we should be eating.

There are things you can do however that will reduce the temptation to hit the drive thru and keep you on course with your dieting needs. The first of these is a process known as once a week cooking. With this method you cook enough meals to last you a week on one day. This means that for every night of the week you have a diet friendly meal ready to go. If your entire family is dieting or eating healthier with you, this works for this situation as well. Dieting and incorporating healthier eating habits into the food for your entire family is a great way to set an example for your children will keeping you motivated and removing temptation.

With once a week cooking you freeze the food that won’t be immediately consumed and thaw it the morning you will be eating the food to cook when you arrive home after work or decide it is time for your evening meal. This is a process that works well no matter how many soccer games, dance practices, and band recitals you have on your calendar for the week. You can manage to stick to your diet while having a great meal for your family each and every night of the week.

You should also make sure to have a nice supply and cleaned and cut fruits, vegetables, and salad ingredients in your refrigerator in order to make these dishes readily assessable for quick lunches or snacks. Having these foods readily available will help you resist the temptation to snack on higher calorie prepackaged food while also helping to insure that you have a ready supply of fresh fruits and vegetables to help you get your 5 servings a day.

You should also keep some conveniently packaged yogurt on hand as a good quick and easy dairy product. Sugar free pudding cups are another decent snack for those who need something quick and easy to have on hand. Preparation and planning are essential to successfully meeting your weight loss goals. By preparing as much of the food as possible ahead of time you will never even miss the convenience of those high calorie pre packaged meals and snacks that so many of us survive on when not dieting.

Another time saver is to work your fitness opportunities into the course of your day. Rather than performing one lengthy workout each day, try to find methods of bringing a little fitness activity into the most mundane portions of your day (go stair climbing at lunch, park on the top-level of the parking garage and walk down-then up when returning-the stairs), park far away from the door of the supermarket and see if your mall has a walking path that is clearly marked. You’ll be amazed at the hidden opportunities many of us have for exercising during our busy days. The trick is often in discovering the activities rather than the time.

When all is said and done, dieting doesn’t have to be as time-consuming as you may think it is. There are all kinds of prepackaged plans for dieters however if that is the choice you feel is best for you. Whether you are going with Lean Cuisine meals, Weight Watchers frozen entrees, Jenny Craig, or the Slim Fast program there are all kinds of opportunities to work dieting and fitness into even the busiest of schedules. When planning your dieting practices be sure to consider the tips and advice mentioned above.