“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
Deciding to be successful is an important choice when embarking on any journey, especially for a weight loss journey that will require both commitment and changes. Last week, we discussed goal setting using SMART goals. Today, I’d like to build on that concept and discuss other strategies to help you get and stay on track.
Here are six ways to set yourself up for success when it comes to weight management:
- Set goals. The more specific the goals, the better. Check out last week’s blog for tips on SMART goal setting. Write your goals down and post them where you can see them. Better yet, post them in several places—on your desk, in your kitchen, on your coffee table, in the car. It may sound silly, but keeping your goals where you can see them is proven to help you stay on track.
- Know your triggers. What foods make is hard or impossible for you to stop eating once you get started? For me, it’s Oreos. Even if I portion them out, there is a good chance I will go back for more! Make a list of the foods you can’t stop eating. It’s helpful to know what they are so you can avoid them.
- Plan, Shop and Prepare. For many of my patients, this is the best way to stay on track and move toward their goals. It requires time, but it is time well spent. Remember to avoid the “all or nothing trap.” Sure, it’s great to shop and prep for the week over the weekend, but if that didn’t happen, it’s OK. You can stop midweek and get a few things to make healthy lunches for the next few days.
- Build a support network. This is huge! Research consistently shows that having adequate support not only helps you to lose weight faster, but also helps you to keep weight off once you’ve lost it. I’m not suggesting that you ditch unsupportive friends, family, or co-workers. I am suggesting that you engage more with people who share like-minded goals. During this time of social distancing, it may mean finding support via Facebook or Instagram. Search for groups or posts that reflect your personal goals, and those positive vibes will scroll through your feed each day.
- Allow for setbacks. Setbacks are a natural part of any behavior change. Just ask anyone who’s done it! It’s best to expect these changes and to develop a plan for dealing with them. Anticipating potential setbacks and brainstorming ways to overcome them can be immensely helpful. Think ahead to birthdays, office parties and happy hours. If you plan ahead of time, you are more likely to make a good decision when a sticky situation presents itself.
- Be flexible. This is by far the most important of all! Recognize that even with the best of intentions, you will likely veer off course at some point. Give yourself grace. There is a saying I share with my patients each and every day, “Never a failure, Always a lesson”. If you plan and something goes off course, that’s life. What you choose to do next is more important. To set yourself up for success, recognize that when things go wrong, you need to re-assess the situation, learn from it and grow.
About the author: Megan Zakarewicz, DO, is a family medicine physician with certification in obesity medicine. She leads the Grand View Health Medical Weight Loss program. She is accepting new patients via telemedicine appointments. For more information, call Grand View Health at 215-453-4100 to schedule an appointment.