I was talking with someone recently about tracking activity and calories. After explaining what would need to happen to get the desired results, this was the response:
“I’m not going to do that. I’m fine and that’s just not going to happen”.
OK. That’s your choice, but you’re going to have to accept the reality that it will take longer to reach your goals. My old boss used to say, “you get what you measure”. If you don’t have a way to measure your progress, you’ll never know when or how long it will take to get where you’re going. You’re just guessing.
Information gives you a realistic picture of how much weight you can expect to lose and how long it will take to accomplish the goal. Here are four ways you can stay on track toward your goals.
1. Be clear. Before you begin tracking the progress toward your goal, you’ve got to have a good goal. Your goal must be crystal clear. You should be able to create a picture of what your goal looks like. A goal like “lose weight” is junk. It’s meaningless. Think differently. How will your life be different when you’ve lost 10, 20, or whatever number of pounds you want to lose? What will you do with your life that you aren’t able to do today? If you really want it, find a picture of your goal and post it on your bathroom mirror. Each day when you brush your teeth you’ll see your goal.
2. Know how much you need to eat and keep track of what you eat. Everything, no exceptions. Yes, it’s boring and a pain in the butt. But you’ll have a much better idea of what you eat, when you eat, and why you eat. These are important things to know. Without this info, everything else is just a guess. You’ll probably be surprised at the number of calories you’re taking in, as long as you’re being truthful with yourself. You’ll also find that you eat certain foods in certain situations. If you’re a data geek like me, you can use a device like a BodyMedia FIT to take control and achieve your weight loss goals by knowing how much you burn. If you’re a member of LifeStyles Fitness Center, you have access to a great tool called DotFIT that can help you with this part of the process.
3. Get a heart rate monitor. This little device will tell you if you’re really working or if you’re just kidding yourself. I use mine religiously. There are times when I might think I’m working hard and I’ll check my monitor, only to realize that I’ve got a long ways to go. Here’s an article I wrote about how to select a heart rate monitor.
4. Have someone you’re accountable to. That’s where a good trainer can help you. We’ll ask questions, observe, develop plans, and push you to try things you might not do on your own. Ultimately, our goal is to help you reach your goal.
Put these four things in place and you’ll be on your way to reaching your own goals.