05 Mar The Three Biggest Factors for Successful Diet Programming
By Anthony Balduzzi – Prolean Wellness Professional Consultant
All successful businesses have plans that include many of the following elements: industry surveying, competitor analyses, strategic marketing initiatives, and efficient production capabilities. Naturally, it makes sense that the same planning that makes businesses great would also apply to other ventures like dieting.
It turns out that the most successful dieters do utilize proper planning. In this brief article, I will outline the three most important factors in successful weight loss programming.
Factor #1: Written Goals
I know you’ve heard it before: goals that are not written down do not work. It’s true. Research proves it. Psychology Professor Gail Matthews has studied the success rate of written goals for over a decade, and his research concludes that written goals are far more likely to be achieved than their non-written counterparts. In fact, once goals are written on paper, a myriad of subconsciously rooted motivational factors are activated toward the goal’s attainment. I’m sure you are similar to me; you can probably dig up a few memories from your recent past of goals that you failed to accomplish because you failed to commit to paper.
I challenge you now to make this time around different. Write down your goals, and reap the benefits. Before you put the pen to ink, I would like to offer a quick look at the SMART system—a useful framework for creating maximally effective goals.
Your goals should be the following:
S – specific
M – measurable
A – achievable
R – relevant
T – time sensitive
The more specific you are in defining exactly what you want, the better equipped you will be to achieve it!
You need to be able to track you goal. i.e. “get in shape” is a bad goal; how can you measure when you are “in shape?” A much more effective goal would be as follows: lose twenty pounds. You can certainly measure your weight loss.
Ideally, you want your goals to stretch your limits – that is how all personal growth (or shrinking in terms of weight goals) occurs; however, your goal has to be within the boundaries of your capability. Going to the gym with the goal of bench pressing 500 pounds in a month is not exactly achievable. Psychologically, if your subconscious brain believes you cannot achieve your goal, it will not access your full spectrum of resources and motivation.
This is simple: if your goal isn’t germane to your life, why even bother?
Your goals should have an end date. This creates both structure and a productive sense of urgency. You would most likely clean up your diet more quickly if your goal were to lose twenty pounds in two months than had you an unspecified end date.
Factor #2: Measurement
This factor is often the most overlooked part of goal success. Most people set a goal, the smart ones write that goal down, the smartest ones use a SMART framework, but the successful ones track and measure their SMART goals. The key to successful programming is to find ways to measure how you are progressing. In terms of weight loss, tracking and measuring your weight, exercise, and food intake is the best way to ensure success. Didn’t lose as much weight as you planned last week? Look back at your food and exercise journal to see the trackable things that you did to produce the unfavorable result, and change those variables (by eating healthier or exercising more)! Prolean Wellness clients have the great benefit of a weekly weigh in and a Progress Journal included with their programs – but if you’ve finished your program – don’t stop – keep recording your goals and progress. At the bare minimum, you must come face to face (once per week) with your progress from the previous week.
Factor #3: Resources
These are the tools of the trade that help you with Factors 1 & 2. I have outlined a few of the best technological resources available for goal setting and measuring with my personal recommendation of the winner.
Best Food Database: www.calorieking.com – find the nutrition information for virtually any food.
Best Goal Setting/Tracking Program: www.fitday.com – this is a free online journal to help track your eating and exercise, and provides the best interface; 6 million users says it all (100% free).
Other notable programs: 1) www.fatsecret.com – food database, online support community, recipe sharing, goal tracking, and online journal (100% free)
2) www.loseit.com – track food and exercise; ability to create custom foods, exercises, and recipes (100% free).
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