As the year comes to a close, perhaps your natural course of thought will lead you to setting goals for the next year. Focusing on exercise and nutrition is an effective way to improve your overall good health. It is an investment in time and effort well worth your attention.
If you are like over two-thirds of Americans, losing weight may be central to your plan. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, you can reduce your blood pressure between five and 20 mmHg. Even a modest drop of five mmHg can result in a 14 percent drop in stroke mortality.
Setting Realistic Goals
The number one thing you need to do to start your plan is to set realistic goals. They must be concrete and clear. Rather than saying you will lose weight, you should determine a number. Having this information gives you focus. Your subconscious mind will work toward your goal if you define it clearly.
Not all fitness goals are practical. Trying to lose 20 pounds in one month sets the bar too high. Failing to meet your goal can undermine your motivation. Instead, figure on losing one to two pounds a week. This amount is obtainable without a complete overhaul of your routine.
Food and Exercise Journal
Knowledge is a powerful tool to harness and use. For exercise and nutrition goals, this means keeping a journal. You can use paper or an online app. Doing so does two things for you. First, you gain the knowledge of where you are at in terms of calorie intake and expenditure. If you’re not losing weight, you have only to look here to see why.
In terms of nutrition, a food journal can help you identify deficiencies in your diet. Not getting enough vitamin C? That is easy enough to correct with some tweaks to your diet. You can also use this information to see if you are following the recommended guidelines for fat, protein and carb intake.
The “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” recommends that your diet contain 45 to 65 percent carbohydrates, 10 to 35 percent protein and 20 to 35 percent fat. Your food journal will help you see where your diet falls in terms of these nutrition goals.
Enlist the Internet
The Internet offers one of the best ways to keep you on track with your goals. Logging in to record your diet and exercise creates accountability. It also sets the stage for making your progress a habit. A study by Kaiser Permanente found that using a website app to track fitness goals resulted in more successful long-term weight loss.
Addition to logging your exercises, the internet can be a great source for motivation and even finding the right exercises for your specific goal(s). For example, you could watch a video on leg training for massive quads. This would be a great way to not only visualize the exercises and see how they’re done, but for increasing motivation as well.
Many of these sites have active discussion forums to support your efforts. You can find advice and more information about how to overcome obstacles for meeting your goals.
Another important aspect of setting exercise and nutrition goals is monthly check-ins. Naturally, your weight may fluctuate day-to-day. A monthly check-in can consist of doing a home fat test. Doing this test on a monthly basis allows you to see progress that isn’t because you measured yourself a little differently each week.
Chances are that your weight loss will happen slowly that you may not notice. The monthly check-in gives you an assessment of how well you are working to reach your goals. The home fat test involves taking several measurements to determine your body fat percentage.
Losing weight to improve your health is an admirable goal. Improving your diet on top of that may reduce your risk for chronic disease. When you set goals, you put yourself in charge of your well-being. With the means to gauge your progress, you can make sure you are on the right course.