The calendar for this year has moved on from New Year’s Day, but it’s still a good time to focus on personal health goals as if it were January, said Pinnacle’s Gina Gordon, a registered dietician and registered nurse with Novant Health.
For some, those goals may be diet or weight loss related and for others it may be developing an exercise routine that fits their life. Regardless of the goal, using an effective goal-setting approach is essential.
“Creating structure in your daily routine can be one of the most effective steps toward achieving personal goals,” Gordon said. “Tracking progress can also help clearly define behaviors needing change and lead to a more personalized approach to goal setting.”
In terms of setting goals, one method is setting SMART goals to ensure your desires are spelled out in a clear and concise way.
To make sure your goals are clear and reachable using SMART goals, each goal should be:
According to Novant Health’s wellness team, setting SMART goals means you are clearly identifying your ideas, focusing your efforts and using your time and resources productively.
If one of your goals this year is weight loss, here are some tips from Novant Health to get you started:
· Practice portion control—try using a salad plate instead of a dinner plate, ask
for a to-go box and place half of your meal in the box before you start eating and fill your plate with fruits and vegetables on one half, lean protein on a quarter and whole grains on the other quarter.
· Tame your sweet cravings—the more sweets you eat the more you want. Try decreasing the amounts you eat daily and substitute healthier options like whole fruit, nuts and raw vegetables for sweet or crunchy options.
· Eat regularly—try to eat three meals a day and eat a healthy snack if you feel hungry between meals. Eating on a regular basis keeps your metabolism running effectively.
For weight loss goals, in particular, it’s worth noting that every person’s situation is a little bit different.
“We are learning more and more about the health risks associated with the disease of obesity,” said Gordon, who also is Novant Health’s bariatric service manager. “Whether you need to lose 10 pounds or more than 100 pounds, it is important to approach obesity treatment with the same sense of urgency as you would treatment of any other disease.
“In many cases, obesity is actually the cause of other preventable diseases like hypertension, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Achieving and maintaining as little as a 10-15 pound loss can effectively improve your overall health.”
Gordon recommends that people who have suffered from obesity for a longer amount of time, say since childhood or someone who has experienced repeated cycles of weight loss and regaining weight, meet with a healthcare provider.+