Weight loss is like a destination. You need directions to get there. Usually when I do the first assessment and goal-setting meeting with people, I ask them if they remember the first time they traveled by road. Then I ask if they remember how they got to their destination.
I get many answers:
• My friend drove
• I got directions from my friend
• I followed the road and stopped at gas stations to ask the way
• I used a map
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• I turned on my GPS
• I got there safely (This is the one that I like the most.)
The reality is that no one can reach their destination without knowing where they are going and how to get there.
Everyone needs some type of assistance: GPS, a map, a friend who knows the route. People used to take directions from the stars when they were traveling. We all need guidance. If people don’t follow directions, they can end up far, far away from the real destination. They can be going in circles in the same area like I did when I got lost for five hours driving in Mexico City. They can even take a different road that leads to a different destination.
The rules for weight loss are the same as for that road trip. You need to know where you are going and how to get there to achieve your goal. You need a map (instructions) to lose the pounds you want to lose. People can get distracted or go slowly or take the wrong turn when they’re not following their directions, so it might take longer for them to reach their destination. The same is true with your weight-loss goals.
The steps to get to your destination (weight loss goal) are:
• Determine your destination (how much fat do you want to lose, why and by when)
• Split it into monthly goals. When you’re on a road trip, it helps to know you’ve passed or are close to a city, town or state line. That helps you psychologically. It gives you a sense that you are closer and motivates you to continue.
• Make specific goals that will lead to the monthly goals. To start your road trip, you need to plan it and know the directions you are going to use. Planning requires knowing the things you will do as you travel, such as eating, stopping to get gas, using the bathroom, resting, maybe enjoying the view, stretching, and fixing problems like flat tires.
And don’t forget to check your car before driving, or you may come back home in a tow truck. That is, check with your doctor and get a physical before starting a new exercise regimen.
Sandro Torres is owner of Custom Body Fitness in Carbondale and Glenwood Springs and author of the book “Lose Weight Permanently.” His column appears on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month in Body & More.
Torres column: The roadmap to weight loss