Category Archives: Weight

Loosing Weight – Reviewed.

Thumbnail of my goal review card.
I set my weight loss goal on 25th April and it’s now mid-June so it’s definitely time for a review. I had a fairly major life change at the end of May when I was made redundant. So another reason to take stock and review.

I followed my goal review method and above is the resulting map (please click the thumbnail for a larger view). From this you can see that:

  1. Relevance is still very high – loosing the weight is still very important to me
  2. But that the walking goal I set for the month of May didn’t pan out as expected. The feedback here is that:
    1. Things started well for the first week or so
    2. Then I got ill with a stomach bug
    3. For the latter half of the month the redundancy proceedings took over and completely threw out any sort of routine

    It boils down to the fact that I found it impossible to establish the new walking habit at lunchtime because I needed to be more flexible at that time. I could have done it; but I chose not to!

  3. Any new sub-goals to contribute to my weight loss goal?
    1. I can cycle instead of walk. I’ve always enjoyed cycling and used to cycle a lot in my thirties. This needs a new goal set with targets. I’ve much more motivation to cycle than walk, and I’ve a new bike!
    2. Do the ‘I Can Make You Thin’ 90 day challenge. This is a book (and a TV series) from Paul McKenna. I followed the TV series and I believe the challenge is based on some sound principles. This too needs a SMART goal that I started to sketch out on my review card.
  4. Finally, Next Actions! What am I going to do next to kick start the weight loss goal again?
    • Set a SMART cycling goal with weekly targets, making it very easy to start so that I can establish the habit.
    • Set the 90 day challenge and follow through the work book.

I’ll be following up on these new goals in a latter posting.

By the way, I have lost some weight! I lost 5 pounds during my stomach upset and, at the last weighing, I’d kept them off!

Be Careful What You Wish For

After all this talk about loosing weight last weekend I contracted a virus that had some unpleasant gastric side effects. This is the reason the blog has been so quiet this week.

I’ve not weighed myself yet; but I’ll be darned disappointed if I get on the scale tomorrow and I haven’t lost anything at all. Mrs. H commented this afternoon that if I lost any more weight of my face I’d look dead! Nice!

Now I’m not really suggesting that my desire to loose weight triggered the earlier unpleasantness; but there is still something to be said for being careful how we envision our desires and goals. For one thing the sub-conscious doesn’t understand the word “not”. So if you say, “I will not smoke”, all that gets through is the, “will smoke”. Not the desired effect at all. It’s far better to say something like, “My life is free from the need for cigarettes”.

Feedback Loop

Here’s something I learned today;

That if something goes wrong it’s not a failure – it’s feedback!

When I read that I thought, WOW! That’s a revolutionary way of looking at what’s happening in my life. If I’m not progressing in the way that I want to then it’s not a failure it’s feedback.

What do we do with feedback?

Feedback is called feedback because it feeds back into the system and modifies it so that the situation that produced the feedback doesn’t happen again (in the case of negative feedback) or does happen again in the case of positive feedback.

This morning I got on the scales again, it being Saturday which is weigh day in our house. Well I was disappointed at first to find that my weight was exactly the same as last week and the week before.

Then I thought, “Hand on! This is feedback, not failure! The feedback is that I haven’t modified my behavior enough to start loosing the weight. I must make more effort to start the weight loss process”. Which is a much more positive slant on the situation.

Not Dieting

Having posted earlier saying I was not going to go on a diet as part of my weight loss program (can I call it a program?) Leo over on Zen habits has posted up today his Top 15 Diet Hacks.

These aren’t a “diet”; but instead are tips for adjusting the diet to make it more healthy and his number one tip is; “Don’t Diet”.

Looking down the list there’s a lot of his tips that are already part of my life style like:

  • avoiding too much saturated fats,
  • eating brown foods (bread and pasta),
  • cutting down on meat – we only eat red meat once or twice a week and one or two meals a week will be meat free.

One area I could improve on is my junk food intake. I still eat too many crisps and the like, particularly in front of the telly last thing at night. Another thing I find very hard to cut down on is cheese. I know I said I avoid too many saturated fats; but I love cheese and frequently have it in my sandwiches at lunch time. That will be a tough one to give up.

Overall I don’t think my diet is too bad; I must get the exercise level up!

Loosing Weight – The Next Steps

In my post How To Set A SMART Goal I described what SMART goals were and why they were important. I also set myself the goal of loosing 23lbs by Christmas this year!

After setting a goal, any sort; short, medium, long term the most important thing is to take some action. No goal is ever going to be achieve unless some action is taken; but how do we decide what action to take and when to take it? In this post I want to go through the steps I propose to take to achieve my goal.

Right, I have to loose weight, what are my options?

  • Go on a diet. I won’t do this unless directed to by a medical professional because I don’t believe they’re the right way to go about loosing weight. I believe that if I diet I will reduce my carb. or fat intake, my body metabolism will slow as a result and if I slip off the diet the weight will just pile back on because my metabolism is slower.
  • Cut out unnecessary junk food. This is dieting in a way I guess; but it’s more of an adjustment to my diet than an actual diet. I can do this by eating healthier, fewer sweets & biscuits and more fruit.
  • Exercise. Oh dear, I knew I’d get to this one eventually.

Stop the list there, let’s talk about exercise. I’ve already said I’m not going to starve myself and only make modest changes to my diet so realistically the only way (weigh) I’m going to achieve this goal is to exercise.

I’ve already set myself a walking goal; but to be honest that is ramping up only slowly and I don’t think it’s going have a huge impact on my weight loss goal in the short, or even medium, term. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a contributor to this goal; but I’m going to need something more.

What else might I do?

  • Swimming? I can’t swim, tried to learn about 10 years ago. We won’t go there.
  • Running? Look, I’m having enough difficulty walking. Let’s walk before we run, please.
  • Cycling? Ah, this is a distinct possibility. In my thirties I was a reasonably keen cyclist, nothing excessive; but I could manage 60 miles. The point is, I was fit.

So it looks like cycling is my best bet. I have a bike and cycling is good aerobic exercise. I feel another goal coming on:

  • Specific – I will cycle 30 miles a week.
  • Measurable – I’ve a trip meter on the bike
  • Attainable – I feel 30 miles a week is within my grasp; but I may have to sacrifice something to fit it in.
  • Relevant – Yes, this will contribute to my weight loss.
  • Timely – By the end of June!

So I’ve a second exercise goal to help me loose that weight. Over the next two months I should be able to judge whether or not the pounds are starting to come off or whether I need to step up the exercise program. Until then I will work on integrating exercise into my life, something I’ve not done for many years now.

How To Set A SMART Goal

I’ve mentioned in recent posts that I’m over weight. I weigh 14st (197lbs to be precise) and my ideal weight for a man my height is 12st 6lbs. That’s 23lbs I have to loose if I’m to regain my ideal weight.

So the purpose of this post is to frame a goal to shed those pounds. Most of you will have heard of setting SMART goals to ensure that goals are met. I’m going to go through the steps of setting a SMART goal here to illustrate how a SMART goal differs from not-SMART goals and how it will help me achieve my goal.

Let’s begin with defining what we mean by a SMART goal. In case you haven’t guessed SMART is an acronym; it defines all the attributes a goal should posses for it to be achievable:

So how do I make my weight loss goal into a SMART goal?

A specific goal names exactly what the goal needs to achieve. An example of a non-specific goal I hear quoted often is, “I’m going to be successful’. Successful at what? How do you define or measure success? This non-specific goal in too open to interpretation and needs to be stated in terms of something real, like finances for example.

My goal is to loose weight. Specifically I’m going to loose 23lbs in weight so that I weigh 12st 6lbs.

I used to get this confused with being specific. If course if I’m going to loose 23lbs then it’s measurable – haven’t I just said it’s 23lbs?

Really this attribute is about having the structures in place to measure your progress towards the goal. I’m not going to wake up one morning and say, “Hurray, I just lost 23lbs” (well I might; but more fool me if I do). No, I need a pair of scales – something to physically be able to measure my weight with and so determine my progress.

I have scales at home so my goal is measurable.

Goals are great; but they must be set within some sort of boundaries. For an extreme example I might set a goal to take lunch on Pluto – not really attainable is it? Another nice example I saw recently on another blog was a goal to be the next king of England. As the writer pointed out, unless you’re in the royal blood line or you’ve a huge army prepared to conquer England by force this goal is not attainable. You could argue that all goals are ultimately attainable; but here you have to look closely at your goal – are you prepared to devote the time and energy to attaining this goal? If not then it’s not attainable.

Loosing 23lbs is attainable. I put it on, I can loose it.

How relevant is this goal to the overall plan? It would be great to have a goal to be the next king of England; but if the overall plan is to gain entry to a Buddhist monastery then the goal isn’t relevant to the plan.

Loosing weight contributes to my desire to live a long and healthy life and so contributes directly to this. Yes, the goal is relevant.

Goals must be given a time frame for them to become real entities in your life. If I have a goal to loose 23lbs; but don’t give it a time line then where is the motivation going to come from to actually make me take the effort to shed that weight. Believe me, it will take effort.

This is often the big blocker. Here I have to nail my colours to the mast and state by when I’m going to loose that weight. Here goes….

By Christmas 2007. I’m going to loose that weight by Christmas this year.

There, I’ve stated it publicly for all to read.

Let’s recap this SMART goal:

  • Specific. I will loose 23lbs.
  • Measurable. With the bathroom scales.
  • Attainable. Yes, it’s within my abilities to do this.
  • Relevant. Yes, it will contribute to my health and longevity.
  • Timely. By Christmas this year (2007).

In a posting in the near future I will demonstrate how I’m going to achieve this goal.

Body Fat

Here’s something I learnt today:

That 1lb of body fat contains about 4100 calories.

Here’s something else:

In one hour of aerobic exercise I can expect to burn about 300 calories.

So to burn off 1lb of fat I’ve got to exercise for 13 hours and 40 minutes.

Wow! That’s a lot of exercise!