To score your goal weight, have a game plan

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - HEALTH - Chantel Er­fort Manuel

And it was with this in mind that I de­cided that rather than merely run­ning around the field, I needed to score a goal – and to do that, I needed a game plan.

While I man­aged to lose a lot of weight in a rel­a­tively short pe­riod last year, I have been strug­gling to shake the last 5kg that will take me to goal weight and have been plateau­ing since Fe­bru­ary.

The prob­lem is that few of us em­bark on our health, fit­ness and weight loss efforts fully equipped with the knowl­edge or un­der­stand­ing of how our bod­ies work, or the strate­gies that can help us.

Far fewer of us are equipped – in­tel­lec­tu­ally and psy­cho­log­i­cally – to deal with the hur­dles along the way, which of­ten leads to frus­tra­tion and even­tu­ally, giv­ing up.

It was a Face­book post by Sleekgeek founder Elan Lohmann last week that helped me come un­stuck. He wrote: “When you weigh less, you burn less. As a smaller per­son, you ex­pend less en­ergy mov­ing around than you did at your heav­ier weight.

“Thus, the same num­ber of calo­ries that produced an ini­tial loss may now just main­tain your cur­rent weight.

“To con­tinue los­ing, you’ll have to in­crease the calo­ries you burn through phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and/or re­duce the num­ber of calo­ries you eat.”

And right there I had my prover­bial light-bulb mo­ment.

Even though I had made a num­ber of changes in my lifestyle since last year, I’d be­come com­pla­cent and taken my eye off the ball.

So I’ve de­cided to shift into a higher gear and get real about reach­ing my goal. This means set­ting a dead­line, putting a plan in place and hav­ing mech­a­nisms for keep­ing my­self ac­count­able. It also means read­ing more, learn­ing more and putting it into prac­tice.

What works for me is mak­ing lists and keep­ing as de­tailed ac­counts of my ex­pe­ri­ences as pos­si­ble. This helps to track what’s work­ing and what’s not and where I need to make ad­just­ments.

It feels some­how ap­pro­pri­ate that, hav­ing used up the last page of the jour­nal I’ve been keep­ing since last Jan­uary, the first en­try in my new one is all about goals – or, one goal in par­tic­u­lar.

“I want to reach goal weight be­fore I reach 40.” That gives me four months to lose 5kg. An av­er­age of 1.25kg a month.

Def­i­nitely do-able, but I’ll have to undo some bad habits, like the bag of cashews in my desk drawer. While nuts are healthy, they’re high in calo­ries and are my down­fall.

I’m also go­ing to eat more fresh veg­eta­bles, fo­cus on my por­tion sizes and in­crease the in­ten­sity of my work­outs.

And I’m go­ing to use a calo­rie-track­ing app, not be­cause I want to ob­sess over ev­ery­thing I eat, but be­cause I want to bet­ter equip my­self with an un­der­stand­ing of how what I’m eat­ing im­pacts on my abil­ity to reach my goal.

While my goal may be to lose some more weight, yours might be dif­fer­ent, but my mes­sage re­mains the same. List want you want to achieve. De­vise a plan. And go for goal.

You can fol­low my jour­ney as I’m #get­ting­to­goal­weight at www.edit­edeat­ing.co.za or fol­low @edit­edeat­ing on so­cial me­dia.

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