A lovely lady recently came to me in August 2012 looking for help with her main 2011 New Year’s resolutions!
She wont mind me sharing this as the progress she has made has been outstanding since she started!
Her main problem was her disappointment that she had not come near to achieving her personal goal of “being as healthy as possible.”
Despite her good intentions she had made disappointing progress and it was 8 months into the year. She was panicking.
Many of us can relate to this. We have expectations for great changes and we feel motivated at the start, but events and responsibilities seem to work against us and we are left feeling frustrated and sometimes discouraged that the changes we want to see will never be accomplished.
With this lady, and others, a few simple strategies can help make significant changes promoting health, fitness, and control.
I advised this client that September through to October would be the perfect time to make her changes. The kids are back in school, the home routine is in place, and it is a long time till the Christmas rush!
My Client was raring to get started, she focused, made the time and energy to commit to her new plan.
The following are some of the goals we decided to focus on:
Step 1: Start small.
In the case of my client, instead of encouraging her to become a slave to the gym, we started with two 30-minute walks per week. Over the past three weeks, these have lengthened and she now looks forward to her evening walks most nights of the week. This simple change may add years to her life.
Step 2: Be ‘SMART’
Identify specific, measurable goals. They must be realistic and linked to a period of time so you can assess your achievements. These goals are “SMART” goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.)
My client’s goals were similar to many; ‘eat better and be more active’, but how do we measure success with a goal like this?
As a starting point, we broke down her goals into three straightforward, but significant, changes:
1) Begin to eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking five out of seven days per week.
2) Eat a portion of vegetables with both lunch and dinner six out of seven days per week.
3) Keep records of your food intake and exercise for five days to promote self-awareness of your eating and activity patterns.
Step 3: Get Support
Obtain support from a friend, spouse or family member. In this case of this client, her husband has been a great supporter. He reminds her to sit down and eat breakfast with him instead of running around after the kids and he provides the motivation for her to be fit by walking with her in the evenings. He and the kids are enjoying the health changes too, they are eating better and their mum is happier and healthier.
In addition to her family support, my client has benefited from professional support. In working with a dietitian it has had help her make appropriate goals, identify obstacles and help overcome challenges.
Professionals are trained to help provide creative ideas to make it a fun and interactive experience. My client laughs with pleasure as she informs others of her fears of making that initial contact. She expected I would whip her into shape and she would be mortified, but now instead she admits she enjoys the one to one webcam consultations, coming to the clinic weight session and the programme she is following. She says she does not feel deprived or different to anyone else only that she is already feeling much healthier and fitter.
Step 4: Get accurate information
As a Dietitian I spend a lot of time correcting people’s myths. Most of my clients come in expecting they will be told to eat salads, cut carbohydrates, and slave away on a treadmill seven days a week. We know from countless studies, that healthy eating does not mean dieting. While there are specific dietary requirements for many conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol problems, most people do not have to cut anything out, they just need assistance in finding the right balance. Obtaining professional guidance ensures you learn which strategies are appropriate for you.
If you have struggled with getting healthy this year, why not click on the contacts page and get your diet assessed by the professionals!
Information checked & correct on 16th May 2018.