The Diet Detective: Goals, Goals and More Goals

Food Choices

Think about how your eating habits are preventing you from losing weight. With this in mind, set one or two food goals to work on each week.

For example:

  • I will not skip meals this week.
  • I will not snack on candy in the afternoon. Instead, I will have fruit or a bowl of low-calorie cereal.
  • I will have wine with dinner only three nights this week, and I will keep it to one glass.

Behavioral and Psychological Issues

What is it about your lifestyle--or the way you think about yourself, food or exercise--that is a barrier to weight loss? With this in mind, set one or two behavioral/psychological goals to work on each week.

Some examples:

  • I will eat only at the dining table when I'm at home. When I am tempted to eat in other areas, I will remind myself of my long-term goals and feel better about myself. (Eating in just one or two places helps to narrow the number of spots in your home that you associate with eating.)
  • I will not watch TV while eating. (Not doing anything else while you eat allows you to focus so that you’re aware of how much you’re eating and actually enjoy it more.)

Physical Activity

Developing physical activity goals is imperative for any effective weight-loss program. These goals should be realistic very specific in terms of how long, how much and how hard you exert yourself. Remember that to lose a pound you need to cut roughly 3,500 calories. So if, for example, your objective is to lose 30 pounds in a year, and you’re cutting an average of 200 calories a day from your diet, you might want to make up the difference (about 90 calories), by doing an additional 20 minutes of physical activity each day.

Some examples of activity goals:

  • I will walk 15 minutes during my lunch break three times a week.
  • I will walk up the three flights of stairs to my office every morning.
  • I will ride go bike riding with my daughter on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
  • I will institute a “no e-mail” policy from 2 to 4 p.m. and walk over to my co-workers' desks to communicate.
  • I will run a 5K one year from today.

Goal planning involves doing real work, but the good news is that once you do the initial work, maintenance and revisions are not nearly as difficult.

Charles Stuart Platkin is an Active Expert , nutrition and public health advocate, author of the best seller Breaking the Pattern (Plume, 2005), Breaking the FAT Pattern (Plume, 2006) and Lighten Up (Penguin USA/Razorbill, 2006) and founder of Integrated Wellness Solutions. Sign up for The Diet Detective newsletter free at

Copyright 2007 by Charles Stuart Platkin


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