Let’s say you have been struggling with excess weight for a while, and you are not sure where to start. That is OK, and you are not alone. It takes a lot of courage to make that first step, so well done to you. Figuring out what to do or where to go can be draining and confusing. So don’t worry! I have you covered. I will help you move forward in your health journey so you can achieve your desired weight loss goals.
So to answer the above question, to take health to the next level, you need to apply certain skills into practice. You probably wonder what are they. Well, I called them health skills and they include: goal setting, problem-solving, reflections, and planning.
goal setting: goals can be short-term or long term or both. It is good to set some goals for yourself in the near future; for instance, something you would like to achieve every week, such as having a piece of fruit after your main meal. But also, think about what you would like to achieve in long term. As an example, you could say “I want to be a size smaller in 3 months”. When you set yourself goals, make sure they are realistic and achievable. If you aim too high, it will be much harder to get to your goals and that will dishearten you. For instance, if you say I want to lose 6kg in one week that will be very difficult. You will probably have to restrict your food intake a lot. This behaviour would be hard to sustain and you could also put your health at risk. All of that could discourage your efforts.
problem-solving: a great skill that can show you how to overcome your challenges. In simple words, you see a problem and then you think about a solution to it. For example, you were encouraged to drink more water and to increase your fluid intake, but you cannot stand to drink plain water. To address this challenge, you make a list of things you could try. You write three options down on your list, of which two you tried already and did not work. So you try the third one, which is to drink sparkling water and fortunately you find yourself liking it. By applying problem solving skills, you learn how you can get closer to your goals by overcoming any obstacles on your way.
reflections: I used to hate doing them long back when I was at Uni! But that was in the past and I didn’t understand the point behind them. I see how they are helpful now and I see how they help my clients progress in their journeys. Reflections help us reflect on what we are doing well and what needs improving. For instance, you may notice that you are dinking more fluids now but your fruit intake is still low, and you understand you need to work on it. Reflections show us what we have achieved so far and how close we are to our goals. So you review your progress so far and want to see how close you are to your 5 kg target. You see that over the last 2 weeks you you have not lost any weight which makes you feel quite dissapointed. Nevertheless, you notice that since you started your weight loss journey which was just 6 weeks ago, you have actually lost 4 kg. That is a smashing result and you feel proud. Reflections as well show us what is working and what is not working well and when we should move on. You may say that you tried calorie counting for the last 4 weeks and you just can’t get your head around. You decide to move to a different approach such as portion control. By reflecting, we may also learn that we want different things now or that some of our goals might be unrealistic and need to be changed. For instance, your 5 kg weight loss target may change to “I want to be more fit so you start focusing on exercise and being more fit rather than weight loss itself.” As you can see, we can learn a lot by reflecting on our actions.
planning: a crucial skill to change your behaviour. By planning you create a step-by-step process, that allows you to get closer to achieving your goals. Let’s say you set yourself a goal: you want to eat 2 portions of fish per week. What will help you achieve that? Well, you know you need to have the right ingredients at home, and know how to cook your fish. You do your planning and create the following list: make a shopping list, prepare a meal plan for a week, find easy recipes, and buy the ingredients.
Goal setting, problem-solving, reflections, and planning are key elements that are essential to making positive lifestyle changes and taking your health to the next level. Hence, I designed this health-goals planning worksheet (which you can find below) that helps you put all four skills into practice. Of course, you can download it for free. You can either print it out or save it on your electronic device. I am confident that this worksheet will help you make your next steps and move forward in your health journey. As always, I would love to hear what you think about it so please share in the comments below.
As a reminder, you don’t need to go through this journey alone. If you feel that you got stuck or need more support and guidance, I am here for you. Just send me a message and I will contact you back to discuss how we can both work together on achieving your health-related goals.