To achieve any ‘big’ goal – whether it’s a weight loss goal or just a healthier lifestyle – you must go through the stages. Start with prep, grade one, work your way up to high school, and then you can progress further. Every grade or stage in our journey should have its own goal, and these goals will depend on your overall aspiration (the end goal). You might start with making your first few steps to kick some bad habits, then move on to healthier eating, then add fitness training, then set a weight loss goal – it is up to you!
In your journey, it’s also important to be realistic. Start with smaller goals so you feel like the plan is obtainable and not too far out of reach! If you jump in on grade one and say that you want to lose 20kgs in a month, you will have a hard time not only achieving this in such a short amount of time, but you will also make it hard for yourself mentally to move on. Stick to a long-term plan, be consistent and don’t expect it to be easy. After all, you won’t achieve things overnight and that’s totally fine. Take it slow and enjoy the process.
Just like school, if you don’t meet your criteria or accomplish the steps you set out for that grade, you can’t graduate to the next level. It doesn’t mean you will be stuck there forever; it just means it will take a bit longer to reach that next stage. This is important in making your journey a success! This is also where many people can get disheartened and give up or lose interest and motivation. But with a bit of persistence and patience, you will move through ‘school’ before you know it.
Whether you set general health, muscle gain or weight loss goals in your journey, nutrition plays a particularly important role in achieving success in all these areas. Set some small nutrition goals early on in your journey and follow them throughout, because it can take time to implement and stick to a healthy eating routine.
Here are some tips on sticking to a healthier eating routine throughout your journey:
- When it comes to food, be creative. If you keep it interesting, you won’t need a cheat meal to feel satisfied.
- Plan your meals on paper in advance and always stick to your shopping list when you head out for your groceries.
- You have all heard it before ‘don’t shop when you’re hungry’ and it’s true, if you’re hungry your mind will wander, and you will end up with all sorts of junk in that shopping trolley.
- Choose healthier options when going out – like a salad bowl with chicken or a small portion of steak and veg. Remember it’s these little changes that make a big difference in the long run.
- Try to involve the whole family in choosing the meals for the week, shopping together, or cooking together.
- Aim for less processed food and opt for more real food. If you cannot read the ingredients on the labels of your food, question it – there are plenty of healthier options out there without all the chemicals and additives.
When it comes to food just remember, do not overthink things! Aim to have a protein (chicken, beef, pork, tofu, fish, eggs), some healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, nuts, Greek yoghurt) and some healthy carbs (sweet potato, quinoa, brown rice) in every meal and you are set. Perfect trio!
If you’re struggling with your journey, remember take it back to school, set small goals for each ‘grade’ and it will make things seem a lot more approachable and achievable!