Posts in Motivational Mondays
5 Ways to Stick to a Goal

I pride myself on this being a weight loss/food blog, but this post can be for anyone! Goal setting is tough stuff!  Even tougher than setting the goal, is reaching that goal and pressing on to new ones! Probably the hardest part of staying on a new diet is setting attainable goals and sticking with it! If you're like me, you've started and stopped a thousand times.  You get sick of seeing that person staring back at you in the mirror, and you decide you're back to counting calories, or you're only eating vegetables.  

Counting calories and eating vegetables is very important; however, restricting yourself THAT much can lead to a quick fade of motivation.  Every time I got about two weeks in, I'd get hungry and go right back to eating junk.  So what changed for me?

A lot of people ask me this question, and I go into a bit of depth in my "why" post; but for the most part, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I'm almost forty and I can't tell you how many times doctors would tell me that I was tired because I was overweight.  I never wanted that to be true, but sadly, it was.  Even with a thyroid disease, my overweight body was making life harder and harder.

So what changed this time? 

My goals.

I decided that setting goals would be the best way to mark my progress and keep me accountable to reaching my end goal of weight loss.  But that's where my past mistakes come back to haunt me.  I couldn't just set a goal of losing weight and be able to achieve it.  It's important to set SMART goals.

1. SMART Goals

Many of you have probably read about SMART goals if you've taken any college workshop or tried to be more organized.  I didn't believe this method at first, but I can tell you that I am now a true believer. S.M.A.R.T. stands for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.  I will make a separate post breaking these down even more, but I wanted to highlight a few points.

Specific Goals - it's easy for us to throw out there, "I want to lose weight" or "I want to save money", but the truth is losing weight isn't our specific goal.  By saying I want to lose weight, you aren't giving yourself a goal, you're making a statement that you will/won't be able to back up.  Instead, say to yourself, "I want to lose 20 pounds by the end of the year." Give yourself a specific goal and set a timeline!

Measurable Goals - setting measurable goals allows you to visually SEE the results.  Some people may find that setting a goal of losing 20 pounds by the end of the year is too much of a broad goal.  Let's break it down even more.  How are you going to lose 20 pounds by the end of the year? I'm going to set a goal to measure myself once a week, and weight myself once every other week.  Set a day/time for that to happen.  Write down your results.  These are all ways you can measure your success on your path to reaching that goal.

Achievable Goals - this is another point that people get locked up on.  If I set the goal for myself to lose 20 pounds by the end of the year, and it's the last week of December...well, that's not an achievable goal.  Not one that is healthy or realistic anyway.  Make sure you are being realistic in setting your goals.  

Relevant Goals - Make sure you are in a place in your life in which this is relevant to what you want/need.  You are not going to achieve your goal if it's not important to YOU.  Setting a goal of losing 20 pounds is all great and wonderful, but if you're not willing to give up the junk food, you may find that you're not in a place in which its possible to lose weight...we'll talk more about that in a bit.

Timely Goals - Finally, setting goals that have a timeline are SUPER important.  As I mentioned above, just saying you want to lose 20 pounds isn't always going to set you up to succeed.  You need to be able to put a timeline to your goals so that you can track your success.

2. Visual Aids

I'm a sucker for visual aids.  Whether it is a list that I've created, motivational stickers that I've found on Pinterest, or just tracking my progress; I've found these visual aids have helped to keep me on track in meeting my goals.  

Using goal trackers can be a very helpful tool in reaching your goals.  For me, I used MyFitnessPal for daily food tracking for the first six months or so of my journey.  It helped for me to be able to track all of my macros and to see exactly what I was putting in my mouth.  I also tracked every pound/inch I lost or gained over time...I still use it for that matter.

Don't just track the losses!  This is so very important!!  It is so important to track your days in which you gain weight too.  This is important because you want to be able to see the downward trend.  I've shared before that my weight loss was not a constant downward slope...it was very much up and down, but with a downward trend, and that trend is what you want to see.  THAT is what will keep you motivated to stick with it! 

Don't just use the scale!  Using the scale to measure success on any way of eating isn't just ineffective, its downright dangerous.  You do not want to become a slave to your scale and worry about every bite that goes into your mouth and how it affects that number...this is a dangerous precursor to an eating disability.  

The scale is a tool to monitor weight loss, but it is not the end-all-be-all to success.  Monitor your progress in other ways as well...measure your body, take progress pictures, watch your clothing size drop, notice how much better you feel physically... All of these are great ways to monitor your success without using a scale.  Speaking from personal experience, there has been several times now that the scale number goes UP, but my body has shown significant changes for the better.

3. Reward Yourself

Now I know what you're thinking.  Pre-Keto Stephanie often would reward herself with food.  It was an easy reward that was very satisfying for a time.  I'm here to tell you...there are BETTER ways of rewarding yourself for good behavior and good habits, then feeding the beast!

Workout Gear.  I like to reward myself for hard work by buying myself something that I'll be able to do MORE hard work in.  It took me almost 40 pounds before I figured this out, and I was so excited when I realized how good it felt to do pilates without having to pull my too big yoga pants up all the time.  It was after my 50 pound loss that I finally bought a new sports bra...it's like a whole different workout experience!  Reward the hard work with more hard work!

New Shoes! Nothing shows off those newly toned calves than a new pair of pumps!  Show that hard work off!!  Or...go with what we just mentioned and purchase yourself a new pair of running shoes!! I'll always work hard for a good pair of shoes! 

Pay Yourself. Set up a jar to put money in.  Every time you hit a weight loss goal, whether it be in pounds or inches, drop some money in your jar!  Once you hit your end goal, use that money to buy a new wardrobe! 

4. Remember Your Influence

This is a touchy one.  I'm very much a person who wants to influence others in a positive way.  I knew that I would not be able to accomplish these goals of mine on my own, so I made sure that the people closest to me knew of my goals so that I would be held accountable to them.  After a few weeks, it got hard again...really hard.  But this time I did something different...I created an accountability group for my friends and I.  This accountability group is on FB and now is over 900 members, most of whom I've never even met.

You may not need others to see your successes like I do, but you do need to remember those who are in your area of influence.  Your kids, your closest friends, your relatives...with the obesity rate as high as it is right now, there is someone you love who could use your encouragement and motivation. Helping others is a great way to help yourself too.  It's much harder to give up on a goal if you know others are watching you for success.

5. Non-Scale Victories

This one is SOOOOOO important for hitting your overall goal of weight loss!  As I mentioned above, you don't want to use that bathroom scale as your only measure of success! It is super important that you find other ways to track your weight loss, and keep those at the forefront of your mind when evaluating your success.

Take measurements. I know I've already mentioned this before, but this is something that you NEED to do!  It's something that I didn't do in the beginning and I completely regret it.  By measuring yourself weekly, you will be able to notice that your body composition is changing while the scale may/may not move.  Track these changes!  Just like on the scale, they may go up and down, but as long as the trend is downward, use that as your motivation to KEEP GOING!

Take pictures. This is also something I didn't do much of in the beginning and I wish I had.  Get someone to take some before pictures of yourself.  Selfies don't do it justice, so get your spouse or a close friend to do it for you.  Take pictures monthly so that you can see your body change over time.  If you're comfortable enough, share them with your accountability partners!  This keeps others motivated as well...AND sometimes they'll see a drastic change even when you don't!

Clothing.  You don't have to track this, but make mental notes when you notice it.  The best motivation to keep going for me, was going into a store and trying on clothes in my current size only to find that it was too big!  As you start losing weight, take a few different sizes into the dressing room with you...it's such a great feeling when you find yourself in a size or two lower than you first thought!  Also, play around with different styles that you may not be used to!  Your body is changing, have fun with it!

No more pain! Probably the best part of Keto for me has been the fact that I don't ache as much as I used to.  If you like to journal, make note of this!  When things get hard, it helps to go back and read about how great you feel!  If you don't journal, you can still track this in your phone or weight loss tracker app!  

 

 

So share with me!  What have you found that helps you stick to your goals? Do you have an accountability partner/group?  What are some goals you've set for yourself?

Keeping it Keto,

Stephanie

Three Steps Forward...Two Steps Back
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I often get private messages or emails from people who are beyond frustrated because the first couple of weeks on Keto went so well and then they stall out.

To these people I just want to say...KEEP GOING!  You are doing a great job and you need to give yourself some credit!  

You've made it through Keto Flu.  
You're getting closer to becoming fat adapted.  
The cravings are going away.  
You've done the hard part! 

I'm here to tell you...KEEP GOING!

Since my last post, I hit my long time goal of 150 pounds.  This is a goal I've had for as long as I can remember...at least for the last 16 years since my first son was born. It has always been an unattainable goal that I set for myself.  Every diet I tried, I set that goal KNOWING I'd never hit it. I'm not really sure exactly what triggered in my brain this time, but seeing constant progress on Keto really kept me motivated.

Was I always losing?  Uhhh...no.  As a matter of fact, I often found myself dropping three pounds and then gaining two back.  A constant shuffle between pounds.

 Three pounds down...two pounds up has been my trend for a while. As long as the trend continues down, THAT is what is important.

Three pounds down...two pounds up has been my trend for a while. As long as the trend continues down, THAT is what is important.

I'm here to tell you that you are NOT a slave to your scale!

If you are just starting out with Keto, take pictures.  Measure yourself.  As mortifying as those numbers will be, you will wish you had them later! I promise you! The least important measurement is that scale number.  

The scale may be the most common method used for measuring weight loss, but I am here to tell you that there WILL be weeks that the number doesn't move, or it moves the wrong way.  It is those weeks/months that you will want to be able to compare your body measurements or pictures.  If you don't notice a difference, show them to someone you trust!  If you are sticking to the plan, there WILL be a difference!

And even if after all of that you still don't notice a difference...KEEP GOING. Eventually the scale will move, the inches will drop, and the clothes will sag.  You'll be farther along this time next year if you keep with it then you will be if you give up.

This is a complete lifestyle change.  Not a quick fix. You CAN do this.

Let's Keep it Keto!

Stephanie

Motivational Monday: Stronger than your cravings
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How many times have you started and stopped a diet?  Take a second and think about it.  Once? Twice?  Ten Times? Who are we kidding?  If you’re like me, you’ve started a diet and stopped it more times than you can count.

I want to start offering some motivation to all of us out there who are taking the one millionth try to get their nutrition in order.

Guess what?

It doesn’t matter how many times you have fallen off the wagon.  What matters is that you get up, dust yourself off and keep going.

While it’s easy to READ this, it’s much more difficult to apply it.  Why must dieting be so hard?

Dieting is hard because we are training our bodies to go against what we’ve been doing for decades.  We’ve taught our bodies to crave sugars and carbs, so of course its going to be hard to train our bodies differently.  But…if you can make it through a month of hard, it becomes so much easier.

On our Facebook page, so many ask about replacing sweets.  I try and encourage everyone to not try and replace sweets for cravings within the first month of Keto.  The reason is, you’re not retraining your body this way.  You’re simply placating an addiction instead of overcoming it.

If I can offer you any encouragement it’s this…you are stronger than your cravings.

Think of the hardest thing you’ve gone through.  You made it through.  If you can make it through THAT, your cravings are nothing. 

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So…I’m not going to just offer motivation without giving you some things to arm yourself with in the war against cravings.

 

1.     Get all of the junk food out of your house.  By keeping the junk food in your house, you’re bound to cave at least once.  It’s much harder to cave to your cravings if you don’t have those temptations sitting in your pantry.

If you’re like me and have kids who still eat carbs, then that may be a bit more difficult.  Something I did was to keep all of my food in the fridge.  The good part of eating Keto is you’re eating lots of fresh veggies and meats so I didn’t go into our pantry hardly at all.  When I did it was to get pork rinds or almonds, both of which I kept in a basket of JUST my Keto foods.  I’d fill my evening meal with fat so that I wasn’t hungry.  I quickly realized my nightly grazing was out of boredom…not hunger.

2.     Arm yourself with options.  I always make sure to have some flavored waters or almonds on hand.  Many cravings can be lessened just by eating something else.  For example, if I am craving chocolate, I’ll eat almonds…if I want something crunchy, then I’ll eat some pork rinds.  Also, lots and lots of water.  Most of the time we crave foods when we’re dehydrated.  Another great substitute for chocolate cravings is avocado.  Upping your fats will keep you full, therefore not hungry.

3.     Brush your teeth.  This may seem really simple and silly, but who wants to eat after you brush your teeth?  Please note that if you are HUNGRY, eat something!  There are plenty of foods you CAN eat, why be hungry? 

 

I hope this helps.  The first week or two of Keto (or any diet really) can be very difficult adapting.  Why not make it easier on yourself? Leave me a comment and tell us what you struggled with when you first started Keto?  What got you through the cravings?  How do you deal with them now?

 

You are stronger than your cravings. 

 

So let’s keep it Keto!

 

Stephanie