I see a lot of articles that say “Lose ## lbs by _____”.  I also see a lot of people who say “I need to drop weight before _____”.  I realize it is important to people that they look good for summer or that they fit a particular outfit for a special event like a wedding but it is amazing to me that people place such restrictions on themselves.

By placing a deadline on yourself, I feel, you set yourself up for failure.  Why? Well generally you start seeing the lose 20 lbs before summer articles in May.  This gives you about a month to lose 20 lbs and this is simply unrealistic.  Most of the articles I’ve seen give you a few ab exercises and tell you to cut back on junk food.  They don’t give you a full lesson on nutrition.  Even if you do get on a diet plan and exercises you can expect to lose 2 lbs per week tops.  Most of us will not have time to develop washboard abs in a month or even two.

Another situation where people set themselves up for failure is trying to lose weight for a certain event.  Why does it seem like so many of my friends try to lose weight for a wedding but rarely end up making a big difference.  The ones who do manage to lose 15 or 20 lbs before their friend’s wedding end up gaining it back when the wedding is over.

The problem is you cannot sustain a goal that you set for someone else.  Real change comes when you make the decision to change your life for you.  Short term goals are very good but you should also have long term goals and goals that are sustainable once you reach your goal.  I’ve set goals to lose a certain amount of weight only to gain it all back once I reached my goal.  Mostly because I did it for the wrong reasons.

So how do you set these goals?  Before starting any diet and exercise program you should lay out a set of goals.  For example, you would say “I want to lose 20 lbs”.  Don’t set a time limit that is unsustainable because you’ll end up feeling like a failure.  Set a goal to lose 2 lbs per week.  Then you can mark on your calendar the day you hope to have 20 lbs lost by.  If you miss your goal then simply pick up the pieces and shoot for 2 lbs next week.

Exercise goals should be simple as well.  Do a fitness test to see how many of each exercise you can do.  For example, when I started in May I was able to do about 7 or 8 sit ups in a row.  I broke my sit ups in to four sets of 5.  If you can only do 1 sit up then do one but do 4 sets that day and repeat two more times that week.  On week two try to do 2 sit ups in a row.  Pace yourself, don’t wear out your muscles, split things up in to achievable sets and you will succeed.  Most of all, track your achievements to motivate yourself to keep going.

I’m sorry I did not post yesterday.  I actually wrote the first three or four sentences of this post yesterday but got distracted.  My teenage daughter’s friend is over and they took over my computer and I never got the time to finish.

Wednesday I did 140 sit ups.  Yesterday I ran Week 5, Day 2 of Couch to 5k.  It is 16 minutes of running total.  It felt great.  I only managed to get in 50 squats.  I was experiencing some pain in my right leg muscles and decided to hold back a bit.  The run should have been a good workout for my legs so I wont feel too bad.  Today is push ups day.  I’m a little tired from working late all week at work but this is my weekend and I’ve got time to go slow and get in a ton of push ups.