BECKY (SparkPeople Dietitian): I always try to use both approaches together. The lofty goal is often set (or planted in your head) by those in the ivory tower: Your blood pressure should be…Your HDL should be…Your weight should be…Your % body fat should be…You should exercise…Your fat intake should be…The list goes on and on.
Since everyone enters the race at a different spot and in a different condition, the playing field is vast. One cannot compare their race to others. But this is so difficult in our competitive, cutthroat society. This is why it is important to design and stick to your own race, with your own goals and expectations. Then true success and accomplishment, can occur.
I am currently working with a woman who, because of a complex medical history, weight and depression, was not ever leaving her house. Nine months later, she walks to her volunteer job four mornings a week, lost 20 pounds, and has lunch with two new friends in our hospital café. She may be crawling to most…but she is winning HER race!!!
NICOLE: Jen- I DO think that most people have unrealistic expectations...but can you blame them? We live in an instant gratification, speed-hungry society, so it's no wonder that even if it took you 20 years to gain 20 pounds, you want to get rid of it for your vacation next month.
And that also goes along with Becky's point about comparing oneself to others. If your friend did it, you should be able to also, right? And if the experts say that you should lose an average of 2 lbs a week, and you only lose 1, you think something is wrong with you. That's why I think small and attainable goals are so important. Even my own fitness goals are small. When I increase my time by 5 minutes a week, or increase my running speed by even .2 mph for a whole workout, I feel good! And that motivates me to keep going.
I never used to be very healthy. Fast food and Oreos made up the bulk of my diet and I never even touched a fruit or vegetable. I had a New Year's Resolution one year to be healthier. And although I consider myself to be a VERY ambitious person, my goals were small (just TRYING different fruits and vegetables was part of my plan!). You can't expect to change a lifetime of bad habits overnight.