Weight Loss MRC Blog

The Secret to Lasting Weight Loss: Planning & Tracking

April 26, 2022


When it comes to losing weight, the first thing we think about is changing what, how, when, and where we eat. And that is an important key part of the weight loss journey. But your weight loss journey and ultimately your new healthy lifestyle that you maintain is so much more than just the foods you put into your mouth. Things happening outside of food like your activity level, how much water you’re drinking, how you manage stress, how you find balance and time for yourself to nurture mind, body, and soul, how you handle relationships with others around you - these all also impact your weight loss and the development of healthy long term habits. Truth be told, it can seem like all of these pieces working together are a lot - and they are. But “a lot” doesn’t equate to “impossible.” Managing all of the aspects of weight loss is possible, and it starts with planning.

Planning is an action that you take and can be done daily, weekly, monthly - whenever and wherever you find you are best able to keep track of you. As humans, we do it all of the time - subconsciously and consciously. We get up in the morning and we say “oh, I need to stop by the store on my way into work, so I’m going to leave 15 minutes early” and your mind automatically begins calculating what actions you need to take in order to leave on time and before you know it you’re walking out the door on time despite not feeling like you’re really done all that much differently than any other morning. We can also take direct actions to plan - sitting down and taking the time to consciously map out your path to success The examples to follow will center around weight loss success, but these tips are truly applicable to many kinds of goals you may have for yourself. So keep on reading.

First and foremost, don’t put the burden of “remembering everything” solely on your mind. For starters, you simply won’t remember everything. When it comes to planning and measuring success, writing down your goals and progress is going to be your best strategy for seeing the results you want and feeling the greatest sense of accomplishment throughout the journey. A success planner or journal can be a great tool for keeping track of your goals and progress. For weight loss tracking, MRC’s Success Planner is designed specifically to pair with those focusing on weight loss. If you’ve already got a planner or a journal where you keep track of goals, then you can certainly keep using that. Or you can simply get a notebook with lined pages and start your own journal and tracking. The vessel you use to track matters not so much as you do track. Our tips and discussion that follow use the MRC Success Planner as a foundation and guide.

If you’ve never journaled or mapped success before, you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s actually quite simple. It takes no more than a little bit of time and attention to yourself just once a week. We find that Sunday can be a great day for weekly planning, reflection and goal setting as you wind down and process the week that has just passed and prepare for the week that is yet to come. We know, though, that not everyone’s week/weekend follows a traditional M-F and Sat/Sun schedule; so choose any day where you can devote time for yourself and feels like a good time to both reflect and prepare. So once you’ve got your 15-30 minutes set aside for yourself, it’s time to begin. During this time, you will critically consider two important areas: reflecting on the week that has passed and preparing for the week that is to come. Everyone knows that it’s important to have a plan in order to know where you’re going, but when it comes to making lasting lifestyle changes such as weight loss, it’s equally important to know where you’ve come from. That’s why the MRC approach devotes time to critically looking at both of these areas. Read more to learn specific prompts and cues you can focus on in both areas.

REFLECTIONS

It’s really important to look back on your week and think about what you learned, what you accomplished, what you want to work on. Do not fall into the trap, however, of dwelling on mistakes or missteps. It’s okay to acknowledge them, but move on! Instead of “what I did wrong” focus on “what can I do differently the next time I am presented with this scenario to ensure a more successful outcome?” Reflections are made up of five key areas:

  • Mindset. Where am I mentally? Check in with yourself! Am I in the zone? Am I in the game? Have I lost sight? And what actions did you take that led you to be in that place? If you’re “in the zone” then think about what you did during the week and commit to replicate these behaviors, thoughts, and actions that led to a successful week. If you prepped and planned all week, stayed really hydrated, planned out all your meals in advanced, then do it again! If you didn’t have a great week, then it’s also important to figure out “it’s okay, let’s figure out what happened.” Whatever it is that derailed you may not even have anything to do with food. It could have been an event, an interaction, or an experience. Understanding what caused you to step off track will be helpful in proactively planning to succeed the next time around. Bottom line: write it down and use as much detail as you can.
  • Body. How am I feeling? Check in with yourself head to toe! There’s so much about weight loss that cannot be measured on the scale. Not to say that the scale isn’t important, but there is so much going on in your body that lives outside of the scale - and truly, when you hit your goal weight - those are the things that are going to matter most. It will be about how you changed, how you grew, how much better you feel, what medications you came off of, how much better your digestion is, etc. So, when the number on the scale isn’t moving as quickly as you expected, be sure to check in to with your body outside of the scale. “I lost one pound, BUT I slept well every night - I was so much more pleasant, I was less edgy, I was less irritable” there are so many signs outside of the scale that tell you the changes you are making are working!
  • Learn. What did I learn this week and who did I learn from? This is an important indicator of growth. Reflecting on what you learned allows you to identify who are helpers and mentors and individuals to gravitate towards to continue to progress and grow. It’s also so very rewarding to be able to look back each week and see what you learned. Every week you learned something!
  • Give. What did I do to pay it forward? This can be directly related to your program or not. The things that you do to give and do for others outside of yourself help you to grow into a better person. And those actions can only support your growth and new healthy lifestyle (whether they are directly related to your weight loss program or not)
  • What did I accomplish this week? Mark what you accomplished so you can (1) celebrate and (2) see the areas that you weren’t as strong. Maybe you didn’t drink all of your water each day this past week. You can think and strategize ways to make sure you get it all in this coming week. For example, you could put paper clips or other objects on your desk that represent a glass of water; removing one and putting it away each time you drink a glass. Or you could even go ahead and prefill water bottles and have them out on your desk; once they are gone, you are done!

MY WEEK AHEAD

After you’ve reflected on the things you’ve done last week, it’s time to plan for the coming week. After all, when you know where you’re going, it’s that much easier to get there. Start the week with success in mind! There are six key areas that you’ll reflect and plan out for the coming week:

  • Current Weight. This can be your weight today or if you are working with a Coach and weigh in once or twice weekly basis, this can be your recorded weight at your last weigh in
  • Goal Weight for this week. When you have a goal, your subconscious mind helps drive you. Did you know that the subconscious mind takes the most simple command and follows it. So, if your current weight is 188 and your goal weight this week is to be 185, you go through your week saying to yourself “I weigh 185”. Note: don’t just say “I want to weight 185” or “I hope I weight 185” - keep it simple (and keep it realistic because the mind knows that you aren’t going from 185 to 150 this week either - trust us, we’ve tried!). With a realistic goal and simple direct language, this tactic really works. Here’s why: when you’ve got the subconscious mind engaged, you are going to stick better to your behaviors that enable you to achieve what you are telling your subconscious mind is real without even really knowing it. If you go to leave for the day and you leave your lunch on the counter, as you’re backing out of the driveway you’ll remember “oh, my healthy lunch” - and you’ll run in and grab it and stay on track because I WEIGH 185. Your subconscious is engaged and it’s going to do what’s needed for you to be what you say you are. That’s not hocus pocus; that’s simple behavior.
  • Movement/Fitness Goals for the week. If you want to commit to a hardcore exercise routine, then by all means, we won’t stop you from going for it! But, we find that for many individuals jumping headfirst into movement isn’t realistic and isn’t enjoyable. Allow yourself to be okay with the notion that “any movement is good movement.” Start where exercise is accessible to you, and grow from there. There’s a reason the “Couch to 5k” method works, and it’s largely because you meet your body where it currently is and build upon that existing foundation. So, if you’re walking 30 minutes five days a week right now, maybe your new goal for this coming week is to walk 35 minutes a day on each of your five days or you want to walk 30 minutes six days this week. Perhaps you’re doing resistance training with bands or weights. Maybe your goal is to move from a one pound weight to a two pound weight. Whatever your goals are, know that (1) no goal is too small and (2) gradual changes are going to lead to long term success.
  • Other Goals for the week. This can be anything that doesn’t fit into the above.. Do you want to try new recipes? Do you want to make more time for prayer or meditation? Do you want to better manage your stress? Do you want to carve out time to have meaningful conversation with family, friends, or peers? Think about some of the emotional or mental goals and habits that support your weight loss endeavors, and write them down.

A note about goal setting: when you set goals, it’s important to set yourself up for success. Quality over quantity. It’s admirable to say “I want to do these 50 things this week” but it’s probably more realistic to say “I want to do these 2-3 things this week.” Setting a few goals that are 100% achievable will take you so much further than setting too many goals that you know you can’t possibly achieve in one week’s time. 

There are a few reasons for this. First, your subconscious mind knows that 50 goals aren’t achievable, and you may begin to feel overwhelmed or see that increasingly louder thoughts of “I can’t get them all done, so why bother with any of them” can also begin to creep in. Don’t leave any room for self doubt or procrastination. Commit to 2-3 goals that are well within your reach, and see how much more quickly you are able to make positive changes that are rewarding and last! 

Secondly, when you have only 2-3 goals, you have time to plan and map out exactly how you’re going to achieve them. As we mentioned before, it’s far easier to arrive where you intend to be when you have a map for getting there. For example, if your goal is to walk an extra five minutes each day this week, take a moment to literally map out your new walking path that adds five minutes to your walk! It seems simple, but this all also plays into prepping and equipping your subconscious mind with tools it needs to succeed and best keep you on track. The honest truth is that the specificity of just one goal is going to be better and lead to more success than eight goals with no plan at all.

  • Rewards. This one is more important than we like to give it credit, and oddly enough, it’s usually the easiest one to “skip” each week. Rewards matter and they do not have to even cost you anything. Some rewards that don’t cost a dime include adding a new song to your playlist, taking an extra long bubble bath, taking extra time for yourself, carving out a Zoom meeting or phone call with your best friends. But the bottom line is that your accomplishments need to be benchmarked and recognized. Why? While the reward itself may seem small and insignificant, recognition is really important to the bigger process of making lifestyle changes. If you do all of these great things one week and don’t give yourself acknowledgement and recognition, then when it comes time to do it again, the brain is more inclined to shrug it off and just say “meh.” Think about when you come home from school with a really good grade. If your parents just brush it off and don’t acknowledge the accomplishment, are you going to feel as inclined to try and do it again? Even if you don’t realize it, the answer is you won’t. But when your accomplishments are received with recognition and acknowledgement, you will be more inclined to not only try and achieve them again (because you want that same positive reinforcement), but perhaps do even better the next time around. Don’t deprive yourself of the recognition you have earned!
  • Inspiration. This can be anything you want. What are you looking forward to? What is exciting right now? Maybe a new recipe you want to try. Maybe a new YouTube yoga video you want to do? Think about the things that you want to do, be, and accomplish as you change your life and your habits. All of these changes are a part of the larger process of you continuing to grow and evolve and improve on yourself. Remind yourself of the reasons that you are making these changes and become excited about all of the new doors that are opening to you with your new lifestyle and healthy habits! What inspires you to be better? Write it down!

TAKEAWAY

Planning for success (and ultimately achieving that success consists of two parts): reflection and preparation. Success tracking, goal tracking, journaling - whatever you want to call it - matters, and it works. Those who have a plan for their goals are more likely to succeed and reach those goals than those that don’t. And those who also keep a record of their progress along the way are most likely to find success at the end of the road. Why? Knowing and understanding intimately where you’ve come from helps you form the most effective plan for getting where you want to be. Using MRC’s Success Planner is a comprehensive way to plan for success by both reflecting on your past and planning for the future. Get your copy today for $16.99 here

This guided planner comes undated - so it’s ready to start wherever and whenever you are (whether that's January 1st or April 30th) and it features day-by-day journal sheets, reflections, goal setting, weekly mindset moments, and more. Our planner is designed specifically for you and your goals. Each week brings a little something different from a motivational quote to a delicious Metabolic Research Center recipe to an easy activity that challenges you to see yourself in a whole new light - all while allowing you to track your program progress from day to day, week to week, and month to month. The planner has you covered from all angles. You'll be able to easily track food, hydration, exercise, and wellness.

It’s more than just planning! You'll receive tips and tricks on eating better, managing stress, finding joy, conquering obstacles, and forming healthy habits. The best part - there's no one right or wrong way to use this planner - you determine your success! We simply provide you with another great tool to add to your arsenal of health and wellness for both now and the long term.

Looking for planning and then some? You can get your copy of the MRC Success Planner as a part of these great bundles: the Success Support Bundle the all new Metabolic Majic 28 Day Weight Loss Kit PLUS Accessories.