I love it when a plan comes together (just about)

I love it when a plan comes together (just about)

To paraphrase a certain Lieutenant Colonel John ‘Hannibal’ Smith (played by George Peppard), “I love it when a plan comes together”. Smith was one of three soldiers of fortune, the ‘A-Team’, a gloriously over the top action series which ran from 1983-1987. It was quite a big part of my childhood. I had the action figures and even the large black van toy with the red stripe down the side. Each episode the heroes would come to aid of people seeking their help from a nefarious antagonist. The heroes would always come out on top at the end, having modified a car in a garage to form a special armoured vehicle, or set some elaborate trap, and Lt Smith would always grin triumphantly at the end, chewing a cigar, and would say his iconic line. I think that even in the instances when they didn’t have a plan, that they made a plan anyway, and using wit and ingenuity they would be smiling, successful at the end credits.

Segway (number 1) to this piece: planning. Whilst Lt Smith and the team may have improvised a lot of their smaller plans, they had a clear goal and vision for their main plan. How to beat the villain? Well what do we have? We have some barrels, hose-pipes, pressurised gas canisters. Lets make a water hose (lightbulb). They looked at their surrounding available resources, made a plan, and looked at how they could utilise these resources to succeed in the execution of their plan.

Segway (number 2) – how to plan, as a person who approaching 40 (or any age for that matter) toward a lifestyle change or fitness goal? Well first things first, you need to know what you want. Do you want muscle gain? Do you want fat loss? In my previous piece entitled: ‘Taking new steps’ (https://wordpress.com/post/fitfornearly40.wordpress.com/30), I looked at myself, where I am the moment with my current state of my fitness and wellbeing and where do I want to be with said fitness and wellbeing.

Looking at yourself is also about being honest with yourself. What are your limitations? What are your weaknesses? What are your strengths? For me, my limitations are my work hours, as a work long days a nights, and therefore my workouts need to be time focussed and exercise focused so I get the most out the routines in the time given. Another limitation is the fact that over the years I have incurred several injuries (bad knees, bad back, bad left shoulder) so I understand that not all of the exercises out there are for me – and that’s ok. It’s about using the available resources (research, the gym, my body – arguably the greatest resource) and forming a plan using said resources.

Unconsciously I used something called SMART planning. If you have not heard of SMART planning, it’s a great way of setting goals and working toward achieving them.

The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.– Bill Copeland

SMART goal setting is about establishing goal setting plans which are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound. For myself, I know that my specific goal is that I want to lose weight and that this is 10kg below my current weight. How to measure it? Well I established that at the end of each month I will measure my waist circumference, and my weight. The waist circumference would indicate a reduction in fat stored around the midsection and my weight would indicate a loss of weight (target), however a reduction in waist size and yet no change in weight would indicate fat lost and muscle gained, which would then call for a modification of the training and eating programme.

Now for achievable – well yes, I do believe it is achievable, as I have gathered information and done research around things such as calorie deficit (something I will cover in more detail later) and have been beginning to make some unbelievably tasty low-calorie, high protein foods. Using this deficit approach, I am confident that with a combination of exercise, that I will get myself toward my goal. Relevant – well yes. I am nearly 40, I am concerned for my weight management and welfare, and I need to do something about it. Time bound – I have given myself a year, but if I am honest, I have given myself 10 months.

At a moderate calorie deficit, it is possible to lose 1lb a week / 4lb a month / 1.8kg a month. At a more restrictive deficit it is possible to lose more, but I don’t run the danger of running myself into a brick wall and crashing out with no energy for my brain and body. At 1.8kg or 2kg a month, it is possible to lose 10kg over a period of 5 months….HOWEVER, I know that life gets in the way sometimes: people have birthdays, people get married, people go on holiday, people go the pub and socialize – we are all people at the end of the day and cannot be expected to be perfect. We will indulge at times, on holiday for example, and that’s ok. It’s about finding the balance at the end of the day.  Further details of SMART goal setting if you are interested can be found at: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/smart-goals.htm.

So: it’s about having a plan, knowing how to set yourself to that plan, and, probably the trickiest bit, keeping to that plan. I shall look at keeping to healthy eating plans next week, as I work in the health service and as those who work in these services will understand, it is difficult to eat regularly and healthily. One minute you are grabbing a cup of tea and a few biscuits, the next minute you are handing over to the next shift. And that is a cycle I need to break.

So next week I will look at eating healthily in a busy work environment, as well as sharing some of the meals and recipes I have been cooking up. Until then, stay happy, stay healthy, and have a lovely weekend wherever you are on the planet.

A bit about the author:I am a guy who is (nearly) 40, who is sharing a journey of weight management and wellbeing.I am also a mental health professional with a wealth of years of experience in supporting individuals who have challenging mental illnesses and personality disorders. Prior to my current professional role, I spent several years supporting members of the community as a fitness professional, assisting individuals with weight loss and health improvement programmes.I completed a PGDip in Mental Health Nursing in 2013, and an MSc in Advanced Practice in 2016 in which I looked at improving nurses’ level of engagement with patients with challenging personality disorders. In 2018 I successfully undertook a Clinical reasoning in Physical Assessments course with the view to start studying toward becoming an Advanced Nurse Practitioner in late 2019.In 2015 I also undertook a Mentorship for practice (BSc Hons) course and have been supporting future nurses with their training and development. I have also recently supported a Healthcare Assistant Staff toward training in and successfully passing and achieving a Foundation Degree in Mental Health Nursing.In my current role I am a person looking to support the physical and mental health and wellbeing of the individual. As part of my role within the health services in supporting individuals with mental health care needs, I am also currently looking to develop myself as a Wellness Coach, to support the individual with weekly wellness blogs, with the view to support individuals on a 1:1 basis as well as holding motivational lectures and seminars. 

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