Food for Thought

Nutrition, Fitness, and Wellness articles for busy women who want to lead a healthy, fulfilled life they love.

SMART Goals In Real Life

SMART Goals In Real Life
Hey again! If you’ve been following along with the last couple of blogs, you know by now how important it is to set SMART goals (simple, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based, that is) when it comes to your nutrition and fitness. One things you might not know, though, is how to make those goals work in your real life.


In my work as a nutrition coach, I’ve just about seen it all. Sure, I’ve had some clients who were young, active, had great metabolisms and just needed some guidance. But most of my clients have been people whose metabolisms have slowed over the years, whose careers make it difficult for them to find time to eat every three hours or exercise regularly, and who come to me feeling bound to their unhealthy choices by the ins and outs of their everyday life.


If any of that sounds familiar, stay with me. I have good news for you.

Today, I'd like to share a little story with you about how one client of mine adapted his goals into SMART goals that fit his specific circumstances. His job made eating throughout the day particularly challenging--not only was he busy, but he was a busy sales manager who spent his whole day on the sales floor, where no food was allowed.


Still, he was on a mission to clean up his eating habits and get his metabolism humming again. So we set to work figuring it out. That’s not to say it was easy--at first, transitioning from rarely eating throughout the day to squeezing in six small meals seemed like an insurmountable obstacle. But like I said: he was determined.

And so we tackled his obstacles one at a time, and the first question that had to be answered was, How was he going to fit in his mid-morning and mid-afternoon meals? Rather than just saying, I don’t know but it has to be done, we opted to adjust his routine one tiny step at a time.

First, we decided that instead of aiming to eat two extra meals during every work day, we’d start by trying to incorporate one extra meal on three out of his five work days that first week. For him, that seemed simple enough. It was certainly measurable--one meal, three days. It was achievable--we put a plan in place and decided that if he had a pre-mixed shake ready to go, he could easily pop into the break room (or in an emergency, into the restroom) and have a quick snack. It was realistic--the plan didn’t affect his ability to do his job, didn’t require him to spend a substantial amount of his time at home doing food prep, and didn’t alter his lifestyle in any meaningful way. And finally, it was time-based--we decided to try it for just one week to see how it went. Once that week was over, we would assess the situation and adjust for the week ahead.

Going about meeting his goals in this way really gave my client an opportunity to succeed, to relish his success, and to build on that. And that’s really the key for all of us when we’re putting together goals. Success builds upon success, and who doesn’t want to be successful at meeting their goals in both the short-term and the long-term?


For that reason, I want to encourage you to take everything you’ve learned about SMART goals over the last few weeks and really examine it as it applies to  your life. Do you need to include some extra steps in your plan to accommodate for difficult circumstances? Do you need to spend some time creating a realistic strategy? It might not be immediately easy, but succeeding is absolutely possible!

If you're looking for additional support, I invite you to come join me in my free group, Never Diet Again. Once there, you’re more than welcome to ask me any questions you have! I'm always happy to help you set goals and set yourself up for success.


That’s all I’ve got to say for this week, but I'll be back next Tuesday with more tips and tricks you can use to be healthy in your everyday life. Until then, what I hope for you is to live a life that you love without being hungry, feeling deprived, or giving up your glass of wine with dinner.


Posted - 2/19/19 (Tue)


Setting SMART Fitness Goals

Setting SMART Fitness Goals

Hey there! I don’t know about you, but the cold weather sometimes makes it difficult for me to stay focused on my health and fitness when all I really want to focus on is snuggling up on the couch with a hot bowl of soup.


On a similar note, I wanted to talk to you today about setting SMART goals for movement. In my last post, we talked about what “SMART goals” are and what it means to set them.  Now, we're going to extend that information to thinking about how we can set SMART fitness and movement goals.

It's so common for people to want to jump right in and look at the end of their journey. And while Stephen Covey does say, "Begin with the end in mind," you can't just skip right to the end. We have to create benchmarks that keep us focused and motivated throughout our whole journey--and that’s exactly what SMART goals are for.


So how might we go about setting SMART goals for our movement and fitness?

Like we talked about with regard to setting SMART nutrition goals, we have to pick goals that are simple, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based. Here are some statements for example:


Start with: “I’m going to start walking more.”

(This is unspecific, not measurable, and not time-based.)

Change it to:  “I'm going to walk three days this week, then increase to four days next week.”

(You know exactly how many days out of the week you’re planning to walk over the course of the next two weeks. Simple, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based.)


Start with: “I’m going to start running 10 miles before work every Monday through Friday and 15 miles on the weekends.”

(For most us, this isn’t a realistic goal. It’s not achievable and doesn’t have a deadline. We’d be likely to fail, feel guilty, burn out, and go back to our old habits quickly.)

Change it to:  “I'm going to walk 5,000 steps five days out of this week, and then I'm going to walk 6,000 steps five days out of next week.”

(This is a simple, clearly measured goal. Walking 5,000 steps is an easily achievable and realistic number for most people. We have a time-frame: over the next two weeks.)


While it can be tempting to set lofty, long-term goals for yourself, it really is important to choose actions that are achievable and to commit to them for a certain amount of time, and then grow from there. It’s way easier to stick with something if you know exactly what you’re doing for how long. Meeting your milestone on the way to your long-term goal will keep you feeling motivated and excited about your wellness journey.


If you aren’t sure whether your goal is SMART or not, start by asking yourself: is it simple, specific, and clear? Can you measure or track it? Does it have a time-frame? Only you know what’s achievable and realistic for you, so focus on the more objective words in the acronym first if you start feeling confused.


To be clear, your movement goals don’t have to revolve around a step count! If you’re not terribly interested in walking (or if there’s too much snow on the ground where you are), consider setting a goal that involves attending a class regularly. I love reformer-based Pilates, so my goal is to make sure I get to at least three of these classes plus one boxing class per week, for a total of four classes spread across the week. If I can't get to boxing on Saturday for some reason, I simply replace the class with a different sort of interval training during the course of the week. And when all else fails, I know I’ve got my treadmill at home. It’s not super exciting, but it works.


I hope this helps you set yourself up for success with your movement and fitness goals! Drop me a note in the comments below and let me know what your movement goals are!


If you enjoyed this content, please join my free group Never Diet Again, where you can find the community and support you need to achieve your goals.


As always, what I hope for you is to live a life that you love where you're not hungry, feeling deprived, or giving up your glass of wine with dinner. Until next time,




Posted - 2/12/19 (Tue)


SMART Nutrition Goals: Start The New Year Off Strong

SMART Nutrition Goals: Start The New Year Off Strong

Hi there! Dawn McGee your nutrition coach here. Today, I want to talk to you about setting SMART nutrition goals. It's a time of year where we all set resolutions and new goals, and our food-related goals are no different: The number one New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. But that's very vague and nebulous, right? Which is exactly why I teach setting SMART goals to my clients--and why I wanted to tell you all about them today! So, let’s dive right in.


What's a SMART goal?

SMART is an acronym. S is simple, M is measurable, A is achievable, R is realistic, and T is time-based.


Why is it important to set SMART goals?

There's a saying that goes, "A goal without a date is just a wish." If I say, "I want to lose 15 pounds," and I don't have any plan for it or a deadline in mind, then, it's very unlikely that I’ll lose 15 pounds, right? It’s not enough to simply identify our health goals; we need to plan for them and set some rules for ourselves, too.


How can I turn my goals, my dreams, my wishes, my hopes for my nutrition for this year into SMART goals?

Since actions sometimes speak louder than words, here’s an example. I just started a 90-day journey back to good nutrition, for a variety of reasons. Over the last couple of years, I’ve not always been super faithful to my program and to my nutrition. I have not been saying “yes” to me--I've been saying “later.” It's time to start saying yes. So, I’ve set some goals.

My numeric goals are to lose nine percent body fat (about 15 pounds) in 90 days. If we take a look at that, that's my overall goal. How can I aim for something that’s a bit shorter-term, still measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based? This week--week number one of my recommital--I'm focusing on my food foundation, and I'm getting back to clean eating. What am I going to do? I have put together a meal plan for a full day of food that I like, that's clean, that's nutritious, that's going to keep me eating well-balanced meals of protein, fat, and carbs every 3-4r hours, and I plan to repeat that seven days in a row.

Is it terribly exciting? Nope! But it is going to get me focused on my food foundation and back on track. It's simple: I've got the same meal plan for seven days. It's measurable: again, this is my situation for exactly seven days. Is it achievable? This might vary a little from person to person. Admittedly, if I said I was going to stick to this same meal plan for 30 days, that may be unattainable. But for seven? Yeah, I can do that. Is it realistic? One meal plan, seven days. I’m making a few small changes instead of tons of huge changes. It's definitely realistic. And finally, is it time-based? Yep--seven days, no more and no less.

That's how I've turned my first milestone into a SMART goal, and I'm feeling really good about being able to achieve it because I've got a plan in place. That's what happens when we take our wishes and use them to set SMART goals.


As always, if you have any questions or if you’re working on a specific goal right now, drop me a line in the comments! If you’re unsure of how to turn your long-term goals into SMART goals, let me know--I’ll gladly help you shape them into SMART goals so you can succeed.

For more great info like this, grab my Eat, Drink, & Be Healthy Guide.

Until next week, what I really hope for you is that you live a life that you love, without being hungry, feeling deprived, or giving up your glass of wine. Take care.

Posted - 1/31/19 (Thu)


7 Reasons to Hire a Nutrition Coach

7 Reasons to Hire a Nutrition Coach

You Deserve Your Best Life

"It seems so silly and extravagant to use a coach."

Many successful people have coaches - CEOs, athletes, actors, singers - why should you have to go it alone? You are worth it - stack the deck in your favor!

Support, Accountability, Partnership

"I'll never be able to get healthy & fit like I want to! I'll never fit into my favorite clothes again"

When those doubts creep in, your coach is always in your corner to get you up & get you back in the ring!! I've been where you are. You get meal planning assistance, one-to-one personalized sessions with your coach, and so much more.

Modern Virtual Coaching

"I don't have time to work with a coach. I can't even find time to make dinner!"

Technology to the rescue! Your coach will use Skype, text, whatever, to keep you moving forward.

Proven Program, Proven Results

"It's so hard to stick with it."

Your coach starts with a proven, predictable, and safe base program, and from there customizes it so you can stick with it, achieve your goals and take back control of your health.

Real Knowledge Is Power

"There are too many diet options, I can't figure out what's true or false. Why bother?"

You are walking through a minefield of misinformation. Work with someone who has a map. Your coach has the training to help you make meaningful lifestyle changes.

Life is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

"My sister/cousin/uncle lost weight really fast. I'll just do what they did."

One size fits all? NO! Your coach will customize a program for you, based upon your goals, your metabolism, your lifestyle. You didn't get unhealthy overnight; you won't get healthy again with a 'quick fix'.

Life Happens

"I'll just buy that new diet book by "Ms. X" and do it myself."

Everyone will have individual challenges in this process. Your coach will help you shift your thinking and give you the tools so you can break through plateaus and take your health to new levels, for a lifetime!

I can help you succeed!

Contact me now for a complementary 30-minute health assessment

Posted - 6/02/15 (Tue)


Don't Let This Happen To You

Don't Let This Happen To You

Don't let this happen to you!! Today was a day off from school, so we took our time getting going and made a more leisurely breakfast. Egg white omelet with kale, spinach, avocado, tomatoes, and banana peppers. Sounds like the perfect recipe for a relaxing morning, right? Wrong! We waited too long to have breakfast and everyone's blood sugars were low - which makes for cranky people in this house!! Keep your pacing, eat on plan, enjoy your day!! Happy Passover and Easter to all who celebrate!
#FoodieFriday #VNCoach #DMCoach

Posted - 4/03/15 (Fri)


When Was the Last Time You Replaced Your Sneakers?

When Was the Last Time You Replaced Your Sneakers?

When was the last time you replaced your sneakers? I just shifted my workouts to kick it up a notch and my feet were killing me! Well, I'm embarrassed to admit how long it had been since I replaced my sneakers. I got a new pair and I'm good to go!! These are Brooks Adrenaline, but make sure you get fitted somewhere knowledgeable. Consider this my public service announcement for the day. :)
‪#‎WorkoutWednesday‬ ‪#‎DMCoach‬ ‪#‎VNCoach‬ ‪#‎myntfit

Posted - 4/01/15 (Wed)