Nutrition: S.M.A.R.T Goals Interview with Natalie Castro, RD
S.M.A.R.T Goals, as defined by Natalie Castro, Registered Dietitian with Baptist Health South Florida, are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based goals. In an interview with the Health Channel, Natalie describes how these principles can be used to achieve the changes you want to see in your diet.
Natalie says that the first thing you have to evaluate when working towards your health goals is understand what you want for yourself. “We all have these great ideas that we can plug in, but it comes down to what the patient wants,” Natalie explains, “What do you want? What are you willing to do? I could tell you how to eat healthy until you’re blue in the face but unless you pick, specifically, that one change that you want to make. Whether it’s less snacking while you’re sitting on the couch, then that’s gonna be what you need to do.”
When setting goals, Natalie says you need all five of the S.M.A.R.T principles. You start off by finding what that specific thing you want to change is. Next, you have to measure it. Natalie elaborates, “I can say I’m gonna eat less potato chips, great, but how am I gonna measure that? How am I gonna get there?” You have to evaluate your possible solutions. Natalie says that you could try to eat a smaller portion of chips, you could cut them out completely, or you could replace them with a healthier snack.
After understanding your options, you want to ask yourself which one is attainable for you? How are you going to get there? Is it realistic for you to get there? You also want to set a time frame to achieve your goals within. Do you want to achieve this by the end of the week? How many times a week do you think you can do this? Natalie uses exercise as an example, “For a couch potato, obviously, I’ll encourage that person to start to walk. So, if you wanna set your goal to walk, you want to be specific. By specific we mean what days, how many days, what amount of time.” She continues, “If you say, ‘I want to start walking, I’m gonna start walking at least five days a week,’ for how long? During what time of the day? Before getting to work or after work?” Natalie encourages people to get as specific as possible when setting goals for yourself so that way you avoid running into conflicts in your schedule that would prevent you from achieving your goals.
To watch the full segment of Natalie Castro explaining what the S.M.A.R.T Goals model is, visit: https://youtu.be/XZT4B7O7L5Y