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Strategic Management is a process developed through research and experience and now used by many successful companies worldwide. The process systematically evaluates past and present methods of doing business, considers methods for doing things more efficiently and actively and regularly plans for future success.

This process can be applied to many other projects and tasks. For instance, a program for weight loss is also a serious business and, as such, deserves a similar approach of strategic planning. The process incorporates many elements of a Business plan and consists of several components, as follows:

1. A Mission Statement, which summarizes the Purposes. Goals. Philosophy and Core Values of the company or your weight loss program.

2. Do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of the company (or your weight loss program) and its operations.This allows the company to assess:

(a) The Internal environment (Strengths and Weaknesses). Are there heriditary factors you need to overcome?  Do you have determination and a real desire to succeed. How much exercise can you tolerate. What equipment can you afford?

(b) The External Environment (Opportunities and Threats) Looking at the circumstances in which the company (or you) operates, consider the ways the competitors (or your friends and family) work and the prevailing economic factors which need to be overcome.

3.The Company Structure needs to be decided upon. The company may decide to operate as:

(a) A Sole proprietorship, doing it all alone; or as

(b) A Partnership, having one or more partners. In the case of a weight loss program you may decide to get a buddy (or buddies) to share the expenses, responsibilities  and liabilities; or form

(c) A Corporation, a legal entity which carries all the liabilities, expenses an risks.In our weight control program this will mean forming or joining a club or group. Perhaps weight-watchers or Curves. This is convenient , but usually is quite expensive.

4.Conduct Regular meetings, to plan, set goals (short-term, medium term and long-term), develop procedures, etc.

A weight loss program needs to do these planning sessions regularly too. We will set Goals (short, medium and long-term). How much weight do you plan to lose? Over how long? We will also need to set up routines and do periodic evaluations to assess achievement of objectives and goals and modify the program accordingly.

5. Book Keeping Procedures. A company needs to keep business records, maintain minutes of decisions plans and results. We need to keep inventory of our supplies and resources. Charts of plans and progress and time-lines should be maintained.  A company will set up and maintain a budget and decide on investment procedures and amounts.

Similarly records for a weight control program will need to be kept too, with similar book-keeping components as the company.

  • It is a good idea to keep an eating diary (with frequency and patterns of eating), a food diary (to record types of food eaten, quantities of foods, portion sizes, how many seconds and thirds);
  • an emotional diary, to record not only what you eat, but how you feel when you eat. How are you feeling when you overeat? This helps to create awareness of why we overeat. Questions asked may include: Are you really hungry? or are you bored? Are you depressed? Are you anxious? Are you angry?   Are you lonely?
  • Keep an Activity diary. Keep a weight diary after taking your weight on a regular basis.  Not every day, but once a week, perhaps on Sunday, in your underwear.

6.Develop Strategic Solutions and Plans based on the results of periodic analysis and Strategic Planning.

If problems and obstacles are identified, the questions should be: What can I do about it? How should our procedures be changed?

Similarly, in a weight control program, we need to ask:

  • How can we break the self-destructive cycle of emotional eating?
  • Is there an alternative way (or ways) to deal with whatever emotions you’ve uncovered instead of suppressing them or translating them into eating? Change your activity. Make a phone call.  Take a walk (one of the best forms of exercise). Talk to your buddy.
  • Again we need to Write it down. Analyze the content of the food. How much protein? How many calories? How much fat? How much starch or carbohydrates? How much red meat? Would fish or chicken or meat substitutes (Legumes, Tofu, gluten, meat analogues) be better? How much fiber? Bulk? Filler? Would drinking low calorie fluids (like water) help?

7. Implement the solutions. Part of Strategic Planning involves putting your solutions into practice.Deal with the Competition.

  • Get rid of the Trigger foods. Ask yourself:
  • What are the alternatives?
  • Are plant-based foods superior? Fish, instead of red meat?
  • How much water do you drink?  Instead of sodas with a lot of sugar, are low calorie drinks or water reasonable alternatives

8. Monitor your progress. A good company monitors its  progress and reevaluates its strategies  regularly.

  • How much weight are you losing?
  • Measure your waistline.
  • How is it affecting your blood pressure, your blood sugar?
  • Are you getting as much exercise as you planned?
  • Are you on target and reaching your goals?
  • Review your diaries, perhaps once a week.

9. Finally ...Celebrate. Successful companies keep upthe morale and motivation of their employees with periodic celebrations..

  • Reward yourself with an occasional doughnut or ice cream.
  • Take a vacation.
  • Buy a new clothing outfit.
  • Get a return on your investment

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