How To Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals
So many people try to lose weight but fail because they don’t know how to set realistic weight loss goals. Choosing a goal is easy, but making sure it’s achievable and you like the number you see on your body weight scale is the catch. You may be tempted to set your goal by picking a number related to how much you want to lose or the bodyweight you’ve always wanted to achieve. That’s okay – but the question is, ‘Do you really think this is a realistic goal?’
Understanding your objective is important. If you’re trying to lose weight for your health, it is okay to set modest goals to lose 5-10% of your weight. But, you may have to change the number if your goal is to fit into an outfit or allows you to train for a new job. In that case, what’s realistic could mean something different.
You will be in a much better position to start losing weight if you set yourself a SMART weight loss goal. It needs to Specific, Attainable, Measurable and Tangible. But before you go ahead, consider this important question.
Are You Really Overweight?
Many people want to lose pounds even when they are already at a healthy weight. If you’ve decided to lose weight to please someone else, just stop. Your goal has to be based on what you want and what is reasonable for your body. Although you need to consider a number of things before beginning a weight loss regime, it is usually an advisable thing to do if you have a body mass index (BMI) of more than 25.
Similarly, try to lose weight if your waist-hip ratio is higher than 1.0. It’s 0.8 for females. It’s also a good idea if your girth measurement is over 40 inches – for women it’s 35 inches. Of course, you may get other indications that you need to lose weight, such as getting out of breath on the stairs, your clothes getting tighter or indigestion and heartburn.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking there’s no harm in looking slimmer. Check your BMI with your health provider. You might not need to diet and restrict calories but just increase your exercise and tone up.
1. Get Started by Setting Weight Loss Goals
If you’re sure you need to lower your BMI shedding excess pounds, your realistic weight loss goal could be based on a number of factors. One, for instance, is advice from the American College of Sports Medicine, who recommends that in a healthy weight loss routine you should plan to lose around 5-10% of your weight without losing more than 2 pounds a week.
To help achieve this goal there are online weight loss calculators that also identify calorie targets. Even if you want to lose 40-50 pounds, your aim should be to lose it gradually yet steadily. Pushing to lose 10-15 pounds a week will not only set you up for a fail but for all sorts of reasons, it’s unhealthy.
Here are a few other important factors for a good weight loss goal:
- It needs to be specific to get results. A goal to spend more time exercising is not as specific as to walk for at least half an hour a day.
- It needs to be measurable to know how far you have reached and to know when you have been successful. If your goal is to eat better, there’s no way to measure it. A measurable goal to eat 1,200 calories a day for the next three months helps you plan your progress.
- It needs to be attainable. All the goals you never achieve are demoralizing. Setting your goal to work out daily at the gym when you know there will be days you can’t manage it gives you permission to slack.
- Your new regime needs to be relevant to you and your lifestyle. That’s why having someone else set your goals doesn’t work. Losing weight takes time, effort and commitment and will affect you and your loved ones. Work with your doctor to find a customized plan and a daily calorie goal suitable for your age, overall health, and current weight.
In addition, there are a few other useful tips to help set and achieve realistic weight loss goals.
2. Do It Slowly
Taking weight loss slowly is advice repeated over and over again, but so many people are in a hurry. Reducing weight without shocking the major systems in your body takes time. There is no instant fix to losing weight properly. Experts agree that steadily losing between 1-2 pounds per week is ideal and statistics show at this rate you are more likely to keep the weight off.
3. Opt For A Realistic Timeframe
Knowing how much to lose is important but deciding how long to take about it is just as crucial. The objective is to take in fewer calories and burn more by exercising. Sticking to this rule your weight follows a specified long-term weight loss timeline provided you cut 500-1,000 calories from your diet. That means it can take up to 3 months to lose 25 pounds with a steady healthy loss of 2 pounds a week.
As long as you continue losing, it doesn’t matter how long it takes. If anything, it keeps you motivated longer as you get used to living a healthier lifestyle.
4. Be Sure to Track Your Progress
Tracking your progress is also a great motivator. There are many ways to do it from charts and graphs to handwriting a journal or diary planner. There are apps online too. Tracking calories is important so you can balance things out for the occasional treat on a special occasion and it’s a way to keep track of your nutrition. It’s even more important to eat a well-balanced diet when you are putting your body under stress. Whether you choose big teacher ticks or gold stars, it is also a way to record and celebrate each step towards your goal.
There are no shortcuts to losing weight healthily. It has to be considered a process with a definite starting point and a definite finish. Reach that goal and review. There will be good weeks and bad weeks, they are part of the journey. After all, you are not only changing the way you look and feel, to stay looking that way you need to adopt a new lifestyle. People find it harder to lose weight when they go it alone, men in particular. There is also emotional stress as you detox and get used to dietary changes – not to mention the struggle to just make the time when you’re tired. Buddying up really works even if it’s with another member of the family. It adds another level to your commitment and friendly competition is an excellent motivator.