Saturday, 3 November 2012

Tips to Setting Goals for Weight Loss


Set sensible goals for weight loss. Image by Alan Cleaver

When you start losing weight, you need to have goals to reach for. Weight loss goals will give you something to work towards to help you stay motivated, even when you feel like packing it in after a bad week. Here are some top tips on setting your goals for weight loss.

Make Them Challenging

Having goals that are too easy will not give you the push that you need. You have to have a challenge so that you feel the achievement once you have reached it. You don’t need to have a goal each week, this is probably excessive and will not be as challenging. It is worth setting goals for each month.

Be Realistic

It is easy to set a challenging goal that is simply not realistic or healthy. When setting goals, bear in mind that a healthy weight loss is between 1lb and 2lb per week. Setting the goal to lose 10lb in two weeks is unrealistic and not healthy. It will be difficult to reach that goal in the first place, and you will feel like you have failed by not reaching it, and it will be difficult to keep that weight off afterwards. Slow and steady is always better than a quick weight loss.

Set Clothes Size and Measurement Goals Too

It is easy to be stuck on the idea that you need to lose x amount of lbs each week. However, it is difficult to know whether you will look good at a lower weight. I recommend setting goals for clothes sizes and measurements. I have a long term goal of getting into my size 12 (pre-pregnancy) jeans. This may not be my end goal but it is the current long term goal. Once I get into that, I will make the decision on whether I need to lose more weight or whether I look good.

It is worth remembering that muscle weighs more than fat – that is when you put fat and muscle together of the same size, the muscle will weigh more. By doing exercise, you will build muscle and you may see the figures on the scales slow or increase. Take your measurements and set goals that way as you will still see figures drop that way.

Set Short and Long Term Goals

A long term goal for weight loss is something to reach for over the period of six months to one year. However, it is easy to lose track of your weight loss by having this long term goal. You need to have short term goals along the way. I tend to have goals to reach 7lbs every four weeks or so and, between those, have goals to reach 5% of my initial weight and then 10% of my initial weight. This gives me milestones along the way.

I also set dress size goals between my weight loss goals. My weight loss goal for Christmas is to drop two dress sizes – I have already lost once since starting my weight loss after pregnancy. My goal for Easter is to drop another two dress sizes and by the summer I would like to be in my size 12 jeans.

Make Changes to Goals as You Go

There are times that you will struggle to reach a goal. You may have a bad week; your goal may have been unrealistic; or you may have lost track. Not reaching a set goal can make you feel like a failure. This is not the case; it just means that you need to look over your goals and make a few changes. You may find that you need longer to reach your goals or that you need to lower your weight loss challenge.

At the same time, you need to look over your goals even if you are reaching them. After a while, they can feel like they are too easy, which will lead to losing the motivation to continue. Keep your weight loss goals challenging but realistic at the same time.

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