Setting weight loss goals is not as easy as it might sound. As we flip through magazines, we are led to believe we are supposed to look like the 102 pound models with the perfect abs and tight tushies. The reality is that very few people are meant to be or are physically capable of being that size and shape. I find that breaking the process down into attainable goals helps to give me a sense of accomplishment as I reach each level.
I am not a nutritionist, a dietitian nor medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post where applicable. All medical issues or questions regarding your health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of a medical professional for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.
The first step to setting a weight loss goal is to be realistic. There are many factors that we must take into consideration including body type, whether or not we have had children, and age. I’m 51and I have had 2 children (ok, 26 years ago but the effects never went away!). I am a solid 5 foot 2.5 inches. I am never going to look like the 24 year old, 5 foot 9 inch fashion model who has never been pregnant and who spends her days in the gym! It’s just not feasible. Instead, I choose to look at myself in the mirror and envision me, but in smaller jeans or a cute little black dress. Then I decide, using the mathematical calculations as a guideline (but not the gospel) where I would like to set my FIRST goal.
In my case, the math says I should be between approximately 120 – 125 pounds. That sounds fantastic, and maybe someday I will get there. Until then I am going to add 10 pounds to it and make 135 my starting goal. When I achieve this level I will look in the mirror, try on my jeans and try on some little black dresses. If I like what I see and I am feeling fit, then I will be happy and work to maintain this level.
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If I still feel there are some trouble spots I will set my goal down another 5 pounds to 130. I will adjust my workouts to focus a little more on the “problem areas”, and continue with a healthy eating plan until I reach my second goal. I will repeat the assessment at 130 and decide whether to continue on at that point.
I like taking the last 10 – 15 pounds in increments. It reduces the chance of being frustrated and discouraged in the final stretch. It’s all a mindset. If you feel like you have already achieved your goal, then you are less likely to give up.
Ways to Keep on Track
There are many methods that people use to keep on track. The one I have found to be the most effective is keeping a log or journal. Everything you eat, every time you exercise and every glass of water should be written down along with your daily/weekly/monthly weigh in. You can even include your sleep patterns as they have a definite influence on weight management. Whatever progress you make will encourage you to continue. It can also help you to see where you need to make some adjustments to help you succeed.
There are several online apps to help if you prefer not to write things down. One of my favorites is the Fitbit. The app associated with my Fitbit tracker allows me to track everything in one easy place.
I have had many years of dieting, weight loss, weight gain, and lost it again. To say I have an eating disorder would probably be accurate. As a teenager I was anorexic. In my twenties I was well over 220 pounds. In my late twenties I lost 95 pounds by keeping track of every bite and working out. I have since put some of that weight back on, but I plan to get back to my ideal weight again. Everyone tells me that it is much harder when you reach a certain age. That only makes me more determined!
Remember – dieting is one of the few things in life where being a LOSER means you are successful!