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How To Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals

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Be Realistic About Your Weight Loss Goals!

We all have it within us to lose weight, but some are more successful than others in their mission to get fitter, become healthier and shed those unwanted kilos. One of the most common reasons overweight people fail to lose weight is they set their sights on a dream that is unrealistic then end up bitterly disappointed. Those who succeed have not only made a commitment to themselves, but they have also carved out an achievable plan and set themselves realistic long term and short term goals to keep them motivated throughout their journey.

If you feel like the task of losing weight is overwhelming, don’t despair – help is here. By taking some simple steps to set realistic weight loss goals, you are much more likely to get closer to the weight you want to be.

  1. Know Your True Starting Point

    If you know that you are overweight, it may be a scary prospect to jump on those scales at first. It might be tempting to try to lose a little weight before your first weigh in, but this is not doing you any favours. After all, how can you make a plan to get to the next place if you don’t know where you are right now? Be brave and step on those scales straight away. As weight is not the only indication of how healthy you are becoming you should also take body measurements. Measure the circumference around your hips, waist, chest, thigh and upper arm. It doesn’t matter where you choose to measure as long as you measure in the same place the next time. Once you have a clear picture of where you are starting from, you can then set yourself realistic weight loss goals on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. To get an idea of whether your current weight is within a healthy range, calculate your BMI by dividing your weight by your height squared. For most people, the recommended BMI is within 20-25.

  2. Calculate Your Healthy Weight

    Everybody’s ideal body weight is different depending on their age, height, gender and general build. To gain an understanding of your ideal weight range use the Body Mass Index calculator to work out what weight you would need to be to be within your healthy weight range. Remember this calculator is just a guide. It doesn’t take into consideration other important factors such as general build, breast size and other health conditions. If you feel you need more guidance to determine your ideal weight range, it’s best to consult with your local medical practitioner.

  3. Understand The Mathematics Of Weight Loss

    Anyone who wishes to lose weight needs to operate on a calorie deficit. This means that if you focus on improving your diet while increasing the amount that you exercise, the odds are much more likely to swing in your favour than if you only do one or the other. While it may seem overwhelming at first to be counting calories, planning meals and working out which exercise burns the most fat, remember the simple rule that at end of each day your goal is to have burned more calories than what you have consumed. It’s that simple – get moving and eat healthy!

  4. Break Big Goals Down Into Small Goals

    If your ultimate goal seems a little overwhelming, it will help to break this large goal up into smaller, more achievable weight loss goals. If you have a large amount of weight to lose, break this amount into 5kg increments. For example, if you weigh 96kg and your ideal body weight is 71kg, make your first goal to reach 91kg. Your next goal will be to reach 86kg and so on. Each time you lose 5kg you will feel better about yourself and more motivated to continue with your resolution to lose weight.

    It’s also a great idea to set yourself daily action goals that focus on what you are eating and what exercise you do each day that will contribute towards you bigger ‘weight loss goal’. For example, you might set a goal to perform 20 minutes of exercise 3 times per week, or you might set yourself a goal to include 3 serves of vegetables with every evening meal. As you become healthier you will quite likely find yourself naturally drinking more water, but it’s a great idea to set yourself the goal of drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day, as this will help to keep you hydrated and flush any toxins out of your body.

  5. Reward Yourself

    When you achieve your weekly action goals, reward yourself with something you enjoy other than food! Go to the movies, have a facial or buy yourself a new item of clothing that makes you feel good about yourself right now. Don’t be tempted to purchase clothes that you would ‘like to fit into’ – this more a form of torture rather than a reward for all the hard work you’ve done so far!

  6. Let Time Be Your Friend

    Losing weight takes time, and the amount of time it will take you is dependent on so many factors. How much you weigh to begin with, how old you are, your gender and your lifestyle will all have an impact on how long it takes to lose weight. While it is great to set yourself a time goal, be kind to yourself if it seems to be taking a little longer than you planned – as long as you are consistently losing weight you know you are on the right path. As a rough guide, a weight loss of between 0.5kg to 1kg per week is considered healthy.

  7. Be S.M.A.R.T.

    Setting SMART weight loss goals can help transform your whimsical wishes into reality! All goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Time specific. To simply say you want to lose weight is far too vague. Goals that are either too vague or unobtainable will more than likely leave you feeling lethargic and unmotivated.

In Summary

Healthy weight loss requires planning and commitment. While everyone loses weight at different rates, the general rule of thumb is that slow, steady weight loss is much healthier for the body and is much more sustainable long term when compared to rapid weight loss. It’s also important to remember that sometimes the body is going through changes we can’t see that could cause a temporary stagnation on the scales. This may be the building of muscle in place of fatty tissue or a change in the amount of fluid you are retaining. Feel confident that if you have achieved your weekly action goals of becoming more active and eating healthier, that you are on the path to a happier, healthier version of yourself – and that is something to be proud of no matter what the scales say!

Setting achievable and realistic goals is very important for everything you want to achieve in life and weight loss is no exception to this rule. If you are overweight and you feel like you need further support in setting realistic weight loss goals, consider consulting with your local doctor, nutritionist or dietitian.

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About Author

As Editor in Chief of 'Health & Wellbeing Australia', Lucinda brings over 20 years experience in the Health Industry, with 14 years as a practicing, registered Physiotherapist; specializing in pelvic floor and erectile dysfunction issues, to help you achieve a healthier lifestyle.

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