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Goal Setting For Losing Weight

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 20 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
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Weight loss is an issue that will affect many of us at some time or other. For some, it will just be a matter of wanting to lose a couple of pounds to get into that new outfit for a wedding you’re attending in a couple of months time. However, there will be those who come to the realisation that they are extremely overweight and need to lose a significant amount of weight for health reasons.

Why People Fail To Lose Weight

Most people start off with so many good intentions when they decide to lose weight yet because they don’t have a clear direction as to how they’re going to go about it, they end up losing focus and interest and, ultimately, they give up. The important thing to do when looking to lose weight is to have some clearly defined goals which you should write down and then stick to them. A common acronym that is used when setting goals for weight loss is SMART. This means that all goals must be:

  • S = Specific
  • M = Measurable
  • A = Achievable
  • R = Realistic
  • T = Time Bound

Once you bear all of the above in mind in terms of your goal setting, then it’s time to seek advice and make a plan.

Seek Advice First

It’s often good to speak to a weight loss expert or to your GP before embarking upon any kind of weight loss program. They will be able to measure your height and weight which will also determine your body mass index (BMI). They will also be able to provide you with information about healthy eating plans and about things like exercise. If you’re grossly overweight, you should speak to your GP first, before you start.

Making A Plan

So, let’s say for example you’ve decided that you want to lose 2 stone in 3 months. 2 stone equates to 28 pounds and most weight loss experts would recommend that a healthy amount of weight to lose each week should be between 2 and 3 pounds.

So, if you take this as your benchmark, you should conceivably lose 28 pounds (2 stone) in approximately 10 to 14 weeks.

So, simply by doing that you’ve fulfilled all the SMART criteria of your goal setting being specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound.

Deciding How You’re Going To Reach Your Goal

The next stage is to look at how you intend to reach your goal. Most people will advise you that it’s a combination of healthy eating AND exercise that will help you to succeed. If you’re a lazy person who doesn’t like exercising, don’t simply think that a crash diet but doing no exercise will work just as well.

Firstly, crash diets aren’t good for you and, secondly, though you may well still hit your target, the chances are you’ll soon pile the weight back on and then some more afterwards.

Basically, what you should be looking to do is to retrain your mind and body in terms of what you put into it food wise as well as doing some exercise which will help improve your metabolism. Whether it’s a calorie controlled programme combined with swimming or a low-fat programme combined with a little light jogging, it’ll be up to you to find a strategy that suits you.

Keeping A Diary

Once everything is in place and you’ve set yourself a start date and time, you should then weigh yourself. It can’t be emphasised enough that you should ensure that your scales are accurate. If you’ve only got cheap scales, find a place where you can get weighed accurately. Then write the date, time and your current weight down.

Measuring The Results

After a week of your new eating and exercise regime, you’ll no doubt be eager to get on the scales and weigh yourself again. Firstly, you should always try to weigh yourself each week using the same scales in the same position at the same time and wearing the same clothes.

Then write down your weight after Week 1. If you’ve found you’ve not lost any weight or you’re losing weight too quickly, you may need to modify your eating and exercise plan to compensate. Once you’re well into the swing of things you should find that your new regime has become second nature.

Have you noticed the word ‘diet’ hasn’t been mentioned? That’s deliberate as what you should be looking to achieve is a new way of living as opposed to feeling as though you’re starving yourself or putting yourself through an endurance test. If you do feel hungry, make modifications to the foods you eat so that you feel fuller without substituting certain foods for other less healthy ones.

As each week goes by and you keep hitting your target, you’ll be well on your way. The important thing to remember is that some weeks your weight might remain static even though you’ve followed the same programme. Don’t let that put you off. You’ll probably find it will even itself out in the long run.

By setting yourself these kinds of goals, it can make weight loss seem so much more achievable with less pain involved and you’re far more likely to reach your target weight and, more importantly, be able to stick to it.

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