3 Steps To Setting a Weight Loss Goal

weight-loss-goalsOne of the most difficult tasks that nearly every woman faces while getting ready to embark on a new diet is setting weight loss goals. That was certainly always my problem. I never had issues setting or meeting goals in my working life, why the heck couldn’t I do it when it came to my weight loss goals? Finally it dawned on me! I was approaching it from the bottom of the mountain rather than just starting the trek. When you’re standing at the base of Mount Everest and you look up, it seems enormous. But if you look really closely at it, you’ll notice that high up on the side of the mountains are three or four little encampments. These are weigh  stations where the climbers stop, acclimate to the altitude and rest and gather their strength for the next push. Once I started to think of the 100 pounds or so that I wanted/needed to lose in smaller increments, I was finally ready to begin the climb.

One thing I did not find useful was buying a new outfit in a smaller size and putting it in my closet for “someday.” It was too depressing for me to look in there day after day and see the same item of clothing staring me back in the face. Some days I felt like it was just laughing at me. So, I don’t do that anymore. I reward myself for small achieved goals but more about that later.

The key to being able to set and achieve your weight loss goals is to follow standard goal setting protocols. This means that your goals need to be specific (I will lose 5 pounds in the next week), they need to be measurable (I will buy and use a scale once a week), they need to be attainable (I will concentrate on portion control this week), they need to be realistic (I will go to the gym twice a week) and they need to be tangible (I will not eat chips at night in bed for one week).

First you need to decide if you really NEED to lose weight

achieving-weight-loss-goalsNorth American and European women are so consumed with body image and body size. You may be carrying a few extra pounds than you had when you were married fifteen years ago, but do a reasonable, objective of yourself and see if you really need to lose weight or if your mind has just been fiddled a little bit by the advertising world. You might want to consult your doctor. He or she will definitely tell you if you need to lose weight and this will be based on blood test results like A1C (to check blood sugar) and cholesterol levels. They will also likely check your BMI. If your BMI is greater than 25 or your waist-hip ratio is greater than .8 or you have a waist measurement of more than 35 inches, then in all likelihood your doctor will advise you to lose weight. If none of those things apply to you, you’re golden and should just carry on with things the way they are right now for you.

You might just be dealing with the tell-tale sign of having clothes that are tighter than they used to be and you know that losing 5 or 10 pounds would ease the strain. Then go ahead and set 5 or 10 pounds as your goal.

Step 1: Set your initial goals

setting-weight-loss-goalsIf you’ve decided that you do indeed need to shed some weight, determine what you believe will be a reasonable weight loss for yourself. Remember what I said about Mount Everest at the beginning? No sense in saying, “I want to lose 100 pounds in the next year!” because you’ll be defeated before you even begin. Instead, say, “I want to lose three pounds in the next seven days.” Write it down somewhere and keep track of how you’re dieting is going. I set a goal of one pound per week for myself and I achieve this by doing a combination of many different things: daily walking (3 miles per day), preparing weekly healthy meals that I can pull out of my freezer at night and heat up and portion control (measuring and weighing all my food for one week out of the month to make sure that I’m still eyeballing things correctly.

Step 2: Set up your weight loss plan

Once you setup your goals you need to determine a plan of action. Here is one example:

You are about 5’7” in height and your current weight is about 160 lbs. Therefore your BMI comes in at about 25.1 — this places you in the “overweight” group. If you lose only 10 pounds, your BMI will drop to about 23.5, a much healthier ratio.

Goal:

In order to lose 10 pounds in 3 months (12 weeks), you will need to cut your calories by 300-500 calories per day using both food choice changes and daily exercise.

To achieve your goal you will:

  • Replace a daily Egg McMuffin (~300 calories) with a bowl of homemade oatmeal (~ 180 calories).

  • Replace one regular Coke with sugar (~150 calories) with Fresca (0 calories).

  • Walk for at least 30 minutes at 4.0 mph 3 days a week (approx. 180-240 calories burned).

  • Strength train for 30 minutes at a time 2 days a week~140-280 calories burned)

  • Total Calories burned each day: 270 – 550 (assuming I do my exercise).

Once you begin to register that you’re losing weight be careful that you don’t let yourself fall into the trap of rewarding yourself with food. It’s so easy to do, isn’t it? But you’ll eventually find that you are rewarding yourself much more than the weight you’re losing and you’ll be back where you started in no time.

Step 3: Rewarding Yourself

1. New Clothes!

For every ten pounds you lose, you have lost exactly one dress size. Treat yourself to a new pair of pants or a new dress and then go

How-Reward-Weight-Loss-Goals

out to a nightclub where you can show off your new duds! It will be the biggest pick-me-up you can do. Having some nice new clothes that fit well when you put them will do wonders for your self-esteem.

2. Have some outlandish sex with your partner!

When you’re feeling better physically, sex becomes so much more fun. Invest in some new sex toys and then just go at it for a night. Get the candles burning and get going!

3. Enjoy some guilt free alone time

If you’ve spent a week slogging away on the treadmill instead of tuning in each afternoon to watch Dr. Phil, this might be a good way to reward yourself. As long as you can do it without a bowl of popcorn, that is.

4. Buy yourself some new fitness toys

If your exercise routine includes walking 3 or 4 miles a day and you love music, treat yourself to an iPod to carry on your daily walks. If you buy something that makes you excited to get out there and do your walk, you’re way ahead of the game.

5. Book a spa afternoon

Love being pampered but always finding it hard to be able to justify the cost? Take some time and some money to reward yourself with a spa afternoon after you’ve lost ½ your weight on your goal list. You will really feel like you’ve achieved something remarkable and it will make you feel SO good!

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