Want to make sure that your weight loss journey is a success? We can help! Read on to learn all about setting weight loss goals!
Over the course of the last few decades, obesity has become an epidemic in countries all over the world. According to the World Health Organization, about 2 billion adults around the world are overweight, with 650 million of them being in the obese range.
Now, it’s not that everyone has given up on themselves and their health. In fact, billions upon billions of dollars are spent on weight loss products every year in the United States alone! But many people go about setting weight loss goals the wrong way.
With any goal, finding success starts with getting organized and creating a plan of action. And it’s for this very reason that we’ve put together a guide detailing how to set weight loss goals – so you can start working toward your goals today!
Let’s get started.
Setting Weight Loss Goals the SMART Way
So many people have goals that they never reach because they’re too vague. Saying your goal is “to lose weight” isn’t enough, you have to do a little more planning than that! The key to effective goal setting is to use the SMART method.
This means making your goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Sensitive. If you’re feeling lost, don’t worry! We’re going to break it down for you.
So, your broad goal is, “I want to lose weight.” That’s a great jumping-off point, but we need to get more specific. How much weight do you want to lose? How will you do it?
Instead, make your goal something like “I want to lose 20 pounds. To do it, I will count my calories and exercise for 30 minutes, five times a week.” Now you’re getting somewhere!
Next, ensure that your goal is measurable. Weight loss is great because you already have a built-in metric to measure – your weight. But to help yourself even more, your methods of getting there need to be measurable as well.
That’s why you need to have your “how” explained in your goal. Because calories and exercise time are measured as well!
Writing down all of the specifics of your goal in numbers (20 pounds, 1200 calories, 150 minutes of exercise) will also allow you to track your progress as you get closer to your goal. It’s important to recognize progress and small victories so that you’re less likely to become discouraged and give up on yourself.
Always make your goals attainable. Creating a goal of losing 100 pounds is fantastic! But you can’t expect yourself to do it in a month.
You need to be sure that you’re able to reach your goal and your methods of getting there. For example, if you know that you don’t have time to go to the gym for an hour a day, don’t make that part of your plan.
Also, don’t expect yourself to do things you’re incapable of. Jogging is a great cardiovascular exercise, but if you’ve never jogged before, you can’t expect yourself to go for an hour run every morning (yet!).
Remember you can adjust along the way. If you fall in love with exercise and 30 minutes a day isn’t enough for you anymore, you can always add more!
Who wants you to lose weight? Is it a goal that you truly want to reach, or was it suggested to you by someone else? Your goal needs to be relevant and personal to you.
Now, if your physician is the one telling you that you need to lose weight for health reasons, you should take it to heart. Your physician can also be a great help during a weight loss journey, as they can give you personalized recommendations for calorie intake and physical activity.
But take some time to sit with yourself and determine your priorities and why weight loss is important to you. Weight loss can be a tough journey, especially in the beginning stages, so having a “why” is crucial to finding success. You need to have something you can remind yourself of every time you begin to feel downhearted.
Last but not least, your goal should be time-sensitive – this part is critical. Many of us get into the habit of telling ourselves “I’ll start tomorrow.” By making your goal time-sensitive, you’re telling yourself you’ll start today.
Once again, be realistic with your time. In order to lose weight in a healthy way and keep it off, you should aim for losing 1-2 pounds per week.
So if your goal is to lose 40 pounds, you need to give yourself a minimum of 20 weeks (about 5 months) to reach it. On the flip side, you don’t want to give yourself more than 40 weeks. Don’t give yourself an indefinite amount of time, as this is the best way to become unmotivated.
Set Short and Long Term Goals
Your long term goal can and should be as ambitious as you want. Don’t sell yourself short, you’re capable of anything!
Let’s say your goal is to lose 100 pounds in the next year. You can absolutely do it! But because a year is such a long span of time, you need to include short term goals in your weight loss plan.
So if losing 100 pounds is your major goal, set smaller goals that you can conquer along the way, such as losing 8 pounds per month.
If you want to include jogging in your weight loss plan but haven’t jogged before, start small. Plan to do a walk/jog combination at first, slowly decreasing the amount of time you spend walking and increasing your jog time. Before you know it, you’ll be doing a 5k a day with ease!
Weight Loss Tips
We’ve talked about how to set weight loss goals, now let’s talk about some tips you can use to build them. Keep in mind that you should consult your physician before beginning any diet or exercise regimen. The last thing you want is to suffer an injury or make yourself sick, which will only prevent you from reaching your goals.
Focus on Lifestyle Change
When you approach weight loss, the worst thing you can do it look at it as a short term change. In order to keep the weight off and maintain optimal health, the positive changes you make need to last a lifetime.
This is why it’s so important to find nutritious foods that you enjoy and physical activities that you look forward to.
How Much to Exercise
Exercise doesn’t have as great of an impact on weight loss as your diet but is essential for good health. When you’re first starting out, aim for 150 minutes of physical activity per week. The bulk of this can be cardiovascular exercises, but you should try to get at least 3 days a week of strength training as well.
As we mentioned above, you need to choose activities that are a treat rather than a chore. If you have a gym membership but dread going, drop it! There are endless options when it comes to physical activity.
Anything that gets your body moving and your heart rate up counts. This can be taking an evening walk with your dog, signing up for a dance class, or joining a hiking club. Whatever motivates you to exercise most is what you should do.
If you eat an average Western diet, you’re powering your body with poor quality foods. Processed, packaged foods are packed with preservatives, sugars, and other additives. To get the most out of your diet, make an effort to ditch most of the food that comes from the aisles of the grocery store.
The bulk of your diet should be made up of vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins. And where do you find these items? In the perimeter of the store!
You should also get whole grains and healthy fats and carbohydrates, which can be found in certain aisles. But when picking your foods in these categories, go with ones that have the lowest number of ingredients.
For example, peanut butter is a great option for your healthy fat, but many peanut kinds of butter are loaded with sugar and unnecessary ingredients. Pick the option that has one ingredient: peanuts.
If you’re worried that you aren’t getting enough nutrients in your diet, you can take supplements. Just keep in mind that nutrients are always better when they’re obtained from actual food.
Do your research to ensure that you’re getting the best supplements for you. This page does a great job explaining the benefits of certain peptides.
Get Started on Your Weight Loss Journey Today
Now that you know everything there is to know about setting weight loss goals that will produce results, it’s time to get started! The planning phase is important, but staying in it forever won’t help you reach your goals.
Do your best to be patient with yourself and always celebrate the small victories. If you enjoy the journey, you’re much more likely to reach the destination!
Looking for more advice on improving your health and fitness? Check out our blog!