Losing weight is tough. Setting realistic weight loss goals is important no matter who little or how much you need or want to lose. It's hard though. When you are obese, or severely overweight and really want to lose, seeing the scales move so slowly is a real drag. Trust me. I know this.
Setting Realistic Weight Loss Goals
Let's get honest. When you have 50+ pounds to lose, you want to lose it fast. Once you get the mindset to lose and get healthier, you hate the waiting game to see what the scale says each week or month. You'll begin fretting over every calorie and every step you make. You will get frustrated when you only lose 1 pound a week. 4 pounds a month just seems so slow.
Here's the deal: Your body can't lose drastic weight fast and not have problems. It just isn't healthy. Sure, people have weight loss surgery, or even go on strict meal replacement diets every day. Sure, they lose large quantities fast. Yes, this is reality and it does happen. However, in the big picture it isn't healthy. It isn't the best option, nor the safest option for most people. Those options are generally only a safe option when there is no other way. Even then - only under constant supervision by you physician.
To set up a good realistic weight loss plan you need to think about safely improving your long term health.
1-3 pounds is a health weekly weight loss. This has been proven time and again to be the safest overall method of losing weight. Physicians, dietitians, personal trainers and nutritional therapists will all tell you that slowly losing weight will result in the most long term success. It is cliche, but true. You didn't gain that weight overnight, so don't expect it to all fall off overnight either.
Weight drops when you have an increase of exercise and decrease of calorie intake. The two most important factors in setting realistic weight loss goals is to understand that an increase of exercise and decrease of calories are what it takes. For the average working mom or dad, exercise has to be juggled into your schedule. An hour each day may be impossible for many individuals. Even 30 minutes a few times a week can be tough. Food that is healthier can seem to cost more. For those who work from home, it is easier to manage home cooked real food meals that are healthier. However, none of these tings work easily for every person. You have to do what works for you. That may mean increasing exercise by taking short 10 minute walks as breaks throughout the day. It may mean you begin meal planning and portion control even if you can't always afford the healthiest foods.
Too few calories can make your body store more fat instead of burning it. Starving yourself to reach an unrealistic weight loss goal will only result in your body shutting down and hanging onto the calories you put inside it. If it is feeling undernourished, it will begin storing up fat cells just in case it doesn't get more food. This is counter productive. Don't take the lower calorie intake to extremes.
Make smaller short term goals. Instead of looking at the larger ultimate goal, look at smaller goals. If you have 50 pounds to lose, break that down into 10 pound increments. A smaller goal to reach will help you to stay motivated, while still accomplishing the long term goal.
Understand what you really need to lose for health. People get hung up on a number on a scale. There are what are considered healthy weight rangs for your height, age and sex. These are guidelines. These are not the only thing you should consider when setting a goal for yourself. Additionally, your BMI is a number that is used to measure your health, but is often inaccurate if you carry a lot of muscle. Getting back to your pre-pregnancy or high school weight may not happen. It simply isn't always the number on he scale or even size of your jeans that is important. Discuss with your doctor or a nutrition therapist what is truly healthy for your body and look to that goal.
I'll be honest, I struggle with setting realistic weight loss goals for myself. I get discouraged when only 10 pounds lost doesn't result in visible physical changes for me. With well over 100 pounds to lose, it can be difficult for me to focus on my health and not just the number. However, meeting my first 10 pound goal last month showed me that I can do this. Slowly and surely, I can get healthier.
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