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Setting Realistic Goals for Weight Loss: 4 Tips


Setting realistic goals can be the determining factor of whether your weight-loss plan will succeed. Unrealistic goals that you cannot meet will be discouraging and could potentially stop you from working on your plan. Realistic goals should extend to the amount of weight you want to lose, how you are going to do so and how long you plan that weight loss to take you. Here are four realistic goals for shedding pounds:

1. Focus on Food and Exercise

Weight loss requires a combination of good eating habits and exercise. Make sure that your plan includes both of these aspects and that your goals for each are realistic. Do not plan on eliminating all carbohydrates and sugar from your diet in one fell swoop; instead, gradually reduce the amount of unhealthy or unnecessary foods. Later, you can reduce your portion size. Similarly, do not plan to run 10 miles per day. Instead, start by walking a mile and gradually increase the distance and speed you run until you are meeting your goal.

2. Include Only Things within Your Control

One of the biggest mistakes of any weight loss plan is focusing on things that an individual cannot control: pounds. You cannot control how much weight your body loses on a daily or weekly basis, but what you can control is the amount of time you spend exercising or the distance you will run on the treadmill. Here again, however, analyze what you can realistically accomplish.

To determine whether something is in your control, consider what makes it happen. Eating healthier is something you can control because you are the one that cooks and puts together your meals. In contrast, having a flatter stomach is dependent on how your muscles respond to crunches and sit-ups. Rather than planning to have a flat stomach, plan to do 20 crunches a day.

3. Analyze Your Schedule

If you struggle to find 20 minutes to exercise, don't create a plan that requires you to exercise for an hour. Your schedule will determine whether you are able to focus more on exercising or eating healthier. Eating healthier takes relatively little effort and, since eating is required for survival, is unavoidable. Exercising, however, requires time to go to the gym and complete a routine and is not required for survival. Only make a plan that fits with your current schedule and not the schedule you expect to have or have had in the past.

4. Coordinate Efforts and Desired Results

Twenty minutes of exercise a day will still help you lose weight, but may mean that you need to adjust the speed that you dedicate to doing so. Realistic goals for weight loss include how fast you expect your body to respond to eating healthier and starting an exercising plan.

Similarly, do not check your progress on a daily basis; this will make you feel as though your plan is not working fast enough. Record how much weight you have lost or take your measurements twice a month. This will allow you to see how much weight you have lost without becoming obsessed with your plan's results.

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