How To Set A Weight Loss Goal? – If you want to get somewhere, you have to know where you’re going, right? It’s no different when you want to lose weight. You need to set a weight loss goal to make sure you’re heading in the right direction.
If you’ve never set a weight loss goal or if you have a lot of weight to lose, it’s easiest to set a 3 month—or 12 week—goal. That gives you 12 weeks to turn your life around, by eating better and moving more.
Set SMART goals
A good goal-setting strategy is the SMART goal checklist. Be sure that your weight-loss goals — whether a process goal or an outcome goal — meet the following criteria:
– Specific. A good goal includes specific details. For example, a goal to exercise more is not specific, but a goal to walk 30 minutes after work every day is specific. You’re declaring what you will do, how long you will do it, and when you will do it.
– Measurable. If you can measure a goal, then you can objectively determine how successful you are at meeting the goal. A goal of eating better is not easily measured, but a goal of eating 1,200 calories a day can be measured. A goal of riding your bike is not measurable. A goal of riding your bike for 30 minutes three days a week is measurable.
– Attainable. An attainable goal is one that you have enough time and resources to achieve. For example, if your work schedule doesn’t allow spending an hour at the gym every day, then it wouldn’t be an attainable goal. However, two weekday trips to the gym and two weekend trips might be attainable. If a particular type of exercise, such as running, is physically too difficult for you, then running every day would not be an attainable goal.
– Realistic. For most people, a realistic outcome goal is losing 5 to 10 percent of their current weight. Process goals must also be realistic. For example, your doctor can help you determine a daily calorie goal based on your current weight and health. Setting an unrealistic goal may result in disappointment or the temptation to give up altogether.
– Trackable. Goals are best achieved if you keep a record of your progress. If you have an outcome goal of losing 15 pounds (7 kilograms), record your weight each week. If your goal is to eat 1,400 calories a day, keep a food diary. Keeping track can help you evaluate your progress and stay motivated.
To keep it simple, here are 2 types of goals you can set and the easiest ways you can track them.
You’ll need to aim for a weight loss of 1 to 2lbs a week. You may lose more than that during the first few weeks, but expect that to taper off.
A loss of 1 to 2lbs a week is more realistic – and healthier. Anything more than 2lbs a week and you’re most likely losing muscle, too. You want to lose fat, not muscle.
So, in 12 weeks, a reasonable weight loss goal would be anywhere from 12 to 24lbs. Pick a number you feel comfortable with – and it’s okay to aim high. Sometimes that’s just the right amount of motivation you need. Can you picture yourself 12 to 24lbs lighter in 3 months? If you’re just over 200lbs that could bring you under 200lbs!
Body Fat Percentage
Setting a body fat percentage goal is a bit more time consuming because measuring it is not quite the same as stepping on a scale. But when you measure your body fat percentage you can get a better idea of how much fat you’re losing.
A reasonable body fat percentage goal is around .5 % a week. 1% is achievable but you’re going to have to be really disciplined to do it.
In 12 weeks, a drop in body fat of 6% is a doable goal.
Track Your Progress Once a Week
Once you set your weight loss goal, you need to track how well you’re doing. Weigh yourself or calculate your body fat percentage once a week.
If you see a drop in weight or body fat, then keep doing what you’re doing. If the numbers go up, then you need to make changes to either your nutrition or exercise. Be honest about how much you’re eating and how hard you’re working out, and see where you can make changes so you can reach your weight loss goal.
How to Weigh Yourself Properly
- Make sure you have a good digital scale that counts in 0.2lbs (it’ll be easier to track changes)
- Weigh yourself at the same time and on the same day
- Weigh yourself under the same circumstances (clothes/no clothes, in the same spot)
- Weigh yourself in the morning, if possible (You usually weigh less in the morning.).
Choose your start date and weigh yourself on that date. Write it down on a sheet of paper (don’t rely on your memory). Weigh yourself one week later, and write the result down again on the same sheet of paper. You can get fancy and create a table that tracks the changes for each of the 12 weeks, how much weight you’ve lost and how much until you reach your goal.
Sources: www.fitwatch.com; www.mayoclinic.org