Setting Goals for Your Weight Loss

By: Alien

Your activity diary

When it comes to activity, be sure to enter things you do as a matter of routine (such as walking the dog or playing catch with your kids) as well as planned exercise. You may be pleasantly surprised to see how much motion there is in your day. On the other hand, you may see that most of your activity takes place on weekends. You may see slots on other days where you could fit in some more activity.

To get a full picture of your daily calorie burn, add your BMR (basal metabolic rate) to the number of calories burned by activities.

A sample activity diary can be found on the next page. Make one like this in your weight-loss notebook for the entire week. Leave space on the last day for your total weekly calorie expenditure. In our sample, the number of calories burned for each exercise session assumes that the diarist is a somewhat active 160-pound male. To find the number of calories you have burned in a given activity, use one of the online activity calculators, or "burn barometers." As with your food diary, there is space to write your comments. Write in anything that will give you clues about how and where to fit activity into your day.

Were you tired when you began, but more energetic afterward? Maybe exercising after work is a way to add hours to your day.

Did you burn more calories when you exercised with a friend or went to a class than you did when you worked out alone?

Are you more likely to exercise at home or as part of some organized activity? Try to plan your exercise to take advantage of this.

Keeping focused

A Casual Intention to eat more wisely, exercise more frequently, and drop some pounds is unlikely to be successful. Nor is promising yourself that you'll lose 10 pounds, by hook or by crook, in time for next months high school reunion. You need a plan and the firm resolve to follow it. It has to be realistic. Like it or not, 10 pounds in a month is not realistic unless you're willing to gain it all back.

The best way to stay focused is to set both short-and long-term goals.

When you set short- and long?term goals, a single failure to reach a short-term goal is far less discouraging. You can revise your plan without throwing it all out the window. And when you succeed in reaching one of your milestones, you will feel all the more motivated to keep going to the next one.

Be realistic

A realistic short-term goal is to add 15 minutes of exercise to your day. Another one might be to ban snacking between dinner and bedtime. If you have been gaining weight, a reasonable short-term goal is to stop that gain in its tracks.

If you want (or need) to lose a specific number of pounds, you also want to be sure to keep them off. Depending on how much you plan to lose, stretch that loss over 6 month to a year. That's your long-term goal.

You will probably shed the first few pounds quickly, and then see a slowdown as you reach a weight-loss plateau.

We've spoken about the reasons for the plateau and what to do about it. For now, you should build the plateau into your expectations.

If you want to lose 10 pounds over 6 months, for example, you might set a goal of a pound a week for the first month and then a pound every 2 weeks for the next two months. In the last 3 months the remaining 2 pounds will come off slowly and you will be concentrating on weight maintenance and solidifying your modified behavior. These are all short-term goals.

It would be realistic to try a similar pattern with 20 pounds, but to lose more than that you should take at least a year. If this sounds slow, it is.

I cannot emphasize strongly enough that quick weight loss leads to quicker weight gain.

It takes time to replace bad habits with good ones. Fad diets tinker with your body chemistry. Highly restricted diets are short-term solutions to a long-term problem. You cannot sustain these diets over the long haul.

Eating sensibly and exercising regularly are lifetime decisions. And their benefits are long lasting.

Lose Weight
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Lose Weight