Why Goal Setting Is Important For Weight Loss

by : Medifast

Before initiating a weight loss program, it is important for people to know how much weight they should lose.

There should be 2 basic weight loss goals:

1) Initial goal (short term)
2) Long Term goal (approximately 1 year from now)

Both of these goals should be realistic and practical for you to achieve.

* Initial Goal - 10% Weight Loss
Achieving the initial goal will allow you to start enjoying the health benefits of weight loss immediately. For an initial weight loss goal, many health experts suggest 10% of your current body weight.

Current weight x 10% = initial goal for losing weight. For a person weighting 200 lbs, the initial weight loss goal would be 10% x 200, or 20 lbs. Weight loss of greater than 10% can be achieved under medical supervision.

* Long Term Goal
Long term goals vary from person to person, and your clients will need your help to determine them. Clients should be targeted within the weight appropriate body mass index (BMI) range, which you can easily determine with a BMI calculator.

* Establishing Realistic Goals
Goals, which are set effectively, are more likely to be achieved. The process of setting the goal plays a very important part. The reason many people do not achieve their goals is often due to how they set them. What are well set goals? One method is known as setting SMART goals. SMART stands for:

* S Specific
* M Measurable
* A Achievable
* R Realistic
* T Time Bound

Specific - Ensure the goal you set is very specific, clear and easy. Instead of setting a goal to lose weight or be healthier, set a specific goal to lose 2 inches of your waistline or to walk 5 miles at an aerobically challenging pace.

Keep the goal simple so it is easy to understand what you want to achieve. The goal needs to be important to you and exciting enough to prompt you to do what is necessary to achieve it. If the goal is not important to you, I encourage you to drop it because you are not likely to achieve it and often end up feeling as if you have failed.

You can set many goals. Just choose one you really want to have as the result.

* Measurable - The goal needs to have a specific, quantifiable result or else it ends up just as "wishing". For instance, it is not measurable to say you want to be healthier or feel fitter.

However, it is measurable to say you want to be fit enough to swim 20 lengths of the swimming pool.

* Achievable - If you set goals which are too far out of reach, you probably will not commit to doing them for long. Although you may start with the best of intentions, the knowledge that it is too much for you means you subconscious will keep reminding you of this fact and will stop you from even giving it your best.

A goal needs to stretch you slightly so you feel you can do it and it will need a real commitment from you. For instance, if you aim to lose 20 lbs. in one week, we all know that is not achievable. Nevertheless, setting a goal to lose 1 lb. and when you have achieved that, aiming to lose a further 1 lb. will keep it achievable for you.

The feeling of success, which this brings, helps you to remain motivated.

* Realistic - Devise a plan and a way of getting there which makes the goal realistic. The goal needs to be realistic for you and where you are now. A Goal of never again eating sweets, cakes, chips and chocolate may not be realistic for someone who really enjoys these foods.

For instance, it may be more realistic to set a goal of eating a piece of fruit each day instead of one sweet item. You can then choose to work toward reducing the amount of sweet products gradually as and when this feels realistic for you.

* Time Bound - The goal should have a set time. If you do not set a time, the commitment is too vague. It tends not to happen because you feel you can start at any time. Without a time limit, there is no urgency to start taking action now.

Just remember, goal setting is important when going on a diet to lose weight and remembering to think SMART will help you in achieving all your short and long term goals.