How to Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals

how to set realistic weight loss goals

Losing that extra weight isn’t easy, is it? Many of us have spent years trying the latest and greatest diet or nutritional plan only to fail miserably. The reality is that no matter how seductive the hype might be for that hot new diet book, it’s still going to be hard work. You may not see results immediately and you’ll have to persevere through the good and bad days.

If that sounds discouraging to you, read on. The most effective tool that many people have found to successfully lose weight and maintain it is to set smart weight loss goals. What makes a goal a smart one?

Stay Focused

Many of us are struggling with insulin resistance, hormonal fluctuation and a flagging metabolism from years of yo-yo dieting and other bad habits. It’s easy to become discouraged when the scale stalls. No matter which nutritional plan you choose, there’s no getting around the fact that you’re going to have to develop better eating habits and making an effort to move more. These are big lifestyle changes and it’s going to take awhile before they become ingrained habits. As you get started, you’ll need to focus on practicing your new habits daily while focusing on your goal at the same time. If you have a big picture of the reasons why you want to lose weight, you’ll find it easier to keep that focus.

Here are a few questions to think about. Do you want to live a long, healthy life? Do you want to set a good example for your kids and be there for them as long as you can? Will you have a better quality of life if you make these changes? Find that focus and use it to reach your goals before this new lean lifestyle becomes a habit.

Be Specific

Just saying that you really need to lose weight isn’t enough. You’re going to have to take specific action. Begin by setting a realistic weight loss goal (realistic means you probably won’t be able to go back to your high school weight.) Look at a good ideal height and weight chart to help set a reasonable starting goal, and you’ll know how many pounds you need to lose. It’s important to track inches too. Sometimes when the scale stalls it can be encouraging to see an improvement on the tape measure. The only way you’ll know when you’ve reached your goal (or at least are well on your way) is to have a set number in mind to reach. Otherwise, while you might make progress, you’ll never reach your goal.

Set A Deadline

Have you ever heard the saying that goals without deadlines are just dreams? Without a deadline, you have nothing to shoot for. If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. Even if you have a specific weight loss goal, like 25 pounds, if you don’t set your course it could take years…or never. Smart goals have realistic deadlines. Losing 25 pounds in the next 6 months is a smart goal with a deadline. However, give yourself some grace and flexibility as some people are just slow losers for a variety of reasons. If it’s just a couple of pounds a month that you’re losing, rejoice in that success.

How to set realistic weight loss goalsCelebrate Your Victories

Changing your eating habits and getting your body moving isn’t easy, especially if you’ve been inactive for a long time. Stay motivated by breaking your big goal into smaller mini-goals and celebrate your victories along the way. If your end goal is to lose 25 pounds in 6 months, break it down into 5 pound increments. When you meet that mini-goal, do something nice or fun to celebrate it. (Just try not to use food as a reward.)

Get Real

Don’t set crazy, unrealistic goals. You’ll get discouraged and possibly quit if you don’t meet them. Losing 100 pounds in 3 months won’t happen no matter how fast your metabolism is. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Instead, set yourself up for success with goals that you know you can reach with a bit of a stretch.

And if you cave into temptation? Don’t get discouraged about it. The folks at Trim Healthy Mama say that your next healthy meal is just three hours away. Isn’t that better than the all-or-nothing thinking so many of us struggle with? Life is going to happen and sometimes there’s no way to say no to that slice of pizza (or in my case, two or three). The important thing is to pick yourself right back up and keep working towards your goals.

Stay Accountable

Find someone to have your back. In this day and age, it’s easy enough to find on social media. Form a group with some of your friends who share your weight loss goal, or go find an existing one. Trim Healthy Mama has many (many) Facebook groups for women from all walks of life. It’s really encouraging that I can get on there at any time and get an instant boost.

I’m three weeks into my eating plan and am not feeling deprived or frustrated. The numbers aren’t moving as fast as I’d like but the overall goal is working toward better health. How are your health goals going?


A New Year, New Me

trim healthy mama

New Year, New Me. I hesitate to even write this as I’ve developed quite a track record over the years of being a strong starter of food plans but then dropping off weeks later when the stresses of life and various inconveniences began to mount.

Last year I started a Whole30. I think it’s a great plan with amazing food. I had some success but it was not sustainable for me at that time. The problem for me was the prep, the constant thinking ahead, the stress of my family not really liking much of it while battling my own cravings. And as a 50-something, the weight doesn’t fall off as quickly as it did when I was younger.

So I threw in the towel and resumed my old (poor) habits of emotionally overeating. I gained back what I lost (which wasn’t much) but fortunately I didn’t gain any more. Then at the end of the year at a checkup I noticed that my blood pressure was beginning to trend higher and my cholesterol level a shockingly awful level of 300. I know for me that’s partly genetic but I still have to do what I can on my end to try to avoid statins.

I had heard about Trim Healthy Mama over the past few years but dismissed it as a silly fad. Then in December I read Crystal Paine’s article about why she had to quit Trim Healthy Mama. It was because she couldn’t stop losing weight and that got me to thinking.

Research junkie and cynic that I am I looked into further and found that a lot of mature women were experiencing success on the Trim Healthy Mama plan and I decided to just do it after the holidays. I know some don’t agree with the sweeteners on the plan but at this point I think lowering my blood pressure and cholesterol (not to mention my weight) is the highest priority.

I’m a couple of weeks in and haven’t lost a pound, but my clothes are fitting differently. The difference this time around is that the plan is more sustainable for me as a mom. It’s easy for me to keep pantry staples on hand. I also like being able to have oatmeal and lentils again, or even just a dessert for dinner on occasion. It will probably take some time for my metabolism and insulin resistance to heal.

Exercise for me is on the gentle side. Owning a Jack Russell Terrier means she needs a lot of exercise so there are a lot of walks around the perimeter of our yard. I also do some yoga most days.

The Trim Healthy Mama Facebook groups are a fantastic source of inspiration and motivation. I just have to be careful that I don’t spend too much time reading posts from the three different groups I’ve joined.

P.S. I’ve set an intention to blog on a more regular basis this year. It’s really been a struggle as a virtual assistant to find the time and motivation to work on my own writing but it really is so freeing to be able to write whatever I want in my own space and having to answer only to myself.

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