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How to Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals

It is not that occasional dessert that ruins your weight loss efforts. It is the wish to shed all those excess pounds immediately. Weight loss experts call this the ‘false hope syndrome’, when dieters start having unrealistic expectations about the time it will take to lose all the excess weight.
Researches today show that unrealistic weight loss goals increase the chances of dropping out of the weight loss program. Another study has revealed that though dieters may eat less temporarily if they have high expectations, their under-eating puts them at a higher risk of overeating at the next temptation.
The question now arises: How do we set realistic weight loss goals? Experts came up with the following tips on how to set realistic weight loss goals. However, consult your doctor about your weight loss program before you use these tips.

  • Resolve to lose weight slowly: This is probably the most important tip which is often overlooked. Jennifer A. Linde, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis says that setting a goal of losing five to ten percent of your initial weight is achievable. So if you currently weigh 200 pounds, an achievable goal would be losing 10 to 20 pounds.
  • Do your Math: Setting a realistic timeframe is also important. Ideally, a realistic goal would be shedding about one to two pounds a week. If you plan to shed 25 pounds, you will be on a three month long program. If it is 50 pounds, set up a timeframe of about six months. Aim at burning 500 to 1,000 calories in a day, either by exercising more, eating less or both.
  • Set Mini Milestones: Set up short term targets. Instead of just concentrating on losing 25 pounds, celebrate your first 5 pound loss.
  • Track your Weight Loss Progress: Keep a food journal. Record your weight loss successes in it. This also works as a great motivator when you are feeling low.
  • Give thought to Long Term Goals: It is alright for you to plan out your big goals, however it also means that you need to start out small and work towards the bigger goal. So, if you are planning on shedding 50 pounds, maybe your short term goal should be going through the day without eating a lot.