If you want to be successful in your weight loss, the first thing you have to do is set realistic goals that will help you keep your weight loss on track and keep you motivated.
However, if you set unrealistic goals that you’re not able to reach, it will quickly become discouraging and you may find yourself giving up long before you reach your goal.
So, here are 7 steps to setting a SMART goal for weight loss.
1. Make Your Primary Goal be Health
When your overall goal is to live a healthier life, it’ll be a lot easier to feel successful as you work to make better eating choices every day.
This will also help you stay motivated since you can evaluate yourself at the end of the day to determine what you can to better the next day to keep reaching your goal of being healthier.
2. Do Some Research
Before you set your main goal, you’ll want to spend a bit of time doing research to determine what a realistic goal is for you.
Ask other people who have already lost weight how long it took them to help you determine how much you can expect to lose and how long it might take you.
Then, you will be able to set up a realistic goal for your own weight loss.
3. Write Out Your Long-term Goals
You should have two basic types of weight loss goals, one primary, long-term goal and smaller milestones that will help you reach that goal and keep you motivated.
Carefully evaluate where you currently are and where you want to be. Then, set a realistic long-term goal, whether you want to lose 30 pounds in a year, or 100 pounds in 5 years.
Once you have your long-term goal in place, then you can set up your milestones.
Usually, the best way to do this is to divide the total weight loss that you’re hoping for into 5- or 10-pound increments.
You should also set specific timelines for these as well. Something to keep in mind, however, is that you will likely lose weight faster at the beginning, so give yourself some wiggle room as you go.
4. Set Up Your Milestones
These are little goals along the way that will help you reach your big goal.
You’ll want to set these up the same way you set up your big goal: after doing some research and with a timeline.
These will be spread out every month, every few months, or even every year.
What’s most important to keep in mind when setting up these goals is that weight loss is typically easier at the beginning and then takes longer as your body’s metabolism changes.
So, you may be able to lose 10 pounds in the first month, but will need 3 months to lose the last 5 pounds.
5. Make Your Baseline
Your baseline is your starting point. It will be something to look back on and remember how far you’ve come. Start by calculating your BMI, weighing yourself, taking “before” pictures, and measuring your body.
This will be hard for some people, but it’s important to know so you can really see your progress since sometimes the mirror alone makes it hard to see a difference.
You’ll want to measure the circumference of several parts of your body because that will help you track your weight loss more than the scale alone.
Be sure to use a non-stretching tape measure. You’ll also need to keep it parallel to the floor and at the same height all around the body part you’re measuring, and lay it on your skin without pulling it too tight.
The parts of your body you will want to measure to track your weight loss are:
Chest. For men, measure around the thickest part of the chest. For women, measure directly under the breasts.
Bust. For women only, measure around your breasts, keeping the measuring tape in line with your nipples.
Waist. This measurement is taken around the narrowest part of your torso, which is usually right above your belly button.
Midway. Take this measurement halfway between where you took your waist measurement and the widest part of your hips.
Thigh. While standing, measure the thickest part of your upper leg.
Knee. For this, you’ll want to measure right about your knee.
Calf. Measure this part of your lower leg around at the widest part.
Upper arm. Take this by measuring around the fullest part of your upper arm.
Forearm. Measure around the thickest part of your forearm, usually slightly below the elbow.
6. Promote Your Weight Loss Plan Friends and Family
As long as you let them know your objectives in these healthy practices, there is no way that you cannot find a person who is interested and will come with you during each and every work-out session of yours.
It's possible that some of them have already performed this healthy act which is in de facto inviting to consider.
The presence of workout buddies will give you reasons to insist on your weight loss plan, not least if they can share knowledge of nutrition and fitness with you.
7. Set Up Your Rewards
At each milestone and of course at the end of the long-term goal, you should set up a reward for yourself so it’s something that you can look forward to.
What’s more important than the size of the reward is that it’s not food-related.
Letting yourself eat an entire chocolate cake because you lost a pound kind of defeats the purpose of having lost the pound.
Some good rewards may include going out to see a movie, buying a fashion accessory, going to a sport’s game, or even going on a trip somewhere that you’ve always wanted to visit.
Whatever it is, having that reward to be excited about will help keep you motivated to keep pushing through even when you’re having a difficult day.
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