If you are like most people, you have probably set some lofty weight loss goals for yourself several times in your life. Did you ever stop to think, “Is this goal realistic?” “Is my goal sustainable?” “Am I just participating in one of those fad diets?”
If you’re ready to make a change in the way that you approach weight loss, it is a good idea to start by setting some realistic, effective, and sustainable goals.
When setting weight loss goals, there are three key steps that you will want to follow.
Step #1: Customize Your Goals Based on Your Body TypeIf you are setting your weight loss goals based on what you see in magazines, on TV, or what your best friend looks like, you could be setting yourself up for disappointment. It is important to note that there are many different natural body types. Some body types are naturally curvier or more muscular, and if you are taller, you simply might have more bone mass than others, which will contribute to your total weight. However, when setting your weight loss goals, it matters less about what your height is, and more about your body type. It’s important to get a sense of what your true body type is and set realistic weight goals based on your natural body composition.
According to the Somatotype theory that was developed by the psychologist William Sheldon, there are three body types:
- Endomorphs: A round and shorter body type
- Ectomorphs: A linear, tall, fragile body type
- Mesomorphs: An angular, muscular, and athletic body type
- Kapha: A physically strong, sturdy, and heavier build that tends to hold onto weight more easily
- Vata: A slender and tall body type
- Pitta: A medium frame with a strong physique
Step 2: Set Mini-GoalsIf you are setting lofty goals in a large time frame without checkpoints in between, you are likely to get lost or distracted along the way. Begin by setting small goals and re-evaluating your goals each time you reach a “mini-goal.” This is going to help you build more positive momentum along your weight loss journey instead of constantly feeling like your goal is so far away.
Instead of trying to fit into clothes that you have had for more than five years, set more short-term goals and modest weight loss goals of 5 or 10 pounds to help you achieve your long-term goal. Even small amounts of weight loss can help you feel more energetic, move more easily throughout your day, and improve your health markers.
It is also important to recognize that your body changes as you move through different phases of your life (e.g., puberty, pregnancy, menopause, etc.). If you are setting your weight loss goals based on what you weighed in high school or 10 years ago, it would be a good idea to re-assess your goals based on the current life phase that you are in. Remember that your bone mass and muscle mass have most likely shifted in the past 10 years, so it’s unrealistic to expect that your weight should be the same as when you were younger. Be sure to give your body proper nutrition as well, including accurate calorie intakeand protein intake.
Step 3: Create a Plan for AccountabilityTrying to achieve weight loss goals on your own is not only difficult, but it is also not always unsustainable. It is crucial to build in some type of accountability when setting your weight loss goals. Here are some options:
- Find a family member, friend, or coworker to see if they can commit to being your “accountability buddy” and the source of motivation for physical activity, healthy eating habits, and an overall healthier lifestyle.
- Invest in working with a nutritionist, personal trainer, or health coach to have an expert to support you with guidance and accountability.
- Join a group program or a group class at your local gym or health center.
Now that you know the three steps to creating effective weight loss goals, it’s time to take action and lose weight. Take out a pen and paper and start re-defining your weight loss goals and make sure they're achievable. Think about setting realistic exercise goals based on your body type, breaking your goals up into smaller bite-sized pieces, and building in a support system to help keep you on track with your goals. With a little planning to achieve your goals, you’ll be in love with your body and living a healthy lifestyle in no time.
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