How to set realistic goals when it comes to your weight loss plans
Starting out on your health journey can be a little daunting, and people certainly experience information overload with access to so much conflicting diet information online (with most of it not being helpful, or even correct).
Do you find yourself constantly setting goals for weight loss and then being disappointed if you don’t reach that target number on the scales within the week?
Or perhaps you’ve tried diet after diet, and fallen off the bandwagon with regimes that are too restrictive, leaving you feeling like a failure - or just plain old confused about what works and doesn’t work!
If this sounds like you, then we’re here to help you set appropriate, achievable and maintainable weight-loss expectations for long-term success.
Set SMART goals
To help visualise and set your plan in motion, you should start by setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound goals). SMART goals provide a helpful framework create appropriate goals and have been shown to have greater results on weight loss compared to those who don’t set smart goals (1).
Step by Step
- Your goal might simply be “weight loss”, however this likely won’t be specific enough to keep you on track. How much weight exactly do you want to lose? 3kg-5kg? 10kg? The world is your oyster! After thinking about it, perhaps now your goal is to “lose 5kg”.
- The next step is to make sure it’s a measurable If the goal is weight loss, simply using a pair of bathroom scales should be enough to measure progress, however if you’d like more visual feedback you could also take photos.
- You should weigh yourself on a regular basis, such as weekly, and record it to monitor your success.
- Is this 5kg goal attainable? To work this out, you should see if you have 5kg to lose in the first place!
- You can calculate your BMI and recommended weight range here:
- A healthy and realistic weight loss goal would be to aim for 0.5-1kg per week.
- This goal needs to be relevant to you, you’ve figured out the what but you also need to figure out the
- Will you have improved energy, be physically fitter, be less likely to get joint strain or develop chronic diseases? Maybe you’ll be more able to do things in your everyday life like running around after the kids or hiking some of those local nature trails.
- If the weight-loss goal has no end, you’ll never get started! If you want to lose the 5kg by summer then you might write down “six weeks” for your total goal, and then break it down into small steps from there.
- Big chunks of weight loss can be daunting, but chipping away at it in smaller goals can be much better mentally and feel more achievable.
So, you should see now that by putting all of these steps into action, your goal may have transformed from “weight loss” into “I want to lose 5kg over the next 6 weeks, aiming to lose an average of 0.75-1.0kg per week, as measured by a weekly scale weigh in. I want to achieve this because I’ll have more energy for all the outdoors activities I’ll be participating in over summer with my family and friends”.
More tips and resources for turning your goals into plans:
- Write it down and put it somewhere visible like the kitchen fridge to remind you! Nothing makes it more real than seeing it spelt out on paper.
- Tell your friends and family members your goals so they can help to keep you on track and support you.
- Allow for some setbacks, and don’t throw in the towel if it doesn’t all go to plan. Every day is an opportunity to improve on the day before.
- Pick a healthy, balanced meal plan for healthy weight loss, such as the Tony Ferguson Classic Shake program or Rapid Shake program
- Our healthy eating meal plan for weight loss options can be found here
- Here are plenty of dietitian-approved recipes for some healthy meal inspo!