Before setting out on a journey, you must have a clear idea of where it is you are going, right? It's no different when it comes to losing weight. You must set a weight loss goal to ensure you're heading in the right direction.
This will also help to measure your progress and to adjust your tactics.
Whether you're losing weight for fundamental health reasons or simply to look your best, your weight loss goal still needs to follow the standards of goal-setting, namely, your goal must be SMART-Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Tangible.
Your first task is to determine why exactly you need to lose weight, and how much weight you want to shed. In other words, do you really need to lose weight? Most persons would answer yes to that question, even those you'd think posses optimum body weight. You sure have a right to decide how you want to look.
But generally speaking, people who're truly in need of weight loss must fall within the following broad parameters: BMI must be more than 25 Waist-Hip Ratio must be higher than 1.0 for males or higher than 0.8 for females. Abdominal Girth measurement must exceed 40 inches for men or 35 inches for women.
These are general rules, for sure. You may have other more personal reasons for wanting to drop some pounds. But before setting a weight loss goal based on reasons outside the ones given here, ensure you see your doctor for proper advice.
But having determined that you DO NEED to lose weight, then move to the next stage. Set a measurable and reasonable goal for yourself. For most persons, the general recommendations set out by the American College of Sports Medicine would work just fine: aim at losing 5-10% of your body weight or one to two pounds per week.
Another way to go about it is to set a target that helps you create continuous calorie deficit over time, and see how your body responds to that. The focus in this method is sustaining everyday health habits that help you reduce calories and lose weight. This is best achieved with a combination of diet and exercise.
Whichever plan you elect to follow, you must measure your achievements or results. This helps you keep track of your progress-or the lack of it. To increase the chances of attaining your weight loss goal, you must also be specific about how many pounds you need to lose each week, each month or per year. This will depend on your current weight and desired body weight, of course.
Your goal must be realistic, otherwise it won't be attainable. If you set a goal that your current schedule, stamina, health status or a combination of other factors would not allow, you'd be setting yourself up for failure. Of course, being realistic doesn't mean you can more or less do next to nothing.
Remember that one of the ingredients of a good goal is that it must be TANGIBLE. The way to go about it is to set reasonable, attainable goals and gradually scale things up. For example, you could start by replacing your high-calorie breakfast meal with something healthier.
Goals are also easier to attain when you break things down into smaller, specific units that are easier to focus on. It's also okay to adjust or even change your goals to make them easier to attain, such as by increasing the length of time required to lose specific weights. The most important thing is to stick to your weight loss goals until they're attained.