Healthy Living

How to Set Weight Loss Goals

No general would consider going into war without a plan that includes both short-term and long-term goals. Without some benchmarks along the way to measure the success or failure of the strategies being employed, it would be difficult to know when to change tactics or to boost the morale of the troops. Those of us just beginning to wage a battle against excess weight should take this lesson to heart and make goal setting a priority. When a goal is reached, it not only provides a reward to continue the battle of the bulge, it also spotlights behaviors that are truly working.

Taking Action

Unfortunately, many people do not know how to set weight loss goals and neglect this vital part of any good weight loss program. The following checklist is a helpful tool to begin the weight loss goal setting process:

• Use a tape measure, a good scale and a BMI calculator to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). A healthy BMI should range between 20 and 25.

• Set your target weight based on the upper ends of these charts so that the first goals are not so far into the future that they are difficult to envision.

• A good plan for losing weight is to work toward losing 10 percent of the current body weight each week. A goal that is higher than this may be unhealthy and hard to maintain over the long term.

Keeping Track

Once your weight loss goals have been established, it is important to track progress. This motivation will make sticking with a healthy eating and exercise plan much easier. Use the following tricks to move toward weight loss goals:

• Write the goals down and put them in strategic places to inspire good habits. Post them on the refrigerator, in your purse or wallet, and beside the bathroom mirror as a reminder or warning.

• Weigh and measure at the same time intervals so true progress can be discerned.

• Broadcast your goals to friends and family who can then provide accountability and help.

• Review and adjust your goals periodically when they become unrealistic or too easy to achieve.

• Set up pleasurable rewards for each goal that is met.

Goals are necessary to help change behaviors, but dieters should not become slaves to their goals. Weight loss programs should not only include targets for calorie reduction and the number of pounds to be lost, but also they should include exercise milestones. Exercise will increase the metabolic processes occurring within the body and speed weight loss. So that the body does not become immune to the effects, exercise goals should also be adjusted as the body gains strength and stamina. By concentrating on reaching a goal, rather than struggling with food intake, you can make weight loss much more achievable.

This is a guest post from Emma Simpson, who enjoys setting goals in all areas of her life. She used an ideal weight calculator weight calculator</A> to help define her weekly weight loss targets, and so far is on track to reach her target weight.

Karla Urwitz
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