More often than not, people looking to lose weight are interested in shedding off pounds as quickly as possible. It's difficult to decipher what is a healthy rate of weight loss when infomercials and advertisements are promising that their product, exercise equipment or diet plan will have you dropping a significant amount of a weight in little time.
Before making your goals, it's important to first understand why and how weight loss occurs. Your body uses calories as fuel for a number of body processes, including brain function, organ maintenance and human movement. You provide your body with these calories through food and fluids. Whenever you take in more calories than your body needs, however, it converts the extra as body fat. But, if you consume fewer calories than your body needs, your body must break down the body fat you have stored on your body for fuel. Therefore, it's creating this caloric deficit that causes you to lose body fat and get that dreaded number on the weight scale to decrease. You create this caloric deficit by increasing the number of calories you burn through consistent exercise and decreasing the number of calories consumed by making healthy eating decisions.
It's important to immediately point out that it is not beneficial to starve yourself in an attempt to create an enormous caloric deficit. If you do that, your body reacts by significantly slowing your metabolism and you end up burning fewer calories in the long run.
Here are some tips to ensure that you set yourself up for success when making weight loss goals.
Be Patient and Realistic
Looking to lose a significant amount of weight can be overwhelming, so instead set short-term goals. A healthy rate of weight loss is one to two pounds per week. Therefore, if your goal is to lose 30 pounds, understand that it's going to take you about one to two months to get there. Instead of focusing on 30 pounds, focus on your one to two pound weekly goal. Every 3,500 caloric deficit you create equates to one pound of fat loss. Therefore, to lose one to two pounds per week, you should shoot to create a 500- to 1,000 deficit per day.
Focus on Daily Objectives
Instead of obsessing about what the scale reads, focus on what day to day steps you need to accomplish in order to bring about the weight loss. For example, your goals could include going for a daily 30 minute walk, planning your meals ahead of time and limiting your alcohol consumption to one drink per week. All of these small objectives contribute to creating a caloric deficit and thus support your weight loss efforts.
Make Them Specific and Measurable
The weight loss goals you set must be specific and measurable. They should be easy to track. Specific and measurable weight loss goals include walking for a set time per day and limiting your daily caloric intake to an average of 15,000 calories.
Write Them Down and Consider Sharing Them
It's essential that you write down each of your goals and put them in a location where you see them often. Changing your daily behaviors is going to be challenging, so having your goals out where you can be reminded of them will help you turn those changes into routine habits. Also, consider sharing your goals with a close friend. Having someone else know your intentions will provide extra motivation and will make you feel more accountable.
Keep in mind that you're not going to be perfect and it's likely you'll have some days where you don't meet all of your goals. Don't get too disappointed in yourself. Instead, analyze why you were unable to reach your goals that day and make the necessary adjustments. Losing weight requires creating a caloric deficit over the long-term, so promptly shake off bad days and focus on what you need to do the following day to contribute to your healthy weight loss.