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Setting Realistic Weight Loss Goals

If looking for a weight loss food plan and serious about starting your journey, learn how to set realistic weight loss goals for sustainable, lasting results with this Q&A session.

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Weight loss is a shared goal amongst many, but often hard to achieve by most.

Time after time, researchers find one common reason many people give up trying to lose weight. They attempt to reach some goal weight that is just unrealistic. Some may even be hoping to reach a weight they have never been at or weighed over 30 years ago.

If that serves to be true, more than likely the problem is not the effort, but the goal. Yes, it is admirable to be ambitious and muster up a lofty aspiration. It likewise important to be realistic with weight loss targets, too.

(Truly, even the largest weight loss starts with just a few pounds!)

Looking for a weight loss plan and serious about starting this journey? Learn how to set realistic weight loss goals for sustainable, lasting results.

Long-Term Weight Loss

Long-term results mean long-term effort and consistency. Truly, sustainable weight loss is all about making a commitment one can stick to. This means ditching fad diets and those "quick fixes."

Bouncing around from one extreme to the next can facilitate harmful expectations. And when not reached, it can be damaging to both mental and physical health.

Remember, the weight was not gained overnight. And losing it that quickly will not happen, either. Most nutrition experts suggest realistic weight loss goals include losing a 1 to 2-pounds per week. However, these numbers can ebb and flow based on how much weight is to lose and the entire context.

How to Set Realistic Goals
To start, reflect on the past and evaluate what may have not worked well then. With those considerations in mind, create a structured plan identifying short and long-term goals.

Making SMART goals can be the most effective way to meet targets, as they have shown to increase the greatest compliance. SMART is an acronym standing for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.

These examples help clarify the difference between a general and SMART goal:

General goal #1: "I want to lose weight."

SMART goal: "I will lose 5 pounds monthly by cooking at four times at home and exercising five times each week."

General goal #2: "I want to eat more veggies."

SMART goal: "I will try a new veggie at least 3 times each week."

General goal #3: "I want to stop eating out so much."

SMART goal: "I will bring my lunch four days of the week by practicing meal prep."

Weight loss also is not a "one-size-fits-all." Everyone has individual needs that must be recognized and accounted for, and no one plan is suited to meet everyone's needs. Truly, the most effective weight loss plans are ones that best fit unique situation and will be compliant to.

However, most successful diets have common traits between them. Similarities include focusing on nutrient-dense foods, limiting overly processed convenience foods, and moderating portion sizes. Increase daily water intake and eat based on hunger rather than cravings and boredom, too.

Trusting in a meal delivery service can likewise assist in reaching weight loss goals. Well-balanced and convenient meals are delivered directly to doorsteps. This minimizes the hassle and stress of tackling the grocery store and kitchen amongst a busy day.

Less time in the kitchen allots more time to focus on other lifestyle factors that support weight loss. These include sleep hygiene, stress management, and regular exercise.

Best Exercises for Fat Loss

First and foremost, diet accounts for 90 percent of weight loss results. According to a study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, diet is the most significant component for weight loss.

What's more, the importance of being active should not be discounted. Both exercise and diet have a strong tie to reducing and preventing the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

When it comes to the best exercise for fat loss, cardio and aerobic exercise shows to lead to faster results. Aerobic exercises may include brisk walking, jogging, biking, swimming, and dancing, or truly any workout that accelerates heart rate.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggests the following guidelines related to preventing weight gain, weight loss, and weight maintenance:

• Prevent weight gain: 150 to 250 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity is associated with weight gain prevention.

• Weight loss: Greater than 150 minutes per week is associated with moderate weight loss. More than 250 minutes is shown to provide clinically significant weight loss.

• Weight maintenance: Greater than 250 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity may increase weight loss compared to diet alone.

Resistance training is also key to sustainable results. Building and housing lean muscle mass leads to a more efficient metabolism. A speedy metabolism accelerates greater calorie burn even when the body is at rest.

To support and build muscle, incorporate strength training at least two to three times weekly. Focus on the major muscle groups such as back, chest, arms, and legs.

It is also essential to learn how to exercise the right way to minimize the risk of injury and maximize results. Start slow and work up to these recommendations, because truly, any active is better than going without!

Also consult with a health professional before starting any weight loss, diet, and exercise plan. This is especially important of managing a serious illness or have a pre-existing medical condition. Even if not managing a health condition, include a doctor and/or diet specialist as part of a support network.

Working with a team of healthcare professional can ensure safe suggestions that are fact and science-based. A supportive, knowledgeable team may include a primary care provider, dietitian, and personal trainer. They will help relay knowledge expertise into practical and sensible recommendations to meet any goal.

Written By Christy Zagarella, MS, RDN. Published on November 07, 2012. Updated on April 25, 2019.

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