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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.

But 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, maybe even a weight they have never been at or were last at 30 years ago.

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

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

So 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.

How do I ensure my weight loss plan will last long-term?

Long-term results mean long-term effort and consistency, as sustainable weight loss is all about making a commitment you can stick to.

This means ditching fad diets and those "quick fixes," as bouncing around from one extreme to the next can facilitate harmful expectations and when not reached, can be damaging to both mental and physical health.

So to start, reflect on the past and evaluating what may have not worked in the past. With those considerations in mind, create a structured plan identifying short and long-term goals and the steps needed to achieve them.

Working towards non-food rewards can also help keep you motivated and accountable. A reliable system of friends, family members, and others offering positivity and support can, too.

What role should a doctor play in my weight loss plan?

If currently managing a serious illness or have a pre-existing medical condition, you should to talk to a health professional before you get started with any weight loss plan. Even if not managing a health condition, include a doctor and/or diet specialist as part of your support network.

Working with an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professional, including a primary care provider and dietitian, also ensures safe suggestions that are fact and science-based. They relay this knowledge expertise into practical and sensible recommendations.

Is there one diet plan more effective than others?

Weight loss is not a "one-size-fits-all" and everyone has individual needs that must be recognized and accounted for. That being said, no one diet plan is suited to meet everyone's needs across the board.

Truly, the most effective weight loss food plan is one that best fits your unique situation and will be compliant to. However, there most successful diets have commonalties between them, including focusing on nutrient-dense foods, limiting overly processed convenience foods, increasing water intake, and eating based on hunger rather than cravings and boredom.

In addition to diet recommendations, effective plans also promote other lifestyle factors, including sleep hygiene, stress management, and regular exercise.

What exercises are best 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.

However, the importance of being active should not be discounted, as both exercise and diet have a strong tie to reducing and preventing the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and age-related conditions.

When it comes to the best exercise for fat loss, aerobic exercise shows to lead to faster results. Also known as cardio, 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 (after weight loss): Some evidence suggests greater than 250 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity will increase weight loss as compared to diet alone.

However, resistance training is also key to sustainable results. Building and housing lean muscle mass leads to a more efficient metabolism, which accelerates greater calorie burn even when the body is at rest. Also incorporate strength training at least two to three times weekly, focusing 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, especially if new to working out, to minimize the risk of injury and maximize results. Also start slow and work up to these recommendations, because truly, any active is better than going without!

How do I set realistic weight loss goals?

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

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

So rather than stating "I want to lose weight," smartly indicate, "I want to lose one to two pounds each week by cooking at least four times a week at home and exercising five times each week."

Also even despite a well-executed game plan, goals should and can be reassessed to match new priorities and advance objectives already met. Ultimately, track progress, assess, and modify goals and actions often and as needed.



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