Setting Healthy Weight Loss GoalsDecember 8th, 2013 by David
So you know that you want to lose weight. You have your plan ready and you are about to spring into action, but have you considered what you goals are?
If you just want to ‘lose weight’ how will you know when you’ve reached your ideal destination?
The human mind functions best when it has a goal – to focus on and work toward – to provide motivation.
First it will depend on your reasons to lose weight. You may have just had a baby, you may be slimming down for a special event such as a wedding, you may have been directed to by your healthcare professional or you may just want to drop the pounds that have gradually crept on over the years without you really noticing.
If you are significantly overweight, calculating your BMI can be a good place to start. BMI equals our weight in kilograms, divided by our height in metres, squared. For example, if you weigh 60kg and are 1.70 metres in height, your BMI is 60 divided by (1.70 x 1.70) = 21. As a frame of reference anything under 19 is considered underweight. 20-25 is considered ‘healthy’ and if you fall into the 25-30 category you are toppling into ‘overweight’ territory. 30+ is considered ‘obese.’
BMI should only be taken as a general guideline as it does not take into account, for example, the fact that muscle weighs far more than fat, therefore those with a very athletic build and high muscle mass percentage are likely to have a higher BMI than someone with far higher fat percentage of the exact same height.
Generally speaking if you are in the 25-30 or 30+ category then BMI can provide a sound guideline of the weight-range that you should be targeting: a ‘healthy’ 20-25.
If you are in the 19 or below category then it is unlikely that you need to lose weight at all – perhaps you are confusing the desire to ‘tone up’ with the need to lose weight.
It can be helpful to consult your weight history when creating a goal for yourself. If you remember a time (during adulthood) when you looked and felt at your healthiest, then dig up photographs to provide motivation – a goal. You may even be able to find clothes that you wore at that point, which you can use to effectively measure your progress. This is often a far more effective method than looking to the media for inspiration, as often the bodies that you see in magazines are airbrushed to unrealistic dimensions.
Once you have established a healthy and realistic weight loss goal, break it up into mini-goals to aspire to on a weekly basis, in order to remain focused. Remember that any more than 1-2 pounds weight loss a week is falling into ‘crash diet’ territory which will only serve to slow down your metabolism and limit your progress on the long term. The only way to lose weight healthily is to do so gradually.