A Guide to Realistic Weight Loss Goals
We all have goals we want to achieve. We aspire to be more successful, wealthier, healthier and get in better shape. However, at times, attaining these goals can become a true ordeal, and the more we strive, the farther they seem to move. This challenge is particularly evident when it comes to goals related to our health and fitness, such as losing weight. Today, we want to share our best tips to assist you in setting realistic and achievable goals on your weight loss journey—specifically, how to lose 2 pounds a week. We want you to achieve your weight loss goals effectively, so we'll provide you with the most effective approach, supported by research, to accomplish these amazing objectives.
Why are my goals doomed to fail? And what to do instead
Truly, there's nothing more discouraging than putting effort into achieving realistic weight loss goals and not seeing them come through. When you feel like you're giving your all and still seem too far away from the goal, not seeing the weight on the scale go down, and starving yourself every day wondering what you are doing wrong. Well, maybe you're guilty of one of these common mistakes we all make when setting our weight loss goals and our efforts to achieve them. Learn how to lose 2 pounds a week and ensure that your efforts align with realistic weight loss goals.
Wanting to achieve realistic weight loss goals: Realistic weight loss goals are challenging to accomplish. They require thought, action, motivation, and discipline to maintain the desired change for a significant duration, like more than 21 days, as suggested by science. And if aiming for a weight loss of 2 pounds a week, attempting multiple changes simultaneously increases the risk of being unable to sustain the adjustments and see them through.
Aiming for realistic weight loss goals without a clear path: Maybe you have big goals, you want to achieve a realistic weight loss of 50 pounds, get in shape, eat better, get strong, and the list goes on and on. Dreaming big has nothing wrong, but these goals seem a bit broad and unspecific and don't have a clear path of action, leaving you with a bunch of wishes you want to achieve and no clear road to get there.
Not having realistic weight loss goals that lead to a bigger one: On that same line, if the goal is quite big, like losing 50+ pounds, you surely know and understand that that goal will take some time, and if you don't break it down into smaller goals or milestones, you will feel discouraged at seeing the big one still far away.
Not having realistic weight loss goals: Not having a clear time goal or deadline for achieving your desired weight loss, whether it is losing 2 pounds a week, a wedding, a student reunion, a gathering of old friends, your summer vacation, etc. To motivate you and give you something to aim for, the goal of losing 2 pounds a week just becomes a bit weaker and easier to push away into the future, never becoming a reality. Sometimes a little time pressure, such as knowing how to lose 2 pounds a week, can help you stay focused and take the necessary steps every day to achieve your weight loss goals.
Not measuring and acknowledging your accomplishments: Just as we mentioned setting goals that are too big and too far into the future can lead to discouragement and frustration, not being able to recognize the path that you’ve already walked and the milestones you’ve already achieved will surely finish killing your drive and have you quitting when you might just be on the right track. And the best way to have solid data that shows you what you have been doing and where you’re at is to measure everything you can on your journey: weight on the scale, body measurements, energy levels, number of sessions you went to the gym, how much you’re eating, etc.
Focusing only on the outcomes: you want to lose X pounds, you want to gain Y amount of muscle, you want to fit in Z size clothing; these all are great goals, specific and hopefully with a realistic time frame. But focusing only on the outcome you want to achieve might be another road leading to frustration and quitting. You could instead try to rephrase and refocus your efforts away from outcome goals, and on behavior goals that will lead to a desired outcome.
This last point leads us to our next on how to break up your goal into realistic, actionable steps you can take right now right where you are and start moving towards your weight loss goals.
Breaking goals into skills, skills into practices, and practices into habits
Habits are the small actions we consistently engage in, day after day, which accumulate over time to yield significant outcomes. These outcomes can be either desirable or undesirable, depending on the habits we consciously choose each day. Therefore, selecting the appropriate habits that directly contribute to achieving realistic weight loss goals, such as knowing how to lose 2 pounds a week, and consistently practicing them, is not just the most effective path towards reaching your objectives, but also the sole route to sustainable, lasting change.
To facilitate change and gain a clear perspective on the journey ahead, your goals should be realistic. This will enable you to break down your weight loss goals into smaller sequential steps that can be easily followed. By doing so, you can make steady progress toward your end goal. And the process of breaking down your goals to understand what you should be doing every day to achieve a weight loss of 2 pounds a week is quite simple:
Parting from your big goal of losing weight, which is highly outcome-based, you can see a way to reframe it to be behavior-based. For example, you know that to be able to lose weight, and more importantly, keep it off, you would need to learn to eat better consistently, knowing exactly how much to eat. That is a nice goal to have but still doesn't give a clear path, you need to think of the skills required to achieve that goal
Thinking of that behavioral goal, what skills does someone that eats well consistently have? They probably know how to manage hunger and have better appetite awareness. That is definitely a helpful skill that can lead you to weight loss, but still no clear path so you need to break it down further into the actions that you should take.
This is all about the things you can practice daily to make sure you acquire the skill of better hunger and appetite awareness. What would help you get there? Things like eating only when hungry, eating only until satisfied and not stuffed, eating slowly so your body can let you know when it’s had enough food, or even measuring your portions of meals. Now, these sound like things you could be doing every day. Just one more step to go.
Remember one of the mistakes you should avoid which is changing everything at once, pick one of these practices that will lead you to build the skills you need to meet your goal and well, practice it consistently. Want to practice eating slowly? To make that a habit you should practice it daily, at any chance you have.
Setting realistic weight loss goals
By now, it is important to recognize the significance of setting realistic weight loss goals and breaking them down into small actionable steps that can be taken daily. These steps will gradually bring you closer to your ultimate weight loss goal, forming what we refer to as habits. You can always try our weight loss meal plan delivery options but that is not enough if you're not sure about your weight loss journey. And selecting the right habits can be a challenge. To help you in this process, here are a few tips on choosing the habits that align with your objective of achieving realistic weight loss goals, such as how to lose 2 pounds a week.
Simple: make your habits as simple as you can, anything that could be done without much effort in the context of real-life based on your own schedule, your knowledge, and your ability. The easier it is, you’re more likely to consistently do it and make it part of your life, and then move to the next habit that will be progressively more demanding until you reach the finish line
Small: Broken down from your goals, and focused on the skills you need to develop, into a smaller and more manageable habit that can easily be added to your life most of the time on a daily basis. Want to lose 10 pounds? Then your behavior should be to eat until satisfied (not overstuffed) at every meal, and to achieve this you should practice eating slowly at every meal, and to make sure you are eating slowly you can take sips of water between bites, or put down the fork between bites, or take a breath between bites, or time your meals, etc. Having a set of small habits to practice that build on each other will be like a ladder you can climb to get to the top.
Progressive: Your small habits should build on top of the previous ones and create a snowball effect of success. If you want to lose weight, then you should learn to eat better all the time, start by:
- Eating slowly at all/most meals, once you master that, you can
- Practice eating only until you are about 80% full (slowly), then
- Add more protein to most meals (and eat them slowly to 80%full), then
- Adding more veggies (along with the protein and eating all of those slowly to 80% full), then
- Planning your next meal(s) to make sure they are healthy (meaning they will have more protein and veggies and will be eaten slowly to 80% full), then you can
- Prepare some of those meals in advance, or hire a meal prep delivery service, to always have something healthy to eat at hand.
- And if you have always, or at least most of the time, something healthy to eat that you planned in advance and includes protein, vegetables, healthy carbs, and fats in the right portion sizes, and you eat all those meals slowly to 80% full. Then you have achieved your goal of eating better consistently. Time to move on to the next goals.
The simpler and more enjoyable you can make your habit practice the easier the journey will be to lead you directly to your weight loss goal, and more importantly to keep that weight off once you lose it.
If you want to learn more about weight loss you can find a lot of helpful information you can start implementing in your life today by checking out our amazing weight loss articles here.
How do you set a realistic weight loss goal?
Typically, in order to achieve a weekly weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds, it is necessary to create a calorie deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day by following a reduced-calorie diet and engaging in consistent physical activity. Initially, aiming for a 5% reduction in your current weight can be a realistic target.
What is a realistic weight loss goal per month?
What is the ideal weight loss rate for long-term success? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the recommended range is 1 to 2 pounds per week. In other words, aiming for a monthly weight loss of 4 to 8 pounds is a realistic and healthy goal.
Will eating 1000 calories a day help with losing weight?
On the contrary, several studies indicate that although following a 1,000-calorie-per-day diet can lead to substantial weight loss, it is challenging for most individuals to maintain, often resulting in significant weight regain. This can be attributed to factors such as the restoration of lost muscle mass and an increase in appetite. It's important to acknowledge that the human body has the ability to adapt to changes as well.
Can overweight children start a weight loss journey?
Yes, obese children can begin their weight-loss journeys, but it's important to do it carefully and with the help of medical specialists. Given that children's bodies are still growing and developing, severe diets and rigorous exercise regimens should not be used to reduce weight in them.