You know, how you start planning out your weight loss even before you start? On April 1st I will begin my weight loss. By May 31st I will have lost my first 10 lbs. By July 31st I will have lost another 10 lbs. If you have ever wanted to lose weight you have started making these calculations in your head even before you have figured out, how or when to start. Goals are an essential part of weight loss but are you setting realistic weight loss goals?
In this blog post, I want to address the fundamental of goal setting during weight loss. Especially, long duration weight loss. If, like me, you have a long road before your journey is complete, you need a lot of smaller goals to keep you motivated. Goals are key to success, whether it is a number on the scale, a different size or simply fitting back into your old pants.
Below I am walking through, how I am using goals for big picture, during day to day or simply when I am struggling. There are different tips and tricks for it all.
Use the Numbers On the Scale
For some reason, the scale has become taboo. I do acknowledge that fixating on the number on a scale can lead to unhealthy behavior but it does not have to, if you keep yourself to a schedule.
Big picture, I use the number on the scale to know where I am reaching to and where I started. I was in the “extremely obese” category when I started my journey but I just wanted to be “normal” or at a “healthy weight”. As I wrote in a prior blog post, I want to be within a healthy BMI range. I have normal bone density, I am not a body builder and I am very normally proportionate, so this strategy works for me.
Honestly, it is, also, really satisfying to see the numbers starting to disappear on the scale. Having to limit your cravings and controlling everything you ingest, it is a nice reward to see that all the work you are putting in is paying of.
For the most part, I would recommend, weighing yourself once each week, preferably in the morning (after your morning bathroom visit).
As for how you can use the numbers to create goals for yourself. In the beginning you will lose your weight much faster than when you have been at it for a while. So make sure you are setting larger goals in the beginning. My first goal was to lose 20 lbs (out of my 100 lbs) and I wanted to lose these within the first 3-4 months. After that I set 15lbs goals twice. Once I hit 50lbs weight loss, I started changing it to 10lbs. I am very close to my 70lbs goal weight (3 lbs away). Once I have reached that, I will go after each 5lbs.
The main thing to take away, is that you set smaller goals that are achievable. This will keep you motivated for the long haul. Have rather too many goals, than too few.
Use Time as a Goal
Notice, how I dropped the time frame after the first 20lbs? I quickly realized that I could not set a hard deadline for when I should be reaching my goals. I don’t function under time constraints, so it simply stresses me out and makes me less motivated. You might be motivated by a time frame and if that is the case, definitely make use of it.
If you want to go through it quicker so you can move on from the constraints a weight loss journey might create. Setting goals within a time frame is key and can be highly motivating.
My only recommendation if you do use time, is to learn how exercise can help expedite the weight loss as you will have times where you will be struggling to meet the deadlines.
This is by far my most favorite goal. Every clothing size difference has been a goal of mine and you will be able to see photos of me trying on new sizes on my Instagram.
When I first stepped into a size 12, I won’t lie. I cried. It was such a huge victory and had a much larger impact on how I felt about my journey than any number on the scale have had. I am currently a size 8/10 depending on the brand. I tried on an H&M size 8 both top and bottom and it fit but for other brands, my bottom still needed a size 10.
If you don’t want to use the scale as your bigger picture goal, I highly recommend using clothing size as the substitute. Go into the store you think you would like to buy clothing from in the future. Select a size you would like to see yourself in. Use that size as your end goal. Before you reach your end goal, you can use each size as smaller goals. That way, you feel progress in your journey. Either try a new size as you feel your clothing get loser or if you are measuring yourself, try a new size each time to you have lost an inch for each measurement you have chosen to record.
This leads me to my next goal.
Using Measurements As A Goal
I use measurements all the time. I can only say, use measurements as you will need it when the scale stops moving.
Before I started, I had a clothing size in mind that I wanted to reach. Size 8, if not a size 6. I, then, went to a few online clothing stores and checked out which measurements they used for the sizes I had in mind. I then had a tape-measure where I marked the sizes I was going for. When I hit my size 8 goal, I could not believe my own eyes. I had been dreaming of this day for so long. Years! I still can’t always recognize myself when I look in the mirror and I am not even done yet.
These are not ALL goals out there. Make your own if these are not enough. Some use tracking of how frequent you are on/off track and set a goal each month of only being “off track” 3 or 4 times in a month. Other’s simply use before and after pictures. Make sure you take pictures of yourself before you start this journey and during. You will love your “transformation” pictures. I wish, I had taken more images of myself beforehand. It is so satisfying to see the difference after all the work I have put in. Just make sure you set a lot of smaller goals throughout your journey as they will keep you motivated.
We have been setting all of these goals, now what?
Reaching the goals are rewarding in themselves. They are such a great victory but I do have added incentivizing ‘treats” for when I reach my goals. When I hit my 20lbs lost, I allowed myself going out for dinner and having as many desserts I wanted. When I reached 30lbs weight loss, I allowed myself to buy some more clothes and so on. Once I reach my next goal of 176lbs, I will buy some new underwear – yes, some more sexy underwear as I feel much more confident in my own skin now.
However, you want to reward yourself, make sure to celebrate every single win. Both the small and the big. It is so important that you show yourself pride and allow yourself to feel the joy of doing the hard work. You are working hard and kicking … Celebrate!
We are all different and what motivates us can be different. Make sure you start figuring out what motivates you. What makes you go for the next lb?