How to Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals

Posted: May 05 in Lifestyle by

Maybe you've heard that realistic weight loss goals are the key to weight loss, but what does realistic mean? Compare realistic and unrealistic weight loss goals, then learn a few ways to set realistic goals, so you can shed the pounds for good.

Understanding Realistic Weight Loss Goals

If your weight loss goal is unrealistic, you won't be able to achieve it. Chances are, you could become demoralized and even backslide by putting on more weight.

Realistic goals are those that you can achieve, provided you take the right action and have the right expectations. As long as your goal is realistic and you are working toward it, you will see progress. Noticing your progress will keep you motivated.

Frequently, unrealistic weight loss goals do not take into account how long it takes to lose weight. Expecting to lose 10 pounds in a week is not realistic because most people can lose no more than 2 pounds a week, for instance.

Another example of a fitness goal that isn't realistic is reaching a particular goal weight, such as 150 pounds. Numeric weight loss goals tend to be vague. To make a vague goal into a realistic goal, think about how you will get there and how long it will take, based on the 2 pounds per week figure. Consider what steps you will take to encourage weight loss, then commit to a plan of action.

Goal-Setting Tips

Most lifestyle changes fall into two big buckets; diet and exercise. List out different changes that you can make to your diet or exercise routine then translate each of these changes into action steps. For example, you might set a goal of only eating fruit for dessert if you normally eat cookies. You might have a goal of walking for 30 minutes on your lunch break.

If you have a better understanding of your goal and ways to reach it gives you motivation to persist. Even when your goals are realistic, you may experience setbacks, such as a temptation for cookie or a rainy week where you aren't able to walk at lunch. When there is a setback along the way, let yourself off the hook and recommit by reminding yourself of your goal.

As you progress in your fitness journey, your goal or your weight loss strategies might change. That's perfectly normal. Just because you've decided that you want to walk everyday doesn't mean you have to do that forever. You might decide that you want to upgrade to strength training, for instance.

If you feel like you're doing everything you can and you're not seeing the results you want, it could be time to get help. Many gyms offer fitness and nutrition coaching services to members. Scheduling a few sessions to talk about your goals could give you new ideas of what to try, as well as the peer support to continue when times get tough.


Now that you understand the difference between realistic and unrealistic weight loss goals, you can set clear, achievable goals for losing weight. Experiment with different weight loss strategies to lose weight naturally and make progress toward your goal. Keep a journal or other record of your progress to boost motivation and stay accountable.

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