Goal Setting Part 2 – Weight Management

goals metabolism testingGoal setting is an essential part of any weight management program. Really, until you have undertaken a thorough goal setting process, you are just taking a ‘hit and hope’ approach and your weight management program is unlikely to be anywhere near as effective as it could be. As this is part 2 in the goal setting series you should make sure you are familiar with what has been said earlier by clicking on Goal Setting Part 1.

Most people I speak to for the first time either haven’t set any particular goal, or they tell me something like ” I want to lose 10kg in 2 months” or “I want to be a size 6″. If you consider what you want to achieve from the goal setting process you will see that goals relating to your body weight are actually the LEAST important of all. If you only have body weight goals you are destined for disappointment and failure. I would go so far as to say that most people are best off leaving body weight goals out of the process altogether.

Use Action Based Goals

Concentrate more on short term goals that focus on the actions you need to take to bring about a healthier lifestyle. Do this and you will wind up at a healthy weight for you. A goal such as walking for 60 minutes each day holds far greater purpose than a goal of losing 10kg in 2 months. If you are consistently achieving your action based goals then your weight goals will just happen.

Set Realistic Goals

Another problem with using weight based goals is that many people set completely unrealistic targets. Your ability to reach weight based goals is dependent on so many variables that it becomes difficult to be specific with these:

  • Your overall metabolic rate and the rate at which you burn fat at rest and during exercise. Obviously a person that burns fat fast is going to reach a fat loss target faster than a slow fat burner.
  • Your starting weight. While you do hear stories of massively overweight people shedding many kilos in a short space of time, it is totally unrealistic for a person who is just 10 kilos overweight to think they are going to do the same.
  • Your metabolic response to the training that you do. As your metabolism shifts and changes on a weight management program it is inevitable that your weight will plateau for periods and the initial increases in muscle mass that occur may even see your weight increase. These issues play havoc with the minds of people who set weight based goals. Those of you that are obsessed with looking at the scales every day should have a goal of not stepping on the scales for several weeks!

However you can easily set realistic action based goals such as exercising for a total of 1 hour per day. Setting realistic action goals means setting lifestyle goals that you know you can achieve. Start off small and continually progress these goals to enable yourself to get more and more out of your program. Be very specific with these goals, write them down and tick them off each day as you achieve them.

Phrase Your Goals Positively

When you write down your goals make them more about things you will do rather than things you won’t do. For example rather than writing “I will avoid fatty fast food at lunch this week” write “I will enjoy a healthy, packed lunch each day this week” You can even be more specific and say exactly what you will have for lunch each day but whatever you do phrase it positively. Positively phrased goals become instructions that you happily follow whereas negatively phrased goals become rules that you resent sticking to.

Set Bigger Event Goals

Give greater purpose to your short term lifestyle goals by entering fun runs/walks or other activities that require preparation. Then your program becomes more than just about losing weight and you give yourself more opportunities to do things that make you feel great about yourself. If you focus your goals more on achieving these milestones, then the weight management stuff will take care of itself with far less stress and anxiety.

5 Goals For Weight Management

  1. Spend 10 minutes each day filling out a food and exercise diary. We continually see the people who do this have much more success than those who don’t.
  2. Exercise for 60 minutes per day in your optimal fat burning heart rate range. Those who have had a metabolic test have the advantage of knowing exactly what this is so use your test results wisely.
  3. Prepare your own lunches/dinners 5 or 6 days per week from fresh ingredients that you know are healthy. If you need some help with this get it from an Accredited Practising Dietitian, preferably one that is familiar with Indirect Calorimetry (i.e. measured metabolic rate as opposed to estimated.
  4. Walk/cycle to work so many days per week or park your car far enough away that you have a decent walk.
  5. Take the stairs rather than lifts and elevators when you are at work or out shopping.

When you achieve your bigger goals be sure to celebrate them. Rather than celebrating with a food reward, treat yourself to an experience such as a massage or a weekend away.


You might also like to read:

Goal Setting Part 1


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About The Author

Mark Barrett /