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Weight Loss Goals: Set Yourself Up For Success

Weight-loss goals can mean the difference between success and failure. If you don’t plan, you plan to fail. It’s that simple.
Realistic, well-planned weight-loss goals keep you focused and motivated. They provide a blueprint for your transformation.
In the 8 Wk Body Transform, we discuss how you are your own project. You are building your transformation. Nothing this intricate will work if you don’t plan in a totally objective way. Separate the emotion. You are a building project. Approach it clinically and in a practical fashion in order to succeed.
So we need to set weight loss goals to keep you focused and on track to building the new you.

Goals must be realistic.

Unrealistic and overly aggressive weight-loss goals will undermine your efforts. If you diet too hard by cutting back on calories below your BMR you will lose muscle and get so hungry that eventually you will give in to your natural famine response and you could end up binge-eating, then feeling like a failure and getting stuck in that really negative, harmful cycle.

We need outcome goals, microgoals and process goals to be successful.

An outcome goal is what you hope to achieve in the end – like “I want to lose 25kg in 6 months”. Or for someone who’s only got 8kg to lose, “I want to lose 8kg in 8 weeks” It’s the WHAT of the equation.

Outcome goals must be broken down into microgoals – smaller, achievable, non-overwhelming goals – like stepping stones to your big outcome goal. For example: If your outcome goal is to lose 25 kg in 6 months, then we can break it down into separate goals for each month say 6kg in the first month (because weight loss is faster initially), then 5kg for the next month, then 4 kg for the next 2 months, then 3kg for the last 2 months.
It is far easier psychologically to approach a microgoal of losing 4 kg in one month then it is to process losing 25kg in 6 months. It’s too big it’s too overwhelming so we need these microgoals or stepping stones.

While an outcome goal or microgoal may give you a target, it doesn’t address how you will reach it.

A process goal is a necessary step (there will be several of these over the course of your wieght loss journey) to achieving your desired weight loss. It’s the HOW of the equation.

For example, a process goal in weight loss is to eat portion controlled, healthy home cooked meals 5 times a day and exercise 5 times a week.
Process goals will also need to be realistic and broken down into smaller steps. For example if you don’t exercise regularly at all, you may need to start on 2 exercise classes a week, then do 3 the next then 4 after that and then 5.

Process goals are particularly helpful for weight loss because you focus on changing behaviours and habits that are necessary for losing weight rather than just numbers.

Set SMART goals

A good goal-setting strategy is the SMART goal checklist. Be sure that your weight-loss goals — whether a process goal or an outcome goal — meet the following criteria:

  • S is for Specific. A good goal includes specific details. For example, a goal to exercise more is not specific, but a goal to do 5 x 50 minute boxing classes before work on Mon, Tues, Thur and Fri and Sat every day is specific. You’re declaring what you will do, how long you will do it, and when you will do it.
  • M is for Measurable. If you can measure a goal, then you can objectively determine how successful you are at meeting the goal. A goal of eating better is not easily measured, but a goal of eating 1,200 calories a day can be measured. A goal of riding your bike is not measurable. A goal of riding your bike for 30 minutes three days a week is measurable.
  • A is for Attainable. An attainable goal is one that you have enough time and resources to achieve. For example, if your work schedule doesn’t allow 5 sessions at Dynamic Boxing a week, then it wouldn’t be an attainable goal. However, two early morning sessions to Dynamic and three 45 minute runs a week might be attainable. If a particular type of exercise, such as running, is physically too difficult for you, then running every day would not be an attainable goal while power walking might be the way to go.
  • R is for Realistic. For most people, a realistic outcome goal is to lose 4-8 kg by the end of the 8 Week Body Transform program. Process goals must also be realistic. For example, I will draw on both my experience and the results of your body composition scans to determine your daily calories based on your current weight and muscle mass. It is completely unrealistic that if you are 6 foot tall to be eating 1200 calories. Setting an unrealistic goal will result in difficulties, disappointment and the temptation to give up altogether.
  •  T is for Trackable. Goals are best achieved if you keep a record of your progress. That’s why we do 3 body scans over the course of the program – to scientifically and accurately track your wonderful body composition changes as the program wears on. That’s why we keep a food and exercise diary. Keeping track can help you evaluate your progress and stay motivated.

Allow for setbacks
Setbacks are a natural part of behaviour change. Everyone who successfully makes changes in his or her life has experienced setbacks. Over the course of this program we will expect setbacks and we will develop a plan for dealing with them by identifying potential roadblocks — a big holiday meal or office party, for example — and we’ll brainstorm specific strategies to help you stay on track.

Reassess and adjust your goals as needed
We are after progress not perfection. Things don’t always go to plan. If you originally wanted to lose 8kg but can see that you won’t get there in that time-frame, you’ve got to be willing to change your goals to fit in better with your life and what is realistic for you. Likewise, if you started small and achieved success, you might be ready to take on larger challenges.

Reward yourself after achieving each outcome microgoal
This is not negotiable!
Goal setting, then achievement of the goal, followed by a non-food reward is CRITICAL to your ongoing success because it’s such a powerful positive feedback mechanism. It keeps you inspired and motivated to keep going so you can get to your next awesome reward.
The reward has to be non-food – we’re not dogs – and we are not here to do tricks for food. we are grown-ups and we reward ourselves with things like a facial, a massage, new clothes, something you’ve wanted for a long time and haven’t gotten around to getting it yet.

Try it yourself
We’ve done the learning, next let’s put the learning into practice.
Write down your outcome and process goals on the Body Transfrom Goal Tracker Sheet that you can download here.
Remember they must follow the SMART principles – SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ATTAINABLE, REALISTIC, TRACKABLE.

Example: Say you only have 8 kg to lose

Outcome Goal:
To Lose 8kg in 8 Weeks

Identify your stepping stone goals. In this example, because of the shorter time frame, we could break up microgoals into fortnightly amounts. If you have large amounts of weight to lose over a longer period of time, monthly microgoals is a better option, but ultimately do what works for you.
Microgoal 1: First fortnight lose 3kg
Microgoal 2: Second fortnight lose 2kg etc

Process Goals:
Process Goal 1: Eat 5 portion controlled meals a day as per Body Transform Plans
Process Goal 2: Do 5 structured workouts per week Eg. 3 x 50 min Boxing Class and 2 x 45 min jog/runs
Process Goal 3: Perform 15,000 steps a day
Process Goal 4: Leave the car _____(1km away for example) from work and walk Mon-Fri

Once you’ve filled out your Goal Tracker Sheet, stick it on the fridge or someplace where you will see it often. It will help keep you focused and the action of ticking off each goal as you achieve it is the best motivator to keep going!

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