Have you ever stepped on the scales after following your weight loss plan to a T, only to have them say exactly what they said last week – or worse, it’s gone up?
It happens to everyone. And while it can be disappointing, it’s completely normal to have weeks where you see no movement on the scales. When it happens, rather than dwell on the disappointment, focus on your other goals.
What if you don’t have any other goals? It’s time to set some. Seeing your weight drop on the scales is just one of many benefits you’ll get from your efforts. It’s important to have several goals to focus on during your weight loss journey. My patients often have a list of goals and see progress by crossing things off. This also brings huge satisfaction.
Remember, these are your goals, so make them relevant to you. Keep in mind that while it’s great having goals, if they’re too unrealistic, you may be setting yourself up for unnecessary disappointment. Consider your level of motivation, age, health status, mobility and ability to make permanent changes.
How to create a SMART goal
For the best results, choose a goal that is:
- Specific: What exactly are trying to achieve? Use figures if you can.
- Measurable: How will you measure this to determine if it’s achieved?
- Achievable: Something that you are actually able to accomplish.
- Realistic: Something that is possible for you to achieve in the time frame listed.
- Timely: Give your goal a time frame so you know when to check in.
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Apply this to your list of goals. And remember, not achieving a goal by a certain time doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It simply means you may have to re-assess your timeframes or goals.
“Take the time to write down some SMART goals other than losing weight on the scales. Regularly review your list and cross off goals that you have reached, then write down new ones.”
10 weight loss goals to focus on
Instead of looking at the scales, here are a few ideas of goals you could set to measure your progress.
- Drop in body measurements – e.g. waist circumference down by 5 cm.
- Drop in clothes size or notch on the belt.
- Overall improvement in health such as reduced blood pressure, cholesterol or better blood glucose control in diabetes.
- Feeling more energetic.
- Able to walk around or up and down stairs without losing breath.
- Reduction in joint pain.
- Getting into an exercise routine that you can maintain.
- Eating healthier – e.g. fewer processed foods and more vegetables, lean proteins and high fibre foods.
- Feeling more comfortable or getting the confidence to do something you’ve avoided for a long time, like going to the beach or pool in your swimwear.
- Sleeping better at night, no longer snoring or needing a C-PAP machine.
Take the time to write down some SMART goals other than losing weight on the scales. Regularly review your list and cross off goals that you have reached, then write down new ones. Keep an interactive list that you regularly update. You may like to stick your list on the fridge, keep it in a private diary or store it in your phone, computer or tablet.
For practical, tailored advice on healthy eating, see an Accredited Practising Dietitian.