There are many people who want to lose weight and they succeed in the beginning, then they abandon their diets and get back to being heavy. There’s a multitude of reasons why this happens, but one of the common problems of dieters is that they set unrealistic weight loss goals that they find very hard to meet. If you want to lose weight, evaluate your situation and capabilities. How many pounds lost is realistic to you? What is the most sensible duration that you think will achieve this?
There are two situations that can be attributed to unrealistic weight goals: one is called the “insistent imperative syndrome” and the other is the “Mount Everest syndrome”. The first one pertains to making unbreakable commitments or imperatives, those that carry with them terms such as “never”, “always”, “every time” or “definitely”. These terms imply that anything other than perfection is tantamount to failure--- in short you’re not allowing any room for error that you’re setting yourself up to fail. Remember that you’re only human and just because you had a bite of doughnut in a moment of temptation doesn’t mean that your diet is overall a failure. When one gets disappointed by not achieving the metric of diet success, they tend to give up and worse, some rebel by stuffing themselves with food.
The other condition known as the Mount Everest syndrome is characterized by goals that are overly hard or almost impossible to achieve. Examples could be getting into a size 2 bikini in 2 months (coming from a size 12), losing 30 pounds in 1 month, or running 10 miles every day (from being relatively inactive). These scenarios are just examples of setting the bar up so high that the objectives have very little chance of being met. While a challenging goal can be a motivator for success, overly ambitious goals can be more of a hindrance. Remember that you can slice your goals up for them to be more achievable. For instance, you can widen the time frame by which you plan to achieve these goals.
In order to set up realistic goals, try the following steps:
- Be more specific about your plans—instead of being vague like “I’m going to eat healthier” why not have an actual plan like “I will buy loads of vegetables and fruits” or “I will eat a vegetarian meal at least once a day”
- Try to have shorter term goals—instead of focusing on losing 30 pounds, you can track your progress weekly. Why not aim for losing 3 pounds at the end of a week? The achievement that you will have at the end of a week will fuel your motivation for the coming weeks
- Evaluate your physical condition—how much do you weight at the moment? How much exercise can you realistically do? Do you have a medical condition that will need you to slow your pace when exercising? Evaluating where you stand physically means that you can have a more educated plan on what you can realistically achieve.
- Keep a journal of your progress—your goals are by no means final, they can change depending on your progress. See how well you do after a couple of weeks or so, and if you’re not achieving the 5 mile daily mark, maybe you should cut it down to 3 miles. If you can’t subsist on vegetables and fruits alone, why not add fish in the mix.