We know, choosing a goal weight should be the fun part, but a lot of people just have no idea where to start. Do, for instance, you aim high and choose a goal weight that’ll see you sliding back into the twenty-something skinny jeans that’ve been hopefully stashed at the back of your closet? Or do you instead opt for the slightly less hairy and audacious goal of just losing five kilos? Ooh – we know, we know!
Realistic weight loss goals
Let’s keep it simple: the answer you seek is – somewhere in the middle. Firstly, research shows that weight loss motivated by a specific goal is more likely to be successful[i] [ii]. Secondly, it also tells us that more specific plans and goals are associated with more weight loss, especially among those wanting to lose a lot of weight[iii]. Finally, and importantly, studies have also found that setting weight loss goals that are unrealistic can actually hinder your results[iv].
Therefore, the best place to start is to weigh yourself and calculate a loss that’s somewhere in the vicinity of 5-10% of your body weight. An achievable, sustainable goal with intermittent fasting is to aim to lose around 0.45kg per week.
SMART weight loss goals
You’re also more likely to achieve goals that are ‘SMART’. That translates to:
Specific – get nitty gritty with the detail and define what you want clearly.
Measurable – make sure you can weigh, count or track your goal so you know if you’re heading in the right direction.
Achievable – choose a goal that’s plausible, possible and attainable, because any other type will just set you up for failure and frustration.
Relevant – the goal needs to be something that you actually want, that’s important to you! Don’t get sucked in to doing things that you think other people want you to do.
Timed – set a specific start and end date for your goal, because it will help to give you the motivation you need to kick those smaller goals every day and every week.
So, make sure that you tick each one of these elements off when you’re selecting your weight loss goal.
How to choose a weight loss goal you’ll actually achieve
Some other tips that’ll have you slaying those scales in no time flat are:
Have long-term and short-term goals – for example, if you aim to lose 10kg by June, then break that down into smaller goals. By February I’ll lose 2kg, by March I’ll lose 4kg and so on. Small victories add up to big wins! In addition to this, it’s important to celebrate your successes.
Focus on the process – every little win is part of a bigger win. That means every successful fast day is a win, every time you eat your veggies is a win, every time you get up from your desk for a little extra incidental exercise is a win. It can be easy to focus on the end goal and forget about the small steps you need to get there. But if you, instead, focus on the step that’s right in front of you (instead of the entire staircase), you’re more likely to: firstly, actually take that step and, secondly, not panic by how many steps there are yet to be taken. Ultimately, focusing on the little wins will ensure you keep winning.
Allow for setbacks – you are a human being, not a human doing. That means sometimes you make mistakes, and sometimes stuff just happens! It’s normal for life to get in the way, for you to occasionally faceplant into a pizza or for you to have a bad week. Make sure you work these things into the plan and allow yourself some leeway so that you don’t freak out when they happen. (Side note: the great thing about intermittent fasting is that these “life happens” moments are inbuilt into the diet, so you don’t have to stress. Win!) Finally…
Reassess and adjust as needed – reflection and adjustment is important. If you didn’t hit that June goal, then why didn’t you hit it? And what can you do to change the way you approach the next goal for July? Knowing what you know now, is that goal still realistic? Make sure you assess and adjust your goals at each milestone to make sure you stay on track.
One more tip for achieving your weight loss goals
Reward yourself – we see the highest success rates among those SuperFasters who take the time to celebrate each milestone and reward themselves in some way. You might choose to gift yourself a trip to the movies when you lose the first 2kgs, a massage when you lose 5kg and a new pair of jeans when you lose 10kg.
Ultimately, choosing a goal weight is a very unique thing. Each person’s opinion of what their most ‘comfortable’ weight is, is different. But if you take each of these tips into account, you’ll be feeling healthier, happier and sliding into those skinny jeans in no time flat. If you’re interested in more info on how to choose a goal weight, you can find out more about TDEE and BMI over here.
Ready to slay those scales and get your old body back? Join the Super Squad now.
How to choose a goal weight further reading
[i] O’Hara, B.J., et al., Weight-Related Goal Setting in a Telephone-Based Preventive Health-Coaching Program: Demonstration of Effectiveness. Am J Health Promot., 2017, Nov; vol. 31, no. 6, pp. 491-501. DOI: 10.1177/0890117116660776
[iii] Dombrowski, S.U., et al., Do more specific plans help you lose weight? Examining the relationship between plan specificity, weight loss goals, and plan content in the context of a weight management programme. Br J Health Psychol., 2016, Nov; vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 989-1005. DOI: 10.1111/bjhp.12212