5 Tips to Setting Compelling Weight Loss Goals

Posted: Aug 04 in Weight loss, Weight Management Strategies by

There are two types of weight loss goals: SMART or STUPID goals. What is the difference?

STUPID Weight Loss Goals

Stupid goals are goals that one is unlikely to be successful at achieving. They are non-specific, vague, non-achievable, unreasonable, or not timely. An example of a STUPID goal might be: “I want to make $10 million dollars.” It is specific, but non-achievable for most, unreasonable, and is not timely. Similarly, and now more specific to weight loss, “I want to be 123 pounds.” Depending on the starting weight – it is specific, it may or may not be achievable, it may or not be reasonable, and again, it is not timely.

SMART Weight Loss Goals

Smart goals are:

  • S: Specific – goals that are clearly defined with the reasons to accomplish them
  • M: Measurable – goals that allow measuring success at timely intervals; goals that can be quantified
  • A: Achievable – goals that are realistic and can be accomplished taking into account current status
  • R: Reasonable – goals that produce end results worth your time
  • T: Time-bound – goals that have fixed timelines

So, how could we convert the above STUPID goals to SMART goals?

Instead of “I want to make $10 million dollars.” – some SMART goals might be:

  • “I want to look for a full-time job.”
  • “I want to pursue a degree in accounting so I can have better odds at finding a good job.”
  • “I want to save 5% of each paycheck in my 401k plan.”
  • “I want to pay-off my high interest credit card debt with money from my home-equity line of credit.”
  • “I want to cancel my expensive memberships and invest the money saved into a growth-style mutual fund each month.”

Instead of “I want to be 123 pounds.” – some SMART weight loss goals might be:

  • “I want to participate in a weekly weight loss program for 20 weeks.”
  • “I will keep a food journal documenting what I am eating.”
  • “I will walk for 60 minutes Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM, either outside if it is nice, or inside on my treadmill while watching my favorite show.”
  • “I will use a meal replacement every morning for breakfast.”
  • “I will take the medication my doctor prescribed for me every morning.”

SMART goals and Weight Management

When it comes to losing weight, the way we set goals is very important. Instead of choosing a goal of just achieving a certain weight, SMART weight loss goals help you choose the strategies to get you there. Remember, to be SMART, the weight loss goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. So a goal of losing 100 pounds is not a SMART goal – it is specific and measurable, but perhaps unachievable and not timely. Instead, set weight loss goals around the ACTIONS that will achieve the desired result. When it comes to evidence-based strategies that result in sustained weight loss and improved health, these can be grouped into 4 main areas: healthy eating, physical activity, behavior modification, and medication. So, smart goals in these categories might include:

  • Healthy Eating
    • “I will utilize meal replacements for my non-social meals, and try to eat mostly protein and non-starchy vegetables for my social meals.”
    • “I will avoid sugar-sweetened beverages.”
    • “I will enjoy my wine, but just 1 glass on Fridays and Saturdays.”
    • “I will keep a food journal 5 days per week.”
  • Physical Activity
    • “I will buy a new pair of walking shoes this week.”
    • “I will wear my fitness watch and keep track of my steps each week.”
    • “I will walk every day after dinner for 30 minutes.”
    • “I will use my yoga mat to do stretching and strengthening every Tuesday and Thursday evening.”
  • Behavior Modification
    • “I will turn off the television while eating.”
    • “I will only eat at a restaurant if I have reviewed the menu beforehand and chosen what I will order.”
    • “I will avoid alcohol before meals.”
    • “I will get all the junk food off of the counters in the kitchen.”
    • “I will shop around the periphery of the grocery store first.”
    • “I will not keep calorie dense foods like chips and baked goods in the house.”
    • “I will see my registered dietitian nutritionist weekly for 20 weeks, then every other week.”
  • Medication
    • “I will take my weight loss medication every morning as prescribed by my doctor.”

Next Steps

I encourage YOU to make a list of your SMART goals, and review them with me or your registered dietitian nutritionist next time we see you here at CNC. Following your SMART goals will help you achieve your ultimate goals of improving health and happiness!


One Response to “5 Tips to Setting Compelling Weight Loss Goals”
  • Vicki Johnson says:

    This really helps me with the thought of the maintenance plan. I have 3/4 of these down so I still have some work to do. Doesn’t sound hard but they are the effort ones. Need to find a buddy to make some of them easier or just “DO IT” to quote Nike. Support is huge to me. This time I’ve committed to nutritionist 1x a week and it’s made a big difference. No the exercise EVERY DAY! Ugh.
    Thanks so much for these great articles!

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