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Establishing Weight Loss Goals

September 28, 2010

(Article first published as Setting Goals for Weight Loss Success, Tracking Your Progress on Technorati.)

Many people embark on a weight loss program without a firm understanding of their realistic goal or the exact plan that will help them cross the finish line to weight loss success. Similar to any journey through uncharted territory you may make, the key to your weight loss success is to establish a realistic goal which you can maintain as part of your new healthy lifestyle. The power of positive thinking combined with the reinforcement you receive from tracking your progress each day provide the fuel you need to accomplish your goal.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

Regardless of the task you wish to accomplish in life a positive attitude is critical to achieve the desired result. You must begin by believing that the weight loss task you are about the begin will have a significant impact on your health and longevity, as research has shown that losing just 5 – 10% of your body weight can significantly lower your risk of disease. You should only begin your journey when you feel fully committed to finish, regardless of the inevitable bumps you’ll encounter along the way.

Defining a Realistic Goal
Once your mind is set you’ll need to put together a realistic plan and goal that will successfully lead you to the finish line and monitor your progress for encouragement along the way. The most important part of goal setting is to make sure that your target weight is attainable. Don’t feel you need to weigh the same as when you were 18. Many things change in your body over the years, and often people find they feel great and experience optimal health at a weight which about 10% higher than the lowest weight from your college years.
Monitoring Your Progress
Of equal importance to setting a realistic goal and positive attitude is tracking your daily progress with nutritional software or a food journal. The positive reinforcement you receive from monitoring your weight, exercise and food will help you to get by an occasional rough day where you stray from your diet or when you hit a weight plateau.
The results of a study published in the eHealth Journal of Medical Internet Research found that participants who recorded and tracked their progress using an online software interface were significantly more likely to stay with a weight loss plan and maintain their weight loss compared to those who didn’t monitor their progress. By nature, we’re goal oriented and a journal helps keep us focused on reaching a pre-established goal.
Write Your Plan on Paper

Before you start on your weight loss journey, write down the steps you’ll need to follow to hit your goal and the benefits to your health from meeting your target weight. Include diet, menus, exercise and how you will fit work, family and friends into your program. Make a list of the numerous health benefits such as improving heart health, improving immunity, increasing brain power, feeling great and the knowledge that you are lowering your risk of an early death.

The only way to successfully lose weight is to properly plan the steps you’ll need to hit your target goal and track your progress. Without these commitments, you’ll quickly veer off course the first time you reach a weight plateau or succumb to a sugary treat. By having your whole plan detailed in writing ahead of time, you can easily continue to reinforce your new lifestyle which will lead to vibrant health and your ideal weight.
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