Realistic Expectations for Weight Loss
When it comes to setting weight loss goals, people are unrealistic.
The experts recommend losing ½ to 2 pounds a week. To lose faster, you’d have to eliminate necessary nutrients which would jeopardize your health.
Research studies show that most people lose 8 to 10 percent of their weight during the first six months of dieting. They then regain half of it back within the next year. However, a weight loss of only 5 to 10 percent significantly improves both health and psychosocial well being.
These findings, when taken together, led the scientific community to recommend modest goals for weight loss: 10% of weight lost over six month of effort. That’s like going from 160 to 144 pounds in six months.
What the women want
The women in the studies wanted nothing to do with the recommendations. Over and over, they wanted to lose 22 to 34 percent of their weight in six months. Less weight loss would be “unacceptable” or “disappointing”. When setting goals, the women did not consider their past experiences; however, they were confident that they could attain and maintain their desired goal weights.
After six months, the women in one study had lost about 3 percent of their weight – much less than their original goal, but surprise! They were not disappointed. Research shows the any weight loss is associated with improved body image and self-esteem. And, the more unrealistic the goal, the greater the chance of maintenance after 18 months. It’s like some high ideal served to lead the women in the right direction. A caveat was that the woman had to first possess the ability to be satisfied. The women who were most dissatisfied with their bodies were most likely to regain weight by one year.
The bottom line
It is fine to set big weight loss goals for yourself, just don’t set a tight time line and enjoy the journey.
Is your weight loss goal realistic?
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