Setting weight loss goals

Alex Petrushevski


Weight loss is consistently the most common new year’s resolution for Australians as they enter the new year. However, without setting appropriate goals and focusing on how to achieve them many people struggle with maintaining focus and enthusiasm for their lifestyle changes.

To maximise your chances of successful weight loss, setting appropriate goals is essential. Here are 6 tips to make things easier:

1. Set specific and measurable goals

“Weight loss” is a vague goal, so you should be more specific than that. Have a end goal weight in mind (or dress / clothing size), so that you can aim for that in the long term. Having some manner of measuring your success, whether its on the scales, waist span or dress size will help keep you on track.

2. Have a time period for your goals in mind.

Having an appropriate time period in mind will enable you to track the progress of change over the week and months – without some form of time pressure you may find it difficult to maintain motivation and keep your momentum going.

3. Set short term goals

In addition to long term goals, setting short term goals will assist with your motivation and help you stay focused. If you have decided you need to lose 35kg, its not reasonable to expect that to happen in a few weeks. Therefore, it may be appropriate to decide “im going to aim for 4kg in the first month” or even “im not going to drink any soft drinks in the next 2 weeks”. Initial successes will help build your confidence and as you get past your first short term goals, you can continue adding further short term goals – before you know it they will add up into large achievements.

4. Focus on non-scale victories

Weight loss plateaus are very common – sometimes weight loss is very rapid over the first few months, and then seems to stall, despite the fact you are doing everything seemingly right. Similarly, some people find that initially they don’t get any weight loss for several weeks before it starts to come off, which be frustrating. The good news is that generally weight loss plateaus on a low carb diet are temporary and eventually your fat cells will release more energy to burn.

If your weight doesn’t seem to be shifting at a particular point, focusing on some of the other health benefits of your weight loss program is essential. Some common health benefits people notice on a low carbohydrate diet include:

  • Improved energy or mental clarity
  • Reduced joint pains and inflammation
  • Improved digestion, less bloating
  • Better skin
  • Improved sense of self-control with what you eat
  • Improved mood
  • More restful sleep / less snoring
  • Reduced acid reflux symptoms
  • More regular periods / better menstrual cycle control

5. Be flexible with your goals and defining success

Having specific goals at the outset is important, but don’t be afraid to adjust them as time passes. You may find that your initial goal of losing 10kg in a year has been achieved in 4 months, so you may add in some other goals to help keep you motivated. Similarly, if you feel your weight goals within a specific time period appear to not be achievable or realistic anymore you may need to re-adjust to keep on track and avoid feelings of failure or guilt. There’s nothing wrong with shifting the goal posts as you get more in tune with your body and what it is capable of – indeed, you may end up surprising yourself!

6. Have a good support system in place

When setting your goals, you should consider who in your life may be able to hold you accountable and help keep you on track. If the people around you are aware of your goals and are supportive of you, your chances of success will be higher. Family and friends are an invaluable resource, but having understanding, knowledgeable healthcare professionals will provide you with the added confidence and support to guide you through your journey.

Contact our clinic on 0491 643 493 to book in with our team and come up with a plan to help you achieve your goals in 2020.

This article provides general information from the current scientific evidence base and clinical judgement of the author. It is designed for educational purposes only and should not be substituted for medical advice. The author recommends you seek personally tailored support from a qualified healthcare practitioner before undertaking any major lifestyle change.