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Weight Control Infocenter

DietBuddy Archives

Step 4: Your Goals Must Be Realistic

by Dr. Jacob Mathew, Moderator, DietBuddy

Many people get hung up on how high the goals should be. If I am 200 pounds now and my ideal weight should be 150 pounds, that means I should lose 50 pounds. Now should I lose that 50 pounds in 3 weeks, 3 months, 1 year, or 3 years?

It would have been nice to do it in 3 weeks; but it is quite unrealistic and dangerous to do it in 3 weeks. You did not gain all that weight in 3 weeks; so how are you going to lose it in 3 weeks?

Here is the problem most of the goal setters struggle with. If the goal is too low, it does not excite you. It is not worthwhile doing, because accomplishing it does not give any satisfaction to you. So, it will be ignored.

If the goal is too high, then it will be impossible to achieve and you will soon give up disappointed.

Some people says that we should set our vision on the stars so that we will get past the tree tops; but if we target reaching the tree tops, we may not get off the ground.

There may be a compromise you can use.

We can set up a long term goal and then break it into smaller short term goals to reach there. And we can make corrections as we proceed.

For example,  I can set a goal to lose 5 pounds in 2 weeks. If I stay with that rate, I will lose 100 pounds in a year. (Or 2.5 pounds a week loss will get you 50 pounds lost in a year, still quite significant.) So, we have that small step to take; (Remember the journey of 1000 miles start with that first step!) at the same time seeing the big picture that gets us excited and motivated to continue with the program.

Give yourself the rime and resources you need to reach the goals. Set yourself up for success, not failure. Although I talked in terms of losing weight here, we should formulate our goals as an end weight as we discussed in step 3. So, if you are 200 pounds on January 1, 2005

You will set a goal of reaching 150 by January 1, 2006. So, my short term goals are: 195 pounds on January 15; 190 pounds on January 29, etc.


Consult a Doctor

Before starting a weight loss program you should talk to your doctor about your plans and have it approved. This is especially important if you are suffering from heart disease, diabetics, etc. Doctors can take tests to determine things such as blood pressure, cholesterol, heart and thyroid condition, and more. He or she may set limits on your activities or make suggestions about the best kinds of exercise for you.

Sometimes you will have to make serious changes in your lifestyle. That comes from the understanding you gained after doing steps 1 and 2 how you got where you are today.

Judy Molnar gave this example:

A coworker went to her doctor because she thought she was gaining too much weight and didn't know why. She had a thyroid test, which came back negative. The doctor told her to eat no more than a thousand calories a day, and she would lose weight. He offered no support or education as to what she should do, just slapped her with a calorie-counting diet plan. She later admitted to me that she did know why she was gaining so much: she was eating fast food all the time, and whenever she was stressed at work, she went to the candy machine. She made a change in her life. She quit her job after years of using food to deal with the stress. She has lost weight and is really getting control of her life now.


Staying Motivated

Incorporate seeds into your diet for better health

Weight-loss and maintenance tips

Steps 5: Make your goals personal

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