Setting Weight Loss Goals

Setting realistic goals - including weight, exercise, food and psychological goals - before you begin a weight loss plan is essential to a successful program.


  • Talk to your physician when you are setting your goals - he or she can help determine what is safe for you.
  • Be specific when setting your goals. For instance, determine how much weight you will lose, as opposed to simply resolving to lose weight. (To come up with a final goal that's healthy and appropriate, do a web search to determine your body mass index and to interpret your body fat percentage.)
  • Determine your daily, intermediate and big-picture goals before you begin your weight loss program. This will help you work realistically and gradually toward your final goals, as well as help you to gauge your progress.


  1. Begin by setting some small daily goals. Your weight goal might be to lose 1 pound per week. If you hardly exercised in the past, you might want to walk around your neighborhood for 20 minutes every day. (If you like, split it into a 10-minute walk in the morning and another in the evening.) Your nutritional goal may be to reduce your fat intake. Your psychological goal may be to write in a journal every day.
  2. Establish intermediate goals that are a little more ambitious than your original goals. For instance, two weeks after you begin to meet your daily 20-minute walk goal, extend your goal to a daily 1-hour walk; start eating smaller portions at every meal; and seek counseling for any self-esteem issues you might have.
  3. Determine big-picture goals; this includes the total amount of weight you'd like to lose by the end of your program. Make a commitment to jog or run every day to maintain your weight and health; learn how you can shop, cook and eat as nutritiously as possible; and take up an activity that you think you have a knack for - this can keep up your self-esteem.
  4. Set time frames for your daily, intermediate and big-picture goals. As you progress from one to the next, reward yourself. Go shopping, get a facial and take a weekend trip. You deserve it!

If you have any questions or concerns, contact a physician or other health care professional before engaging in any activity related to health and diet. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.

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