Should You Set a More Ambitious Weight-Loss Goal?
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
This question has been on my mind this week, now that the scale is moving in the right direction again. How did you decide on a target weight, and have you considered adjusting it up or down? Is it psychologically helpful to set a modest goal at first, and then adjust it once you've met it?
I set an ambitious goal of losing 50 pounds this year, but I have to admit, even that keeps me in the "overweight" category. Shouldn't I strive for a weight that is considered "healthy" by medical standards? Am I just being practical? Or, am I setting a lesser goal because I'm used to being overweight and it would feel weird not to be?
To back up: last Christmas I weighed 210, my heaviest ever, after gaining 50 pounds in 3 years. Initially I set a goal of losing 40 lbs in 2020. That seemed plenty ambitious! 170 lbs is overweight for my height, but it would be a great achievement.
I didn't say 50, because that number seemed astronomical, too intimidating to even contemplate.
Besides, the most I'd ever lost in one year was about 25 pounds. I believe in slow and steady weight loss and would never attempt a crash diet or Biggest Loser-type numbers. I also know from experience that those last 10 or 15 pounds come off much more slowly.
But when I returned to SP before the New Year, all the good habits came back in a flash and I found the weight was coming off more quickly and easily than expected. After losing 25 pounds, I took the leap: and re-set my goal to 160 pounds. That's the weight I reached last time I was on SP, when I was running 5Ks regularly.
Back then, I was also frustrated that the scale would not go below 160.0 no matter what! Seriously--in over a year of trying, not once did I see 159.anything. It's like there was an invisible barrier, mental or physical or both. And eventually I got tired of trying.
But maybe now I have mastered the tools needed to push through. I'd like to think so!
For my height, the dividing line between "Overweight" and "Healthy" is 154 lbs. I've weighed as little as 142 in my adult life, but I was miserable trying to maintain that. I remember that 150 - 152 lbs felt pretty comfortable, though.
It probably won't happen in 2020. But if I can lose 40-50 pounds this year, I'm much more confident of tackling more in 2021.
It's important to always be learning and growing--or shrinking, as the case may be!
Feel free to share your thoughts about incremental and long-range goal-setting. I'd love to hear how others dealt with this. Happy Sparking!