Setting Realistic Goals
I suffered for a long time with setting unrealistic goals. I’d say that those pie in the sky goals were one of the reasons so many diets in the past failed for me. I’m not telling you to dream small, nope, you should always dream as big as you want to, but you have to keep a sane time schedule when it comes to weight loss.
Your first month of dieting is always awesome. Losing 20 pounds or more is very possible, but there will come a time once you lose that initial water weight that you get into the nitty gritty of dieting and a realistic goal is 2 pounds a week.
Calories in and calories out is what it comes down to. Each pound lost is creating a 3500 calorie deficit in your diet through caloric reduction or burning off more calories through exercise.
A sensible reduction, creating a 20% reduction in caloric intake / expenditure (diet or exercise) is really the only sane long term solution to losing weight. Let’s say you need 2500 calories to maintain your weight, if you eat 2000 calories a day, that creates a deficit of 500 calories and you’ll lose 1 pound every 7 days.
I know, I know, the slow boat to China method of dieting is not the most encouraging method but it’s a long term method because it gives you time to change your bad habits, replace them with good habits, and change your lifestyle not just go on a temporary fix.
Is it really that slow though? If you lost 2 pound a week for a year that’s 104 pounds and that’s nothing to shrug at. You’ll also be more likely to keep a sane calorie deficit, because nothing says binge eating like going too low in calories one day, hopping on the scale the next, seeing you lost nothing, and making yourself feel better by eating a bag of Oreos.
The same thing goes for exercise. Just because you work out doesn’t mean you’re suddenly going to be Superman. Much like dieting, exercise has those initial new lifter gains. You will add muscle pretty easily when you first start off…but…it then slows down…I mean….really slows down.
Setting a realistic goal will help you avoid those depressing moments where you give up. Instead you’ll track your progression, you’ll see progress, even if it’s a little slow, and you’ll keep on your diet.
One important thing that I found was not to focus only on dieting and exercise. Time is passing and you should try and fill it with as many things possible. I picked up a bunch of hobbies when I couldn’t just eat and pass out on the couch watching TV. Reading, writing, learning a new language, meditation, and using lots of apps on my kindle to improve myself. When that first year of dieting passed, that wasn’t the only thing I did in the year and constantly focusing on your diet gets old, the people around you just want you to shut up about dieting, and a person shouldn’t be a one trick pony.
My first year of dieting wasn’t that bad because I had a list of other things I did in that time. For example, I read 1 book a week, so, end of the year I had lost over 100 pounds and I read 52 books. There was a lot of other things I did, but that’s just an example of not focusing on one thing too much and expanding your world as much as possible.