Goal Setting - the Long and Short of It

Jenny's Journey

When you are losing weight, it is very important to set specific and tangible goals for yourself. This helps to ensure a few things:

1. That your goal is attainable and safe. The recommended rate of weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. Losing weight gradually has been shown to produce better, more sustainable results. A good example of this is the show The Biggest Loser. Anyone can lose weight in that environment- exercising all day and eating very little, but when those people go back to their daily lives they nearly always gain the weight back. Longevity and sustainability are keys to lasting weight loss. If you set a weight loss target that is not achievable, then you are setting yourself up for failure.

2. Goal setting helps you focus. Goal setting helps you focus on the weight and the number on the scale, but also what benefits you will see on a day to day basis in your life. For example, daily arthritis aches and pains are extremely common in obese people - the extra stress the weight puts on our joints is severe. Improving pain from osteoarthritis is a great goal to have. Another option is set goals based on the activities you want to be able to do. I want to be able to walk up two flights of steps without feeling like I am going to keel over- that's a good, easily trackable goal that I can improve on over time.

I started off weighing 275 pounds in the summer 2016, which was an all time high for me. More seriously, my BMI was 40.6 - placing me in the category of morbid obesity (BMI >40) - yikes! That was truly a wake up call and had me considering gastric sleeve surgery. I have been close to that weight multiple times in the last 10 years and it is not uncommon for me to lose and gain back 50 pounds in a single year.

This roller coaster has been very disheartening and difficult to endure, but it is imperative to keep a positive attitude and keep looking forward!

My weight goals are both short and long term.

First, I want to get my weight down to 220 pounds by the beginning of May (my current weight is 232). That is 9 weeks from now and would mean losing 1.3 pounds per week). I will be going to Las Vegas in May and doing some hiking, so I picked this target as a short term goal.

Past this, my goal to get down to 200 pounds by the end of August (BMI 29.5 and not obese but overweight)!

I have set this goal for myself because my husband and I are going to go on a 3 week long hiking trip out West. We will be traveling to Wyoming, Montana, Utah, and Colorado to hike and see various state and national parks. We took a similar trip in 2015 and it was the best thing we've ever done, but at the time I was not in good enough shape to do strenuous multi-mile hikes in the dead of summer. I fell several times on the trails and we had to cut short several of our hikes because of that. So, now I am looking forward to being well prepared and in shape to safely complete strenuous hikes in the mountains and desert. Injury is a real and scary possibility when you’re out of shape, and I want to be fall and injury free! This trip will be a wonderful adventure, and it is great motivation to keep on track!

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