Weight loss experts say that false-hope syndrome may actually prevent you from losing weight. If you have unrealistic expectations about losing too much weight too quickly, you’re more likely to drop out of a weight loss program and start overeating again.
The best way to lose weight is to set sensible, realistic goals that you’re more likely to reach. Reaching these goals will give you a sense of accomplishment and encourage you to keep working toward more long-term goals.
Three Ways to Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals
1. Resolve to lose slowly.
Without medical supervision, a realistic goal is to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week. That’s the ideal number for losing weight in a healthy way and keeping it off in the long term. Medical weight loss programs increase the amount of weight you can safely lose to between 2 and 7 pounds per week.
2. Do the math.
Most experts agree that an achievable goal is losing 5 to 10 percent of your starting weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should start with a target weight loss of 10 to 20 pounds. Keeping in mind that you should be losing 1 to 2 pounds per week, it could take you 5 to 20 weeks to meet your initial goal.
3. Set short-term goals.
It’s okay to have a general idea of how you want to look or feel a year from now. But start small with goals you can reasonably achieve in a shorter amount of time. Instead of focusing on losing 25 pounds, decide how you’ll reward yourself once you’ve lost the first 5.
Although it may seem like setting smaller goals will set you up for smaller success, you’re actually more likely to make long-lasting changes to your health and appearance by losing weight slowly.