Is Setting a Goal Weight Really the Best Strategy?
When you decide it’s time to try to beat the bulge – regardless of whether it’s just a few pounds or quite a lot of weight – setting a goal weight will likely be your very first step.
In fact, setting a goal weight is so natural for many people that we don’t even consider it a step. We think of the weight loss strategy as happening after that point. Coming up with a target often happens nearly simultaneously with the decision to lose weight and get healthier.
In fact, you may have been setting a goal weight without even knowing it. After all, who hasn’t tried something on and thought “if only I was 10 pounds slimmer”? Who hasn’t looked at the scale and had a secret “perfect” number sitting in the back of their mind? That, alone, is already edging on having a target weight, even if it hasn’t reached the phase that we’re ready to take action yet.
But is this goal setting really such a good idea? According to most weight loss experts, the answer is a most definite “yes.” Having goals gives us something to aim for and it lets us know how we’re doing.
For many people, it isn’t just a matter of choosing an end goal. Shorter-term sub-goals are also frequently used in order to maintain that sense of progress and achievement.
That said, beyond being a motivator and measure of your progress, keeping a goal weight in mind can also be helpful in two other important ways that are often overlooked.
The first is that it helps you to understand where your body will be at its healthiest. If you choose your target based on where you should be for ideal health then you will first find out about that weight. That extra step can help to make sure you’re taking aim at the right goal weight. Then, when you achieve it, you can be confident in knowing that when you maintain it, you’re keeping your body in its optimal condition.
The second is that when weight comes off gradually, it can be tough to see our progress in the mirror. Therefore, even after having lost the perfect amount of weight, we may still look in the mirror and see those areas where we’d like to be slimmer. This can lead to self image problems and can risk driving you to lose more weight than you should. Knowing that your goal weight is where you should be can help to make sure that you keep going instead of quitting and that you stop before you go too far.