How to Create Realistic Weight Loss Goals for Yourself


If you’ve been bouncing from one trendy diet to the next, you know how damaging these fads can be. Studies show that “yo-yo dieting” is common in U.S. adults, with around 10% of men and 30% of women admitting to it. Unfortunately, these weight-cycling patterns can actually increase your risk of weight gain and obesity.

What can you do to break the cycle? The best tactic is to set—and stick to—realistic weight loss goals.

Of course, if you’ve been jumping in and out of several different diet plans, it can be hard to know where to start. Here’s what you should know as you work to create realistic goals.

Make Sure You Need to Lose Weight

First things first: make sure you’re a good candidate for weight loss before setting any goals. While a lower weight can help alter your self-image, it’s important to make sure you’re considering your overall health.

In general, experts recommend looking at different aspects of your health to decide whether or not weight loss is right for you. Good candidates for weight loss will often have a BMI of over 25 or a waist to hip ratio of over 0.8 for women and 1.0 in men.

As you consider your expectations, it’s a good idea to reach out to your doctor for specific advice.

Set SMART Goals

What are realistic weight loss goals, anyway? In a word, they’re SMART!

The SMART goal strategy has gotten pretty famous in the world of business, but it’s great for setting realistic weight loss and fitness goals as well. In this case, SMART is an acronym that stands for the following:

  • Specific: What is the specific outcome you’re hoping for?
  • Measurable: How will you measure or quantify your results?
  • Achievable: Is the goal something that’s possible to achieve?
  • Relevant: Is the goal important to you or to your vision of your ideal self?
  • Timely: Does your goal have a timeline?

Examples of SMART goals include things like taking a walk every day for the next four weeks, cooking your own healthy meals at home three times per week, or shedding five pounds over the course of the next month.

Choose Sustainable Goals

Extreme “fad” diets may work for a short period of time, but dieters who try these tactics tend to regain the weight back once they return to their regular eating habits. That’s why it’s critical to choose sustainable goals that you can realistically imagine continuing for months or even years.

This means working to identify habits that you can incorporate into your daily life for the long term, not just for a few weeks of an intensive diet. It also means working to replace your unhealthy eating habits with more sustainable alternatives.

One great way to do this is by joining a support group that helps you “jump start” these dietary and habit changes in a way that can be sustainable for the long-term. This includes programs like those at, which offers perks like nutrition coaching, one-on-one support, weekly check-ins, and progress reports to help you understand which habits you should keep up—and which to adjust. With specific expert advice, it can be much easier to get your sustainable fitness plan on track for the future!

Set Your Realistic Weight Loss Goals Today

Setting realistic weight loss goals can make you more likely to follow through on them in the future. By considering your long-term vision for your self-image, you can create goals and habits that you can stick to both now and in the years to come. As you create your goals, don’t hesitate to reach out for expert help to see the best results!

Want more guides like this one to help you make the most of your personal health? Be sure to take a look at our other posts for additional tips and tricks.