Unrealistic Expectations and Goals
Are Unrealistic Expectations and Goals a Blueprint for Failure?
Unrealistic expectations and goals are a one-way ticket to disappointment, frustration, self-doubt and failure. Research shows that setting your weight loss standards too high increases the risk that you may just give up altogether. Why try, when you can’t succeed?
Recognizing the Unrealistic:
If you have unrealistic standards, it’s likely that you don’t recognize them as such.
Here are some examples. See if you can relate to any.
- You weigh 190 pounds and your goal is to be at 120 pounds.
Why is this unreasonable? A goal of 120 pounds in itself may not be unreasonable; however, if the last time you weighed 120 pounds was at your high school prom, 30 years ago, it is. Your current physiology is not the same as it was 30 years ago. You don’t burn calories as efficiently, you have more fat-to-muscle mass, and likely you don’t do cartwheels as well as you did then.
Why is this unreasonable? To achieve this, you would have to limit calories to 500 calories a day or less. Not only will you be undernourished, you will feel deprived. You may be able to do this for a day or two, but inevitably you will experience a rebound effect.
- Your doctor says you need to reduce your fat intake, especially saturated fat. You decide to cut out all foods with saturated fats immediately.
Why is this unreasonable?An all-or-nothing approach to dieting rarely works, especially in the long term. It takes time and gradual changes to alter your food preferences.
Making it real (and reasonable):
- Long term weight loss goal: 5% to 10% of your current weight
- Short term weight loss goal: 1 to 2 pounds per week.
- Overall changes should be gradual. Set weekly and incremental goals to reduce calorie, fat and carbohydrate intake. Refer to CalorieKing Learn Abouts for healthy targets.
- Put your goals and expectations in writing and be sure to keep track of your progress. People who do are more successful than those who don’t.
- Give yourself credit for any positive changes and accomplishments even if you didn’t meet all of your expectations. Have a fun, non-food reward in mind for each incremental goal you achieve.