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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.

  • You weigh 130 pounds and you want to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks in time for a wedding.Unrealistic Diet Habits

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.

3 Responses to Unrealistic Expectations and Goals

I am 43-years old 3-years ago I had my utiris removed and before this surgery I was 122lbs. now I weigh in at 157lbs I need help to loose at least 50-lbs. Please give me some advise

It’s true, I often set unrealistic goals, I used to weigh 135 in my 20′s but I was also hiking 15 miles a day. (Why did I ever give up a job where I got paid to go camping? I’ve been kicking myself over that for 20 years). But whenever I think of what I want as far as weight loss that’s what I think of. I felt the best I ever did during that time of life, but I figure most people can say that about their early 20′s

Hi Debbie –

The first thing we would recommend is that you see your doctor and determine if there is some residual medical reason that might be causing your weight gain. If there is nothing that needs treatments and is perhaps a change in your body chemistry or hormones, then I would recommend seeing a nutritionist or dietician. They can help you evaluate how the weight has come on and help you design eating strategies that work for you.

What we offer here at CalorieKing is a step by step program that addresses changing habits over time through recording your fitness and nutrition on a daily basis. People have had great success by being more mindful of how and what they are eating. Plus we have a wonderfully supportive community. It could be a helpful option for you if you are looking for a plan to safely take off the weight and keep it off over time.

Best wishes ~
Leenie, CK Staff