How to measure weight loss success


How do you measure when you’ve reached success on your weight loss journey? And how do you know if you’re on the right road to where you want to get to in the meantime? Having clear goals allows you to track progress. This article covers why goal setting is relevant, what SMART goals are and how to set up your own SMART goals.

Why should you set goals for weight loss?

By setting goals, we are deciding the results that we want for ourselves. In effect, we are taking responsibility for the direction of our life, health, wellbeing and/or performance. When we set goals, we become accountable for the actions that we must take to create change. This may force us to consider why this goal is important for us.

In the context of weight loss, setting a goal can allow you to understand what the finish line is for your journey, what it looks like and how you can measure progress towards this goal. Setting up goals effectively is important to ensure that they are achievable. They also help to provide a framework for how the goals can be achieved.

What is your ‘why’?

Before setting SMART goals, take the time to dig deep and connect with your ‘why’. Making your SMART goal meaningful may benefit you reaching it. Why do you want to lose weight? If it is for health, what would becoming healthier mean to you? Does it mean having boundless energy so that you can play with your kids? Does it mean being able to dance and move in a way that you used to? Or does it mean improving your relationship with yourself?

There are countless reasons why you could want to lose weight, however what is important is that you work out what is important to you. The more meaning you can attach to your SMART goals, the easier it will be to consistently adhere to your unique nutrition and lifestyle program. For example, if you want to lose weight to improve your body composition, why do you want to improve your body composition – what does this mean to you? Additionally, the clearer you can be about your ‘why’ the easier it will be to set effective SMART goals. For example, if you want to lose weight to feel “better”, what does “better” mean to you?

Can SMART goals help with weight loss?

Let’s break down what SMART stands for.</.p>

S: specific

Making a goal as specific as possible makes it much easier to achieve and clearly assess whether or not you are achieving it. If a nutrition goal is vague, for example “I will eat better”, it is not clear how you will achieve this. However, if a nutrition goal is specific, such as “I will eat two non-starchy vegetables at each meal”, you quickly know if you are achieving this or not.

M: measurable

Making a goal measurable means that you can track how you progress towards it which is key for determining success. An example of a measurable goal would be “I will meet my daily calorie intake of 1800 calories measured by recording my food on myfitnesspal each day”.

A: attainable

Making a goal attainable is key for long-term success. For example, if you know that you really enjoy carbs and set yourself a goal of going keto, it is likely only going to be sustainable in the short-term and then you’ll fall off the wagon. Making a goal of including a certain portion of your favourite carb in two out of your three meals will make it more attainable.

R: realistic

You may have a weight loss goal of 6kg and want to achieve it in 2 weeks, but is that realistic for you? Consider your individual situation and lifestyle. What is realistic for your friend isn’t necessarily realistic for you.

T: time-bound

Providing yourself with a time-frame by which you’ll achieve your goal is key for ensuring that your not on a constant weight loss journey for the rest of your life! It’s also really important for helping you to be motivated and be fully committed to the goal you’ve decided to achieve.

Top considerations for setting up your SMART goals for weight loss

Categorise goal type:

Initial goal setting usually begins with an outcome-based goal. For example, a weight loss outcome-based goal may be “I want to lose 6 kg in 12 weeks”. Outcome goals usually tend to be aesthetic or performance related. The important part comes after this. How we actually achieve the outcome goal, is going to be behaviour driven, therefore we require behaviour-based goals. For weight loss there are three main types of behaviour goals: nutrition behaviour goals, activity behaviour goals and lifestyle behaviours goals.

Keep it simple:

Start by choosing one behaviour related goal for an outcome goal. Once you’ve consistently adhered to these goals and have established the habit, then consider introducing another one. Simplicity is key for adherence and success! Success also breeds further success and builds confidence.

Include short & long-term goals:

Breaking down goals into smaller chunks is helpful for a sense of achievement and maintaining motivation. Rather than waiting until your final goal, celebrate your progress along the way. These smaller goals are just as important as you can’t reach the final goal without meeting the short and medium term goals. If you’re 12 week goal is 6kg of weight loss, then your short term SMART outcome goal may be “I will achieve 2kg of weight loss in 4 weeks”.

Regularly review & reflect upon progress towards goals:

If your short-term goal time frame is 4 weeks away, then you don’t want to wait until then to see if you’ve achieved it. For behaviour goals, review adherence on a weekly basis. It’s an opportunity to reflect upon the week and assess what you’ve done well and what you can do even better the next week. For outcome goals such as weight, taking an average of a week- two-week period is helpful so that you’re not thrown off by weight fluctuations, often a result of water and glycogen changes and not fat mass changes.

We have a team of nutritionists that specialise in weight loss. Their job is to support you on this journey, individualising your approach and coaching you through the process, even supporting you in the development of your goals.

Key takeaways:

Set yourself up for weight loss success by setting SMART goals: that work for you unique needs and situation. If you’re looking for long-term weight loss maintenance, then choose the slow and steady route and make small changes that you can adhere to consistently.

Work out your “why” to help you achieve your SMART goals: dig into what your “why” is for wanting to lose weight. Once you’ve worked this out, you can connect your “why” to your SMART goals so that adhering to your plan becomes effortless.

Use your SMART goals to create your unique nutrition plan: so that you have a specific pathway that will take you to achieving your goals and importantly, a plan that will support you when life happens to you, so that you can make progress consistently and a set-back is only a very temporary thing!

Work with a weight loss specialist

Our clinicians specialise in weight loss. All qualified nutrition professionals have backgrounds in the exercise industry and a vast amount of experience coaching clients towards their goals.

Check out of weight loss specialist page, where you can learn more about our services, clinicians and the support and programs that we offer.

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