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Realistic weight loss expectations

It is important to have realistic expectations about what weight loss is possible for the week, month or year ahead.

Many people trap themselves by expecting too much from themselves and their bodies, and when they don’t reach what we call an “unrealistic goal”, they feel down and discouraged and punish themselves by either eating too much or stopping exercising.

So what is reasonable to expect? From a health point of view, we should aim for two simple goals to begin with. Studies show that if you can lose 10% of your weight and maintain it, your health will be significantly affected. If you then take the next step and lose 20%, you will gain even more. So, for a 250 pound person, my first expectation will be a weight loss of 25 pounds; then I will be very happy if that person can lose 50 pounds and maintain the weight lost. Never forget that the long term goal is to be able to maintain the lost weight. Maintaining weight loss is by far the most difficult part and by far the most important.

On a weekly basis, depending on the diet chosen and the amount of exercise done, an average loss of 1.5 pounds (some weeks the loss will be more or less significant) is considered excellent.

This being said, it is important to realize that many daily events can slow down your weight loss and that you cannot blame yourself when this happens. What happens if your boss suddenly asks you to work overtime and your training and eating habits are put on hold? What will happen to your well-established plans if one of your children gets sick? Or if people come over on the weekend and you are forced to prepare a meal and the food is not what you thought you would eat?

You may experience little or no weight loss under these circumstances, but you should not make yourself sick. Try to eat as well as possible (portion control), but also, and most importantly, get back on track as soon as possible.

In the long run, the most successful people are those who focus on changing their behaviours from the beginning and end up feeling less concerned about the numbers on the scale. I guarantee that anyone will lose weight if they first start a regular exercise program and then focus on portion control and snack control. Once you recognize why you ate more than you wanted and learn to control your food when you are stressed, learn to set goals, track (by writing them down) your behavior changes, the results will come on their own. You will have succeeded!

Someone said “we fail on the road to success”. It is true! We all make feeding mistakes, but those who learn from these mistakes, and don’t condemn themselves for those mistakes along the way, will always end up succeeding.

This is not a competition. It’s about behaviour change. Some weeks will be easier than others. Look realistically at what you are capable of doing. And never give up!

Persevere and persist in controlling the amount of food you eat.

Hang in there and never give up!

author avatar
JF Larocque
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