How To Set Reasonable Weight-Loss Goals

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Playing Weight Loss Advice: How to Stay Motivated | Mind Over Weight Author Dr. Ian Smith

A big part of leading a healthier lifestyle is overcoming the psychological blocks that may be holding you back, according to Dr. Ian Smith, author of Mind Over Weight.

"People realize that they need to lose a little more weight and they don't have the incentive or the motivation — and that's very common," Dr. Ian says. "How do you find your motivation? How do you keep your motivation? How do you recapture your motivation? Because we lose our motivation."

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The answer is to celebrate the small milestones, the doc says. And one way to help make this happen is to set incremental goals and write them down so they're easier to track.

Once you identify how much weight you want to lose, decide how much time you want to reach your goal. Make sure it's a reasonable amount of time; something you can realistically achieve. 

"You're not going to lose the same amount every week. Some weeks you might not lose anything," Dr. Ian adds. "That's OK. Because as long as you didn't gain weight, you're still ahead of the game."

After you've set a length of time, using a calendar, break up the total amount of weight loss into smaller weekly goals or incremental milestones. That way, you can focus on the specific goal in front of you instead of worrying about the end goal.

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Dr. Ian also recommends mixing up your objectives so it's not just about the number on the scale. Make a list of "non-scale victories" to aim for, he says, like working out every day or cutting your soda intake in half. Mixing up your goals is important because it gives you a mental break from just focusing on a number.

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