Weight loss goals other than the scales

Have you ever stepped on the scales after following your weight loss plan to a ‘T’, only to have them say exactly what they said last week or worse, it’s gone up? #Devastation
It happens to everyone. And while it can be disappointing, it’s completely normal to have weeks in which nothing happens (on the scales). When it happens, rather than dwell on the disappointment, focus on your other goals.
What if you don’t have any other goals…? Set some! Seeing your weight drop on the scales is just one of many benefits you’ll get from your efforts. It’s important to have several goals to focus on during your weight loss journey. My patients often have a list of goals and see progress by crossing things off. This also brings huge satisfaction!
Remember, these are your goals so make them relevant to you. Keep in mind that while it’s great having goals, if they’re too far fetched, this could be the beginning of the end. So consider your level of motivation, age, health status, mobility and ability to make permanent changes.
Goals should be SMART:

  • Specific: what exactly are you trying to achieve? Use figures if you can.
  • Measurable: how will you measure this to determine if it’s achieved?
  • Achievable: something that you are actually able to accomplish
  • Realistic: something that is possible for you to achieve in the time frame listed
  • Timely: give your goal a time frame so you know when to check in.

So apply this to your list of goals. And remember . . . not achieving a goal by a time frame doesn’t mean you’ve failed, it simply means you may have to re-assess your time frames or goals.
Need some inspiration? Try these 10 great goals:

  1. Drop in body measurements (such as waist circumference down by 5cm)
  2. Drop in clothes size or notch on the belt (such as going from size 18 to 14)
  3. Improvement in health (such as reduced blood pressure, cholesterol, better blood glucose control in diabetes, reduction in medications)
  4. Feeling more energetic
  5. Able to walk around or up and down stairs without losing breath
  6. Reduction in joint pain (such as knees or back)
  7. Getting into an exercise routine that you can maintain or being able to do more exercise. Tip: set a goal for number of sessions or minutes per week and increase this goal over time.
  8. Eating healthier (for example, less processed foods, more vegetables, lean proteins and high fibre foods). Tip: set specific healthy eating goals, based on achieving a certain number of serves.
  9. Feeling more comfortable or getting the confidence to do something you’ve avoided for a long time (such as going to the beach or pool in your swim wear)
  10. Sleeping better at night, no longer snoring or needing a C-PAP machine.

Take the time to write down some SMART goals (other than losing weight on the scales) that you will work towards. Regularly review your list and cross off goals that you have reached, then write down new ones. Keep an interactive list that you regularly update. You may like to stick your list on the fridge, keep it in a private diary or store it in your phone, computer or tablet.
There’s more to weight loss than losing weight on the scales, so don’t let the scales get you down, rather set several goals, then regularly review and update them.

First published in Medibank be. magazine.

Written by Gloria Cabrera, Accredited Practising Dietitian. Gloria loves all things food, nutrition and fitness. She works in private practice seeing patients for the dietary management of chronic health conditions, and also specialises in nutritional management before and after bariatric surgery.