Friday, September 19, 2008

Setting Weight Loss Goals Made Me Fat

Many people will tell you it is really important to set goals for your weight loss. Like most goal setting advocates, they say you should specify how much you will lose by what date.

I disagree. OK, maybe setting goals didn't make me fat, but setting them didn't make me weigh less, either.

My experience with specific weight loss goals is they don't inspire me. In fact, I have a long history of failed goals when it comes to losing weight and getting depressed because of them.

Weight loss is not an exact science and I found that to be the frustrating part.

Putting the pressure on myself to lose 5 or 10 pounds in a month has never worked. First of all, it feels like a diet. That immediately sets me off into deprivation!

When I focused on the pounds I did lots of things that weren't good for me.

For starters, I became obsessed with the number on the scale. Obsessed to the point I would weigh myself every day--sometimes more than once a day.

I also went into what I call "term paper mode" know, if the term paper is due in a month you don't have to start working on it the first week or two, right? So rather than changing my habits for the long haul, I was only focusing on the "due date"...not good.

Unlike school, where I could stay up all night and cram for the test or write that paper, no last minute study sessions would make up for the ice cream I ate earlier in the month because I had time to work it off. So, I became depressed, discouraged and ate more ice cream.

Thus a vicious cycle was created. I was frequently heavier at the end of my goal period than I was at the beginning. Maybe not the first 5 pound goal (although my goals were usually bigger than that) but once I met that goal I celebrated--with food--and set myself back.

My advice--DON'T set specific weight loss goals. To successfully lose weight and keep it off, requires a complete change in habits. Weight loss goals instill a sense of temporariness. Go for something more permanent!

Rather than have a specific number of pounds my goal is to be healthier every day. I make my decisions based on that single goal and that works for me. I'm down over 90 pounds, so I must be doing something right!

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