Don’t Set Dieting Goals That Are Too High

Waist Monochrome Woman Measure Image: Public Domain, Pixabay

If you think you can lose 20 pounds in a month, think again!

You somehow put on an extra 10 or 20 pounds, and now you want it gone fast. Unfortunately, setting unrealistic dieting goals can not only be a let down, they can also be bad for your health.

I think most of us have been there at least once. The holidays came around and we ate ourselves out of our favorite pants. Or maybe we got sick or depressed for a while and packed on more than a few unwanted pounds. Now we’re unhappy about our weight, so we try to get a quick fix by setting some horribly unrealistic goal of when and how we’re going to get all that weight off. Unfortunately, this way leads to misery and possibly bad health.

Back in July 2012 my thyroid went haywire again and I somehow packed on 25 pounds. Needless to say, I was horrified. My lovely frame was suddenly over-padded, and I wanted it gone pronto. I was determined, and set a goal of reducing my intake by 600 calories a day and walking enough to burn 4 pounds a week. Do you know what happened? I gained 3 pounds and I was sore in places I didn’t even know I had.

So how can you gain weight when you’re exercising and eating less? When you stress and starve your body, it goes into famine mode and stores everything you put into it. It doesn’t matter how little you eat, your body is going to hold every last ounce because it thinks it’s dying. You may also notice at this time that you’ll want to sleep more and you’ll have less energy for exercise. This is your body’s way of trying to save itself.

Not only will setting unrealistic dieting goals do damage to your body, it can also damage your mental health. If you set your goals at an unhealthy level, when you fail you can often go into a deep depression. This will only exacerbate your weight issues and can even make you sick. Some people who have set unrealistic dieting goals even give up and binge, thinking that diets and exercise don’t work. The fact is, it can work, but you have to do it right.

Most doctors and even reputable online dieting sites will tell you that a loss of around 2 pounds per week is healthy and attainable. Going much beyond that is asking for trouble, both emotionally and with your health. You may not like the extra weight you’re carrying around, but you’ll be even more unhappy when your outlandish diet doesn’t work and you’re either at the same weight or even higher. You need to accept that losing weight takes time, and take the proper steps to get there.

The very best thing you can do for your body is to simply get more exercise (but not go overboard) and develop a healthy everyday diet. Starving yourself is not the answer. Eat healthy food in responsible portions and stay active. If you can do those two things, you will lose weight. Staying happy is also important. Many people gain weight when they’re depressed or stressed, so do everything you can to stay in the best mood possible. If you do, you’re less likely to overeat, more likely to stay active, and you’ll drop the pounds before you know it.

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