Let’s talk about managing goals and weight-loss expectations. I’ve seen – on a few occasions – and more so recently, people who are just starting their weight-loss or transformation journey say things like –
“I want to be a fitness model”
“I’m going to be the next Paige Hathaway”
“I will compete in the Olympia” etc.
Now I’m all for dreaming big and I know you always hear the phrase, ‘if your dreams don’t scare you they aren’t big enough’ BUT I think its also important to manage your expectations in the beginning, especially if you have a far way to go. The reason I say this is because when we set ourselves such a massive task we tend to look at it as a huge undertaking like trying to fit a whole steak into our mouth rather than cutting it into pieces first.
You may be dreaming of riding the Tour de France when you purchase your very first bicycle, but you know realistically its going to take a long time to get there – a good start is aiming to ride around the block first a couple times a week. Setting smaller more manageable goals will help you keep accountable and manage your progress more efficiently. If you set a massive goal for yourself to be a fitness model for example and you have a lot of weight to lose, when you step on the scale or look in the mirror from time to time you tend to focus on the fact that you’re not yet a fitness model, right? But if you have set short term goals you’re more likely to see yourself reaching those milestones on the scale and in the mirror as time goes on.
Long-term goals would be things like this –
- I want to run a 10k in under 1 hour
- I want to compete in a fitness competition
- I want to fit into the pants I wore when I was X years old
- I want to be X amount body fat
Immediate short-term goals would be progressive, things like –
- I want to exercise 3 days a week, then 4 days, then 5 days etc
- I want to drink 3l water per day, then I want to cut down on diet drinks etc
- I want to eat at least 100g protein per day, then 120g protein, then moving onto other macro targets
Then short-term milestones like –
- I want to drop a dress size
- I want to reach X amount of weight on deadlifts/squats/bench press
- I want to lose 5% body fat
Another facet of goal setting is to have an idea in mind of how long you want to maintain certain short-term goals before you set your sights higher. For example, if you want to compete and be a fitness model you will need to learn how to maintain a fairly low body fat percentage throughout the year. It’s impossible to expect to know how to maintain 10% body fat for an extended period of time (for example) when you’re not able to maintain 15% body fat for an extended period of time. Your body will want to go back to having the extra padding, as women we have estrogen to thank for that – you will need to ‘teach’ your body to adapt and that takes TIME. If you get down to a lower body fat, you’ll need to be able to maintain it even when you don’t have a competition or photoshoot to prepare for, this is usually more challenging than getting to that point in the first place.
Your body will also need breaks between when your energy intake is higher to restore hormone functions to optimum before you attempt to lose again, this is paramount – or you’ll burn out and rebound faster than you know. Your goals should not negatively affect your health or wellbeing, or they are NOT worth having. It takes longer this way but you’re supposed to be in this for the long haul.
So start with smaller, manageable goals – cut the steak into pieces first. No dreams worth having are achieved over night!