Food for Thought on a Fast Day – Do you need to set realistic goals?

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Food for Thought on a Fast Day – Do you need to set realistic goals?

This topic contains 6 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  maisiebeth 10 years ago.

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  • Over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting  10 myths about dieting from the article by Michael Mosley in The Times

    Claim  2:   It is important, before you start dieting, to set realistic weight goals. Otherwise you will become frustrated and give up.

    Again, this seems like a reasonable assumption. But is it right? A recent review article titled Myths, Presumptions and Facts about Obesity in the prestigious medical journal, The New England Journal of Medicine, put this claim firmly into the “myths” category.

    As they point out, “several studies have shown that more ambitious goals are sometimes associated with better weight-loss outcomes”. In one of those studies, “Weight loss goals and treatment outcomes among overweight men and women”,  nearly two thousand overweight men and women were asked about their goals before they started on a weight loss programme. They followed them for 2 years and found that, with women, “less realistic goals were associated with greater weight loss at 24 months”. For men there was no link, one way or the other, between how realistic their goals were and whether they succeeded.

    Thank you for this, Michael. “Realistic” is such an ambiguous word, but to me is meant as lowering the bar in this context. I say “Shoot for the moon, and you might land on a star!”

    I hope the myth of slower weight loss being better gets addressed as well!

    I’ve never had any real goals on 5:2. Anything is better than the status quo for someone who’s been a few stone overweight since puberty after all 😉

    Your expectation is that you should lose weight – about a pound a week.

    If not, there are little tricks to try to keep the weight loss moving.

    I am the sort of person who likes goals to be achievable….otherwise I would get irritated with myself for non-attainment!

    As far as dieting goes…

    I could set myself a target of ‘I will lose 2 pounds a week – every week’….and what happens the first time I ‘only’ lose 1.5 pounds? Stupid diet! Stupid stupid stupid greedy fat pig buttonboots! No wonder you are overweight! No point continuing with the diet because (a) it clearly doesn’t work and (b) you clearly don’t love yourself enough to stick with the diet! …..(I could easily earn a doctorate in self-loathing!)….now where are the crisps??!!!

    On the other hand…I can set a goal of ‘do your best to stay on track…look for an average of one pound a week weight loss’…..then, that same 1.5 pound loss has a totally different context….WOW! a whole pound and a half…I can DO this…it WORKS!….I have been ‘good’ this week and it shows!…Maybe I will treat myself to a little ‘something’ in a week or so when I hit that first stone barrier…a new book maybe…we’ll see…I feel GOOD!…..I think I’ll have a pot of fruit tea!

    As with most things…you need to find what ‘works’ for you as an individual…..(what I love about 5:2 is that I can fit in in with MY lifestyle…make it MY plan….not just to lose the weight…but for life!)

    That may work fine for you, Buttonboots, but the point of science is that there is evidence to support claims across a wide group of people and that evidence is duplicated across studies. As always, however, there is variation among individuals, so the myth may be a truth for you. I think the point of the article is that these myths are widely seen as truth for all, and repeated often by experts and non, but the scientific evidence does not support it.

    Newbie here. I have lost weight on other diets, but am trying this for a boost. What I find works for me is to break down targets into bite size pieces. To say I need to lose 3 stone is daunting, so I have 2 or 3 pound targets, such as to get into x stones but single figure pounds, to get to under x stone 7, to have lost 7lb multiples, to get under the next full stone mark. At the moment this is meaning that I am reaching a target every 2 or 3 pounds. Have just got to my x stone single figures, and am now looking to lose 2.5lb to get below the x stone 7. I do of course have an ideal ending figure in my head, but that is tucked away for a while to be brought out again when I am closer. Good luck everyone!

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