How To Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals

How To Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals
Setting Realistic Weight Loss Goals

Learning how to set realistic weight loss goals is so important at the beginning of your journey.

First, it will help you decide which diet plan to choose. Second, it will help you stay motivated. If you’re anything like I was, though, needing to lose more than half my body weight, this can be a challenge.

At 330 pounds and failing at every diet, I finally turned to gastric bypass – RNY specifically. Even still, I wanted to wake up skinny the day after surgery.

This is going to take a bit of time.

You need to prep for that by setting realistic weight loss goals up front.

How To Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals

  1. Identify how much excess weight you have
  2. Life imitates art, so start drawing
  3. Take a look at your life as it really is now
  4. Compare your dream with your reality
  5. Create a reasonable timeline to reach your dream
  6. Use SMART as a guide

How To Identify How Much Excess Weight You Have

To set your weight loss goal, start by determining how much excess weight you need to lose. The excess weight formula is: (your current weight – what you want to weigh) = Excess weight.

You can easily and quickly determine what you want to weigh by using the BMI index. Then, as you start to lose the weight, you can modify your actual goal. The BMI is just a suggestion.

Don’t get angry because I suggested it, please.

Why Does the Weight Loss Community Hate the BMI So Much

It has a bad rap, but that’s because for all our lives we – as the overweight community – have been measured against it, and come up lacking. It happens so often, that we come to expect it.

My least favorite thing was when a sweet nurse would call me morbidly obese. To my face. Like it didn’t hurt.

Yes, it’s just a label for a thing, but I had some real emotion tied to that label. Identifying my worth with that label got in my way of success.

Get it out of your way. It’s just a number.

Stop Letting Your Weight Hurt You

This one is very hard, because you are not the label you’ve been given.

I promise. You are not a mean person, but maybe you act mean sometimes. As a person you are intelligent, but not all your ideas are intelligent. You have some excess fat, but you aren’t fat.

This is obvious when I point it out. But you’d be surprised how many times you identify with an idea throughout the day. Some of us are really attached to being the fat one, unintentionally.

“That could never work for me because…” and then you say why your fat is getting in the way. Or a medical reason, that could be completely valid.

But you have to let go of the hold you have on the identity with being fat. It’s weird, and not everyone will let you. Try it out.

See who identifies you with being fat, too. Practice letting this go often.

Check out the post What is the Power of Autosuggestion – Think and Lose Weight Easily: Principle 3 to learn how to change the way you think and talk to yourself.

Life Imitates Art, So Start Drawing

Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals
Life Imitates Art, So Start Drawing

Picture your most amazing version of You, and draw or write that vision.

And the more specific you can be about the type of person you want to be, the more likely you’ll be able to become that person. So, think through all of these tiny details. Really give them attention.

What are some of the actions that this person does daily? What kind of lifestyle does this person live in? How often do they work out?

You can keep reading other articles on for more ideas. Do they take the stairs, park farthest away from the store, eat moderately sized meals?

What are their priorities? Are they someone who never skips gym day, or is never late to their rec league soccer games?

Are they intentional with their time in order to meet their commitments? Do they have a daily routine? What does it look like? Do they walk their dog every day? Do they do food prep every Saturday?

Check out the post How to Overcome Limiting Beliefs with Imagination-Think and Lose Weight Easily: Principle 5, to learn how to use a vision board to draw your success.

Shift Your Mind to Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals

Once you’ve listed out the specific things this person does in order to support their lifestyle, congratulate yourself!

You’ve just set your goals for the future! If the word “goal” scares you, just think of it as your destination.

The mere act of writing this out, and detailing what your best version looks like has far-reaching ramifications.

You’ve just re-oriented all of your intentions toward this achievement, as wacky as that might sound. Setting the goal isn’t the hard work, though.

The hard work is in keeping the ship on course until we get there.

You see, being able to shift our mind-set is perhaps the most important thing when changing our lives. Every question you should ask yourself now should be “Does this take me closer to my goal or father away?”

Take A Look At Your Life As It Really Is Now

You have to look around at your life as it is currently.

But this requires a bit of truth-telling to yourself. What is the difference between the person you want to be and the person you are now? List out your routines?

What things do you need to stop doing and what do you need to start doing in order to align your reality with your goal? How can you accomplish your new routine at least 50% of the time?

And what are the things you have to change in order to make the routine work for your life? Some of these questions are really, really hard to answer honestly.

For me, one answer was to leave a marriage that I’d invested into for over a decade.

This isn’t easy stuff, and I would encourage you to talk through the answers and consequences with a counselor or therapist.

Or at least with your spouse or significant other!

Compare How Your Dream With Your Reality

You now have your dream and your reality laid out. What are the things missing from your dream that are present in your reality?

And what is in your dream by missing in your reality?

The things that are missing from your dream that are present in your reality are the things you need to stop doing

The things that are missing from your reality that are present in your dream are the things you need to start doing.

It’s why the more detailed you can be about your dreams and your reality as you write or draw them, the better of a tool you are creating.

These are the blueprints for how to set realistic weight loss goals.

Your dreams are realistic. Nothing is too outrageous.

Create A Reasonable Timeline To Reach Your Dream

Now, we can start talking about the realistic part of how to set realistic weight loss goals.

Timing is everything.

While I was able to lose more than 170 pounds in a single year, I had to take drastic measures to get that timeframe to work. Gastric bypass is major surgery.

The first month after my gastric bypass, I lost 31 pounds. In one month.

So, I had some awesome weight loss, but I was exhausted. And I lost muscle mass and hair. It was not an easy route to weight loss.

But for me, it was absolutely worth it!

Other options are sleeve or gastric balloon. These are different options that will help you lose the excess weight. But they aren’t for everyone.

If you aren’t going the route of bariatric surgery, then you need to aim for about 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week.

So, if you need to lose 50 pounds, you will need to realistically set aside 25 weeks. That’s roughly six and a half months.

But, the good news? You likely won’t lose your hair. Or have excess skin.

But, you might not be as big as I was, either.

Use SMART As A Guide To Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals

Use Smart Goals to set realistic weight loss goals
Use Smart Goals to set realistic weight loss goals

In the business world we follow the SMART guide for goal setting:

Specific: The weight you want to lose

Measurable: Using your bathroom scale (Learn how to use your bathroom scale for weight loss here) or pant size

Attainable: Do you need gastric bypass to reach your goals like I did? (check out my YouTube video for how I lost 170 pounds) Or will you be able to lose 1-2 pounds a week to reach your goal?

Realistic: I know you’re told not to dream about being like your favorite celebrity. But why not? I reached some crazy dreams I never thought possible. The impossible turned out to be realistic for me. I’m going to only encourage you to be who you want to be.

But if you have half your body weight to lose, you might need medical assistance. This is where I’ll say we need to think about being realistic. Can you do this alone or do you need help?

Timely: This is where we need to talk about how FAST you want to reach your goals. If you’re dedicated, and stick to your eating and exercise plan, you can do this fairly quickly. With weight loss surgery, you could reach your goals in a year.

But if you have more than 200 pounds of excess weight to lose, you need to plan for longer than a year. Be realistic about the timing.

Keep Going! You Can Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals!

Whatever you stick your mind to, you can achieve. Just don’t give up. Check out the Think and Lose Weight Series to help learn the principles to achieve your weight loss goals!

Happy Weight Loss! <3


For most of my life I was overweight. In my 30s, I became morbidly obese, tipping the scales over 330 pounds. After trying and failing at every diet, I decided to get gastric bypass RNY weight loss surgery. Since 2016 I have been living a much healthier life, I hit my weight loss goals, but more importantly, understand weight loss now. I am determined to share what I now know.

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