It is virtually impossible to achieve and/or maintain weight loss without setting both long- and short-term goals. Above all, these goals must be realistic. If someone has a goal of losing 100 pounds in six months this is not very realistic. Considering that there are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat, a grand total of 350,000 calories will have to be lost in a 6-month period, which equates to about 58,300 calories a month or 14,575 calories a week. This requires expending and/or withholding about 2,100 calories a day.
From a standpoint of calorie expenditure, attempting to work off 1,000+ calories everyday with physical activity is possible for someone who is physically conditioned to do so, but not for someone who is already 100+ pounds overweight. On another note, when too many calories are withheld on a daily basis the body will breakdown protein stored within muscle in order to obtain the energy it needs to function. This means that the net weight loss that occurs from such a method is not exclusively fat but muscle as well. Moreover, excessively withholding calories forces the body into a protective mode to counter potential starvation which, in turn, causes the overall rate at which the body burns calories (metabolism) to slow down making it that much more difficult to achieve weight loss.
In order to preserve muscle and metabolism a weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week is best which is equal to a deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories a day (click here to learn why you shouldn’t attempt to lose more than 2 pounds a week). Therefore, a realistic long-term goal for someone who wishes to lose 100 pounds is at least 1 year. This rate of weight loss ensures permanent results.
Your short-term goals can involve monthly, weekly, or even daily steps that will be taken towards achievement of the long-term goals. Such goals can include anything from reducing soda consumption from 4 to 2 cans a day to performing 30 minutes of daily physical activity. These goals could result in a caloric deficit of 250 to 300 calories a day or 1,750 to 2,100 calories a week.
Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a physician for advice.
Before starting an exercise training program you should first make sure that exercise is safe for you. If you are under the age of 55 years and generally in good health, it is probably safe for you to exercise. However, if you are over 55 years of age and/or have any health problems, be sure to consult with your physician before starting an exercise training program.
Written by Nina Cherie Franklin