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How should I set a weight-loss goal?

The great thing about goal setting for weight loss is that you have complete control over how aggressively you want to get to your results. If you have difficulty with compliance, and keeping up the behaviors that will help you lose weight, then you should go with a less aggressive goal such as half a pound per week. Of course, this means that it will take you more time to hit your long term goal, but the good news is that the journey might not be quite as difficult. If you want to lose half a pound per week, you will only need to create a daily deficit of 250 calories. Translated into actions, this could mean simply eating one less slice of cheese (about 100 calories) and taking a 20 minute walk (burning an additional 150 calories).

If you want your results quicker, you can go after your goal more aggressively and aim to lose two pounds per week. This simply means that your effort level will have to increase with regard to exercise, diet, or both. Losing two pounds per week would mean creating a 1,000 calorie deficit on a daily and consistent basis. In terms of daily action items, this could translate to eating 500 calories less (consuming about 150 calories less per meal) burning 500 more (over an hour of brisk walking).

At the end of the day, setting goals is up to entirely up to you. Just know that you should be honest with what you feel like you can and are willing to accomplish on a consistent basis and allow that to serve as your goal setting strategy.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.