Weight Loss Support - Goal Weight: Better to focus on short term or long term?

09-08-2011, 03:35 PM
I have quite away to go until I'm even in a healthy BMI range but I keep wondering, should I even bother to focus on any long term goals? I feel like I tend to get wrapped up on what the final results will be. What weight will I maintain at? What bra, shirt, jean, dress size will I be at? When will it all finally be done with? What am I going to buy and where am I going to shop? I guess I tend to be a bit OCD about it. I was wondering if perhaps focusing on smaller goals would be better and "not caring" about the long term atm? It all seems to be far more stressful than necessary but I'm the type of person that needs to have everything planned out. :dizzy:

09-08-2011, 03:44 PM
If looking at the long-term goal seems either overwhelming or just "too much" at the moment, then simply cut it up into smaller goals. 5 pounds, or 10 pounds.

Something manageable that will keep you taking steps forward, but that's not going to seem so far away.

It's also good to have goals that don't have anything to do with weight/size/the scale. Things like exercising a certain number of minutes a month, or eating a certain number of vegetables a day, or staying on plan for a few days at a time without excuses. So many health-related (and weight loss) goals that are not about the scale that can be celebrated. :)

April Snow
09-08-2011, 03:46 PM
I think you have to figure out what is going to work for you in terms of motivation.

I struggled with this same question and ultimately decided that I was better off with shorter term goals. Not just because they are more achievable but because I have been overweight since I was in grade school so I have no concept of what a healthy and sustainable weight for me will be.

What I decided to do was focus on 10% at a time. I am pretty sure I can and will do that at 4 times, which would take me to 172 (coming from 261 as a startng point). That may be where I decide to stop, or I may want to keep going from there, probably in 5 or 10 lb increments at that point. I definitely expect to be one of those people whose goal weight finds them, rather than the other way around.

Having said all of this, I do have a general idea that I'd like to get to a certain clothing size, which is to be out of plus sized clothing and be able to buy all regular sized clothes. I am currently a 1-2X on top, and a misses 16 on the bottom. So assuming I keep the same differential, I'm thinking a 12 or 14 on top could end up leaving me an 8 (or more likely a junior 9 or 11, because of the way I'm built) for pants. But I have no idea if that is realistic and even less idea of what I would have to weigh to make that happen. But I am looking forward to finding out!

09-08-2011, 03:51 PM
I have here my long term goal, but on my blog, I made a pizza pie and divided into 8 pieces for the 80 pounds I needed to lose for my main goal. So, each slice represents 10 pounds. And let me tell you, I get very excited about erasing another slice every time I lose a total of ten pounds. That pizza pie is the symbol/image I use on my facebook link too, so for those who follow my blog, they know when I've hit the next milestone just from the change in the image.

And I didn't make a firm end goal. I knew I wanted to be under 175 pounds. I'm built really big, so getting to say 130 is unrealistic for me and besides, why do I need to reach perfection after being morbidly obese? Being pretty close to ideal better be good enough! So, in my head I just want to stay under 175 for a long term goal. We'll see when I get closer where I settle. I figure an end weight will find me, but I'm guess it will be around 165. (which will be 110 pounds from my highest weight).

09-08-2011, 03:57 PM
I'm also a planner, so I focus on both! I always keep in the back of my mind, which is reaching 125 and a size 4. I also break it up into mini-goals. I have a memo on my phone where I keep track of my weight. I also have listed:
Goal: 4/06: 148 (check!)
Goal: 4/26 (Easter): 144 (check!)
Goal: 7/02: 135 (check!)

I've been off track for the last couple of months, so I'm back on board with my mini-goals now. I'm hoping to reach 132 by 9/17. 130 by 9/30 and my goal weight of 125 by Halloween. Keeping lists helps me to stay motivated. :dizzy:

RJ 1980
09-08-2011, 04:35 PM
I have a lot of mini goals, they are more fun to focus on IMO. When I first started at 195 lbs, I set my mini goal at 10% body weight, which brought me to about 175. Then I made a goal to get into the 160's, now my goal is to solidly be in the 150's. And so on.

I also have clothes goals, for example at first I wanted to fit into a pair of capri's that were skin tight. Done. Now I have a few shirts that are a bit too tight but would look great in 5-10 pounds.

Another goal is lowering monthly binges. I just figured out that I had 11 (!!!!) binge nights in August. My goal for Sept is to have a lower amount than that.

All that said, I still think about my FINAL goal weight a lot. It's a weight I've been at most of my life, so I know exactly what it looks like on me and what size clothes I'll be in. But geez, at first it was sooo overwhelming to have 70 pounds to lose that it was depressing thinking of the main goal. The closer I get the more I think about it. I'm halfway there, so I keep reminding myself to take what I did already, and just.... do it again! lol

If you have a long way to go I'd say focus on small goals. It makes you feel better about whole process and appreciate the hard work you are doing. :D

09-08-2011, 04:47 PM
I have two sets of goals. I lost about 70 lbs. before getting pregnant, and it was the first time in my life I had even been remotely close to my overall goal. I'm still not sure my overall goal is really my goal, but I'll find out when I get there. It's an estimate within 10 lbs., I think.

It's good to have an estimated overall goal so that you have some idea how far you have to go (IMO). However, if you focus solely on that, it might seem too far away, and a little ways into it, you might be tempted to give up. I break it down into five pound increments and give myself a little non-food reward for every five pounds I lose. I also make a goal for the month at the beginning of each month (see ticker below). I try to make this realistic, but high enough that I have to push for it, and it's okay if I don't meet it. Most of the time I get very close, and that's still great.

As far as using your OCD tendencies to your advantage-- start plannign your meals/food in detail. That can really help you be successful. Even if you stray a bit because something just doesn't sound as good when you get to dinner, it will really help keep you on track. It will also help to plan times where you have to eat out-- check out nutrition info ahead of time, etc. I'm a planner, too, so that's why I like to have an idea of the end point, but I know at the same time that I might change my mind when I get there.

It can also be motivational to think about what you will do/wear when you get there, but don't dwell on it so much that you can't focus on the "now" as well.

I don't personally find the x number of workouts or x number of days on plan to be helpful for me, but for some people they really are.

09-08-2011, 04:58 PM
Smaller goals helped me SO much. Granted I don't have as much to lose as some folks, but it still seemed like an tremendous amount of weight when I began. I split it into numerous 5 pound goals on my spreadsheet.

Honestly though every pound lost is a goal to me. I get so much glee from putting in a smaller weight on my spreadsheet or updating my ticker. Seriously, I get REALLY EXCITED (probably more than I should!) when I can update my ticker and I think that's helped me shed an extra 15 pounds since I joined the forum.

RJ 1980
09-08-2011, 05:15 PM
I too get reallllyyyy excited when I can change my ticker. Lol

09-08-2011, 05:21 PM
I focus more on the short-term, b/c I just have no idea what the END GOAL will be. It's been so long since I've worked out or been thin, and I've since had children, so my body has changed drastically.

I liked looking forward to every 5 pounds and a huge achievement.

09-08-2011, 05:46 PM
I don't have numerical goals at all. I don't find them helpful - I just want to lose the next pound. My only goal, really, is to make the best decision I can make each time I face a choice.

09-08-2011, 06:05 PM
i break mine up, and I try really hard not to set a date for when to meet them either.
I mean, I can say, I'll be down this much weight by the end of the year, but when I don't hit it then I get all depressed. I know it works for some as a motivational purpose to get to that weight, but I found it just stresses me out.
I know how much I have to lose, and I just work at it. I do break it up into little victories for myself though. You are your best cheerleader!

09-08-2011, 06:48 PM
I focus on both just in different ways, when I'm having a day where my goal seems to far off then I start telling myself "if I work out today, I will be one whole day closer to being out of the 150's!". Works the same say if I feel the need to eat something I shouldn't be then I just imagine the scale going down. I also try and focus on losing 8-10lbs a month, instead of thinking about the 35lbs I actually have to go.

Over all though, I know I'm working to get to my final goal. It's all about doing what will keep you motivated. Everyone does it differently.

09-08-2011, 07:14 PM
When I first started, I only set short-term goals. I honestly didn't even consider a long-term, "final" goal- I just wanted to weigh less. I remember having an old analog scale and focusing on 5 lb increments. When I got to one, I focused on the next. Looking back, I really had no concept of what a long-term goal for me would be or if it was even possible to get there (I grew up overweight so this was all I knew). I thought being a size 14 sounded pretty damn exciting- that was about it.

It didn't even occur to me to have a long-term goal until I joined this site after having already lost about 60 lbs. But I set these goals after knowing I could successfully lose weight- thinking "big picture" probably would have freaked me out in the beginning because I know it felt too far away. But that's just me :).

I've also learned not to get too attached to my long-term goals as they have really changed over time. The number on my ticker is kind of arbitrary. It's getting closer and I'm still not sure if that's really where I want to be. My goals are much more fitness-oriented now and I'm using body fat % as a guide a lot more than the number on the scale. I know I want to still be losing fat and that's really what I'm focusing on right now.

I think my point in all of this rambling is that you have to do whatever is helpful for you. If thinking about the big picture is motivating for you, dream away! If it is discouraging or feels overwhelming, focus more on the short term. You'll probably have to do both at different points as you continue on this journey!

09-08-2011, 07:17 PM
I try really hard not to set a date for when to meet them either.

Yes! I totally agree with this-- I have to constantly tell myself there is no deadline!

April Snow
09-08-2011, 07:22 PM
re: deadlines and time-based goals.

I have found a happy medium with those this time. I find them motivating and they really push me to keep on plan and put in some extra effort. But I'm happy with making good progress and not disappointed if I don't make it all the way.

It took several decades of on and off dieting to reach this point! lol! But there is so much that is going differently for me this time, it gives me confidence that this will really be THE time it all works for real.

09-08-2011, 08:10 PM
I have both. My biggest overall goal is to get to a healthy BMI. After that I have a vague idea in mind that I'd like to get to 140lbs but we'll have to see if that's really possible. I've been there before in my life but I wasn't lifting at the time and I was quite a bit younger so it's hard to say how realistic it is for me.

That being said, I've had a lot of mini-goals along the way with weights that meant something significant to me. They're all listed in my signature if you're interested. ;)

Doing the whole 5-10lb increments were never quite as interesting for me. Or maybe it's better to say that I didn't need them because I had other weights that were major milestones for me (like I'm about to hit my lowest adult weight in 5lbs!!!). Ditto for the number of days I work out etc. I see this as a permanent lifestyle change so somehow counting the number of days I've been working out doesn't really make sense (to me, it obviously works well for others!).

Basically, just do whatever makes you feel motivated. :D