Setting a goal weight has long been considered a fundamental step towards achieving the body you’ve always dreamed of. And we get it, having that number in mind gives you a clear goal to work towards. However, what if we told you that fixating on a specific number on the scale could actually be hindering your progress and compromising your overall well-being? The truth is, setting a goal weight can lead to unhealthy habits and unrealistic expectations – we’ve seen it time and time again. In this article, we explore why it might be time to ditch the idea of having a goal weight and how shifting your focus onto other things that will actually set you up for success when it comes to achieving your fat loss goals.
The implications of setting a goal weight:
First and foremost, the number on the scale fails to capture the full picture of your progress. It only measures your total body weight, not the changes in your body composition (fat to muscle ratio). And so when you use the scales as your only measure of progress, it can make you seem like you haven’t made progress, when really you have. Additionally, it’s essential to recognise that our bodies are constantly evolving, and weight fluctuations are a natural part of life. Factors such as hormonal fluctuations, hydration levels, sodium intake, sleep, muscle gain, and even the time of day can influence the number on the scale. This can lead to frustration as you won’t see weight loss on the scales every week. And you’ll often overlook other measures of progress that are far more meaningful.
It can also can foster an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise. It’s all too easy to become consumed by trying to get the number on the scale down as quickly as possible which leads to overly restrictive dieting, excessive exercise, and feelings of guilt or failure when progress stalls or the desired weight isn’t reached. This mindset often perpetuates a cycle of yo-yo dieting and unsustainable habits, ultimately undermining your long-term health and happiness. There’s also no guarantee that you’ll be happy with how you look or feel when you finally reach you the number you have in mind.
Furthermore, it’s crucial to acknowledge that every body is unique, and what may be a healthy weight for one person may not necessarily be appropriate or even achievable for you. Comparing yourself to others or striving for an arbitrary ideal can lead to feelings of inadequacy and dissatisfaction with your own body.
What we recommend focusing on instead:
Instead of focusing on a single number, consider shifting your mindset towards setting goals that promote overall well-being and vitality. Rather than obsessing over the scale, strive to cultivate healthy habits that nourish your body, mind, and soul. This might involve prioritising nutrient-dense foods, engaging in enjoyable forms of physical activity, getting an adequate amount of sleep, managing stress levels, and fostering positive relationships with yourself and others. You’ll find that by focusing on the process instead of the outcome, you’ll naturally see physical changes and you’ll be more likely to maintain them too.
Your training performance
This is advice we give to all of our fat loss clients – don’t chase a number on the scales, chase numbers in the gym. By shifting your focus to your training and setting yourself strength and performance goals, you’ll not only enhance your physical capabilities but also boost your confidence and gain a sense of achievement.
How you feel
How you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally is infinitely more important than a number. If you’re feeling stronger, you have more energy, you’re feeling happy with how your clothes are fitting, you’re feeling more confident in your skin, and you’re feeling all of these things while living an enjoyable, sustainable lifestyle – you’ve reached your goal. Plus, by shifting your focus from a number onto how you feel instead, your results will actually be better long-term as you’ll be more likely to stay consistent with your routine purely because of how it makes you feel.
So here’s the bottom line: setting a goal weight is inherently flawed and often leads to unhealthy habits, unrealistic expectations, and a distorted perception of health and fitness. Rather than fixating on a number on the scale, focus on cultivating healthy habits that nourish your body, mind, and soul and help you become your healthiest self. Embrace your journey, celebrate your progress, and remember that true health and happiness cannot be measured by a single number.