This is one of those blogs where I say something that I've been meaning to say for a while. It's a pattern that I see for a while and then it goes away. I hate to blog on it when the pattern is in full force because I don't want to seem like I'm directly attacking anyone. I ask you to remember it as you move forward.
One of the guidelines we all read about wrt weight loss is "1-2 pounds a week is healthy". I believe that it is (though I couldn't imagine such an accelerated pace). I see especially newbies on Spark who are really upset with their weight translate this really unhealthfully.
"OK so if I lose 2 pounds a week every week for 20 weeks, I should be down 40 pounds in 4-5 months".
One of the other guidelines when losing weight is to set S.M.A.R.T goal. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable and Timely. Again, it's a good concept. It does work when all five variables are there.
One assumption of this concept is the level of control one has over the outcome. If you set a goal to eat an average of one serving of dairy or vegetables a day for the next few weeks, then you have mostly control over that. If you skip a day, you can have two the next day. If you anticipate a weekend away without access, you can have a couple of servings the two days before and still hit goal.
Weight loss is a different animal than action based goals. Even if you do all of the right religious things eating and calorie-wise, you have water retention and plateaus which hits all of us. Even then, we all have realistic basic life scenarios which result in some weeks being less loss than others (nights out with friends, social functions, weddings, stressful days, etc.).
**PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER:
Given both of these, the question has to be asked, "Is the massive mid/long term weight loss goal of 2 pounds a week either truly Attainable or Reasonable?
I would add "desirable?" but that's a blog for a different day.
Is the goal really S.M.A.R.T if it isn't realistic and, by proxy, attainable?
**I BRING THIS UP BECAUSE....
I see new people and even dear friends both on SparkPeople and offline go through this vicious cycle of:
1) "I'm going to lose 2 pounds a week by cutting x000 calories a day and exercising 1-2 hours per week". Followed by.
2) "Yay!! I'm down 3-4 pounds first weigh-in. Followed by
3) "Had a bad day" and "didn't exercise as much this week. Followed by
4) "Only lost 0.5 to 0.8 pounds this week" (goal already out of reach). Followed by
5) "I'm going to be super-strict this week and get back on the wagon"
This is almost invariably followed by 1-2 weeks of almost no blogging (an occasional "I'm starting over" or "getting back on the wagon" blog). Then a deafening silence.
after a few weeks the next blog usually contains....wait for it...
"Time to get back on the wagon"
"I'm going to lose 2 pounds a week by cutting x000 calories and exercising 1-2 hours per week".
It saddens me because I love my friends/fellow sparkies and I want them to succeed.
**THE GOOD NEWS!!
In his book "The Spark". This site's dear founder, Chris Downie actually does talk about a friend who, after a prolonged injury and hiatus from the gym, does heroically decide to go back to exercising the full hour a day every day (his old routine)
**THE BAD NEWS!!
Chris uses that guy as an example of someone who tried to do too much too fast and failed at his comeback.
**I KNOW THE FRUSTRATION
with being overweight and wanting to lose weight fast. I definitely know the tyranny of setting the 2 pound a week goal and falling flat on my face and feeling like a failure. Heck, it's why I'm writing this blog.
**THAT BEING SAID...
I love you and want you to succeed. If you haven't done so already, look to the SparkDiet stage 1 for some guidelines on how to succeed long-term though small changes (realistic and attainable goals). They won't knock you down 20 pounds in 10 weeks. But they will give you some good first steps toward a healthier lifestyle.
- TD Out!