Motivation Articles

The 10% Solution

You May Not Need to Lose as Much as You Thought

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Are you a weight loss failure?

Before you answer that question, let’s talk about what failure means.

A recent study found that, in the nonsensical weight loss world, most failure has more to do with failing to meet faulty expectations than with failing to lose weight. This may not seem like a big difference, but in reality, it’s HUGE.

In other words, you may be experiencing success, but still feel like you’re failing. So, we must find a way to use our expectations to motivate rather than to berate.

According to the study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the average "Dream" weight loss is 38% of the dieter’s current weight. Also:
  • a 31% weight loss would make the average dieter "Happy"
  • a 25% weight loss would be "Acceptable".
And most disturbing of all,
  • a 15.7% weight loss would be "Disappointing".
So the 200-pound woman who loses 30 pounds would actually be disappointed in her results!

No wonder there are so many frustrated dieters out there. They may be frustrated even when their programs are working!

The 10% Solution
To bring expectations more in line with reality, many health professionals are beginning to suggest setting a 10% weight loss goal instead. Losing just 10% of your current weight can boost your energy and performance, lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes, lower your cholesterol, and build some much-needed momentum. On top of that, 10% may be a better goal than 15%, 25% or even 38% for many reasons:

10% is Under Your Control
In all frankness, you can’t do a darned thing about that 38% weight loss goal you might have—not one thing—until you first deal with the 10% you have right in front of you. In other words, you can’t lose 80 pounds in a short amount of time, but you might be able to lose 15. The key is to focus on the 10% you can do something about right now and go from there.

10% is Realistic
Research is showing that a lump 38% dream weight loss simply doesn’t happen for most people. In reality, it’s less of a goal and more of a pipe dream. But research is also showing that 10% can happen for just about anyone. Does this mean you’re doomed no matter what you try and you should give up on the bigger goal? Nope. Simply lose that first 10%, regroup and reset your goals, and then pursue another 10% based on your new weight. The added benefit to this approach is that each 10% will get smaller and smaller!

10% is More Effective
Not only are gradual goals healthier in the long run, but they’re also more powerful in reaching your ultimate goals. You’ll be much more successful by setting and reaching a series of 10% goals than riding a wild weight loss roller coaster in pursuit of a huge goal all at once. One of the great weight loss ironies is that you’ll be more likely to lose that big number by ignoring it for now in favor of the smaller 10% goal.

Traditionally, weight loss programs have encouraged impatience and coconut-cream-pie-in-the-sky expectations. This approach also results in feelings of failure. Let’s try to turn it around and use the 10% strategy to do it right this time.

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Member Comments

  • This makes sense.
  • Great article. I have long been a proponent of a series of smaller goals rather than one big goal. Rather than having to lose 80 pounds, I only have to lose 10. I do have to do it eight times but each time is an accomplishment in and of itself!

    36 36 36 36 36 36 36
    "Most people who succeed in the face of seemingly impossible conditions are people who simply don't know how to quit."
    Robert H Schuller
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  • DONDRAO1
    This makes total sense.
  • BRIARGAL
  • BILLTHOMSON
    What a great number base, I can handle that.
  • LADYSUISEI
    Yes, following reading this article,, I am going to be setting myself a 10% loss goal.... I'm currently 200lb, so to be 180 would be delightful! BTW, as that 200lb woman in the article, I will not be disappointed if I manage to lose 15% ie 30lb,!!!! I would consider that to be success x
  • And here I thought I'd made up the "10%" strategy on my own. Either way, it really seems to work.
  • THREEDOVES1
    This is very practical advice.
  • This seams so much more attainable! And Maintainable! I need to reset my goal with an intention of relooking at it when I get to the 10%. Great article.
  • This is a great suggestion. This is one I think I can handle. Thanks SP
  • I can indeed confirm when I lost the 1st 10% of my weight I went off high blood pressure med, high cholesteral meds, and no longer pre diabetic not to mention my sleep pattern was much better as well. What a motivation it was to take to me 100 pound loss so far. And that was 10 years ago when I started SP so THANK YOU with all I have.
  • great article! this is what i am doing and ive lost over 30#.
    it has worjed for me to go at 10# intervals. if i look at the BIG number i become easily overwhelmed.

    thanks SPARKland! jeep SPARKING!
  • I think I'll look into this idea further.
  • I have never used the 10% theory. I have lost 23% body weight since February first and my goal was to get from 191 pounds to 140 pounds by the end of this year. I had no concern of how many pounds I lost each week.My weight is now 146 and I have 5% of my current weight to lose to reach my goal of 140 pounds by the end of December.!! I only gained weight because I got a blood clot and had I.V treatment at the hospital everyday for 8 months. I could not cook properly or exercise by walking for even 2 blocks a day,so I gained 30 pounds and lost 45 pounds. I went from a size 16 to a size 10,the same size i was in high school and am 53 years old.5 years ,after high school I was a size 12 till recently when I gained and lost weight.

About The Author

Mike Kramer Mike Kramer
As a writer and artist, Mike has witnessed countless motivational stories and techniques. See all of Mike's articles.