Motivation Articles

The 10% Solution

You May Not Need to Lose as Much as You Thought

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!
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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.

Member Comments

  • 10% is my first goal, I'd be thrilled to hit it. I'd be back in the 100s (220 is my start weight). But this darn scale just won't budge :( - 10/20/2014 7:52:12 AM
  • An excellent article - and tallies with the recommendation from my Hospital. Thank you! - 10/19/2014 9:54:42 PM
  • This is so sensible. So, how do I make stair step goals in the tracker? Is there a way? I have lost data in the tracker trying to do it. I don't even know my starting weight anymore from 2008. I'd like to do this, because I realize now that I still have a long term goal, but my skin needs recovery time, and I don't like the crocodile look on my arms and legs. Slowing down seems to be the right thing to do.

    Thanks - 8/31/2014 10:25:28 AM
  • Am I weird because my goal is less than 25%? To me, 10% is awesome! If nothing else, it's a step in the right direction! I can't see how losing any weight can be considered "disappointing." I lost one pound and I was ecstatic. Maybe this article wasn't written for people like me, but I just find the first bits hard to swallow... - 6/18/2014 1:02:06 PM
  • This is a very helpful article and made me rethink my goals and how to approach it! I also shared with three friends that are on this journey with me. When I look at what I've lost so far I am at 6% - so just a few more pounds to go and I'll be at 10% before I know it!

    I think people have to remember (myself included) that the weight didn't come on overnight, so it certainly is not going to come off that quickly! - 5/7/2014 8:26:24 AM
  • This is a great article and a good reminder to break you weight loss goals into manageable steps that you can reach.
    Thanks for the good ideas on how to pursue your goals little by little. - 2/3/2014 1:42:20 PM
  • This article is a great reminder that baby steps work. For someone looking at a large weight loss goal, breaking it into smaller milestones is a great way to avoid being intimidated and paralyzed. - 1/30/2014 11:38:56 AM
    I love this article. It has me rethinking my whole approach. My goal weight seems so far way. Thinking about the 10% makes me realize I don't have far to go. The author surely sold me. - 1/24/2014 5:15:43 AM
  • I am 2 pounds away from my first 10%. So excited. - 9/11/2013 7:51:09 PM
  • Very sound and practical advice. I've been going about things the wrong way focusing on my bigger weight goal!

    I especially liked the idea that you can "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!" - 9/11/2013 1:13:36 PM
  • The article was wonderful and beneficial1 - 8/18/2013 12:20:55 AM
  • This is what I've done. I had 150 pounds total to lose but I set my goals at 10% of the current weight. So far I have completed 2 10% goals and have nearly reached my 3rd. And according to my doctor, I am no longer diabetic. Setting the smaller goals has worked for me. - 8/12/2013 5:39:11 PM
  • Thank you for the good reminder. I have considered the 10% solution a good way to go in the past but was lucky if I made it to 1/2%. This reminded me that I have reached the first 10% and can now work on the next 10%.
    - 12/14/2012 7:05:03 PM
  • Very inspiring and realistic! This definitely is the approach to the lifestyle change that I have been seeking. Something that will keep me motivated! Thanks! - 12/10/2012 9:14:06 AM
  • For me, I needed almost instant gratification. Not that I wanted to lose weight fast, I wanted a goal which I could reach quickly, say in 2 weeks. Like I said, instant gratification. So I set up a goal for however much weight the weight calculator said i could do in 2 weeks. I'm up to goals for a 2 month period of time now. That seems to be working well, and allows for some of the daily fluctuations to happen without frustrating me. I tend to get on the scale less, also, as long as I'm following my meal plan. I monitor more if I've gone out to eat, usually drinking more water, until my system is back on track from all the salt, which appears to be virtually unavoidable when eating out. - 12/9/2012 12:00:29 PM

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