What Are Good Goals for Weight Loss?
I recently Googled, what are good goals for weight loss? The first thing that came up was the outdated recommendation of 1 to 2 pounds a week.
Well my friends over 50 or 60, you probably know that those days are kind of gone. Our bodies just don’t respond to dieting and deprivation like they used to.
Instead, I recommend creating goals that will lead to weight loss but that are achievable and measurable.
I have seven goals here that you can focus on to create healthy eating patterns and add additional nutrition to your diet.
Focus Weight Loss Efforts on What You Can Control
In the past, the only goal considered was what the scale reflected. If you lost weight, good job. If you didn’t, you felt like you were doing it wrong.
The problem with this is that the scale doesn’t always just respond to our efforts. Sometimes we are doing exactly the right thing for our bodies and the scale doesn’t budge.
Then when that happens and the scale is the only thing that matters, is that women either give up or cut back even more on what they eat.
So, I often see women who are not eating enough and women who are overeating.
If you want to check out my process, it’s 10 Powerful Tips to Lose Weight After 50.
For this post, I wanted to break out goals in addition to the number on the scale.
I can’t over emphasize how important it is to celebrate and acknowledge your efforts not just your weight.
What are Other Goals for Weight Loss in Addition to Your Weight?
Here are 7 good goals for weight loss for women over 50. Don’t focus on the scale or pounds per week, concentrate on what YOU can control!
Here are my favorite goals to focus on instead of the number on the scale.
I’m on a mission to change how women view their food, their bodies, and their weight.
I don’t want to to give up on feeling great in your body but what you are doing isn’t working anymore. Instead, I recommend you change your goals to lose weight.
I’m going to give you some good goals for weight loss. These are the things that my clients focus on to build long-term success.
One of the problems with diets is that the one measurement that seems the most important is the one you have the least control over. How much you weigh.
Not being in control of the scale leads to a never-ending cycle of dieting, giving up, over eating, being mad at yourself, then repeating. Over and over again.
It can be really frustrating to have weight loss goals that seem to be out of your control.
Even when you do all the right things, you might not see much movement on the scale for several months. Or the scale might move at glacier slow speeds.
Also, you will probably give up before you reach your goal because if what the scale says is the only thing that matters and it isn’t changing like you want it to, you’ll say to yourself, “This isn’t working!”
And these are the most dangerous words you can say to yourself!
This isn’t working.
We give our scales way too much power, while at the same time we ignore our own power and the power in our bodies.
Your body was designed to eat food and use it as fuel. You were probably also designed to get as much food as you could at any given time. Extra fat probably meant survival.
Now of course we have so much food available that this eat everything you can thing, isn’t super helpful. Instead of appreciating the role of fat in our health and survival, we hate and ridicule it.
You are living with a primitive body in a modern world. Your body was designed to take advantage of finding food and eating as much as it could because food wasn’t a sure thing.
But in our modern world we have so much addictive, highly concentrated food available, that we feel hopelessly out of control.
Just so you know, I am offering solutions and hope. It takes a higher level of intention but it really isn’t all that hard once you get the hang of it.
To live happily in your body, it is essential to feed it, move it, and appreciate it.
I especially want to emphasize the APPRECIATE part. If you can read this email or post, your body is doing thousands of amazing things for you at this very moment.
The art of losing weight, is also the art of loving your body.
New Ways to Lose Weight
Diets have for decades been a way of punishing your body for just doing what it is meant to do, eat and conserve energy.
Diets are seen as punishment for the lazy and over-indulgent people who just won’t quit overeating.
Goal number one is to normalize eating. Most of my clients start by eating more at their meals. I want you to know that you are meant to eat.
This means that no matter what you had the night before or the weekend before; you still get to eat a normal breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Eating your meals, of foods you like, in sufficient amounts to satisfy you is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
This means prioritizing yourself and your right to eat. Your right to have time to eat. In fact, prioritizing yourself is my first goal for you.
Put yourself first
It’s time to prioritize yourself and your nutrition. This means that you make time to plan good meals and you make time to eat them.
This sounds strange but I’ve seen it too many times to think it is unusual. Women tell me they don’t have time to eat the way they want.
Women say they don’t have time:
- to plan meals,
- shop for food,
- cook, or
- even eat.
This often leads to more convenience foods which can be problematic.
Time truly is a precious commodity and many of you feel like you already don’t have enough of it. That being said, it is something to think about.
If time were not an issue, how would you prioritize yourself with regards to your food?
Giving yourself time, actual time during the week to plan for your food and meals is possible for most women. It requires a shift in thinking and usually doesn’t take as much time as you think it will.
Make your meals easy
The simpler you make this, the easier it will be long-term. I’m at the place in my life that I don’t want to spend hours looking for recipes, planning, cooking, and clean up.
However, I do like to eat nutritious foods.
This is the first time I’ve written about this and now that I’m writing about it, I think it truly is one of the ways that I lost weight and have kept it off for years.
The basic process is to make a general plan for your meals. This doesn’t have to be complicated—it can be general. Then make a shopping list based on your meals. Go shopping. Prepare your food.
I usually plan what proteins I’m in the mood for and buy a couple. When I cook, I like to make extra to use for more meals. I buy frozen vegetables so it’s easy to cook some up. Potatoes and squash I buy fresh.
You can probably tell that I’m not a fancy cook! Honestly, I used to be a foodie and I stayed three sizes bigger because of my focus on cooking and recipes.
It’s way easier to just plan simple meals that are easy to cook. They taste good but they don’t create the desire to overeat.
I love meal salads. Put your favorite greens in a bowl. Top with protein (I often use deli meats for this), eggs, cheese if you eat dairy, nuts, and any additional vegetables you like. Be sure to use a good quality oil or dressing to get some extra fat.
I’m also a fan of burgers. I buy good quality beef, lamb, and chicken ground meat. Then I season them with things like chopped fresh herbs, garlic, and various seasonings. I don’t eat mine with a bun. I might make some sweet potato fries on the side plus something green.
Most weeks I buy an already cooked chicken. I buy the unseasoned ones because I always make bone broth with the remains once I’ve removed the meat. I love chicken salad and always make a batch for quick lunches.
Along with chicken salad, I also love egg salad and tuna salad. In a perfect world, I would make homemade mayonnaise like I did for years. Now I use a commercial one.
So, you don’t have to eat exactly like I do. But start thinking about convenience foods in a different way. You can buy and assemble lots of things to make great meals that satisfy on all levels.
No snacking, especially in the evening
This is another worthy goal and much easier than you think it’s going to be.
I believe that snacking is totally out of hand these days. We think that we need snacks between all our meals.
There may be medical reasons that some people need this but for most of you, you don’t need to eat between meals.
The first step to breaking the snacking habit is to EAT ENOUGH FOOD AT YOUR MEALS TO HOLD YOU UNTIL YOUR NEXT ONE.
I wrote that in all caps because it is so important for you to know.
Our bodies were designed to have time when we aren’t eating. We can easily go five or so hours after a meal or 12 hours after our dinner.
Yes, easily. If you are eating the right kinds of food and enough fat.
Eat more healthy dietary fats
That brings me to fat. Not the fat on your body but the kind that your body needs to live and function. Dietary fat is a nutrient, not something to be avoided.
Fat got a bad name because it seemed to make sense that eating fat would make a person fat. But the actual reason that people have excess fat is because of foods that raise your insulin, eaten to excess.
The types of food that do that are usually processed foods such as breads, pastas, sweets, soda, sweetened yogurts, and cereal. Yep, all that stuff we grew up on and find comfort in, are the foods that cause us to get fat.
This is also why low-carb diets became popular. You could eat a lot of meat and fat and still lose weight. However, that’s not really healthy either and for most of us is not necessary.
Plus, those kinds of diets just feel gross.
Carbohydrates are a nutrient as well, so you don’t have to cut them out. We need carbs—they are a nutrient. Natural carbs such as vegetables and fruits are great. You can also have beans, nuts, and grains in smaller amounts.
Where most of us get into trouble is because so many processed foods contain lots of sugar and flour which do raise insulin. Breads, pastas, crackers, oatmeal can all cause you to gain weight, even if you don’t overeat.
When we’re young, we just ate and insulin did its job. The trouble with modern eating habits, is we eat insulin-raising foods around the clock and we eat more than can be used as energy.
To illustrate this, I’m going to share three scenarios: gaining weight, maintaining weight, and losing weight.
When you eat too much food that acts like sugar in your body, the excess gets stored as fat. Fat doesn’t get stored as fat. Sugar, breads, grains, and sodas do.
When you are maintaining your weight, you are in some balance between what you are eating, using, and storing. You are eating enough carbohydrates that you aren’t losing but you aren’t adding to fat stores either. Your body is using food and body fat for energy.
When you feed the body less carbohydrates than it needs for energy, it will tap into your stored fat, and you’ll see your weight drop.
Eating healthy fats and oils is good for your body. Another benefit from eating healthy fats and oils is that they can keep satisfied without affecting your insulin response.
Fats and oils are essential for every process in your body. If you aren’t used to adding them to your food start with a tablespoon of something at every meal. Extra virgin olive oil, butter or ghee, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, and olives are good places to start.
This post goes into more detail about what are the healthy fats and oils.
Eat More Vegetables
This is the obvious bit of advice. Yet, as you decrease how many processed carbs you eat, adding vegetables is a great way to get more healthy carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are good for you! You need them.
Combined with that extra fat you are adding, you can make them taste delicious too.
The variety is amazing. I make use of frozen vegetables as well as fresh. I like vegetables steamed, raw, roasted, and sauteed. I love to combine vegetables too.
Here is an easy way to start upping your veggie count every day.
Aim to get at least one to two cup of greens each day.
Have a cup of cut up raw vegetables each day.
Then have a cup or so of cooked vegetables.
Vegetables are a great place to work in your healthy fats such as olive oil, butter or ghee.
Eliminate Most Sugary Foods
There really is no way to get around this part. I don’t like to forbid any foods and I do enjoy some sweet treats or a piece of bread now and then.
But for most of us, eating these foods too often can be a problem.
Your weight is the part that you see, and you don’t have to be thin to be healthy. However, these foods can also cause inflammation which you don’t see until it shows up as disease.
When I work with women in coaching, they have to figure out the right amount for them. Some clients have to virtually eliminate all sugar from their diets. Others can have a little every day.
You can safely eliminate these foods from your daily diet.
You also don’t have to eat food because someone else made it and offers it to you.
I know some foods are partnered with good memories. So, you might want to have some of those once in a while.
But eating sugary foods daily, drinking soda (even diet can be a problem), snacking here and there can all mess with your metabolism.
Eat Foods You Enjoy
This is non-negotiable!
It’s funny that I need to tell you this. But most women are convinced that they need to eat food they don’t like to lose weight.
But I promise you, this is not true. In fact, it is essential for your long-term success that you learn to eat food you like and enough of it that you don’t feel deprived.
There is a sweet spot where you eat enough that you feel good but not so much that you store more fat. This is your own sweet spot.
Diets make arbitrary decisions about what you should eat. Portion sizes are usually ridiculous.
Here’s the thing, diets try to trick you by promising fast weight loss. You know, that two pounds a week thing.
The problem with that is that you are also hungry and deprived most of the time. And you are NOT learning how to eat in a long-term sustainable way. When the diet is over, the pounds come back home.
But when you eat food you like and you eat enough of it, there is NOTHING to quit or get off. You are simply eating food.
This is a huge mind shift for most women. It can feel really scary to eat foods you like and eat enough that you feel satisfied.
Doing this, is really helpful to breaking snacking and late night eating habits.
Making eating plans for vacations, conferences, holidays that work for YOU
You are doing great. Your eating feels under your control. You are planning and eating healthy food. But then something is on the horizon.
- Work conference
- Holiday get-together
- Weddings, birthday parties, and shower
You are going somewhere that food is not under your control.
It’s going to be okay. In fact, it is going to be more than okay. You are going to amaze your self.
The simplest thing is to make a plan before you go. You aren’t going to start stuffing your face every minute.
Decide what you want to do. Most women like to plan for a little extra while on vacation. You get to decide. Remember, the basics stay the same. Eat food you like when you feel hungry. Stop when you feel full.
Eat based on your hunger and stop when full
This is life changing my friends. Don’t eat until you are hungry.
Most of us were trained to eat by the clock. And then as we started depriving ourselves at meals, we added snacks.
If you wait until you are hungry, then you know when you are full.
This isn’t an exact science, but it does teach you to connect with your body and honor its true hunger.
It requires that you actually pay attention to your body and TRUST that it knows when it is time to eat and when it is time to stop eating.
Your body can do this.
No diet plan, no guru, no doctor knows what, when, how to eat like your very own body.
In the beginning, I recommend that you simply practice not eating until you feel some hunger. You don’t have to be miserable.
However, you want to feel the physical sensations in your body. Remember these? You feel a little empty. You might even here a grumbling sound. You feel actual hunger.
Then you eat and pay attention. At some point you will begin to feel full.
Time to stop and pause. Sometimes you might need to eat a little more. Sometimes that is it.
That really is all there is to all of this.
In the beginning, it might feel strange, and you might wonder whether you are doing it right. However, eventually it will become second nature.
This is so liberating my friends!
You can go anywhere and know how to eat. Even if you eat off your plan, you can use your hunger cues to eat just the right amount.
I have never had a single client gain weight from eating like this.
Usually, they are surprised at how food quits being an obsession.
I believe that food quits being and obsession because your brain and your body always know that you are going to feed it when you feel hungry.
That is a beautiful feeling!
Use your hunger to your advantage
Hunger a very misunderstood body sensation.
We dread being hungry, such as the hunger we inevitably feel while on a diet.
Yet, we also believe we have to be uncomfortably hungry to lose weight.
Hunger is hands-down one of your most important tools for weight loss or maintaining your weight.
Your body is designed to let you know when it’s time to eat. When you are hungry.
But over the years, most of us have forgotten what healthy hunger feels like. When it’s working properly, our hunger feels great. It builds up gradually and we look forward to eating instead of feeling desperate to eat.
This is really important. When people eat the standard diet full of processed, fast, and junk foods, we learn to overeat. Those foods are designed to override our natural hunger cues so we eat way more than we need.
When we eat real foods, we can fill up at our meals and then go many hours without being hungry again. When we begin to feel hungry, it will not be an emergency, it will feel like a gentle reminder that it’s going to be time to eat in a bit.
The other reason that this is so important is that when you eat only when you are hungry, it is much easier to know when you’ve had enough. Knowing when to stop will keep you from overeating.
When we eat around the clock, we don’t really have a chance to get to know what your body’s healthy hunger feels like.
Change Your Goals to Lose Weight
What makes any of these goals powerful is that these are all measurable. You get to claim the win when you make any progress with them. These are good goals for weight loss.
Old diet talk says, if you mess up with one meal or snack, you’ve ruined everything.
In this way, we look at the whole picture. An unplanned cookie or half a pizza means nothing, until you beat yourself up about it.
It really is just some food that you hadn’t planned to eat. The other 99% of the week, you ate great and nourished yourself.
The truth is you can put a cookie or pizza into your plan.
Here’s what happens as you concentrate on real measurable goals.
You learn to trust your appetite, your food, and your body.
Instead of hyper-focusing on how much you weigh, you begin to focus on how to nourish yourself.
This changes EVERYTHING!
Once you begin nourishing yourself instead of punishing yourself, you become a person who can love herself, no matter what.
If you struggle to love yourself, just as you are, then learning to eat can be one of the most powerful things you can do.
Feeding yourself in a compassionate way is one of the most loving things you can do for yourself.
Then a miracle happens. You believe that you are worth taking care of. You begin saying to yourself, “I’m worth it.”
You begin to feel confident. You begin to believe in yourself. You have your back.
You realize that it wasn’t your weight holding you back—it was how you thought about yourself.
And when you changed how you thought about yourself then you could finally live in peace with your food, your body, and your weight.
Keep showing up my friends,
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Hi, I'm Sara Garska and I'm so happy you're here! Big changes can happen with a shift in thinking. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a certified life and weight loss coach, I can help you create a life you love. Click here to schedule a free 50-minute coaching session.