One of the most important aspects of losing weight is setting goals. This allows you to keep track of your progress and gives you something to strive for. However, it's important that the goals you set are realistic. Unrealistic weight loss aspirations can lead people to give up if they aren't reaching their goals. Individuals may see themselves as failures, leading them to gain their lost weight right back. In this "less is more" culture, with hit TV shows like "The Biggest Loser" making a competition out of who can lose the most weight, many people don't feel that a practical weight-loss goal is enough.

High expectations
Nutritionist Keri Glassman talked to Women's Health about practical weight loss goals. She said that people planning to shed some pounds should write down their highest-ever weight, lowest-ever weight and the number in the middle, and subtract five pounds from the last number. You've been at that weight before, and with some healthy lifestyle changes, it's definitely a realistic goal to be at that point again.

It's healthy to drop between a half a pound and two pounds a week when actively working to lose weight. Early in your journey, the weight may seem like it's falling off, and then may plateau. This is healthy.

Stay positive even when your weight seems to plateau.Stay positive even when your weight seems to plateau.

How to set goals
When deciding to lose weight, it's important to be specific about what you want to achieve. Whether you want to fit back into the jeans you wore in college or drop a specific number of pounds, it is beneficial to know exactly when you reach your goal. It's good motivation to know when you're making progress. It may also help to establish a timeframe in which you'd like to lose the weight. Maybe it's for your high school reunion, your best friend's wedding or just within the next six months.

Give yourself some wiggle room
While an attainable goal can make all the difference when it comes to succeeding, don't let yourself get discouraged if you happen to come up a few pounds short or don't manage to fit into your skinny jeans for an event. Rather than forbid yourself from eating foods you want, try a sustainable weight loss program like the Food Lovers Fat Loss System which shows you how to successfully drop pounds without having to give up your favorite foods. Instead of vowing to wake up at 5:00 a.m. in order to get to the gym every day, make a plan to work out just three times a week. When your plans and goals are attainable, you have a much lower chance of quitting when the going gets tough.

Stay positive
If weight loss was super easy, nobody would be talking about it! Shedding weight is a challenge and can get discouraging at times. It's most important to be positive when the process seems difficult. Here are some ways to stay positive about the changes you're making, even if  getting fit is taking longer than anticipated:

"Your body is just a piece of the puzzle."

  • Try on the clothes that have become too big for you and donate them to charity. Not only are you making room to fit your new, smaller wardrobe in your closet, but you're also helping someone in need.
  • Think about how you feel instead of how your body looks. Are you able to be active longer? Have you stopped  eating just because you're sad or stressed? Has your complexion improved?
  • Don't base your self-worth on the scale. You have so much to offer and your body is just a piece of the puzzle.

By setting realistic goals by staying positive and not being too hard on yourself, you'll find that sustainable weight loss isn't as daunting as you may have thought it was. Not only will you have a higher chance of reaching your goal weight, but you'll also have a positive outlook, making way for long term success.