Many executive clients have made a career of setting and achieving lofty goals, whilst holding the expectation that others will do the same.
When it comes to setting their own weight loss targets, it can be easy to bite off more than they can chew, considering work is often already taking precedence over other aspects of their life.
Getting the initial goal right is a key component of any body recomposition strategy — set it too low and it’s deemed irrelevant, set it too high and it seems unattainable, leading to abandonment.
Take the time to detach and consider the following when setting a weight loss goals.
Set the right target…
It’s very hard to tell what you will look or feel like at five, 10 or 20 kilograms less weight.
When setting weight loss targets, I get executive clients to pick a certain bodyweight based on their previous experience at that weight.
What did they look like when they were 10kg lighter?
How did they feel?
What were they doing at that point in time that you might not be doing anymore?
By grounding the goal in the reality of the individual, it becomes more personalised than chasing a generic target or number on the scales.
Before we set the timeframe, I ask my clients when did they last weigh they’re goal weight?
More often than not, it was at least a few years ago and often edging up towards a decade.
This gives perspective to the time it took to put on the weight, which helps many executive clients develop goals with longer timeframes that allow more sustainable rates of change.
Losing 10kg in one year is a terrific result, yet many of the executives who try to lose it in three months will fail.
In 12-months time they find themselves 1-2kg heavier than when they started, despite the fact they could have been down 10kg if they took the more progressive approach.
Once the goal is set, the timeframe dictates the required rate of change.
The greater the change, the more adherence will be tested as flexibility in food intake and physical activity decreases.
Setting the right timeframe allows manageable change that can be adhered to in the medium-long term, which is the key to achieving results.
Include non-weight goals
It’s important to diversify goals to include other aspects of the strategy that contribute to body composition improvement.
These might include adherence to the nutrition strategy or elimination of a certain meal, alongside strength and fitness goals.
Weight loss moves slowly, with a typical strategy aiming to elicit 1kg of fat loss every 2-4 weeks.
Relying solely on the scale moving to provide motivation can be tough when the rate isn’t changing as rapidly as anticipated.
There will also be times when weight loss plateaus, be it a result of increased work or family commitments that are the reality of executive life.
If they continue to see progress in other areas of the strategy, it will make it easier to stick to the plan and keep the good habits rolling during these busy periods.
These are likely the times where they would have gained weight in the past, so broaden the focus will leave them in a better place for the future.
Keep track of the milestones
Milestones are an important part of the monitoring progress and providing feedback on the strategy.
If the goal is simply to lose 10kg in six months, it’s hard to feel a sense of achievement until the goal is reached.
But if the goal is to lose 3kg in the next two months, as part of the six-month goal, it becomes easier to think of the current regime’s impact on these upcoming goals.
Hitting these milestones also provide reinforcement that the strategy does work, meaning if you keep adhering the results will come.
The efficacy is important because many people have become somewhat disillusioned with weight loss strategies due to the failed attempts in the past.
Tom Fitzgerald is a nutritionist and exercise scientist specialising in body recomposition. See more at Integrated Fitness & Nutrition.
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