[Listening] Why Setting Goals For Weight Loss Can Be Tricky

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Before today’s listening, let’s check the answers to the last episode.

1. unfortunately

2. deal with

3. temper

Common sense would say that we need to help people set their sights on making improvements in how they eat and how much they exercise by setting the right goals. But are those goals right? What is the type of goal that will yield results and long-term change to healthier habits?

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Click the button at the bottom of the screen to play the audio. Please fill in the blanks and leave your answers in the comment. The answers will be revealed in the next episode.

Source: Psychologytoday

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Probably most of you have heard of the acronym SMART for goal setting. This concept has been used in many areas, including weight loss, and has been around since 1981. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. However, why don’t SMART goals always work for weight loss?

First, you could say there is a Public Relations Issue.  Getting people to set SMART goals depends on disseminating that concept.  Statistics show that around 80% of dieters ____ (one word missing) a new diet without joining a program, seeing a health professional, or meeting with a coach.  While many health professionals know about SMART goals, it is not clear how many lay individuals know about it, have thought about the best way to set goals, or even considered why it is worth doing. 

Another potential problem is that setting specific goals will need to be re-evaluated and changed over time. Once the person is having fruit with lunch every day, another specific goal needs to be set up. That could be something like having a ____ (one word missing) portion of protein with each meal. SMART goals use time as the last part of the acronym, but there is no indication that there will need to be new goals and a re-setting of a time frame for each one.

Finally, each goal is not set in a vacuum. There may be ____ (one word missing) from within, and from those in relationship with the one setting the goal. While this is addressed partially by having the individual choose the goal that is achievable, the emotional side of making change needs to be acknowledged. As Nathaniel Branden explains in his book, Six Pillars of Self Esteem, “We may need to overcome inertia, face down fears, confront pain, or stand alone in loyalty to our judgment, even against those we love.”


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