floating button
weight loss goals

How to Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals with the S.M.A.R.T. Method

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Setting a realistic goal can make all the difference when it comes to your weight loss success. Whether you are trying to get down to a suitable pre-surgery weight, maintain your weight loss after bariatric surgery or achieve a fitness milestone, setting realistic, well-planned goals can turn ideas into action and keep you focused and motivated along the way.

But there is a secret to goal-setting. Not all goals are healthy or helpful, and setting a weight loss goal that is unrealistic or too aggressive may lead to frustration and failure.

Setting S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and trackable) goals, however, can help you lose weight, improve your health and experience success on your weight loss journey.


Learn how to set S.M.A.R.T. weight loss goals with these tips.


Be specific. This is the “who, what, when and where” of goal-setting. Setting a specific goal to achieve, such as “I want to lose 50 pounds,” is more motivating than simply saying “I want to lose weight.”


Make it measurable. Weight loss can be measured by more than just the number on the scale. Look at inches lost, body mass index, body composition and even how your clothes fit. What are your measurable goals?


Attainable. Do you have the time and resources to achieve your goal? Setting a goal to spend an hour at the gym every day may not be attainable if your work schedule doesn’t allow it. If you set goals that work for your schedule and lifestyle, you’ll be more likely to follow through with them. That said, achieving a goal takes sacrifice, so take a close look at your day-to-day schedule and find places you can make room to work on your weight loss goals.


Realistic. How realistic is your weight loss goal? Figure out your ideal body weight. While there are broad recommendations for healthy body weight based on height, this method does not take into consideration body composition. A body composition scan, such as a DEXA scan, skinfold test or bioelectrical impedance, can give you an idea of your body composition. A realistic weight loss goal is losing five to 10 percent of your current body weight. Discuss setting realistic weight loss goals with your doctor to determine the right goal for your body.


Trackable. It’s difficult to measure success if you cannot track your goal. Keep a record of your progress so you know how far you’ve come. Taking weekly measurements can help you stay on track. If you set a goal to lose 50 pounds in six months (about eight pounds per month), but don’t weigh and measure yourself on at least a semi-regular basis, you may get to month five and find you still have 30 pounds to lose in the last month. A trackable goal must also be time-bound. Give yourself a deadline to achieve your weight loss goal, and then set smaller goals along the way to help you reach your overall goal.


Goal-setting is a key element of weight loss success. Setting a specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and trackable goal can help you stay on target, keep you motivated and achieve your weight loss goals.

Do you need help setting realistic weight loss goals for your body? Schedule an appointment with your Nobilis Health doctor today to determine your goals and start losing weight.