Simple goals for weight loss include outcome goals like total weight to be lost and milestone weight loss goals along the way, plus daily or weekly calorie deficit objectives. But strategic or process goals are needed to detail what has to be accomplished to successfully and permanently lose the amount of weight desired. A few examples of such strategic goals include:

-Gradually work up to walking every day for 60 to 90 minutes within six months.
-Adopt a permanent, sensible diet and exercise program starting June 1st.
-Follow The Mayo Clinic Diet for Healthy Weight Loss program beginning June 1st.
-Do strength training twice a week to help lose weight without losing muscle, starting next week.
-Keep fattening foods out of the house from now on, except for special occasions.
-Expend 300 calories per day in moderate-intensity exercise.
-Create strategies to overcome weight loss obstacles commonly encountered.

These process or strategic goals outline the main tasks that need to be accomplished and the new habits that must be formed in order to achieve permanent weight loss. A dieter’s focus needs to be on these enabling goals which form the basis for critically important lifestyle changes. However, people who decide to start a diet or exercise program should first talk with their doctor to obtain medical clearance before beginning.

Sound weight loss goals and action plans work by means of new habit formation and significant lifestyle changes so that the number of daily calories consumed is permanently decreased and the number of calories expended by physical activity each day is permanently increased. That’s what permanent weight loss requires.