- Overweight and obese people should aim to lose 5 to 10 percent of their body weight.
- Slimmers who set themselves ambitious targets lose twice as many pounds as those who try to be realistic.
For people hoping to shed the pounds next year, setting out with unrealistic expectations could be the key to losing weight.
We know that current NHS and NICE advice around realistic weight loss targets is designed to protect slimmers from disappointment. However, suggesting that people place limits on their weight loss aims could stop people from seeing what they're capable of. It's important that people have aspirations and can visualise themselves achieving success.
‘Slimmers planning a New Year purge should ‘shoot for the Moon’ to gain the best results.’
"January is the most popular time of the year to start a healthy weight loss programme and so it's really important that people have the information they need to maximise their chances of success," said study author Amanda Avery, Nottingham University Academic in Nutrition and Dietetics and Consultant Dietitian in Weight Management for Slimming World.
A study of 24,000 obese people, who were on a 12 month slimming programme found those who set themselves an ambitious 'dream weight' target dropped an average of three stones - around 19 percent of their body weight. In contrast, slimmers who set themselves 'achievable' goals lost far less.
The study, carried out by the University of Nottingham on behalf of Slimming World, challenges NHS advice that overweight and obese people should aim to lose 5 to 10 percent of their body weight.
"This research shows that, when it comes to losing weight, it's best to inspire people to set the weight loss target they would personally really like to achieve. This will help with their motivation as, if it is really their dream weight, they'll be far more committed to achieving it".
The new study showed that people who set a target of losing 27 percent of their body weight, lost an average of 19 percent. Those who set a medium target of around 16-21 percent hit 14 percent, while those who set a modest target of 10 percent only achieved their goal amount.
In 1975 the average Briton had a BMI of 23, which is considered a healthy weight. But today that has risen to 27, with the average person now overweight. It means that since the 1970s, every person in Briton has roughly gained more than three pounds (1.5kg) per decade.
In Britain around a quarter of people have an obese Body Mass Index (BMI), which could be seriously affecting their health. Losing weight and maintaining a normal BMI reduces the risk of developing various diseases and also makes one feel more confident.