This common error is responsible for many weight loss diets failing dismally

Share this article

Post showing scales explaining that weight loss is not the goal but a process for a better life

Setting a weight loss goal can be counter productive


It’s quite common for people to have a weight loss goal in mind when they are looking to lose body fat and this normally manifests in a random figure that they pick out of the air.

I do not mean any disrespect to anyone that has done this because I used to do it all the time when I was dieting for shows.  Sometimes it was due to me actually needing to hit a weight target for a category but often it was just a figure I had in my head that would be nice to see.

Isn’t it good to have a SMART goal for weight loss though?

SMART goals (if you don’t know) are

  • Specific
  • Measured
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Timed

It’s how most projects are planned out (in theory) and prevents any over budgeting or over running.

I see a great many successful business people setting themselves SMART goals for their weight loss in the form of

‘I want to lose 5kg over 4 weeks so that I can fit into my suit for the dinner on 5th March’

However the body is not a rigid closed system whereby you can accurately calculate and predict weight loss targets.  Even with all the fancy software that I use and the data that I ask clients to track we are regularly thwarted on WEIGHT targets

That’s if we were working on weight targets as a defining measure of course.
Let’s look at the possible outcomes when you set a weight target

1. Let’s say we hit our weight loss targets and also achieved the body we wanted.


All would be good and we’d be happy.

Now let’s consider other outcomes.

2. You achieve the body but not the weight

Most people I work with are into training in a gym or other exercise environment. I actively encourage my clients to use weights as there are a whole host of additional benefits to just flexing some muscle.

Weight training burns calories and encourages adaptions in the body that make it easier to burn fat and less likely that carbohydrates will be stored as fat.

So this is good for creating a calorie deficit which is what we want and is essential for body fat loss.

However, weight training also builds muscle, which means you’re gaining some weight back.

That’s NOT what we want if weight loss is our end goal.

It’s why some companies actively discourage weight training via some of their uneducated representatives. Weight training will affect the weekly weigh in and subsequent drops in body weight which are the ultimate measures of progress – TO THEM.

It’s highly possible to achieve the body that you want in the mirror and get into that suit or dress but actually be nowhere near your weight loss targets.

This is a dangerous scenario for 2 reasons.

  • You may be happy with your body but something niggles, what would I look like if I were lighter? Probably even better right? It’s logical.
  • You haven’t hit your weight targets so you feel you’ve failed to some degree maybe only subconsciously, but it’s there.

The result of these factors leads to a more aggressive diet, maybe even one which is not sustainable long term. You may very well hit your weight targets but to what cost of the potential binge and weight regain after you hit the target?

You may also look worse at a lower weight, with lower energy to train and less zest for life due to the restrictions you’ve placed on yourself.

3. Achieved the weight but not the body

Good news, you lost the 5 kilos.

Bad news, you STILL don’t fit in the bloody suit/dress


The realisation that despite your best efforts you’ve failed to achieve the actual target which was the outfit you wanted to wear. So now you need to diet harder and potentially very hard if you’ve only got a few days to drop the extra padding.

A similar situation to the previous one now develops with the possibility of over restriction and major rebound after, leading to an eventual total rebound and complete failure for long term weight loss.

4. Didn’t achieve the body and didn’t achieve the weight loss

A sad fact is that this is where 95% of us end up at the end of any diet. Unsatisfied and frustrated at the lack of results from the diet we chose.

This is something I’m trying to change.

I cannot stress enough that while it’s healthy to monitor your weight daily, it’s ONLY ONE VARIABLE in the equation. It’s a guide to what’s going on in your universe.

Weight can fluctuate daily due to water, food, fibre, hormones (yes I went there – but only slightly). Big shifts are NEVER rapid fat loss or gain.

It takes a variation of nearly 8000 kcals in surplus or deficit to illicit a 1kg drop or gain in body fat.

Even considering some of the big eaters that I know in bodybuilding, this would be a tall order. Remember we are talking 8000 kcals OVER your maintenance calories for the day which would be around 10,000 kcals total for the average person.

Many women I work with see very little weight fluctuations but very dramatic changes in body composition. Which means they gain muscle and lose fat in proportionate amounts so 65kg can be two very different physiques 6 months apart.

So please don’t set WEIGHT LOSS targets

If you like training with weights or exercising at any pace you’ll be actively working against your target from day one if you want to build a leaner more shapely body.

Instead, take photos, compare them 2-3 weeks apart. Analyse your activity, steps, routines to identify potholes. Look at how your clothes fit. Do people compliment you on your new look?

Can you now get into that suit/dress?

THAT’s the measure of success really, is it not?

Unsure of where to start with a diet? Watch this simple video to get started losing weight without a diet plan

To enquire about working with me to improve your body and health click on the image below

To download some of my free guides and my free recipe books click HERE

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest
Email to someone

Latest Podcasts and Articles

32. Does a Discount Mean Devaluing Your Coaching?

discounts run the risk of devaluing your coaching When should you offer discounts for your coaching? Should you ever offer discounts? Discounts run the risk of devaluing your coaching price.  Just like the DFS sale is always on, if you’re always offering discounts your price to value plummets. So how can you create an offer

Read More »

31. How You Put People Off Working With You

Things Online Fitness Coaches Do To Repel Clients That They Don’t Even Know They Are Doing You want to get more online fitness clients? But you’re not getting many leads for your coaching? Maybe you’re doing something that’s pushing them away. In this podcast, we discuss the common mistakes coaches make that repel clients, often

Read More »

30. Stop Clients Cancelling For Holidays

A client holiday shouldn’t mean a drop in income for you A big problem for fitness coaches – keeping clients when they will be away for a bit and want to cancel. Are your clients going on a holiday or just enjoying the time off work? Either way they may decide that they don’t need

Read More »

29. Is trying to have a process for everything slowing you down

Process procrastination Gurus seem to have a process for everything. Morning routines Lunch routines Ice bath routines Productivity Hacks Is all that really necessary? Is overthinking and over engineering basic daily routines harming your business? In this podcast you’ll learn what processes we follow in our business and personal lives. We’ll also discuss some of

Read More »

28. Reel Talk – Instagram Reel Strategies

Creating short form videos that attract your ideal customers What are the best practices for Reels at the moment for online fitness coaches? Dan and Tom share what they are currently doing and what’s working for them and their clients. We cover: Scripting content for clearer messaging Ways to create different types of Reels, Shorts

Read More »

27. How to get more clients in a week

Need more clients in the next 7-10 days? Do these things What we would do if we needed to get more clients fast.   Which sounds kind of silly as wouldn’t we always want more clients? So wouldn’t we do these all the time?   These are techniques which we apply to our coaching periodically

Read More »

Leave a comment

How can I help ?

Please fill in this form and I'll be in touch within 48 hours