Will You Reach Your Monthly Weight Loss Goal?

You know that tracking what you eat can help you stick to a healthy eating plan and possibly lose more weight. But if you’re not setting a realistic monthly weight loss goal—and an action plan for how you’re going to achieve it—you might not hit your target. And trust us: Few endeavors are as frustrating as struggling with your body weight.

“Look at weight as just one of the indicators of progress but don’t let it be your sole indicator of progress,” says Torey Jones Armul, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Did you set a concrete weight loss goal that you can reach this month? Do you have a number in your mind that you’d like to weigh by next month? Or what you’d like to weigh in three months? (Hint: If it’s your high-school weight, you probably need to readjust.)

Here’s a guide to setting concrete, realistic weight loss goals, and creating a plan to achieve them.

What’s a good weight loss goal for one month?

“I think with an appropriate calorie deficit for diet and exercise, you can aim to lose a half-pound to one pound of body per week,” says Armul. “That means two to four pounds of weight loss per month as a goal. That goal could be done in a very healthy and sustainable way.”

To be fair: Four pounds doesn’t sound like much in a month. Maybe you’re envisioning dropping 10 to 15 pounds of fat gone from your frame. And weight-loss coaches know that.

“For many people, those numbers aren’t high enough…especially when compared with the fad diet that promises you can shed five pounds in one week,” says Armul. “But I’m all about [setting a goal] you can stick with for good. This goal will help you think of your diet plan as a lifestyle.”