Weight loss: Small goals that make a big difference

Chris Foster Chris Foster Nuffield Health Professional Head of Fitness
Having a lot of weight to lose can feel like an impossible challenge at first. But by setting small goals you can achieve big things. Head of Fitness Chris Foster provides some tips.

If someone asked you to walk the length of Britain tomorrow, you’d most likely laugh in their face. The sheer scale of the task is simply too big to achieve without training. But if you were first asked to walk to the end of your road, you’d probably take it in your stride. And once you’d walked to the end of your road, you might be able to walk to the end of another, and another. This is how all big challenges can be approached, in bite-sized pieces.

Achieving small goals can help to maintain motivation, which is the key to achieving success. If weight loss is your goal, making some of these little lifestyle changes can make a big difference, when combined with a calorie-controlled diet.

1. Drink more water
Drinking water not only improves your circulation and helps all of your bodily functions to run smoothly, it forces you to get out of your seat to fill your glass more often. If you have a tendency to forget, try setting a regular alarm to remind yourself. Additionally, replacing highly calorific drinks such as coffees and soft drinks with water and/or calorie-free alternatives will have a big impact on calorie reduction.

Small goal: Drink 8 glasses of water a day.

2. Have regular mini exercise breaks
Many of us spend much of our leisure time sitting. But it's important that we get up and move regularly too. Use advert breaks to walk up and down the stairs a few times, or do some squats to increase your heartrate which will help you to burn calories and stay healthy.

Small goal: Have 4 mini exercise breaks a day.

3. Play games instead of watching TV
It can be difficult to pull yourself away from your favourite boxset, but if you ever find yourself bored with what’s on screen, playing games can be a good way to boost your activity without even noticing. Whether it’s playing with your children, or playing active console games like Tennis on the Wii, doing something active and fun will benefit your body and your mind.

Small goal: Cut out one hour of TV a day to play.

4. Handwash the dishes
Using the dishwasher is much more convenient, for sure, but the act of standing and scrubbing at your dishes helps to keep the blood flowing and burn more calories. The same can be said for any other task you’d use a machine for. Doing the household chores is a great calorie burner, so consider tackling the hoovering or cleaning the bathroom more often too.

Small goal: Do one household chore a day.

5. Buy food in smaller quantities
This point isn't about portion control. Buying food in smaller quantities will not only reduce waste, it will give you a reason to go to the shops more often, where the extra steps will count towards your overall weight loss goal. Choose your local convenience shops for your everyday items such as milk and bread.

Small goal: Leave the car at home when you go to the convenience store.

Last updated Thursday 17 January 2019

First published on Monday 28 November 2016