Well Being

Your Goal Weight Is Weirdly Specific

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diet-scaleRegina George probably wouldn't have resorted to eating Kalteen bars if she didn't know precisely how many pounds she wanted to lose.

A new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that flexibility makes weight goals more attainable than high specificity. Dieters who give themselves a high-low range like “lose two to four pounds” are more likely to be stick to their diet than those who want to lose precisely three pounds.

The study involved having dieters in a weight-loss program set either “high-low range goals” or single number goals. Though there was no difference in the number of pounds lost between groups, at the end of the program, more people with high-low range goals re-enrolled in the program than those with precise goals.

Researchers Maura L. Scott of Florida State University and Stephen M. Nowlis of Washington State University found that ‘High-low range goals influence consumer goal reengagement through feelings of accomplishment, which itself is driven by the attainability and challenge of the goal.” The flexible goals offer “the best of both worlds”–the higher goal drives the challenge and the lower goal drives the feeling of attainable success.  Single digit goals supposedly feels like a compromise.

This makes sense to me, if you want to lose 3 lbs and you lose 2 lbs, you've disappointed yourself, but if you wanted to lose 2 to 4 lbs and you lose 2 lbs, you accomplished your goal.

Failing to achieve goals is discouraging, so it's probably best to not be so narrow about ideas of what constitutes as success. It's easier said than done. I'm not sure I'd be able to be flexible about my goal weight because it's already in my head. When you really do just feel like you want to lose a few pounds, how can you be more flexible? Anyway, after reading about this, if I gave myself a goal range instead of a specific number, I'd tell myself I was only doing it to soften the blow of inevitable disappointment. I'm a sicko though–don't be like me.

 Story via Daily Mail//Image via Shutterstock

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