Goal setting: Eating, Physical activity & Weight loss

No matter what your weight loss goal is, the key to reaching your goals is to make changes to your lifestyle like eating and physical activity. This involves setting realistic expectations and making a plan.

Expectations about Eating and Physical Activity: Calories In & Calories Out

Whether we forget to count that fancy coffee or extra-large soda as “calories in” or we assume that taking the stairs instead of the elevator burned an extra 250 “calories out,” sometimes our expectations about how much we’re taking in or how much we’re burning off can be, well, a little off.

Here are some rough estimates of how much exercise it takes to burn off the calories of some favorite treats:

Calories IN Balancing Calories OUT

½ a bag of regular M&Ms

Briskly walking 1 hour

Snack size bag of chips

1.5 hours of strength training

Medium order of fries

Biking 1 hour and 35 minutes

Energy bar

Climbing (up!) stairs for 25 minutes

Large vanilla latte with whip cream

Jogging 50 minutes

Large frozen yogurt – no toppings

1 hour and 5 minutes on the elliptical

Setting Eating and Physical Activity Goals
One of the important things to remember is that eating healthier and being more physically active is good for your health, even if you don’t lose weight. So when setting goals for eating healthier it may help to focus on other things that healthy eating might do for you – like trying new (healthy) foods or learning how to cook for the first time. Also, when setting physical activity goals, you may want to think about how being more active will help you regain energy or provide you with a fun physical activity challenge to work toward over time, like walking or running a 5K.