You’ve likely struggled with your weight most of your life. You had bariatric surgery to finally help you lose the weight to improve your health. Maybe you’ve lost a lot of weight only to have gained some back, or maybe you didn’t quite reach your target weight.

January comes and goes every year and each year before surgery and after surgery, you’ve probably set the same goal… to lose a few more pounds. You keep recycling this goal every year, telling yourself “this will be the year I lose it!”. Maybe you lose some, maybe you don’t. Maybe a pandemic comes along (hello, 2020) and complicates your life even more than it already is.

Or, maybe you’re just setting the wrong goal.

Setting a goal to lose weight is ineffective. Wanting to lose some weight is the ultimate goal but without deciding HOW you’re going to achieve it, you likely will never achieve it. Losing a few pounds is the end intention, but it doesn’t describe the means. 

Losing weight is NOT an action, it’s a result. Losing weight is NOT a habit. Setting a goal to “lose weight” won’t get you anywhere because it doesn’t tell you anything about WHAT you’re going to do to achieve it. 

This year, let’s be more intentional about achieving your goal to set you up for success. As dietitians, we encourage our clients to try approaches that are evidence-based, rather than trying something a neighbor recommended from Facebook or from a magazine. So, how can you be smarter, more intentional and more focused on achieving your ultimate goal this year?


Set SMART goals!

SMART is an acronym for a goal being Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and set within a specific Timeframe. Your goal should be specific enough so that you define exactly HOW you’re going to lose the weight by listing the habits it will take (we usually recommend starting with one habit first, or two at the most). Your goal should be measurable so that you can track how you’ve been doing. It should be an attainable goal such that you should be very confident you can apply the habit on a regular basis, and realistic enough for you to be able to achieve the goal within a reasonable timeframe; habits don’t form within a week.

Give yourself a minimum of one month before evaluating how you’ve done. It’s important that your habit(s) are MAINTAINABLE. If the habit isn’t realistic,  it’s not going to stick (queue every diet you’ve ever tried).

 So to recap…

The WRONG New Year’s resolution or goal to have = Lose weight.

The RIGHT New Year’s resolution or goal to have = I plan to lose weight by….(example)….eating more low carb vegetables (specific), by including 1/4 cup of vegetables at lunch and dinner (measurable), by preparing my vegetables on the weekends for the week (attainable). I will do this at least 3 times per week (realistic), every week for the next 3 months (timeframe).

If you’re someone who’s fallen into the trap of not well-defining your goals when January rolls around, why not try the technique that research has shown makes us more likely to achieve our ultimate goals… by making some SMART goals this year.


Wishing you the best in 2021, 

-Lisa Kaouk, bariatric dietitian


P.S. Looking for support in 2021? Message us for details about our virtual support groups!