Unrealistic weight loss expectations often lead to frustration and discouragement, which can result in dieters giving up before successfully losing weight. According to Weight Watchers, some studies suggest that unrealistic expectations contribute to dieters' failing to commit to the long-term changes in behavior that are necessary to maintain permanent weight loss.
Weight Watchers recommends that having a realistic weight loss goal, especially regarding the amount of time needed to reach the weight loss goal, helps to keep dieters on track. Weight loss experts agree that losing 10 percent of a person's starting weight over a time frame of six months is a realistic and attainable goal. Reducing calories by 500 to 1000 calories per day can result in weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week, depending on individual circumstances.
It is important to remember that weight loss rates often plateau after about six months. One reason for this plateau is that the body needs fewer calories to maintain normal functioning as body weight declines. The gap between realistic and unrealistic weight loss goals can cause a person not to realize and appreciate the many health benefits that result from a loss of five to 10 percent of starting body weight, according to Weight Watchers.