Achieving continued success in weight management

Set yourself and your patients up for success in long-term weight management.

Setting SMART goals can make a difference in your patients' weight-loss journey

A discussion about goal setting is a way to help your patients connect their goals with the changes they can make for better weight management. Align with your patients on realistic and individualized goals as a first step toward creating sustainable, long-term changes.

Talk about the big picture

It’s important to understand your patients’ ultimate goals, and asking the following questions can help you do just that.

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Ultimately, what do you want to achieve? If you think about the big picture of your life, what do you want it to look like?

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Do you have a certain amount of weight that you want to lose?

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Considering your ultimate goals, we can work together to take the first steps toward what is realistic for you to achieve for health and weight.

SMART goals: goal setting for weight management

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Guide patients to set specific goals for changes to behaviors or habits for healthy eating, activity levels, or weight management

  • What are some healthy eating habits that you feel you can start following?
  • What are some activities that you would like to start?
  • Can you begin 1 or 2 of these before our next visit?
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Ask how they will measure their progress toward achievement or know when they have achieved their goals

  • What is the best way for you to track your new habits or progress toward your goals?
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Discuss how confident they feel about achieving their goal—this is a chance for a reality check to revise the goal if patients don’t feel confident that the goal is achievable

  • Do you feel confident that this is an achievable goal?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “not at all confident” and 10 being “completely confident,” how confident are you that you can achieve this goal?
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Ask about how their initial goals are relevant to their big-picture goals

  • Why is this behavioral goal relevant or important to your overall plan?
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Place a relatively short time frame on the initial goals and revisit whether they are achievable in that time frame

  • When will you being?
  • Setting individual patient goals

Establish a family-oriented approach to weight management1

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Encourage Open Communication

For patients who are open to discussing weight management in a clinical setting, encourage them to have honest discussions about their goals with family members as a next step.

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Consider Home Dynamics

If a patient isn't comfortable sharing with family members, remind them that they can include friends or like-minded online communities in their support network instead.

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Culture Counts

When building a patient's weight-management plan, consider how food and activity are rooted in family culture to set more effective behavioral goals.

See what the experts think

Hear From Kols

The reality of weight regain

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1. Kelley CP, Sbrocco G, Sbrocco T. Behavioral modification for the management of obesity. Prim Care. 2016;43(1):159-175.


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