Barely a day goes by when we’re not bombarded with references to obesity and weight loss in the media, whether that’s via adverts, news reports, articles or social media posts. And hot on their heels, of course, come the Clever Clogs commentators reminding us all that there really is no excuse for being overweight: you just eat less and move more.

Except, it’s not that simple is it, or we wouldn’t be in this state of ‘National Obesity Crisis’, would we? Like it or not, our relationship with food can be quite complex. Losing weight can be as much of an emotional challenge as a calorie-counting one, so it’s little wonder having a big weight-loss target can be overwhelming.

But what if the target didn’t have to be so daunting?

According to recent research by Yokebe, slimmers are increasingly changing their approach, and embracing more modest goals, with over half of those surveyed (57%) stating they were aiming to lose just one stone.

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Most (58%) said their main motivation for shedding the weight was their health, nodding to the fact we’re now more clued up about the long-term health risks associated with being overweight or obese.

Smaller target, bigger motivation

For many people, losing weight will mean not only significant changes to their eating patterns, but changes to their mindset and behaviour too, and confronting issues such as how they cope with stress and low self-esteem. A hefty weight-loss target can seem like a mountain to climb, so it makes sense that breaking this down into a series of smaller hills will feel more manageable (after all, if you were training to climb an actual mountain, you’d train with some gentle hills first!).

“With any challenge in life, most people just need that one small breakthrough to boost their confidence – for those looking to lose weight, one stone can be the boost they need,” says life coach Carole Ann Rice.

“Once people see a small but recognisable difference, it often has a positive domino effect and provides that continued motivation to change lifelong habits.”

Will losing one stone really make a difference to your health?

GP Dr Roger Henderson, diabetic lead at Linden Hall Surgery, Newport, believes taking small steps in the right direction is a very positive thing. 

“With 30,000 deaths each year due to obesity, this research shows a refreshing attitude to sustainable weight loss. Losing one stone is a manageable and achievable goal and while it may seem like a small amount, it can make a big difference. A stone in weight loss will not only help reduce aches and pains, but people may also find that symptoms of conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are all improved as well.”

Body and mind

The survey also highlights how the physical and psychological implications of weight loss can be closely linked. More than half (60%) said being able to reach a healthy weight range helped combat feelings linked to self-consciousness, while 40% said it helped them overcome low self-esteem.

This might sound obvious, but it’s important – because without a positive state of mind and self-confidence, sticking to healthy eating regimes and exercise plans can be tricky.

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Benefits of losing a stone

Here are nine of the key ways losing just one stone can measurably improve physical health and wellbeing, according to Dr Henderson:

Reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes
Reduced risk of heart disease
Fewer aches and pains
Ease of breath
Improved immune system
More energy
Good mood
Improved self-esteem
Reduced negative perceptions about physical appearance

Has setting a more manageable target helped you lose weight? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below