How do you choose a goal weight that is right for you? For many people this is an easy question (if they even think of it at all). They set their weight goal based on the number where their body tends to stay, or their doctor gives them a number based on a chart.
Yet if you are currently in the process of losing weight, this process might be more complex. You might not have been at your goal weight for many years, or perhaps not at all. (That was true for me for most of my adult life until I lost over 100 pounds.)
Let’s explore how to decide on a goal weight that is healthy and realistic for you.
What’s Your Goal Weight?
When you start the journey to lose weight, one of the questions you are often asked (or ask yourself) is, “What’s my goal weight?”
This makes perfect sense. You want to know when you have arrived and achieved success.
A goal weight is a body weight that is healthy for you and realistic to maintain.
Keep in mind that your goal weight is actually a weight range because no one stays exactly the same weight every day. I recommend setting a 5 pound range where you maintain.
While the end goal is a weight that is healthy, it’s also incredibly important to choose a goal weight that is realistic to maintain long-term.
Many of us can get to a certain number of pounds by using extreme measures, but this isn’t realistic to maintain long-term. Life is for the living and you need to be able to enjoy treats along the way and still maintain your weight loss.
Think of this as the difference between a weight that is achievable vs. one that is maintainable.
Sometimes weighing a few extra pounds is worth the flexibility of being able to eat pizza on Friday nights with your family or cake at a birthday party.
Let’s dive further into the steps to find a goal weight that’s right for you.
5 Steps to Find Your Healthy Goal Weight
Here are the steps to finding a weight goal that is safe and realistic for you.
- Know it’s possible to get to your goal.
- Use a reputable source.
- Look at your history.
- Wait to decide.
- Choose a goal that’s not just achievable, but maintainable.
1. Know It’s Possible.
I absolutely believe with 100% certainty that you can get to your goal weight and stay there. You can do this!
I know it’s possible because God does not want you to stay stuck in unhealthy patterns that pull you away from Him. As you continue to pray and seek direction through God’s Word, you will find healing.
You might not quite believe it yet and that’s okay. Remember that faith is believing in something you cannot see (Hebrews 11:1).
When I was 100 pounds heavier, I didn’t know if I would ever get to my goal weight and stay there, but I have done it and I believe you can do it, too.
2. Use a Reputable Source for Information
At the end of the day, no online chart can tell you the best weight for you. You and only you get to decide that.
Still, it’s helpful to have guidance. Try using an online calculator like this one to get an idea of what might be right for you.
Most doctors use BMI, or Body Mass Index, as a guide for your healthy weight range. The BMI system has flaws so keep in mind this is only a starting point.
Talk with your doctor who can provide further recommendations for your specific needs.
Still, don’t give away your power to an organization. Remember that your goal weight is a decision only you can make.
3. Look at Your History
Sometimes your history can give you clues into a good weight goal for you.
Did you feel great at a certain weight in the past? Was it comfortable and realistic to maintain?
Aging, hormone shifts, medical conditions and lifestyle factors will influence a weight you can realistically maintain.
The weight you maintained in college might not be realistic now.
Then again, maybe you are at a life stage where you have more time to cook healthy meals and exercise so you might be able to maintain a lower weight than when you are younger.
Today at 47 years old, I (Sara) weigh thirty pounds less than I did in college and sixty pounds less than I did in high school. I’m also in peri-menopause, have low thyroid function and food sensitivities. So if I can do it, I promise you can, too.
4. Wait to Decide
Many women choose to wait until they are closer to their weight loss goal before making a decision.
Instead, focus on a smaller starting goal.
Possible smaller goals could be:
- Losing 10% of your body weight (which has been proven to have many health benefits).
- Reaching a personal milestone such as weighing less than 300 or less than 200 pounds.
- Focusing on losing weight in 5 pound increments.
5. Choose a goal weight that is not just achievable, but maintainable.
The best weight for you is not only one that you can achieve, but one that you can maintain while enjoying your life.
Most of us could achieve an unrealistic weight through drastic measures. We could go on a liquid-only diet, eat very few calories, or exercise like a crazy person.
But is that maintainable?
Here are criteria for a realistic, healthy goal weight for you:
- A realistic goal weight is one where you eat healthy most of the time but you enjoy splurges too.
- A healthy goal weight is one where you look and feel good, even if it’s higher than a chart tells you.
- The right goal weight for you will be one where your doctor is pleased with your health and wellness.
By putting these 5 steps into practice, in time you will find a goal weight that’s right for you and your body.
Have you chosen a goal weight? Share about it in the comments below.
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