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Choosing Your Goal Weight

May 2, 2010

Choosing your goal weight is the first step to beginning a successful weight loss program. Goal setting will help you achieve the weight you want and look you desire; your goal weight may change as you progress through your program. When choosing a goal weight, it’s essential to pick a weight that’s realistic and maintainable long term. Below are some tips to help you choose an appropriate weight loss goal.

1. Choose Your Lowest Adult Weight

Your lowest adult weight may be a good place to start when choosing your goal weight. Although it’s possible to drop below your lowest (adult) weight, it’s more realistic to choose a weight that you have achieved in the past. Think back to your lowest weight since age 21 and ask yourself if that weight made you look and feel your best. Dropping below your lowest adult weight is certainly possible, but may be difficult to achieve and maintain.

2. Use the Hamwi Method

The Hamwi Method can give you an idea of approximately what your weight should be based on how tall you are. For women, add 100 lb. for the first five feet of height and 5 lb. for each inch over 5 feet. Adjustments are made (add or subtract 10 percent) for small and large framed women. For men add 106 lb. for the first 5 feet of height and 6 lb. for every inch over 5 feet. For example a 5-foot-3 woman would have an ideal body weight of 115 lb. (plus or minus 10 percent).  A 5-foot 6 man’s ideal body weight is 142 lb. (plus or minus 10 percent) according to the Hamwi method. This method doesn’t account for extremely muscular individuals (since muscle weighs more than fat).

3. Calculate Your BMI

BMI (Body Mass Index) is a way to determine if your weight is considered healthy for your height. A normal weight BMI will significantly reduce your risk for developing diseases related to being overweight or obese. BMIs of 18.5-24.9 are considered normal weight, 25.0-29.9 is considered to be overweight, and a BMI of 30 and above is considered to be obese. Use this formula to calculate your BMI: [weight (in pounds)/height (in inches) 2] x 703. For example a person who is 5-foot-5 and weighs 200 pounds would have a BMI of 33 using the formula above (200/65/65) X (703). Your goal weight should ideally put you in the normal weight BMI range.

4. Start With the 10 Percent Rule

To increase your chance of maintaining your goal weight, your initial weight loss goal shouldn’t be more than 10 percent of your starting weight. After losing up to 10 percent of your initial weight, try to maintain that new weight for at least 6 months before attempting another weight loss. Remember to include physical activity in your weight loss program to optimize success.

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