What’s a Realistic Weight Loss Goal?

Fitness // Lisa Donaldson, APD, M.Nutr&Diet, B.Edu

So, you’re thinking about losing weight and getting your body into fabulous shape. You’ve been flicking through magazines and have decided you want to look like a reed-thin Victoria Beckham.

As a dietitian I want to shout, STOP! We all have the capacity to lose weight, but most people set their sights on a dream that is unrealistic and end up disappointed.

So, what is a realistic weight loss goal? One you can achieve and maintain long term?

Healthy is best

Every time we lose weight/fat, something sad occurs. The cell that once held that fat never leaves us. It simply lies dormant in our body waiting for the next time we relax the reins so it can restock some more fat back into that cell. Fact is, we can create new fat cells, but we never lose them.

Our body likes to be at a healthy weight. And when we’re at that point, we’re able to maintain our weight without too much difficulty. Our body is not happy being below a healthy weight or being ‘underweight’.

A ‘healthy weight’ is for most people is within the 20-25 BMI. This can be calculated by dividing your mass by your height squared. Working out a healthy weight for your height is often a really great place to start when setting a weight loss goal.

Also read: Calculate your BMI

A realistic goal

For those who have yo-yo’d regularly, another strategy involving your weight history may be more successful. Think of your highest body weight (e.g. 96kg) then your lowest body weight (e.g. 68kg). Work out the weight that is in the middle of these two figures (e.g. 82kg). Once you reach this mid point, you may wish to review your goal again.

Often reaching your healthy goal weight can be a daunting task, especially if you have a lot to lose. I always suggest that people approach their weight loss by setting smaller incremental goals of 5kg at a time. Each of these losses are certainly progressive steps in the right direction and deserving of a pause, reflection and pat on the back.

Also read: 16 Signs You May Be Overtraining

Steady weight loss of about 500g to 1kg each week is great. If you think you’re going to lose 20 kilos in a month, forget about it. Be smart about your goal by considering either your weight history or using a healthy BMI as a good starting guide.

Bottom line is this: your body likes to be healthy and it’s at a healthy body weight that you will be able to maintain long term. So start by setting a healthy goal. Good luck!

Our 12 Week Body Transformation will help you reach your goals, with weekly Meal and Exercise Plans, Shopping lists and more.  Or if you’re looking for a great time-saving option, Voome is the perfect source for great recipes and workouts.  Healthy living has never been easier.