This is one of the most common questions I get in my practice. My answer may surprise you.
People come in all shapes and sizes and have different life journeys that bring them to my office.
If two of my patients come in with the same weight, height, age and gender, their treatment plan will still be different.
That’s because each person has his or her own biology, genetic influences, lifestyle behaviors, challenges and mindset.
I treat the patient, not just the number on the scale.
For all of my patients, I focus less on weight and more on their health and health habits.
When people answer the question for themselves, “What should I weigh?” they often choose a very low goal weight number from a life milestone such as high school graduation or when they got married.
But often these weight numbers are unrealistic given their current age, family history, health and lifestyle challenges.
Because of these variables, I really don’t give patients an ideal body weight number. I also don’t use the BMI (body mass index) table to help set weight loss goals because these tables are designed for populations and don’t address one’s individual needs.
Instead, I break up the process of losing weight into manageable steps. The first step is to help patients set a 5-10% weight loss goal.
Losing 5-10% of one’s body weight is realistic, achievable and has been shown to have many health benefits that include improved blood sugar and blood pressure, improvement in one’s lipid or blood fat profile and decreased risks of heart disease and stroke, to name just a few.
If you’re someone who weighs 180 pounds, losing 5-10% would equate to losing 9-18 pounds.
Once a patient is able to lose that weight, I re-evaluate his or her health, quality of life, diet and lifestyle behaviors and determine if he or she is able to set a new 5-10% weight loss goal.
Setting weight loss goals that are realistic, practical and achievable will set you up for success.
The goal is to achieve a weight that is comfortable to maintain and allows you to live an energetic life.
Modifying your lifestyle to lose weight is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor.
If you’re curious which lifestyle habits and behaviors are getting in the way of your long term success losing weight and keeping it off, take my 10-minute, scientifically-validated Six Factor Quiz and get your personalized results today!
Enjoy your health!
Robert Kushner, MD