Rethinking Weight Goals

In my practice, patients often have high hopes of losing a large amount of weight in a short period of time.

I tell them that it’s important to have realistic expectations about what is practical and achievable; otherwise, they will be disappointed.

I also discuss the importance of putting weight into the context of overall health as weight is only one parameter.

If you’re trying to better manage weight and feel discouraged by your lofty weight goals, here are some tips I hope you find helpful;

1-Set a 5-10% Weight Goal

I help patients break up the process of losing weight into manageable steps; the first step being to 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 patients are able to lose that weight, I re-evaluate their health, quality of life, diet and lifestyle behaviors and determine if they’re able to set another 5% weight loss goal.

Setting weight loss goals that are realistic, practical and achievable will set you up for success.

2-Focus More on Health, not Weight

Body weight and shape are only one component of how we define one’s health – and these become even less important with age.

Other non-scale victories my patients enjoy are being able to keep up with their grandchildren, being able to participate in fun new activities such as dance or hiking, feeling better about ourselves, seeing improvements in medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure and being able to get off of or decrease use of medications that treat those conditions.

Appreciating a range of improvements in your health will allow you to enjoy life and fixate less on the numbers on the scale.

If you find yourself veering away from your healthy lifestyle behaviors, this can also be a good time to retake my Six Factor Quiz online or in my book, Six Factors to Fit: Weight Loss that Works for You! to assess if new factors have reemerged.

This will help you to re-focus your efforts on improving your self-care and taking back control of your health.


Robert Kushner, MD

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