“How much weight should I lose?”



I’m often asked the question, how much weight should I lose? Talk about a loaded question! There are various ways to determine a healthy weight range and many factors that need to be taken into account including age, gender, and frame size. But before we dive into that, let’s take a step back. Numbers on a scale are only a small part of the big picture.

Being able to respect your body and your health through healthy lifestyle behaviors allows you to be the person you want to be and to accomplish what is important to you. Healthy behaviors, such as eating well-balanced meals and moving regularly, can be adapted at any size and can allow you to be invigorated and refreshed with feelings of satisfaction, happiness, and fulfillment. So as I proceed to answer this question, please keep that in mind.

From a public health perspective, Body Mass Index (BMI) and Waist Circumference (WC) are often utilized to classifying overweight and obesity and estimate risk for disease. BMI is dependent upon height and weight, and a normal BMI range is classified as 18.5-24.9 kg/m². To calculate your BMI, visit this site. For WC, recommendations include maintaining a WC <40 inches (102 cm) for men and <35 inches (88cm) for women. To correctly measure WC, stand and place a tape measure around your middle, just above your hipbones. Measure your waist just after exhaling. Both BMI and WC can help guide you when determining the amount of weight you would need to lose to attain a healthy weight.

While BMI and WC can be helpful in assessing disease risk and weight status, please know that there are limitations to these measurements.  BMI specifically may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build as well as in those with swelling (edema). It may also underestimate body fat in older persons and others who have lost muscle mass.

Another way of determining a healthy body weight is through a body composition analysis, which measures the proportion of the various components of a person’s body.  The human body is made up of two major components: fat mass and fat-free mass (muscle, bone, water). Body composition analyses determine the distribution and amount of these components contributing to total body weight.  One of the great benefits of being a Member at a Medifast Weight Control Centers includes periodic body composition analyses. As you get closer to a healthy weight, you’ll see a positive change in your body composition.

Despite the various ways of determining a healthy weight, keep the big picture in mind. Shift your focus from the number of pounds you want to lose to the actual behavior changes you are willing to make. Focus on the process rather than the outcome. And take joy in what you can do to take care of your body! Just a 7% decrease in body weight can reduce your health risks by as much as 60%* (click link for source).

So ask yourself—what you are willing to do right now to be a healthier and happier person? Tell us in the comments!

Alexandra Miller, RDN, LDN

Author: Alexandra Miller, RDN, LDN

Alexandra Miller, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Medifast, spends much of her day supporting customers at every phase of their weight-loss journey. She also writes and reviews program materials and co-chairs the Medifast Wellness Committee. Alexandra enjoys cooking and trying new recipes and loves checking out the recipes on the Medifast recipe website. As you’d expect from an RDN, she loves physical activity and eating the rainbow!

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