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How To Figure Your Ideal Weight

How to figure your ideal weight

How To Figure Your Ideal Weight

Click on the image above to watch this video on my YouTube channel.

Spring is just around the corner and unfortunately for some of us so is bathing suit season.  If you find yourself wanting to shed a few pounds before hitting the beach you have probably thought about how much you’d like to lose and figure out what your ideal weight would be.  But how do you figure your ideal body weight? 

In about 75% of my initial meetings with clients I am asked “how much should I weigh?”

Should you figure out your ideal weight?

If you’ve taken my Willpower and Weight Loss course you know I am big on selecting goals in addition to how much you want to weigh.  We’ve been conditioned to focus on the scale and the number it bestows upon us.  It either makes or breaks our day.  It confirms that what we are doing is working OR it confirms that this is pointless and even when you eat alfalfa sprouts for dinner you still don’t lose weight.  OK, I am being a big dramatic but most of you know what a roller coaster ride daily weighing can be.

So, if you must set a goal weight I’m going to walk you through how to do it effectively.  But before I do I’d like you to think about some non-measurable goals you could set for yourself.  These are subjective.  Things like

Being more confident

Feeling comfortable in short sleeves

Having more energy

Being proud of the example you are setting for your children

Improved sleep 

More stamina

I’d also like you to consider other things that measurable and important to you.  Things like

Measurements of your stomach and hips

Lower cholesterol numbers

Decrease in medication dosage

Decrease in blood pressure or Hemoglobin A1C

Ability to run a 5K without walking

Fitting into a certain size of clothing

Make a list of these before you begin your weight loss and review them regularly.  Review them especially when the scale does not go down like you anticipated. 

You cannot let your weight be the only measure of success. 

Now let’s talk about the best way to pick a goal weight.  You are looking to find your lowest maintainable weight.  What’s that?

Lowest maintainable weight is the weight at which you can sustain by eating and exercising in a way that is comfortable for you and sustainable for life. 

Your lowest maintainable weight IS your ideal weight.

It will be highly individualized so don’t pay attention to any ht/wt charts or BMI recommendations.  BMI is something your doctor may talk to you about but it is a simple calculation that ONLY takes into consideration your height and your weight.  It does not take into account your age, sex, or % body fat.  So using the BMI a 6’4” 260# professional football player would be obese.  See why this is not a good indicator of what you should weigh?

How do you find your lowest maintainable weight?


Let me give you two examples. 

The first is for someone who wants to lose less than 10% of body weight.

Sue currently weighs 170# and would like to drop 12-15# she still has left from baby number 2. This is less than 10% of her body weight so I set a goal with Sue for 155#. When Sue achieves 155# we have the conversation to evaluate:

Me: Now that you can see what it took to lose the 15# and how you need to eat/exercise to maintain 155# do you feel like you can eat this way forever plus around 500 cal/day? Do you feel like you can exercise this way forever plus or minus one workout a week? If the answer is yes and yes Sue has achieved her lowest minimal weight. If either answer is no, we would adjust to what she feels IS sustainable and see how much weight she gains back. In most cases like this, it will only be around 5 lbs.  Sue sets her lowest maintainable weight at 160#.

The second example is for someone who wants to lose MORE than 10% of body weight.

Anika currently weighs 250# and would love to lose 90-100#. Instead of setting a goal of 150# we first set a more attainable goal of 10% of 250 or 25#. Anika’s goal is 225#. When Anika achieves 225# we have the following conversation:

ME: Now that you see what it takes to lose weight can you continue eating and exercising this way for another 25#? (Making sure that she is making lifestyle changes that are not drastic and unsustainable.) If her answers are yes and yes, we set another goal to lose another 25# down to 200#. Once she hits 200# we have the same conversation and if her answers and yes and yes we set a goal for 175#.

Anika loses to 188# and her weight loss stalls. This prompts another conversation. Anika is honest in that while she thought she could maintain the eating patterns she is finding it more difficult to cut out all the alcohol and occasional desserts. She doesn’t think she can continue with no alcohol or desserts for a lifetime. This is OK! Moderation in all foods is not a bad thing. We re-adjust Anika’s lowest maintainable weight to 188#.

If you are still not sure how to calculate figure your ideal weight and begin your weight loss transformation shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to help answer any question you may have.  You can reach me at

If you’d like to set up an appointment with me or one of our dietitians to begin your spring weight loss journey email me! We are here to support you and celebrate with you.

If you want to see my video accompanying this blog click here to go over to my YouTube channel. 

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How To Figure Your Ideal Weight Sherri Clarke Nutrition

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