By Bob Greene for TheBestLife.com
You’re looking to drop some weight—but how much? What weight is right for your body? Use the five steps below to make sure the goal weight you have in mind is a healthy one.
Step One: Look at Your Family Tree.
Your weight is determined primarily by genetics. This doesn’t mean that you’re destined to follow in your parents’ or grandparents’ footsteps when it comes to weight, but it can give you an idea of what’s realistic for you. For instance, if your parents have always struggled with weight, you may not be able to get to the lower end of the BMI scale, but you can certainly get into the healthy category.
Step Two: Assess Your Habits.
Your choices and habits also affect your weight. Look at your lifestyle: What has been the lowest weight you’ve maintained as an adult? Have you had children? How active are you? These factors influence how low a weight you’ll be able to get down to now.
Step Three: Give Yourself a Commitment Check.
How much time and effort are you willing to put toward living a healthy lifestyle over the long haul? You may want to exercise an hour a day, but can you realistically maintain this in six months? A year? Longer? Whatever goal you set, ask yourself: Can I do this for the rest of my life? Is it realistic? You have to be invested in making healthy changes—otherwise, they won’t stick.
Step Four: Choose a Range, Not a Specific Number.
Weight fluctuates week to week, and even day to day, because of hormonal shifts, water retention and other factors. Trying to get down to a specific number can be both challenging and frustrating. Choose a five-pound or so range and as long as you’re in that zone, you should consider yourself a success.
Step Five: Give Yourself a Pat on the Back.
Dropping a pound here or there may seem insignificant when you’re trying to lose a large amount of weight. But take heart: Even a five to 10 percent drop can have a major impact on your health. It’s great to stay focused on your end goal, but make sure to celebrate the small victories along the way. And don’t forget to pay attention to those non-scale measures of success, too. These things will keep you going when you’re tempted to go off track.