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Ideal Weight Not the Best Weight Loss Goal

Aiming for an ideal weight might seem like the best weight loss goal. After all, why follow a weight loss program unless your goal is to achieve your ideal weight?

Unfortunately, attaining your ideal weight may be completely unrealistic, in which case it's a poor weight loss goal. Indeed chasing your perfect weight may end increased weight gain, rather than successful weight loss.

Ideal Weight and Weight Loss

The body's physiological responses to decreased food intake serve to limit weight loss; it is unusual to return to the ideal weight with dieting, unless the patient is particularly determined and focused.

Repeated failure to achieve ideal weight may increase the patient's sense of failure and further reduce self esteem.

This partly explains why research shows that most patients are unable to continue losing weight for longer than 12-16 weeks, with a 4-8 kg loss tending to be the maximum achieved.

Small Weight Loss Can Be More Beneficial

But there is no reason for you to be depressed by these diet facts. Even small losses of weight will have health and other benefits:

Substantial reductions in mortality associated with obesity can accrue from modest weight losses such as 5kg in one year. Long-term health depends on limiting weight gain over a number of years, not on getting rid of excess weight quickly only to regain it again.

Remember, too rapid weight loss is a risk factor for gallstones and typically leads to excess skin and possible under-nutrition. Fast weight loss is also associated with weight rebound.

Your Weight Loss Priority

The priority in obesity management, therefore, is on weight maintenance and modest weight loss rather than a return to ideal weight. A routine weight management programme will look something like this:

Plan a specific, achievable weight loss goal.

Plan a 12-week weight loss and exercise program.

Plan a further 12-week weight-maintenance program.

If necessary, after you have achieved this weight loss and maintained it for 12 weeks, consider a further weight loss program.


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