Choosing Your Perfect Weight Goal

Great information and advice about deciding on your final number.

Ready to set your goal weight? The process can be both overwhelming and confusing. Our pros give their advice on finding that magic number.

First, let's discuss the process for goal setting. When you first join Weight Watchers, you're encouraged simply to focus on losing an initial 10 percent of your starting weight. This mini goal helps reduce the anxiety you might feel when thinking about the total amount of weight you'd like to lose. Once you hit your 10-percent target, you are encouraged to set another interim weight goal or your ultimate one. The problem that many members face is that they really don't know how to hone in on that perfect final number.

Perhaps it has been several years since you've been there, perhaps never. Here's a refresher: Your ultimate weight goal must be at least five pounds less than your joining weight, and should fall within the Weight Watchers healthy weight ranges. The goal may fall outside the weight ranges if accompanied by a note from a healthcare professional recommending that weight.

Start with these numbers for an idea of a healthy range of weight to focus on. These weights are based on the healthy BMI range and the number spans about 20 pounds from the low end to the high end of that bracket. To find the perfect weight for you in that range, ask yourself some questions first.

Questions to think about when setting your ultimate weight goal.
Within that healthy range for your height and age, what is a smaller, five-pound range that might be a comfortable initial target for you?
Is there a number that you have weighed before that felt comfortable on your frame? A number at which you felt your best within the last five years?
Has it been more than 10 years since you had a weight goal? If so, you may want to revisit your goal and adjust it to account for subtle changes in your body as you've aged.
If you're near the end of your weight loss, has the pace of your loss slowed down? Are you struggling with every tenth of a pound? This can be an indicator that your body has found a comfortable, healthy stopping point. Be careful not to push past a healthy weight to a weight that will be difficult to maintain.
As you near goal, can you still enjoy your life? Are you able to dine out and enjoy the way you are eating, or are you restricting everything and denying yourself realistic indulgences?
When you find a goal you can maintain in a realistic fashion, ask yourself if you'd be happy at this number in 10 years. Choosing a realistic, maintainable goal helps ensure that you will be there 10 years from now!

As you approach those last 10 pounds, set small goals to lose two pounds at a time. As you get closer to your goal, each pound becomes more dramatic and you may find that you are comfortable weighing a few pounds more than you originally thought.

If you are attending meetings, your Leader can be a valuable resource. Many of us have a general range we would like to end within, but little to no idea of where to finally settle. Don't want to talk to your Leader? Ask the Community for some feedback.

Remember that you can change your weight goal at any time. It's not a permanent commitment. Be sure to listen to you body and mind as you work to discover, establish and maintain your goal.

Success Stories and Leaders Weight Goal Advice
Yako had less weight to lose, but reached her goal in the meeting rooms. "You need to set a goal, but it doesn't have to be one number. If you are a Lifetime member you are aware that your body does not have only one weight. That is why Weight Watchers has a two-pound range for your goal weight. So, don't sweat the number, relax and just get to a good place for you.

"I like to tell members that you do not wear a sign with your weight stated on it. Others see you; your body, your disposition, your energy. Not a sign that says: My goal weight is 122 pounds, but I weigh 124 right now."
Vincent lost over 100 pounds in Weight Watchers meetings. "When I first joined, I didn't even have a goal weight in mind. I will never forget when I looked up my height—5'10"—and the healthy weight range recommended I be under 174 pounds! I hadn't been that weight since I was 10 years old. So here I was, joining on my first day, and I already was telling myself I couldn't do it. This was one of my biggest challenges—to believe in myself. I started to believe only after I hit my 10-percent target.

"I spent some time at 174 pounds, but then I asked my Leader for help as I wasn't convinced I had found my ultimate goal. She asked me to examine how I felt at that weight. I had never even thought about it—I was just happy to be there. After several months, I realized I wanted to lose a bit more and settled on a final weight. The only person who can make that decision is you! Listen carefully to your own inner voice."
More Factors to Consider
From Stephanie Schoemer, MS, RD, Program Development Manager for Weight Watchers
  • Weight gain is common as we age because our metabolism gradually slows down. This is mostly due to a decline in lean muscle mass and an increase in body fat. People also tend to get less physical activity as the years go by. So, what this means is that the average 50-year-old woman needs about 300 to 500 fewer calories per day than she did in her twenties to maintain the same body weight. For those who gain weight while aging, the reason isn't necessarily eating more, but rather eating the same while needing fewer calories.
  • In terms of changing your weight goal when you age, focus on finding a weight where you have a moderate level of control over your eating, are consistently being physically active, but are not feeling like you are following a plan that is so rigid that it's difficult to stick with. If that's the case, you need to re-evaluate your goal.
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