Do you think you need to lose weight? When asked this question, most would say yes and even throw out a number – 10 pounds, 50 pounds, 100 pounds. Acknowledging the need to lose weight is an important first step to improving both health and fitness, but what is it based on –actual need, or appearances? Influenced by images in the media, many people get the wrong impression they need to weigh less even if they’re already at a healthy weight. Others get a goal weight in mind that just isn’t realistic for their age, sex, build and genetics. So what criteria should you use to determine what weight range is healthy for you and how much you actually need to lose? The following information will help you base your weight loss goals on facts rather than illusions.

Candidacy for Weight Loss


According to medical definitions of obesity and its associated health risks, these are the numbers that should indicate whether you’re a candidate for weight loss:


  • A waist-to-hip ratio higher than .8 for women and 1.0 for men
  • An abdominal girth over 35 inches for women and 40 for men
  • A body fat percentage over the recommended range for your age and sex
  • A BMI over 25 (with lean muscle mass taken into consideration)


Of course, these numbers aren’t written in stone because everyone is unique. For instance, the disclaimer about BMI is included since lean, muscular people might fall under ‘obese’ when they obviously aren’t. Body fat percentage (and where you carry it) will tell you the most about whether you need to lose weight.


Besides what you eat and how active you are, many other things can determine your present and ideal weight –genetics, build, age, and the condition of your health. Your weight can affect how well you sleep, how often you get sick, and how you feel, overall. If these numbers and other factors point out your need to lose weight (and roughly how much), here’s the best way to approach it.


Rate and Method of Weight Loss


Medical professionals recommend losing no more than one to two pounds a week, so use this to set your weight loss goals by making small, gradual changes to the quality (nutrition) and quantity (calories) of what you eat and the time you commit to working out in the fitness gym. Instead of cutting back drastically on calories, work out a little more. You’ll experience greater health benefits (building muscle, increasing your metabolism, warding off injuries, and improving your cardiovascular fitness, just to name a few!) while still giving your body the nutrients it needs to keep you healthy and strong.


Remember that weight is just a number. Once your “numbers” are within healthy ranges, focus on getting more active with fitness center workouts, fueling your body with nutritious food, and feeling better and better every day. Do this, and you’ll also start to like what you see in the mirror.