Often in my practice, people coming to me for weight management will ask me what their target weight should be.  They tell me that google ‘advised’ them that they need to lose a third, or half, of their body weight, and feel very discouraged about ever getting there.


Search up ‘What is my target weight?’  and I’m sad to say, a table pops up, with ‘normal weight’ targets based on height.

Now, if you try a different search strategy, including ‘Canadian Obesity Guidelines’, you’ll see a very different set of answers.

If you search up ‘weight loss goal’ in our 2020 Canadian obesity guidelines, you’ll come up (purposely) empty handed.

If you search up ‘goal’ in our 2020 Canadian Obesity guidelines, you’ll see phrases like:

  • Agree on Goals: collaborate (between the person living with obesity and their health care provider) on a personalized, sustainable action plan (between the person living with obesity and their health care provider)
  • Goals that matter to the patient
  • …goals of therapy, focusing mainly on the value that the person
    derives from health-based interventions
  • set and sequence health goals that are realistic and achievable
  • … achievable behavioural goals and not on the amount of weight loss
  • realistic expectations, person-centred treatments and sustainable goals for behaviour change and health outcomes


So, the messages here are:

  • There is not a weight loss target.  The goal is to improve your health, not the numbers on the scale. 
  • Each person will have a ‘best weight’ – where you enjoy an improvement in your health, quality of life, and well being.
  • Every person has a different body size and shape, largely determined by genetics. (though weight and health can still be optimized within that genetic basis, with help from the Three Pillars of weight management treatment)
  • Set goals that are realistic and achievable, with changes or treatments that are sustainable over the long term.
  • Set goals that matter to you!


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