Nationwide obesity levels are now a serious public health challenge. Most people living in Australia want to lose weight. Many people find setting a GOAL WEIGHT is important for motivation as well as surgery preparation.
But there’s a lot of confusion as to how to BEST set a goal weight that is:
- appropriate for your physique
A goal weight also needs to align with your fitness goals and your body’s natural proportions, some of which are genetic.
Why do goal weights vary so much from person to person – even if people are the same height?
Some people manage to overcome many years of living with obesity through significant changes to their lifestyles, hypo-thyroid management or Bariatric Surgeries such as gastric banding or gastric sleeve procedures.
But some people simply will never be a size 12 or 14.
It’s not just height and weight that are important when it comes to looking fit or healthy – it’s also your Body Mass Index (BMI).
Can you get away with a higher BMI and Goal Weight – and still look great? Yes, you can!
What’s best BMI, Goal Weight and Muscle Mass?
When you know you want to lose weight, how do you determine your GOAL weight?
Having an unrealistic goal weight (or unrealistic time frames for reaching it) isn’t great for your psyche and motivation levels. It pays to take things in steps and to keep positive, motivational reminders – and friends and family members – on your side.
Setting realistic time frames for reaching your Goal Weight – especially if you’re planning for body contouring, liposuction or skin-fold reduction surgery that requires you to be at a stable weight – is also important.
It’s best to have realistic time frames as you aim for your Goal Weight body prior to any Plastic Surgery for body contouring or excess skin reduction.
Realistic time frames are good to have and your nutritionist or Plastic Surgeon may have some tips to help you set your goals.
To lose weight in a healthy way, however, you only want to establish a goal weight that is exactly right for you.
Use a BMI calculator.
There’s an excellent BMI calculator on the Australian Heart Foundation’s website.
How To Calculate Your BMI and Goal Weight
Here are the steps to help you calculate your BMI:
- First, know your height in centimetres. For example, if you are 5’7”, you are 170.18 cm tall.
- Next, know your present weight in kilograms. For example, if you weigh 188 pounds, your weight is 85.275 kilograms.
- Next, go to the Heart Foundation website and set the scales for your height and weight.
- Then hit the Calculate Your BMI button.
- Scroll down a little on the page and you’ll see that in this example, the BMI would be 29.
- You’ll also notice that the site lets you know whether you are obese, overweight, healthy weight, or underweight.
If you experiment a little with the weight in kilograms on this chart, you’ll be able to find a healthy weight for yourself AND a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI).
Once you find a suitable BMI and weight range for your height, check with your GP or Specialist Surgeon to assess the suitability of this GOAL WEIGHT for your body and for your surgery or weight change goals.
And remind yourself that persistence pays off – it may take time, but if you move towards your goals you WILL get there.
When you’re losing weight, you don’t necessarily want to get back down to your weight as a teenager for your goal weight. For many people, this weight isn’t a healthy weight. As a teen, you may have had a higher fat percentage than what was considered healthy. It’s also possible that you were in great shape and had a very low fat percentage.
Muscle Mass Determines The BMI You Want
What’s important to consider is how much muscle mass you have. Muscle mass is called lean body weight.
Higher levels of muscle mass make your body look better. Muscles make your clothes fit better, and the clothes won’t hang on your body. Your posture will also be better, which always makes someone look slimmer and younger.
Weight-bearing, muscle-strengthening exercises supervised by a Physio or qualified personal trainer can help you reshape your body – increase your metabolism – and give you a firmer shape and better BMI.
Strength training is also good for your bone strength as well, but be sure you get your GP’s permission, professional exercise advice and ongoing monitoring before beginning any exercise program.
Another advantage of having greater muscle mass is that your skin will sometimes tighten up.
Adding muscle to your frame can both reshape your body and also fill in some of the areas where excess body fat was once stored.
Not all of your skin will tighten up, of course, and a lot of what happens to your skin will depends on how stretched your skin was, and for how long – as well as your skin’s collagen and elastin levels, which often vary with age. When skin does tighten up, however, this is a plus for people who have had Bariatric procedures such as Gastric Sleeve or Gastric Band Surgery.
Excess skin requires surgical excision and body contouring procedures
The excess skin that occurs after great amounts of weight loss over short periods of time will often need to be surgically removed.
But if you can increase your body muscle mass, the amount of excess skin you’ll need removed might be less. Tighter skin is worth a lot to post-weight loss patients, and a tighter body from firmer muscles is well worth the effort.
The Best Types of Workouts Before Your Bariatric Surgery
When you’re on your pre-bariatric surgery diet, check with your doctor to see if lifting weights is something that would benefit you. If you get approval from your GP to begin exercise, it may help to get started right away – but DO see a physio or a professional, well-qualified personal trainer to learn how to best shape your body and minimise the risk of exercise-related injuries.
There are many excellent workout programs available, and one of the easiest ones to do is called the Body-for-Life Program by Bill Phillips, or investigate the fat-to-muscle exercise programs of Dr Ellington Darden.
In Bill Phillips’ program example, you lift weights only three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. When you work out, your workouts are either for the upper body or the lower body, not both. Your time in the gym is 43 to 46 minutes, no more and no less.
On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, you do cardio activity – but only for 20 minutes. There’s an efficient way to do cardio activity and an inefficient way. This program uses the efficient way.
The advantage of this type of program is that your body starts burning more weight in a shorter time period. You can still get bariatric surgery to help you drop 25 to 50 kilograms, but you’ll actually be healthier – and often recovery faster – if you can increase your muscle mass before surgery. Plus, your BMI will likely improve as well.
One more thing to consider is that when you have a greater muscle mass, you can actually weigh a little more with a higher BMI – and still look great.
Calculate your target BMI and goal weight today and then know that you now have a plan of how to get there.
Your future is not bleak in any way; it’s full of adventure, discovery and fun things to learn and find what weight actually suits you and is attainable with the right supports in place.
If you’ve had (or are having) Bariatric Surgery such as gastric sleeve or gastric banding, and want advice on how to best reduce the excess folds of skin that often remain on the body after overcoming obesity, send an enquiry form today for Dr Patrick Briggs, Melbourne’s leading body contouring Specialist Plastic Surgeon for post-weight loss body contouring and body lift procedures (arm lift, thigh lift, abdominoplasty, belt lipectomy, breast lift, back fat reduction).