How to Establish a Reasonable Goal Weight

When you see your results on Induction, it's time to reevaluate your expectations.

After two weeks on Induction, you've probably seen some pretty dramatic changes in your body and are likely feeling euphoric as it begins to dawn on you that it's within your power to achieve a new you. You are probably now catching glimpses of that new person on the horizon - if not in your own mirror. That new you is thinner, happier, healthier and more confident.

Now it's time for you to take a serious look at your body and decide what you want to do with it and how you want it to look. Be realistic. In all probability, you don't expect to be an Olympic athlete or a fashion model. On the other hand, you may be selling yourself short by setting goals that are too modest. Are you willing to accept yourself as pleasingly plump? Frankly, you should probably set your sights higher than that. How about a weight target based on your height, age and bone structure? How about excellent health and vigor that's surprising for someone your age? That's not being overly ambitious, that's being truly realistic.

What Is Your Goal Weight?

Ask yourself when in your life did you look and feel your very best? How much did you weigh then? Can you comfortably weigh that again? What size did you wear then? Don't skip over these questions. You're the greatest expert on your body. Whatever that wonderful weight - and size - was, you can almost certainly reach it again. Was it 120? 140? 170?

Most people have a pretty good sense of that number. They held that weight for a good part of their lives and found that they put on pounds only after specific events, such as getting married, having kids, quitting cigarettes, starting or stopping medication or experiencing certain hormonal changes. Why not go for it?

On the other hand, is that "perfect" weight unrealistic now that you're a couple of decades older? Menopausal women particularly often have a hard time staying as slim as they once were. So perhaps a more realistic approach is to ask what is the weight you would be comfortable with today. The trick is to come up with a figure that is attainable without setting yourself up for disappointment.

If you don't recall ever being a weight you were happy with, the Body Mass Index (BMI) chart should give you a ballpark figure to aim for. Be aware that the BMI is just a guideline: If you are very muscular, for example, your BMI will often come out too high. You'll see that the BMI chart gives you numbers at the top. By checking your height and weight below and running your finger up the column to where the BMI figures are, you will find your BMI number. Based on these figures, the federal government has announced guidelines that create a new definition of a healthy weight - a BMI of up to 24.9. A BMI of 25 or above is considered overweight. If your BMI is 26 or 27, you are approximately 20 percent overweight. Individuals who fall within the BMI range of 25 to 34.9, and have a waist size of more than 40 inches for men more than 35 inches for women, are considered to be at especially high health risk.

For most people, this chart is helpful as a general guideline (ranges that are considered the norm), but this can't be emphasized too strongly: The best weight for you is the one at which you feel comfortable and attractive and can enjoy your life. It also needs to be a weight you can maintain.

Say your best friend and you are the same height and generally the same build, but she wants to be rail thin, while you are comfortable with 10 pounds more on your frame. If it feels good to you, that's what counts. Remember, too, that if you are physically active and have a low BMI, you can weigh more than your sister, who thinks lifting a pencil is exercise.

This isn't climbing Mount Everest; you can reach your goal weight. If you're metabolically similar to the tens of thousands others who have achieved goal weight by following the Atkins Nutritional Approach, you have an excellent chance of succeeding.