How to Set Realistic Short, Medium & Long Term Weight Loss Goals

In today’s brief and to the point article, I will share with you how you can set effective weight loss goals for the short, medium and long-term.

One of the most common questions that I encounter in my practice is in regards to how much weight people should expect to lose and by when.

I often have to remind people that weight loss is a long term endeavour and should always be approached with that in mind.

So, here is what I suggest when it comes to goal setting for significant weight loss endeavours.


  1. Start by.. Aiming for a weight loss of 1 to 2 lbs a week. Weight loss at this rate is considered healthy and sustainable and reflects gradual changes to your diet. If you are losing much less ( you may not have mad sufficient dietary changes) or much more ( you may have made drastic/unsustainable and potentially unsafe changes) you may need to reconsider your approach.


  1. Then aim for… A weight loss of 5-10% of your starting body weight. One of the biggest issues with carrying excess weight (especially around your waist) is that it puts you at greater risk of chronic disease and negative health outcomes.  The good news , however, is that a total weight loss of 5-10% of your current weight is enough to help lower your risk.


  1. Ultimately you want to be at.. A body mass index (BMI) of <25. This will put you at the lowest possible risk for negative health outcomes, but may take some time to achieve, depending on your current weight. What is BMI you ask? It is a calculation that helps measure the suitability of your weight for your height.  It isn’t perfect, but it does work for most people. You can calculate your BMI here.


There you have it folks, this is my quick guide on how to set meaningful and effective weight loss goals from start to finish. I hope it helps provide some direction to your weight loss initiative and I wish you the best of luck in all of your food and nutrition endeavours.

Andy De Santis RD MPH