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Will I Ever Reach My Goal Weight?

Posting Date: 09/05/2000

Q: I tested my body fat with your online calculator. I wasn't too surprised with a result of 38 percent. I'm 5'3" and 185 lbs. That means I have 114.7 pounds of lean body mass and 70.3 pounds of fat. Even at 25 percent fat, I'll weigh over 147 pounds! Am I making a mistake in math here?

The trainer at my gym said it would take years for me to get down to 25 percent with a sensible diet and exercise program and for me to settle for 30 percent. I wanted to cry! Am I asking the impossible to want my total weight to be between 120 and 125 lbs?

A: We've found that if a person is on a low-fat, moderate calorie diet and exercises 30 minutes a day, then she'll lose fat at the rate of half a percent per month. That isn't a straight-line graph, however. The fatter you are the more quickly it drops.

So, at first, you may lose one percent a month and, as you get closer to your goal, it may drop to only half a percent every other month. But figure on an average of half a percent per month. That means that it should take you approximately 16 months to drop from 38 percent to 30 percent and about five months more to get down to 25 percent (maybe more because you'll be closer to your goal).

You could lose it faster by going on some bizarre diet but, if you've read our books, you know that you're just setting yourself up to gaining it back, plus more. So don't try that route!

As far as your numbers go -- you're doing the math right. But remember, at 147 pounds you will have a lot of lean. So, you can get away with weighing more. Don't focus too much on weight. But instead focus on health and percent body fat. Good luck!

Test your body fat