You want to lose weight, but how do you pick a goal weight that’s right for you? Do you find a celebrity whose body you like and try to reach the same weight? Do you aim for a previous weight of your own? Is this a good way to set a weight loss goal?

geneticsThere’s nothing wrong with wanting to look as good as you can. We each have unique genes that determine our basic shape and how easy or hard it will be for us to reach and maintain our goal weight.

The more you know about your body type, the easier it is to set realistic goals and expectations for you. Genetics play a large role in determining your basic body type. Although there are almost as many body types as there are people, scientists have grouped them into three categories:

Ectomorphs are generally tall and thin. They have difficulty gaining weight and muscle no matter how much they eat or how hard they train, because their metabolisms are geared to burn calories rather than convert them into fat or muscle.

Mesomorphs are generally muscular and shorter. They are strong and gain muscle mass easily when they do strength training. They may find it difficult to lose weight, but they may not have that much excess fat even though their weight is higher than average for their height.

Endomorphs naturally carry more body fat even at their ideal weight. Their bodies may resist losing weight even when they limit calories; endomorphs don’t necessarily eat more, they just store more calories as fat.

While you’ll always have characteristics of a certain body type, everybody can lose weight and become more fit. What body-typesdiffers from person to person is the number of calories your body uses each day. For example, Ectomorphs burn more calories than everyone else just by sitting around, but it’s still important for Ectomorphs to make healthy food choices and exercise regularly for the health and fitness benefits; Mesomorphs, thanks to their extra muscle, have a fast metabolic rate that boosts their calorie burning during vigorous activity; and Endomorphs benefit from eating smaller, more frequent meals to minimize the opportunity to store extra calories as fat.

Very few individuals fall into one category, most of us have some characteristics of all three. The important thing to know is that losing weight is not going to change your basic body type or shape; you store a certain amount of fat between your skin and the muscles underneath, you aren’t going to see those six-pack abs no matter how many crunches you do. But your body type doesn’t doom you to chronic weight problems, either. When you focus on what you can change, you avoid the frustration that comes with unrealistic weight or appearance goals. Your body is unique to you, and so is your ideal weight.  And because it involves many factors, most weight loss programs will say your ideal body weight is more than a number on the scale. Again, the more you know about your body type, the easier it is to set realistic goals and expectations for your weight loss journey. Makes sense to me, what do you think?

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More on how genetics play a role : Somatotype and Constitutional Psychology, Body Types,  Body Types for Training,