New Keto Term: "Phinney" Weight

(G. Andrew Duthie) #1

In honor of one of the luminaries of the Ketogenic world, Dr. Stephen Phinney :phinney: and his quote that @richard has shared a few times, I propose a new term for the Keto community…the “Phinney” weight.

Your “Phinney” weight is “the weight you can get to without too much of a struggle, and where you get there still have a life.” Per the full quote:

“I never tell anyone who asks me what they should weigh. 'Cos I don’t know. If you want my secret to the right goal - It’s the weight you can get to without too much of a struggle, and where you get there still have a life. And you have to find that out for yourself.”

Every one of us will have our own “Phinney” weight, and part of the adventure that is Keto is finding out what it is.

Who’s with me?

Why do some long-term ketoers still have excess body fat?
Stop losing weight
Staying at goal weight on keto
Losing weight at a (comparatively?) lower weight?
Protein-rich Diet (Liver Shrinking Diet) vs PSMF
Need advice/guidance/motivation
In ketosis, low calories as well but stuck
Almost to my goal
Dumb question of the day
Reliable app or best way to determine Macros
Struggling to lose weight!
(Siobhan) #2

Rolls off the tongue perfectly. Agreed!

(8 year Ketogenic Veteran) #3

I think I’m there.
I love you Dr. Phinney.



(Richard Morris) #4

OK That’s a thing now


I like.

(Kylie Woodruff) #6

Liked! Very much!

(Dustin Cade) #7

The Phinney weight is obtainable!

(Luke Jeffery) #8

Perfect. Better than saying I’ve been stalled for 6 months.

(Barbara Greenwood) #9

Yay!!! I am still searching for my Phinney weight. I am:

58lb down on when I went keto

83lb down on my all-time high

36lb above the weight I was in my mid-teens when I started dieting low fat, high carb, high fibre. Yeah, that worked well…

(Dave) #10

Most people want to be that little bit leaner or look like someone else but maybe we should just be satisfied with being at our Phinney weight

(Richard Morris) #11

The actual quote is here

(jketoscribe) #12

Love this!


The terms “without too much of a struggle” and “still have a life” have loopholes big enough to drive trucks through. People will find reasons to resist even the most benign of lifestyle adjustments.

(Jessica) #14

True, as if it wouldn’t have been a struggle to even start a weight loss journey.

“without too much of a struggle” - to me - refers only to maintenance mode. But this could turn out to be the romantic term for “get comfortable with whatever strategy got you there, because you’ll have to stick to it”.

(G. Andrew Duthie) #15

Just as people (sometimes the same people, sometimes not) will find reasons to beat themselves up unnecessarily when they are unable to reach what may be an unrealistic goal weight.

The point of keto isn’t to eliminate all loopholes. It’s to meet whatever personal goals one is bringing to the table, whether that be weight loss, reversing T2D, preventing cancer, etc.

I don’t see that Phinney’s statement gives people permission to “resist benign…lifestyle adjustments” if someone has gotten to a weight they’re able to achieve and maintain, that usually means they’ve already made adjustments. IMO, Phinney is correctly pointing out that going to the point of feeling defeated, which often leads to giving up entirely, is objectively worse than getting to a point where you’re healthier than you were, and being OK with being there, even if it isn’t where you might wish to be.

And FWIW, a “Phinney” weight isn’t necessarily set in stone. It’s a point-in-time measurement. :slight_smile:


I do get that, but to me it strays too close to HAES territory. Moves the goalposts of what is healthy. Ya, a 400lb person who loses down to 375 is healthIER, but they’re still not healthY.

(Barbara Greenwood) #17

Healthy’s not black and white, though, is it?

Some years ago I researched bariatric surgery. I discovered that the success of surgery was assessed by the proportion of patients who achieve at least 50% of EWL - excess weight lost. Excess weight is defined as anything above a BMI of 25.

So if someone starts with a BMI of 45 and gets to just under 35, that is considered a successful outcome.

My highest ever BMI was over 48 and it’s currently 35.2. I would love to get it lower, of course. But, do you know what? If I can keep it where it is now without starving myself, while actually living and enjoying my life, that’ll do. I’m so much healthier now.

(eat more) #18

i don’t think it is loopholes as much as it’s “don’t beat yourself up and make yourself miserable on the journey”…

“without too much of a struggle” doesn’t say “without doing anything towards your goal just because it is hard and different”

to me “still have a life” just means incorporate the changes into your life but don’t make your life all about the changes…like don’t skip your child’s soccer game because there is a pizza party after…just don’t eat the pizza

i don’t think anyone in this situation that is actually making an effort towards health would reasonably say “oh this is the weight my body wants…i can stop here”

“setpoints” change and i think we mistakenly call them “stalls” rather than adjustments…it isn’t 400lbs one day and goal the next.

i think he is also reaffirming that he can’t “prescribe” what is right for others or what their goal should be since everyone is different and has to find what works best for themselves (unlike BMI charts that pigeon-hole ppl into success/failure based on a number that has very little to do with their actual body)


I’m on my way to Phinney weight! It’s a pleasant journey :blush:
Love the term!!


I’ve passed my “Phinney Weight”. I’m now on my way to my “Fung Weight”.