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Should I quit trying to lose weight?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I honestly want some help thinking this through. My weight was up slightly this morning--I expected it, as I had a couple of lovely feasts with friends this week. I have just 10 minutes to go to make my exercise goal for this week, though, & I have not been overindulging in sweets. So it's not that I've been slacking.

The thing is, my BMI is 22.8. A lot of people would be THRILLED to be maintaining at that level. My desire to lose weight is not connected to health but to vanity--I would look better with a bit less pudge around the middle (though I'm a pear) & upper arms (I inherited my mom's tendency to store fat there). But I'm not sure how important that is in the grand scheme of things.

Though my weight is up a pound from last week, this week has been an especially happy one. Tuesday night I heard Diana Krall at Ravinia--a friend had offered me a ticket, & her family provided all the food & wine. It's rare that someone treats me to music & food; I'm usually the one organizing social occasions, or at least I contribute. So I felt really nurtured, & the music was heavenly.

Then last night I made a Colombian feast for a few African American friends with whom I'm planning a trip to Colombia--a really creative venture focused on advocacy for Afro-Colombians. I spent hours on the meal, making a couple of neighborhood forays to get all the food items & then cooking everything except the dessert from scratch. So this was the converse of the Ravinia night: I took great pleasure in giving wonderful food to my friends. They all recognized it as something special--they even came dressed up, though I hadn't said "this is a dress-up occasion." The three women guests wore dresses! I felt so honored by that.

One couple brought a container of artisanal cheesecake in four different flavors. I had already gotten flan at a Latin grocery. No way, though, was I going to say no to my friends' offering. Most of us had a half-slice of cheesecake & a half-slice of flan.

So what I'm thinking is, as long as I'm exercising at least 150 minutes a week--changing it up & increasing intensity periodically so that my fitness continues to improve--& basically maintaining my weight, eating nutritious food, & indulging in sweets only on social occasions, maybe that's enough. I really, really value occasional feasts with friends & loved ones, & I want to have space for them in my life without feeling that I'm betraying my fitness/weight goals. It would be quite different if weight loss were a health issue for me.

What do you think, Sparkfriends?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    What about Strength Training, are you doing any?
    2064 days ago
    I think sometimes losing weight is a bit about both health & appearance. So get yourself down, you did have good times with friends whom can almost by the tone of the blog be considered family. I can't wait til next weekend either it will fun.

    God bless,

    2064 days ago

    Be mindful but don't obsess.
    Be healthy but not fanatical.
    Be active but relax as well.
    Be happy, healthy and enjoy life.
    2064 days ago
    I think you should focus on being happy and healthy and it sounds like you do this regularly, by surrounding yourself with wonderful people, music, books, etc and sometimes the wonderful food that goes along with it. Since I would love to be in your weight range but I can understand your feelings of just wanting to look a little better - I think you shouldn't focus on weight but rather toning and inches. Stick to your plan of getting your fitness in and eating well besides your few, planned indulgences, and you will do really well. Check in with the scale just to make sure things aren't getting out of hand. Maybe add in some more ST or circuit training workouts that will help cut the fat in the areas you want and take your measurements regularly. You are in a really good place, Ruth!
    2064 days ago
    Ruth, I think your attitude rocks whether you're trying to lose weight or not. I see serenity, happiness and peace with what you eat and how you eat and how those line up with your values. I think you could quit trying to lose weight and easily maintain or maybe even lose without trying because you already are focused on taking care of yourself and your body.
    2064 days ago
  • BOB240
    OK.. some experience in this... When I was younger I was a good athlete.. by the time I was 40 I hit 260 pounds (I'm male 6 foot 1) I then lost weight and at 41 I was ok
    at 42 I was ok ( I maintained)
    at 43I was ok ( I maintained)
    at 44 I was was getting fatter but didn't notice
    at 46 I was fat again.

    At 50 I was still fat. 7 Months later I am ok again (see my blog)

    Lesson.Weight is a useless indicator at maintenance because it doesn't change.

    I don't need to track food anymore because I know how much everything is worth but I need another indicator.Recent research shows that as you get older you have to continually increase the intensity of exercise (higher weights. faster runs).

    150 minutes a week is good but are you getting stronger (lifting heavier weights?) and faster (what is your vo2 max?).For me, my future is about keeping an eye on these things.They are tangible numbers and goals.I am not intending getting to the next olympics - but I am intending increasing these things by 5% a year. You are successful because you hit goals and targets. The danger is that without them and without "pressure to improve" the only direction is down :(

    Finally. Do a google on "maintain weight after a diet" - depressing reading. 19/20 people put weight back on . The plan to maintain, in my view, has to be as aggressive as the one for weight loss..

    2064 days ago
    Yeah, I have been wondering kind of the same....

    Exercising regularly, healthy BMI, eating healthy foods, enjoying life. Why are we so focused on weight?

    My weight is 5 pounds above my goal weight right my goal of losing those pounds is more about a number (I think I'm fitter now than I was last summer--I can run longer, farther, I have more muscle tone, am stronger) and vanity. Want to lose weight in my middle even those I'm an apple and that is where I hold on to weight, pudge.

    I think as long as we don't slack off (thinking "I can now slack off since I'm not trying to lose weight...") and continue to work on strength training, cardio, pursue fitness goals with the same commitment, continue to eat healthy and have sweets only on occasion, continue to track on SP, then the focus is on health and not so much on weight...

    I would say keep working on your fitness and tracking food, staying in calorie range. Say to yourself, I am going to pursue a healthy lifestyle and if I lose more, great, if I get more toned, fantastic, but if not, I'm healthy, strong, and fit and I'm ok with that. I think that is what I'm going to do, too.
    2065 days ago
    I would keep tracking things (150 minutes of exercise is great!), but I don't focus on weight. My weight is up since I joined SP. I have more muscle and I'm now at a healthy 19 with my BMI. I also have love handles and a big ol' butt for someone my size. I remember not having pudge and I was really skinny at the time -- 95 pounds! I miss not seeing fat when I slump in a chair, but I eat better now, I enjoy myself more and I can actually do more.

    Maybe try it for a few months and see where you end up? I feel like weight loss is only half of the goal, really, but it's the easiest to quantify.
    2065 days ago
    this may be bad advise but even if ur bmi was in the high range id tell u to just b happy we all die weather of health or freak accident so if u dont wanna stop your meals with friends dont you have to want it to succeed at it the guilt only sets u back so keep trucking forward
    2065 days ago
  • SHARON2018
    When my BMI is within the "normal" range, then my plan is to maintain within a range of no more than 3 pounds over. My goal then will be to tone up my muscles. I would continue my exercise program, eat reasonably and weigh in once a week. If my weight starts to creep up, I would evaluate my eating and exercise and go from there.

    I don't know your specific situation, but it sounds like you are doing great. It just may be that you may never lose the "pudge", I know because I have lost 30# and still need 25 to go to get to a normal BMI. However, my waist and midriff have not budged!! I have no butt and my pants size is a 12, and my tops are still XL.

    At some point maybe we need to do the best we can - be healthy AND happy and relax about what we cannot change.

    I'll be interested to see what others think...
    2065 days ago
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