Monday, August 06, 2012
I am entering an interesting period of my weight loss: seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I bought a bunch of new clothes (thank you, Sierra Trading Post!) in size medium for tops and size 10 for bottoms. I figured that was my goal size, so I should take advantage of the end-of-season sales, even though I'm still 15 pounds over my goal weight.
Well, interestingly enough, the tops fit NOW and the pants are close to fitting. So, what does that mean? Am I at my goal weight? No, but I can't figure out exactly what it is. I spent the morning obsessing about it, doing body fat calculators, happy weight calculators, ideal weight calculators, and of course returning to my old friend the BMI chart. Where does this leave me?
I'm 39 and 5'3", with a medium build. Even though I always felt overweight, technically I wasn't while I was young: in high school I weighed 128 and in college (and before I started having kids) I weighed 138. My BMI range is 104-140 (I was 141.5 this morning--can't wait to get into the healthy range!). The midpoint of my BMI range is 122, and the 75% point is 131. An even 70 pounds down would put me at 126.5.
I got down to 118 in my 20s and felt too skinny. It only lasted about 5 minutes, because I started having kids, and that made my weight balloon--I was 208 after my 2nd daughter. I got down to 125 in my early 30s and felt great, but I got pregnant again right away and went up to the upper 180s. I got down to 140 in my mid-30s but wasn't satisfied, threw in the towel and went up to 197, which is where I was when I started losing weight this final time. You can see that choosing the right goal weight looms large for me psychologically. I don't want to be "thin"--I like being bit curvy. But I also don't want to have worked this hard to be chubby. I just want to look fit and athletic.
I'm worried that I'll pick a number that's too ambitious and not be able to stay there and then sabotage myself, feeling like I've failed. I'm worried then that I won't push myself, picking a comfortably high number and feel like it doesn't matter anyway because it's impossible for me to be an attractive weight--and then I'll just gain it back.
Before you think that I'm obsessing too much about just one number, I realize that weight doesn't tell the whole story--how your clothes fit, how you feel, etc. is also important. I also know that the ideal should be a range, not just a number, because water weight fluctuations, etc. will cause daily changes.
But after reading Refuse to Regain I am convinced that my previous yo-yos were due to having no intentional plan for maintenance. I just got down to my goal and thought the work was over. Now I realize that I need to put as much or more effort into maintaining, and that means becoming a warrior--no excuses, no moderation, constant monitoring, and immediate correction. That also means I need accountability, and the number on the scale, while it's not everything, is a good fail-safe indicator.
In Refuse to Regain, Dr. Berkeley talks about how important it is to have a "scream weight"--a number at which you go back to your diet plan immediately. She also suggests that psychologically it's helpful to have that be a number that ends in 0. That's why I was thinking that 130 would be my scream weight, which would make my range 126-130. That means that I'd want to get down to 126 in order to start off on the right foot.
But today I started realizing that I have all these clothes that will fit me in the low 130s, and maybe I should be satisfied with that, especially at age 39. On the other hand, I don't want to cheat myself and not get to where I want to be and feel a nagging sense that I didn't quite succeed. Also, that would mean a "scream weight" of 135 or 138, and that feels uncomfortably high to me.
Ugh--maybe I'm not going to be able to figure this out until I get down lower and can see how my pants fit and how I feel and how hungry I am. But I'd kind of like to get it settled in advance (at least in my mind) so that I can be logical about it and hold myself to a standard that I've figured out makes sense.