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I Have a Question for Everyone...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Something that I have been thinking over and over in my head since I read it and it has really made me think and I thought I would pose the question to everyone else....

First off, most people know that I am not a regular follower of the traditional diet paradigm, in fact, I pretty much rebel against it. I know what dieting does and how it affects the body negatively. I know that eating 1200 calories (or even sometimes less) is not a sustainable and healthy way to maintain the body. It will force it into starvation mode, wreak havoc on metabolic functions and a whole host of other problems. I eat food. I eat lots of food. I eat food to regulate my body. I eat sometimes at 10pm if my stomach is growling. I have pretty much told the diet rules to eff off. I work out, too. Hard. Daily, six times a week and give my body a day to rest. It is no secret that I loooooove to workout. Okay, I digress, I am getting off topic, I will divert myself back.... I started following Amber Rogers and her Go Kaleo blog earlier this year. It spoke to me, the things she said. I admire her for what she does and the message she preaches. She is about as common sense as one can be with regards to fitness and nutrition, because I mean, let's face it, the industry is about as backward and screwed up as it can get. It is something that feeds on the insecurities and feelings of inadequacy of people who struggle. I read one of her blogs that she posted the other day about calling for a new paradigm gokaleo.com/2012/03/27/i
and at the end of her blog she posted something that has made me think over and over again, "healthy is the new skinny...". So here is my question to everyone:

If health was your ultimate goal, your end all be all goal, how would things change for you? If there were no numbers tied into your goal either a weight goal or a jeans size goal or a body fat % goal, how would it be different? How would you view things differently?

I have thought about this over and over and over in my head since I read it. It is kind of an abstract thought to consider being that we tie our goals into something that is tangible, we can see it, we KNOW when we reach it when we see that number. Seeking health, maybe not so much so.

I have kind of come up with the answer for myself and it has thrown me a bit. If healthy was MY ultimate goal, the thing that I was striving for over a number on the scale and a pants size, I WOULD BE AT GOAL right now. As I sit and type this, i would be sitting here at my goal. I have been striving for a particular number on the scale, I will admit it. It isn't a far out of reach number, at least I don't think it is. It is the number I had when I found out I was expecting. It was the number I maintained for four years after losing weight from my previous pregnancy. However, seeking this number has not been easy. Not at all. In fact these last two years has resulted in a lot of frustration. Chasing numbers.

I have felt that frustration starting to subside around the time I discovered Go Kaleo and her new paradigm. I am starting to see that this is all about more than just chasing numbers. When I signed up for the BLC and started the challenge six weeks ago, I had my goal in sight, I knew what I wanted, how I was going to get it and what I was going to do to get it. I was working back into a somewhat more restrictive mode (although my restrictive mode would probably be what most would consider a cheat day emoticon ) on a low day eating about 1800 calories. I have been doing the Turbo Fire program which is intense. I have since added back in ChaLEAN Extreme so I am lifting weights on top of intense cardio/intervals.

Fact of the matter is this: I can't stand being hungry. I hate it. The feeling of my stomach growling does not bode well with me. It makes me grumpy and irritable. Eating the food is where it is at. I can not go back into restriction, be it restricting calories or eating clean since I do view clean eating as restrictive (many will disagree with me on this one, few will agree -- whichever side of the fence you're on its cool. Not looking for validation, just simply stating my point). I NEED food. I need that fuel to sustain and keep my body going throughout insanely busy days keeping up with four very busy kids, fueling my workouts. I don't have the energy or the will to push through my workouts if I don't have that fuel to propel me. Sleep and lost of it. I used to be all about getting up at 5am to workout and I am finding that it doesn't work so well for me -- number one I don't have that energy provided by fuel (and eating directly before a workout doesn't work for me -- I get very nauseous) and the energy provided from a long night's sleep.

I have resumed my activity in the group started by Amber, Eating the Food for a Healthy Weight Loss and I have gotten some crazy reinforcement. I did mention my weight and everything that came back was a resounding, "that is a fantastic weight for your height!!!" when all I could think of is I am at the high end of my weight, yadda yadda yadda. The way I view things is changing.

If I am doing this for health, I am eating food. I am getting sleep. I am working out. I am at my goal.

Interesting thought. I would be curious what everyone else's thoughts are on this....
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • no profile photo CINDYTW
    I think that my health already IS the biggest priority here. I want to be strong and fit over a particular size. The things I would like to change most are for physical comfort, not vanity. I think that eating clean and for me, Paleo IS the way to go, but this is not because it is a fad, it is because I believe it is HEALTHY. For me, it is the way I NEED to eat for my digestive health, allergies, skin problems, headaches...It is not really an option for me to decide I just don't want to anymore. Some things are definitely more of a struggle, but I just can't give up entirely on what I feel is restrictive. That would be the worst thing I could do for my personal health. I think this whole thing is very individual. I could NOT be going to drive thru anywhere and still be considering myself healthy.
    2256 days ago
    I loved this blog. Health is how I measure my progress, it is what means the most to me. Lowering lab values, having more energy, being able to do more, that's what is most important. Someone can be skinny, but out of shape. I have more strength at a size 22 than my sister who is a size 8. She can walk farther, but I can swim and bike more. THIS is where the goal should be! Being the healthiest YOU you can be!

    I worked for a number of years with someone who did obesity research with the philosophy of making people feel good about themselves. I subscribed to her philosophy because it is so much easier to be good to yourself when you love yourself!

    I still want to lose weight, because I know that will make me healthier, but it is BECAUSE of health reasons. It sounds like that's where you're headed too, and I applaud you for that! (I may be the odd one out here, but it is what I believe!)
    2256 days ago
    Wonderful blog! When I read your question, I was immediately reminded of the thought experiment posed in "Overcoming Overeating" and "When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies" (by Jane Hirschmann and Carol Munter). They asked something to the effect of "What if a harmless alien gas was injected into the Earth's atmosphere and its only effect was that, from that point on, no one could either gain or lose any weight." No one would get slimmer and no one would gain weight. What would you do then? What would you choose to eats? Would you continue exercising as you are now? Would you start exercising if you weren't doing it currently? Would you decide to accept your body exactly as it is and stop trying to change it?

    My answer was (and still is) that I would continue to eat in a way that made me feel good physically. I would continue to be a "compassionate omnivore", while limiting (but not eliminating) those foods that sap my energy and give me brain fog. And I would continue exercising in a way that enhanced my body's flexibility and strength and energy levels. In other words, exercise that makes me feel GOOD!

    Thank you for such a thought-provoking post! emoticon
    2257 days ago
    I always love your blogs!!!! I think for me healthy would still be a little ways off, but I can't completely detach myself from numbers because the reality is even though I am in a lot better shape I am still considered obese.. I can't stay this way, and I think a lot stems from my sister. She died at 28 and on her death certificate morbid obesity was the cause. I have however taken a step back from relying totally on numbers and put more focus on what I can do now that I couldn't 6 months ago and that is something to smile about. emoticon
    2257 days ago
    I have to say this made me stop and think! :o) But in a good way...I've used numbers throughout my health journey as a way to measure progress not as a means to an end...sure I have a goal weight but I have a goal physical mental picture that I'm working harder for. I became vegetarian for health and dropped the cholesterol meds, work out my stress on the treadmill and bike and take less depression and anxiety meds. My asthma is almost non existent now. So I realize those are other gauges to show i'm healthier, but I still have that mental image of being chiseled and I'll just say it smokin HOT! So if I reach that physical condition and the weight # is different so be it...but I also want to be an athlete, I want to look back after a race and tell myself Yes I am a runner again! And if there's one thing I've learned this past year even the wrong numbers feel great....for example everyone thinking I'm still in my 20's and not my 30's!! emoticon emoticon And one thing I've always maintained was that I was not ever on a diet. I just eat healthier....I chose to put better fuel in my body to take care of it, but when I truly want something sinful....you better know I'm going to have a helping and smile because I'm enjoying it all that much more! Junk food may taste good but I sure feel like junk after I've eaten it...and it's usually not worth the toxic effect on my awesome bod emoticon
    2257 days ago
    Back in the day I really hated the word "diet". Eventually I realized something - if I am eating right, I am feeling better. So, my "diet" and workouts are for my health as well as weight loss. When I am eating whole food and avoiding things I am sensitive/allergic to I feel fantastic. I have energy and pep; my chronic migraines go away; my overuse and inflammation issues disappear. The weight coming off (which is not coming off very fast at all) is just a side effect. I love to work out - again, mainly for 'me' reasons, not to lose weight. I love the feel of the weights in my hands, I love the concentration, the challenge, the amazing feeling afterwards. Heck, I like watching good looking people in my gym work out. If I did not have a chance to work out I would be in pretty bad shape mentally as well; workouts help me de-stress. So, for me, weight loss is a very welcome side effect to becoming an overall healthier and happier me. Weight is an indicator of me doing things right for my body, so I monitor the scale, but really it's about how I feel when I get up in the morning. Thanks for a thought-provoking blog!
    2257 days ago
    For me, right now, everything hinges on my waist size and not having belly fat. Because....this is the best guide for my health. I am 64 and the only medication I am on is for acid reflux, a life long condition. All my other readings are within normal limits. They test me on the usual stuff annually and have even skipped years here and there. I think those blood tests and blood pressure tests would be the most important things. But, basically I don't have those available to me except once a year. So I have to go by something else. For me, at this point in my life, I believe that my waist size and how much fat there is to pinch is the best indicator. Since coming onto Spark I have basically lost 10 pounds and 3 inches on my waist. The behavior I must perform to keep the waist smaller and maybe even go down one more inch........is weight training, frequent cardio,
    some stretching, and eating reasonable amounts of fairly nutritious food.
    HOWEVER........to be honest, my waist size (not having the spare tire) is also tied in with my sense of being attractive in clothes as well as my ability to be agile when I dance. Sorry to say, I am pretty vain and really miss the hour glass silhouette. I also love the feeling of moving freely, unencumbered and light.
    I know that if my waist size decreases, even if my weight increases, it still will be a good thing. That will just be an indicator that my fat/muscle ratio has shifted more to muscle.

    2257 days ago
    My goal was to get off icky meds and be out of pain. Am at goal on the first, not quite on the second. Now, having said that, there is a SECONDARY goal of a level of fitness. I am NOT there yet. I'm not nearly there. So... I know I'll do better with the fitness having less weight, so the two end up being tied, but I don't really care about the final "number" - when I'm there, I'll know. Like Stonecot - I want to be FIT and healthy and reduce risk of other icky health things down the line. That's really the main thing for me.
    2258 days ago
    Congrats on being at your goal!!
    2258 days ago
    Maybe it depends on where you are in this journey. Since I still have a ways to go, healthy and weight are part of the same program. My main focus is health. Right now I have arthritis and high triglycerides and am considered to be borderline diabetic; I had surgery for cancer that was in part due to my obesity, and I'm on meds to keep my blood pressure and cholesterol under control. So while my health is indeed my focus, there's no doubt that losing weight is a major part of getting to good health. I monitor the scale, my calories, what types of food I eat, and my exercise, and I get the necessary check-ups and tests done regularly; but I also try to be aware of how I am feeling overall, physically and mentally.

    I know I will never hit the ridiculous range for my height, and I believe that I will be very happy when I reach 145-150 and am much healthier. That said, when I get to 145, I may very well find myself rethinking those ranges and struggling with the same questions that you are asking.
    2258 days ago
    Great blog and very relevant to my current situation. Health is my number one goal, no question. Athletic performance and running awards are a distant second. However, when the scale number went down so did my cholesterol and blood pressure, and I no longer had my doctor's threat of having to take meds. So for me keeping the scale number right is key to health. That said, I still am struggling to decide what my ideal weight is and whether it is worth the effort to try to get a few pounds lower. When I was younger I did some foolish things health-wise to try to lose my weight. Didn't work. Healthy eating plans work. You don't have to be hungry to live life at a great weight, you just have to make wise food selections and space your meals and snacks timely. Although I like feeling that I look pretty good for my age, at 64 years old I don't feel the pressure to look like a model. -Marsha
    2258 days ago
  • JUSTME29
    I definitely have weight loss and size goals and that is not going away for a long time. Once I get close to my so-called normal BMI, then I can think about health vs weight. Health is far more important, but since I am firmly in "obese" territory I can't truly be healthy at anything near my current weight.

    You are eating well, working out most days every week, listening to your body's needs for sleep and timing of your meals so to me that sounds like good health. I know you'd like the scale validation as well, but it's not necessary any more.
    2258 days ago
  • SINGER73
    This is a great blog and it seems to be where I am now. I'm too focused on number on the scale and not on health. I know that I'm very healthy and every time I get my blood work done it all comes back with wonderful numbers. I'm running 3 times a week and one of those runs is a 10k that I have been clocking in at 60 minutes or less. I also know that I eat healthy foods at least 80% if not 90% of the time and I workout just about everyday. I guess it's those weeks or days when I blow it that I start getting down on myself. I just realized that I have basically been maintaining all of 2013 around 149.6lbs. Some times a few pounds down and others a few pounds over during those bad weeks. So like you my high end of my weight range for my high is 155lbs and I would love to hover around 145lbs but I'm starting to think that I have found goal weight. I'm giving myself until my 40th birthday which is Oct 27 to get to that number. After that point, I will switch to maintaining where I am. I really just want to start mentally enjoying life and not be ruled by the number on the scale. Healthy for me is being comfortable in my body and having the little pep in my step. I also love that I eat very healthy food with the occasional treats and hardly any processed foods. I also love that I love to workout and I'm figuring out how to workout harder so I don't wait my time with extra long workouts with little benefits.

    This is definitely a process and as you see it take a community to help us get to the other side.

    Good for you for coming to this conclusion.
    2258 days ago
    I think health should be everyone's ultimate goal. In my case, that does mean losing at least 40 more lbs. I have gained some weight and lost some health so I need to correct that. Being at a weight that looks good on paper doesn't necessarily mean you are healthy. I know that if I regularly eat less than 1600 calories, my body goes into starvation mode. I do need to get back to some of the healthier eating habits I did have before and stay away from more sweets than I have been.
    2258 days ago
    Healthy was and is my goal needed to get healthy due to RA in all truthfulness has nothing to do with a number on the scale it really has to with how much pain I'm in plus what my BP is how fast I can run mile emoticon

    Great post a lot to think about
    2258 days ago
    If health were the goal----my focus would be less on what the scale says and more on other numbers: my triglyceride reading, my HDL and LDL cholesterol, my blood pressure readings. I am concerned about all of those things but yet I focus more on the weight. Perhaps it's because I can weigh myself as often as I like at home but getting the other numbers requires money, a doctor's visit, etc.

    I am sure that others might say a certain goal of how long to do a 5K or a half marathon.

    This is a great question, by the way and I hope that you get some great answers.

    Then: if all of my blood fats and blood sugars and blood pressures were great, the next thing I would look at is weight--sheer weight.
    2258 days ago
    I picked the weight that I knew from the past, that I could do the things I want to do without my weight getting in the way. If I found that I could do them before, then I wouldn't worry about the number. I'm 25lbs away from that weight now, and the weight loss has slowed to a trickle, when that trickle stops, I'm at goal! Then I will eat and exercise the same and call it maintenance. I also don't have a restricted diet in what I eat, nor do i count calories. I am a faster, but for the reduction in cancer risk, not for weight loss, that's a side effect. I also wouldn't like to feel hungry all the time, but somehow when I'm fasting I don't notice it, too busy exercising perhaps!
    2258 days ago
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