What if your ideal weight number isn't your ideal weight?
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I set my "ideal weight" at 140. The decision was based on a number of criteria - my height (5'6"), my build (medium-large), and a lot of charts. I felt good at that weight in the past, and it was higher than my old college-age weight of 130, so I felt it was realistic.
On my last weight loss journey (which dead-ended), I got down to 152. I felt fabulous, looked fabulous, but I was still determined to get to that number - 140. I didn't. A lot of factors came into play, though two were most important: huge new job stress and the fact that I couldn't exercise 1-2 hours a day anymore. And eating 1350 calories a day for 15 months was getting real old, too.
I gained a lot back, 75 of 93. From Aug. 25, 2012 to January 24, 2014, it just crept back on.
This summer I've lost 20 of it. Yay. And I'm learning, still. Right now, I'm very active on my farm. I work outside 6-15 hours a day. I've built up a lot of my muscle tone again. But once my campus classes begin, I won't be doing that, so I have to replace that with something, which I'm actually looking forward to (I like to run).
So, I'm rethinking my goals. First, I'm trying to do things I can live with. And I'm remembering that fabulous feeling and looking at my old photos. Why in the name of all that's sane did I not realize that at 152 I WAS AT AN IDEAL WEIGHT?!!! Okay, so I had some belly and all, but overall, I was THERE and didn't even know it. How sad is that?
Now I do. I've changed my weight goal from 140 to 150. I'm hoping to lose about 5 pounds a month, but as long as I'm going in the right direction, then I'm happy. Don't ever underestimate the accomplishment of going in the right direction.
The scale = fail.
All it does is tell you you are "good" or "bad," based on a number that we ALL KNOW is arbitrary at best. It doesn't measure water, monthly cycle gain, the full moon, or whatever the pete affects our weight from day to day. So I weigh a lot less these days. Whenever my clothes feel looser! :D
I would urge anybody to really think about the weight goal. If you are looking at a chart, choose the highest number of your ideal weight range. Aim for that. And then when you get there, reassess, based on an honest assessment of how you feel at that weight. And CELEBRATE THAT GOAL!!
You might surprise yourself. I sure did.
Member Comments About This Blog Post
I can soooo relate to this. The first time I did SP, about six years ago, I got down to around 170. Not that I would say that was an ideal weight - like you, I'm 5'6" and medium-large frame. I just didn't realize at the time how good I felt or how good I looked. I look at pictures taken back then and wonder why I didn't notice it.
This time, I'm only allowed to step on the scale once every-other-week. Instead, I'm focusing on other gains that I have more control over, like running longer or farther, or increasing weight in strength training.
1351 days ago
I lost 11 or 12 pounds over the winter. I know I gained back a lot of that being sidelined with the back injury. I won't get on the scale because it doesn't matter. The back is much better and I want to start adding more intense cardio to the mix again. Once I feel progress, I will get back on the scale. In the meantime, I just keep doing what I have to do in order to be healthy.
Keep up the good work and the good attitude. You are an inspiration.
1354 days ago
Good for you. Getting hung up on a number for the number's sake, or on a number at which you were at previously happy/content may not be what's best for you.
I'm striving for the weight at the top of my healthy BMI weight range. I want to be healthy, but I don't want to struggle to maintain something that's an ideal in my head. Especially if I'm satisfied with how I look and feel.
1357 days ago
I did the same thing, after losing and the gaining all the weight back again. I am setting my goal 10 pounds higher than last time and when I get there, I am committed to maintaining for 6 months before I even think about whether I want to lose more. The other thing I am doing differently is thinking about maintenance before I get there. I even joined the maintenance Sparkteam and started to think about whether what I am doing to lose the weight is sustainable over time - which is something you mentioned, too. So. it is a different journey this time. But I think we can do it.
You're doing great.
1358 days ago
I can relate to this all too well. Back in 2000, after I had my first kid, I was about 30 lbs over what I considered my ideal weight at the time (125 lbs, at 5'6). It had been my weight all through high school and college, and I was only 5 lbs over it when I started my pregnancy. I was so frustrated being at 155 lbs, and felt very fat. When my son was about 10 months old, I joined weight watchers and lost about 20-25 lbs. I got down to around 131 lbs, I believe, before I got pregnant again. Right around 135 lbs, I felt fantastic. I looked great, my body felt good, I felt confident and sexy and happy. But I was still 10 lbs from that magical 125-lb ideal line. I could still see a little wrinkle in my side from side/back fat. I told myself not to get complacent, that 135 was still too fat, and so I kept working on it, kept pushing, and got down to the low 130s. I never got to the 120s, ever again, and frankly, I look back on pictures of myself from back then and 131 was just way too small for my frame! I looked and felt better at 135-140. I have wide shoulders and medium-to-large bones and big assets - I look skeletal at 125 lbs! I never let myself enjoy that feeling of loving where I was at.
And then I never got back, on this journey, to the 130s. I barely got to 149, and that's the lowest I ever got. And now I've rebounded 15-20 lbs with all this moving across the country business and all the depression that's been going on for the last three months. I would LOVE to be at 152 lbs again, even though I know, now, that it's not my ideal, and that I would like ot be lower. But frankly, my ideal might be 145 now, not 135, because I felt pretty good at 149, and I refuse to force myself to keep pushing this time when I feel good! Why do we all have to learn this lesson the hard way??
1358 days ago
I actually did this yesterday. My goal was set at 140, but looking at my weight loss before SP and since, I realized that might not be attainable--I actually feel great at 150-155. But it's a work in progress and fluid--we'll see how things go. Great reminder to think about what you're doing, though. I'll keep your blog in mind as I go along. Thanks!
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Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.