I'm 26, and I've been overweight (and out of shape!) since I was about 9 years old, so I really have no personal basis on which to set my goal weight. I have no idea what my body will look / feel like at any particular weight. When I decided to commit to making life-style changes to try to lose weight and get healthier in October, I settled on the goal of losing 100 pounds. It's a nice round number, and would put my weight right in the middle of the recommended range for my height.
For one of my first mini-goals, I wanted to reach 199 by Valentine's Day. This was important to me because I hadn't weighed under 200 as an adult, and I really wanted to see that 1 on the scale. But as I was getting closer to the goal my scale was stalling a bit, and I was feeling rather panicked that I wouldn't be able to reach my arbitrarily set goal. I was pre-emptively feeling like a failure for not meeting my goal, before I had even reached the deadline! I ended up actually meeting that goal after all, but it made me start thinking about the future.
I have been making really good progress so far, with a fairly steady average of just over 2 pounds lost per week since I started. But, I'm worried that months down the road, I am going to be fit, energetic, looking good, and with a weight in the healthy range, and unhappy because the number on the scale doesn't match an arbitary numerical goal that I set. After a lengthy discussion with my sister this morning, I decided to change my listed goal weight.
My current thinking is that my goal of being healthy and fit might be better evaluated numerically by trying to reach a goal body fat percentage, as opposed to a specific number of pounds lost. I personally prefer curvy female figures a little better and I ideally would hope to stay curvy as I reach my other goals. So I think a body fat percentage of closer to around 24% or so might be a good match for both my fitness and appearance goals. Based on potentially wildly inaccurate estimates of what my current body fat percentage is :) I think my lean body mass is currently somewhere around 112 lbs. So today, I am officially moving my goal weight up from 135 to 145.
If (when?) I reach that goal weight, I can re-evaluate how I look and feel, and can always work on going further downwards from there. Or, I may be 110% happy. We'll just have to wait and see.
How have the rest of you set your goals, and have you changed them (upwards?? :) ) through your journey?
02-20-2011, 03:45 PM
I think you are wise. ;)
First, I hate time centered goals for the very reason you listed. Congratulations for reaching your time goal! That's a huge accomplishment! But what if you hadn't? What if you'd been on plan every single day and yet, through no fault of your own, you did not reach your goal. You'd have felt defeated, like a failure. That's so unfortunate. I set multiple goals, and I celebrate each time I achieve them, but they're never time based.
I am in the exact predicament you are trying to prevent. ;) I chose an arbitrary number that was a nice even 100 pounds from my start. But I have been pretty darn happy with where I have ended up for a good 15 pounds now. I could have stopped at any point, but I have that number in my head that I must reach because it's the major goal I set for myself. :dunno: Sometimes I wish I'd set my goal at 145, the border into my normal category, and then anything from there on out would just be peaches.
That said, I haven't been unhappy with my body yet. :D I'm still happy every day I get a little smaller. If I suddenly didn't like the way I was shaping up, of course I'd stop. But I think I could be happy right where I am if I just wasn't so determined to say I lost 100 pounds.
02-20-2011, 03:57 PM
I have the same problem. I don't set specific timed goals anymore (besides a goal to lose aprox 3lbs per month), but once in a while when the scale is being nice I'll think "If I keep this up I'll be x-pounds by...." and then when the scale inevitably slows down I begin to panic and feel like I have to work harder or else I won't get there. This always leads to a spiral out of control because I start to think that any slip up has ruined my chances of seeing whatever number before whatever event (recently seeing 70lbs lost before my visit home in May), which is silly! The thing that ruins my chances is panicking and turning a small stumble into weeks of feeling awful and binging because of it.
That is also why I have not made 130 pounds my 'official' goal weight. I can tell that 15 or so pounds is not going to be enough based on the amount of fat I have left, but I also don't know how differently things are going to change as I get closer to a normal weight compared to now. I don't want to set my goal at 130 then feel like a failure if I do look and feel great at 145 or 140 and want to stop. So I'll probably take it five pounds at a time after I get to 150.
02-20-2011, 04:21 PM
kaebaka - In some ways we have similar stories. I was 32 when I started this weight loss journey, and I never remember a time in my life when I wasn't overweight or obese. I, too, had NO idea what I would look like thin, and it's been eye-opening. When I was 25 I followed South Beach strictly for about 4-5 months and got down to 158, but that was my lowest weight until this round of weight loss.
My initial goal weight this time was 140, which was still in the overweight BMI range but I honestly thought it was impossible, so I pretty much just picked an arbitrary number, thinking that, if I got anywhere under 158 (and maintained) I'd be happy. Instead, I realized that calorie counting and exercise were working for me, and weight loss without yo-yoing or feeling deprived was achievable.
I lowered my GW to 135, which is on the overweight/normal border for my height. When I reached 140, I still felt I had shaping up to do and weight to lose, and every goal now has been in 5 pound increments - I lose 5 pounds, reevaluate, and decide if I want to lower my GW by 5 more pounds. That's how I've gotten to 125, and I'm going to see where it takes me.
I also track a couple of other things, though, which influence my GW. One is BMI - while I know it's an imperfect tool, I'd rather be more on the low-middle end for my height than the high end. Also, I monitor my waist-to-hip ratio. I'm still a dratted apple, and even with exercise and strength training my belly carries too much fat. I'm working to get rid of that for my cardiovascular health.
I think you're being wise by being patient and flexible. Don't let a number get stuck in your head to the point where you obsess. Be open to letting your body decide where it wants to be at, as long as you feel healthy.
02-20-2011, 05:17 PM
I know just how you feel. I've always been obese. Never overweight, but always obese. I weighed 90 pounds at 5 years of age.
Ever since I was 12 year old, I've been trying to lose weight, and something always makes me give up. Mostly, I get frustrated/bored. I'm nearly 24 years old, and I still have the same problem.
My biggest downfall was wanting to lose a certain amount in a certain amount of time. I have always known this is not the way to do it, but I've always felt pressured by something.
Finally I decided that I have no other choice but to look at this as a lifestyle change. Honestly, I still "fall off the wagon" a million times a day, but I don't ever give up completely. I just try to do my best. Heck, Valentine's week I ate more chocolate than I care to admit, but I still lost 3 pounds!
My goal is to be at a weight that I feel comfortable at, and to be at that weight when my body is ready to be there.
02-20-2011, 08:09 PM
I'm totally with you -- I've been overweight my whole life. I'd sometimes read about diet books that say "you may not be able to get down to your high school weight." Well, my HS weight was something like 270 pounds, so not much of a challenge there. I was always in the 97-99% on weight growing up.
I think it was really, really awesome that we have folks who are almost at goal post on this thread. It really gives me a lot of hope and insight into the process. How would I possibly know now what would be right for my body a year from now?
From where I am sitting, I have not set a goal weight. I have to put one in to get a ticker, but I really have no idea. I know for me it's not about the number, it's more about being active and being to do the things I want to do.
02-20-2011, 08:09 PM
I've never been thin and I have no idea what my goal weight is going to be. I do tend to think that the more I lose, the more I should start to evaluate what might be a better weight. I don't get too concerned with numbers because honestly, I don't know if happiness with myself is going to come from seeing a number. I do think that setting smaller goals makes it easy to stick to a plan though!
02-20-2011, 08:11 PM
well, I have to admit I'm still a bit trapped in the time goal issue. I was trying to reach my first goal of 25 lbs by Feb 28 so that I would feel ok about going out for dinner for my husband's birthday the following weekend. Well, I'm a week away and still at least 6 lbs off (not sure, tomorrow is a weigh in day, so I may be a bit closer) but besides that - the point is that I did feel that panic, that fear of the what if I didn't make it, I've failed - and that is totally crap. I'm really proud of myself for being as committed as I am.
However, after reading these posts it's really helped me recognize that I need to be more careful about not trapping myself in that time business.
02-20-2011, 11:38 PM
My goal weight seems to change depending on what I've read that week!
I think I have it a little high, but if I can just be considered "normal," I'll be in hog heaven. :)
02-21-2011, 02:17 AM
I never set a time goal because it was just never something I was comfortable with. I have my goal weight set to being into the normal bmi range but there really is no stopping point. I will continue on my journey with fitness,exercise and eating healthy from now on. I do have fitness goals like upping my 5ks to 10ks, and add triathlons as I progress as a race runner in time. If it means I end up weighing less than 150 I am fine with that but I know I do not want to ever be back into the overweight category for bmi I want to leave it behind forever.
You are doing awesome! Stay focused and it will all workout.