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Old 08-06-2008, 09:22 PM   #1
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Default Supporting underweight goals?

I really like this site. A lot. I never expected to lose the weight I did...and the support on here (known or not) has really helped. The recipes, seeing other people go through it, help when you slip a bit, etc.

The only thing that concerns me sometimes is....seeing people who have ambitions to be underweight. I know I'll probably get jumped on for this, but I frequently see...for example...a 5'8" woman having a goal weight of 120 lbs. WHAT?!?!? MY goal, as a 5'4" person is not even 120 lbs. Not that I depend on BMI scores, but that even says that's underweight.

So, when I see people that want to be that thin, my first reaction is to not reply, because I feel like I'm supporting that goal. I assume I'll get jumped on saying it's their own business, every body is different, etc. etc., but some of these are SO low for any body type at their said weight!

Any other opinions?
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:42 PM   #2
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I'm not a Beacher, but I wanted to respond to this.

When people have goal weights that put them into a medically defined "underweight" category, I generally say something to them about it, particularly if they are asking for advice or help in getting rid of the "last few pounds". I just make sure they are aware that the goal they've set isn't medically considered an appropriate one. I find it is near impossible to get to an unhealthy weight without some kind of unhealthy means...your body puts a stop on you at some point that you have to WORK to overcome...and so I have trouble encouraging people in getting to a goal that low. I DO try to provide as much support as I can, though, in establishing better eating and exercise habits.

When people have goal weights that I consider low, but still fall into that healthy BMI range, I remind myself that we're all different, and the fact that a number is low by MY standards doesn't mean it is low by the standards of anyone else. If someone is working toward something considered medically appropriate, it isn't any of my business what they would like their body to be. I control only my own body and my own goals.
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:44 PM   #3
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I promise not to jump on you!
I've seen a few weight goals that seem a little....little. But, like you said, everyone's bodies are different. Also, sometimes people pick a goal weight, and realize they are happy at a weight that is not as low as they first hoped for.
When I joined WW, I was told that 155-184 pounds was a healthy weight range for me. Well, I was pretty gung ho about getting in shape, so I aimed for 155 pounds. By the time I got to 165 pounds, my DH and I both realized it wasn't a good weight for me; I looked too skinny! I know now that I look my best between 170-180 pounds. That's considered high to some people I know, but I am a muscular, 6 foot tall woman. It works for me. I know there are supermodels my height that weigh in the 140's and they look okay, and some look too thin.
Whether we agree with the posted people's weight goals or not, we just have to hope that they visit their dr.'s, nurses, or other health professionals, and that they are making informed decisions about their goals. The moderators on this site are great about informing the posters about any health issues they may notice. I'm sure if I posted my goal weight as 120 pounds, I'd get dozens of concerned pm's!
Hope this helps. I hadn't seen this topic yet. I hope I don't get jumped on either!
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:47 PM   #4
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mandalinn, what a beautiful wedding picture in your profile!!!!
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:54 PM   #5
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I've noticed, and felt, the same way. I just assumed that my 125 lb goal would still be a bit more 'cuddly' than more muscular women at my height who wanted to be 115 lbs - but at the same time, the idea of being 115 for me, personally, reminds me of those supermarket tabloids and the "Scary thin" comments, so I'd been feeling uneven about my goal for a while. It's a very healthy bmi range for me though, so I'm sticking with it. But nope, you're not alone.
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:54 PM   #6
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i know that I have to remember there are some people that really will look good at 115 pounds at the same height i am. I know that if I was 140 i'd be skin and bones... (i'm 5'3").... hard for me.
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Old 08-06-2008, 10:01 PM   #7
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I know what you mean, but it's a touchy subject, and a slippery slope as well. Is the stated goal a dangerous weight, or just unreasonable or unrealistic.

If it's the latter, it's harder to say when or if it's appropriate to say something. What is unreasonable to one person is perfectly reasonable to someone else. It also depends on the person's other goals, are they training for athletic competition or wanting to become a model or actor/actress.

I've often seen people make a make a polite comment or question regarding how the person has decided upon their goal, or stating their opinion that the weight seems a bit low/unhealthy. But I think in borderline cases, it is best to keep one's mouth (or fingers) shut.

Most of us don't need other people second guessing our goals. Polite questions and concerns are one thing, but judgements or unwelcome advice completely another - whether we're seen as setting goals too high or too low.

For example, I have a stated goal weight of 150 lbs. I've been told that that is too high. I've also been told it's too low. I've listened to the opinions and considered them, and it's still pretty much my goal. Although my goal slip for my TOPS chapter is much higher, and I've thought of changing it here, but I decided against it for fear it might cause unwanted commentary from well-meaning folk - you see

when I had my doctor sign my goal slip for TOPS (required by the club sometime before reaching goal) he asked me what I wanted him to set as my goal weight. At the time, I told him 200 lbs, and he asked "are you sure."

I knew it was still obese, but I told him that I thought I would want to try to maintain 200 lbs for a while before trying to go lower, but I had mistaken his meaning. He meant that I should consider setting my goal higher (especially since he was thinking of the financial break that reaching goal sooner would have, assuming that TOPS was like WW). There are some perks for KOPS (TOPS members at goal - keeping off pounds sensibly), but TOPS is so cheap, that this isn't much of a concern.

I compromised and we settled on a goal weight of 250 lbs. I haven't changed my ticker here, as I still consider 150 lbs my ultimate goal. But reaching 250 lbs will be a huge milestone, as will reaching 200 lbs. So in a sense, I have at least three "goal weights."

In that sense, I think that many people may start out with a goal others would judge unreasonable, and maybe they're right. However, it's very possible that as a person loses weight, they very well may come to that realization on their own (and it will be a much better and easier decision because they came up with it themselves, rather than hearing it as criticism, especially if they're just starting out).

Some people may have a healthy appearance in mind and just don't know what that appearance translates to on the scale. If they don't have a dismorphic body image, they'll realize that it's time to work on maintenance when the mirror reflects that image (even if the weight doesn't match).

Then there are those with not only unrealistic, but dangerous expectations for themselves. Those with eating disorders and distorted body image. When there is evidence of that, it is very common (and appropriate in my opinion) for people here to try to address it appropriately (gently and nonjudgementally).

That's my two cents on the matter, at any rate.
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Old 08-06-2008, 10:25 PM   #8
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I agree with you, Nessa. I'm 5' 3" as well and I've seen many different goal weights here for people my height. Personally, I asked my doctor what she thought my weight should be and she suggested 130-135. Perhaps if I was younger it would be different but I know that when I got down to 140, I knew that I was getting close to a good weight for me.

On the other hand, there are those who have a smaller bone structure and do well with lower weights. I have in the past questioned some peoples goals but I have tried to do it gently and usually only if it seems way too low. I've seen some who are 5' 8" or taller who want to be less than 120 and that just seems way too low to me.
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Old 08-06-2008, 10:45 PM   #9
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As somebody who has a rather low goal weight, I wanted to add my two cents.

I've been on my weight loss journey for about eight years now (combining more active periods with maintainence periods) and staying healthy is a priority for me. Although I could "stop" right here and be healthy and happy, I've made the personal choice that I'd like to see if I could go further. I've got a small bone structure and I've got aunts, sisters, and grandmothers who weigh even less than my goal weight and don't have to follow disordered behavior to do so. I eat--sometimes a lot--(yesterday my mom brought me cupcakes and I had three!) and I work out like a pretty normal person. For me, wanting to weigh 110 pounds is a long term goal, one that I work on every day, but not at the expense of pleasure and leisure and health.

If I was making posts about my frustration at my slow rate of weight loss or giving any indication that I was using disordered behavior to reach my goals, I'd appreciate somebody reaching out to say something to me. But I don't think having a healthy low goal weight is, in and of itself, a sign that something is wrong.

Within the context of a healthy and balanced life, I think I can look better. I think that's as valid a goal as wanting to lose 100 pounds.
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Old 08-06-2008, 10:55 PM   #10
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Chicky - thank you!

Betsy - 110, though at the low end for your height, is still considered healthy. So if anyone starts giving you crap, just point 'em toward the BMI tables.
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Old 08-06-2008, 11:04 PM   #11
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I'm only 2 pounds away from my goal weight which is 125. No one thinks I'm too thin, they think I'm becoming more proportionate and I still have plenty of curves. I don't starve, I eat 6 times a day, get all my vitamins and so forth. Realistically I know that I won't stay at 125, especially since I'll be increasing my strength training but I'll be heavy with lean muscle =]

I was beginning to think this morning that 125 wasn't low enough because I'm still holding a lot of weight on my outer thighs (i'm a pear). But I'm not wanting to go any lower, instead I'm having a trainer help my smooth out these areas with strength training. blah blah blah.
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Old 08-07-2008, 02:58 AM   #12
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Hi

I haven't been around for a while as I've been without internet access and have been travelling, as well as taking care of two puppies who are v. demanding. But I've been reading when i can and want to jump in on this thread. like betsy, my natural/goal weight may be considered low by some (5"3/105lbs) and is at the bottom of the BMI healthy range. This is where my weight goes when my eating is not disordered (too much or too little). But i would like to say something about BMI. One thing that annoys me is that it is thrown around as a standard for everyone without considering race. I am half-Iraqi and physically follow that side of my family very much. Arab women are very often naturally smaller than Westerners. As far as I know my grandmother never weighed herself or dieted in her life, and I would bet she weighed no more than 100lbs, probably less. Conversely, at my highest weight, I was not that far into overweight onto BMI charts, but I was really quite fat. I had far too much body fat and couldn't run up the stairs. I think we should be very careful about judging people's goals. Charts are not the be-all and end-all, how people look and feel is much more important.

That said, there are people who have distorted body image. I know because I used to have one. If someone's weight goal seems very low, i would ask some questions (tentatively) about how fit they are and what they see when they look in the mirror. If someone is 110lbs and says 'I look fat', then I would worry.
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Old 08-07-2008, 05:21 AM   #13
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I dont think its possible to judge whether or not a person is too thin by reading a typed stat on a website. I also dont think its fair to say that they're going to be unhealthy by losing a certain amount of weight; its exactly the same as criticising an obese person by saying theyre damaging themselves, and im sure if someone did that it wouldnt go down very well as that person would probably realise this already, or have medical reasons for being overweight, or is just about to start on their weightloss journey.
You cant apply your own standards of health and fitness to people you dont even know, who youve never seen and you have no idea of their motivations or personal struggles. I am 5 foot 10, started at 167, currently 158 pounds and my goal is 140. I have no idea how I'm going to look at that weight and if i still dont feel good im going to go lower, because the reason im losing weight in the first place is to feel good about myself and to conform to my own standards of beauty, which are to be fairly thin.
Personally, I would be very hurt if I knew people were intentionally not offering advice or support, like TwynnB said "my first reaction is to not reply, because I feel like I'm supporting that goal." Think of it the other way; would you like it if someone didnt bother supporting you because your goal wasn't low enough, because it didnt conform to their standards?
This is a weight loss support forum, and if youre going to pick and choose who you support based on their weight loss goals it kind of defeats the purpose.
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Old 08-07-2008, 06:39 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishRover View Post
This is a weight loss support forum, and if youre going to pick and choose who you support based on their weight loss goals it kind of defeats the purpose.

oh no i disagree.

i have every right to choose who I support. if someone wants to eat gummy bears and drink coffee to get to goal weight should I support them just because it's a diet support forum?

I think not.

if someone 5'8" age 18 wants to weigh 110 pounds, should I support that?

If someone 5'2" age 45 who weighed 105 at age 16 and thinks that's appropriate now 30 years, 3 kids and menopause later, should I tell her YAY GO FOR IT.... KNOWING what I know about life and age and metabolism and body changes? knowing that more than likely she'll NEVER get there.... do i encourage her to set her up for failure or do i suggest that manybe she take it 5 pounds at a time and see how it goes and maybe just maybe 115 might be better......


sorry... I can't support someone who has a goal or a method not in keeping with healthy standards (and healthy means both mental and physical)
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Old 08-07-2008, 06:50 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishRover View Post
like TwynnB said "my first reaction is to not reply, because I feel like I'm supporting that goal." Think of it the other way; would you like it if someone didnt bother supporting you because your goal wasn't low enough, because it didnt conform to their standards?
This is a weight loss support forum, and if youre going to pick and choose who you support based on their weight loss goals it kind of defeats the purpose.

That's not what TwynnB is saying at all. Your reverse example implies that she's judging it based on superficial opinion (Ie: Ohhh, Eskinomad would look MUCH better at 120 instead of 127, ugh, if she doesn't care enough to do it right I'm not wasting my time supporting her), which, from my interpretation of her post, is not the case at all. She's simply saying that she worries about some of the poster's goal weights being underweight and unhealthy. Weight loss support forum or not, I would feel extremely guilty if I encouraged someone to take weight loss to an unhealthy extreme, whether it was what they wanted or not.


You're comparing her concern for eating disorders to vanity about looks and calling them equals. In my opinion, if anything she'd be selective out of care - not wanting to make someone's situation worse in the long run... and I don't think that's a bad thing.
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