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I just had a freaking epiphany on maintenance goals

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Old 02-05-2013, 12:15 PM   #1
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Default I just had a freaking epiphany on maintenance goals

First, let me say, I'm a bit of a "let's think about this a minute" kind of person.

I look at our behaviors and our history and try to learn from it. What I have gathered from that is a lot of the "experts" don't know jack squat and even those who do know something will say that there are artificial lines in the sand drawn for convenience. And before experts, what did we do?

I thought about this a lot when I was pregnant. I got to thinking about feeding babies - by the clock or by hunger? Well, duh, we've only had clocks in our homes for a hundred or so years (for most people). You eat when you are hungry - not by what the clock says."

What about introducing solids? by the book of "6 months" (like we had precise calendars we followed until recently) or when the baby shows interest? Following that 'gut" meant that one son starting eating solids at 4.5 months and the other not until 11 months.

It can go on and on - how SHOULD we behave? What makes sense?

Well... all this time I've been tormenting myself with goal weights. By the charts and the books I should try weight between 122-162 depending on my frame size. Well, I have a large frame size and around 160 is "ideal". Since my teen years, doctors have said around 160. My doctor was happy with my weight when I was 168 and the other at 175. My husband thinks 175 is reasonable to try to maintain without having to work so hard to maintain lower weights.

And my head couldn't quite let go of the "Well, the charts say." And even when I started to let go of the weight scale, I still was stuck on the body fat percentage range.

Well, to heck with the charts! When were charts invented? What was their intended purpose? What does it mean for me? Am I really all of sudden healthy if I weigh 160 versus 168? or if my body fat is 24% or 30%? Why are we slaves to the scale when people didn't even own scales until the 50s. Why did we all of a sudden decide "oh, I'm too fat" and based on what the scale said versus what our bodies and clothes were telling us?

We all have eyes. We can see if someone looks good or not - if they are pudgy or not, are fit, or not - sort of. Hard to tell if someone is skinny fat or a fit heavy person, but within reason we can see if we could stand to lose some weight.

A friend of mine uses her jeans/pants as a barometer to see if she needs to drop pounds or not. If the jeans start to feel snug, time to reel in the eating or up the exercise (or both) - allowing herself a 10-15 pound range of acceptable weight and not letting the scale determine if she is "OK" or not.

So, why do I feel like I'm copping out if I decide my maintenance range is higher than what the charts say it should be? Why do I believe the charts are designed to rule our lives when I don't feel they should in other things?

My eyes tell me that at my current weight 186, I have a bit of fluff, but not tons. When I was 165 I felt pretty darn great. I did at 170 too. I work out 5-6 times a week with cardio and strength training. My resting heart rate is 58, my blood work is perfect. Why am I stuck in a "I need to weight no more than 160 to fit on the charts for being "OK"?

I know I keep talking about maintenance weight, but I'm needing to get my head around the idea of what is good for me as I've never maintained a weight in my life - ever. I was either gaining or losing at random with no thought to it. Well, I can't keep doing that as my habits were bad, but I think I need to get rid of this little bug in my head about reaching some perfection. Why do I impose these things on myself?

So... with this epiphany, I'm going to be more at peace with myself for letting the scale settle where it wants to settle with good eating and a good exercise regime. I know I'm not there yet, so I'll keep trying to lose a bit, but I'm going to be less hard on myself and this "perfection".

My idea recently was to reach the 25% body fat percentage to be considered "fit" on the charts. Well guess what? who says that someone who is 24% body fat is fit and someone who is 28% body fat is not? Again, who made up those scales and what do they really mean? How is that different than the weight scales? it's another head trap of "needing to be perfect". Well, screw that.

I will not be upset with myself if I end up weighing 165 pounds and have a 29% body fat (which is about what it was in mid-April). That is GREAT FOR ME and anyone who would look at me would agree - isn't that the better measure?

Ok... stealing this for my blog post - can't have two epiphanies in one day!
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:29 PM   #2
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Couldn't agree with you more. You've hit the nail on the head. Keep on keeping on. I think I've gone through my top-of-the-head cliches, but your musing is well thought out and in my view completely on target (oops, one more). It's taken me 30 years of trying one diet fad after another to finally figure out what works for me. I've literally been on one diet and switched in the middle of the day to another because the weight wasn't coming off as promised. Now, I know what my calorie and carb limits are and I totally subscribe to the eat when you're hungry approach instead of the you-must-eat-five-small-meals-a-day. Some people need them, they're hungry 5 times. I'm to the stage of life where I was eating out of habit rather than determining whether or not I was hungry.

In terms of setting your maintenance goal -- forget the charts. I use them as a reference point but that's all. I discovered when I was applying for life insurance decades ago that the insurance companies initially developed these charts -- not medical doctors, but insurance companies. The ranges are intentionally small because if you were applying for insurance and you were outside of those ranges, then your premiums were higher. And, no, I'm not blasting the insurance industry, but what I'm saying is that the charts were originally developed to assess the risk associated with excess weight. So, I think the tightness of a pair of pants is a great way to assess when you need to be a little more stringent. Of course, don't do what I did which was to assess that with a pair of pants that had so much elastic in them I could wear them with a 60 pound fluctuation in weight!

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old 02-05-2013, 02:48 PM   #3
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I recently interviewed Canada's leading obesity expert, Dr. Arya Sharma, who said that your "best weight" is the weight you can maintain without undue hardship. Period. He also said that being on the heavy side of normal poses no added health risks if your lab values are within normal range.

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Old 02-05-2013, 02:57 PM   #4
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When I met with a nutritionist late last year she told me that BMI charts were developed using 28 year old males in the military to determine "normal".

I have decided my ideal maintenance range is 115-119. But my body REALLY seems to like 120 which is a "no-no" number for me. I was thinking this morning if I can live with 120 instead of 117. Am I really stressing this much for 3 freaking pounds?

I hope your epiphany stays and you find a place where you feel great and are happy no matter what the number on that stupid scale says!!! Actually, I hope that for all of us!!

Jen
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:06 PM   #5
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I recently interviewed Canada's leading obesity expert, Dr. Arya Sharma, who said that your "best weight" is the weight you can maintain without undue hardship. Period. He also said that being on the heavy side of normal poses no added health risks if your lab values are within normal range.

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undue hardship. This is the key right there. If you have to restrict 24/7. If you have to exercise an hour a day to keep at a number. is this undue hardship? or normal behavior? That is the next question.

I'm afraid I don't have an answer for that. I was a couch potato who ate too much. I know I can't do that again, but what is enough and what is too much? That too is probably extremely individual. For some people having to run 3 miles every day is not undue hardship. For me it would be.
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:10 PM   #6
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When I met with a nutritionist late last year she told me that BMI charts were developed using 28 year old males in the military to determine "normal".

I have decided my ideal maintenance range is 115-119. But my body REALLY seems to like 120 which is a "no-no" number for me. I was thinking this morning if I can live with 120 instead of 117. Am I really stressing this much for 3 freaking pounds?

I hope your epiphany stays and you find a place where you feel great and are happy no matter what the number on that stupid scale says!!! Actually, I hope that for all of us!!

Jen
I think those numbers and scales are even harder for people who have had weight battles. Your body and my body, and many of our bodies here are NOT the same as they would be if we had never been obese.

Our metabolisms are affected, our bodies are affected, so are those scales right for us?

I know you had surgery for your mid-section, but you've said you have loose skin elsewhere. As you know - that skin has weight. Should that count in figuring out ideal weight?

What about age? is that a legitimate reason? Most charts give older people the 'right' to weigh more, but is this right? or just what we are used to?

And I hope this epiphany can stick with me - but I know I just want to say, "I got there!" too for what reason, who knows as I'm not even sure I have the desire to STAY there (160 and/or below 25% body fat).
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:48 PM   #7
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I'm going through something so similar right now!!! Basically having decided to no longer worry about the scale but rather working out, getting stronger, etc etc. It all seems to still have a grip on me, but I'm working on it. You're right though, the numbers mean crap! I find myself not allowing myself to feel I look "good enough" because the numbers are not what I'd like, but if I were clueless about those numbers I'd probably feel differently which is so ridiculous!

I love this post becuase it really is about the mirror and how clothes fit, and fitness level, not about any number.

And I love what Freelance said about maintenance needing to not have any undue hardship! So true!
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:01 PM   #8
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I always get a chuckle out of the BMI chart... it claims one of my good friends is obese. This guy is a personal trainer who climbs mountains, runs marathons, does olympic style weightlifting, etc. etc. and is the fittest person I know.
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:03 PM   #9
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undue hardship. This is the key right there. If you have to restrict 24/7. If you have to exercise an hour a day to keep at a number. is this undue hardship? or normal behavior? That is the next question.

I'm afraid I don't have an answer for that. I was a couch potato who ate too much. I know I can't do that again, but what is enough and what is too much? That too is probably extremely individual. For some people having to run 3 miles every day is not undue hardship. For me it would be.
i totally agree with this!!! for me, since i started making gym time a routine in my life over a year ago, it's now become "normal behavior" and something that i enjoy....if i didn't enjoy it, i wouldnt have continued, simple as that...so for me going to the gym for 45-60 minutes a day is not undue hardship

LOL i love the example of three miles...as much as i would LOVE to be one of those people who run an easy 10 miles a day or whatever, my legs and in particular my LUNGS just won't go there (asthma)....i run several times a week, usually no more than 2 miles max, combined with more walking to total about 3.5 miles a day on the treadmill....

last night i decided to go for my New Year's Resolution - to run 3 miles and to do so consistently (once a week)....it took me 70 minutes of running and walking intervals but my distance running equaled three miles!! i was SO PROUD of myself but OMG was i ever pushing myself mentally and physically....that to me is "undue hardship" and NOT something i could do every day and enjoy it....i'm aiming for once a week now

i'm also battling in my head what number i need to settle at....right now i'm at 180 and look like i weigh less (according to DH, friends and my doctor)....but i know i need to lose more fat...if i aim for 150, which was my goal weight, does my body REALLY have 30 more pounds of fat to lose??? frankly i'm not sure...will i be really gaunt then? do i want to go that far? if i don't i'll be stuck in an overweight category BMI...am i okay with that?? i havent worked that all out in my head yet
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:03 PM   #10
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I recently interviewed Canada's leading obesity expert, Dr. Arya Sharma, who said that your "best weight" is the weight you can maintain without undue hardship. Period. He also said that being on the heavy side of normal poses no added health risks if your lab values are within normal range.

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blog: www.englishgrammargripe.com
i have to completely agree.

Although i'm "new" to losing weight and keeping it off (was overweight and did not try to diet or lose for 17 yrs so i'm not a yo-yo dieter/loser) i lost 90 lbs and have "maintained" for 6 months WITHOUT A SCALE. i mean it, i do not have a scale. i found out how much i weighed at a neighbors house after i lost most of the weight and i had to call my doctors office to see what my highest (weighed) point was (yes, talk about denial, lol) and that's how i found out how much weight i have lost. I just went by pants size. I had a size 12 that i fit in back in the 80's when i was slender" and just periodically tried them on during my weight loss journey and now i fit into them (granted i'm differently proportioned now that i'm 50, lol!) so it can be done--not being a slave to numbers and i never have been because i've always weighed more than what the average woman my height has weighed and i've looked good, ie, not fat.

I lost by exercise and counting calories and now i don't count calories anymore but eat healthy and do not over eat but i also know roughly kind of what i'm consuming and although i want to try to work on the spare tire that is left, it's going to HAVE TO be what is comfortable for me and not a constant state of semi-hunger, i just cannot live that way. Granted it IS hard to think that way especially being a woman, we, for some reason, cannot stand to have an ounce of fat on us but that really isn't realistic nor necessarily attractive or healthy so i'm kind of in limbo between wanting to try to rid myself of the small spare and eating and exercising comfortably enough to stay on goal

At any rate, congrats, berryblondeboys! i think you're onto something! Don't be a slave to anything!!
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:23 PM   #11
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Apologies as no time to closely read each post but I get what you are saying. That is what I have always done, during a REALLY long weight loss period (years) from more than 100 pounds above where I am now, but I've had a number of ups and downs.

I had sliding goals all the way down, long periods of "feeling right" at different weights.

After an injury in 2010 I went down way below where I am now, then gained back to what it says for high on the ticker last year.

All these were good weights and experimental.

I go by what my body seems to settle at and at a maintenance level I am comfortable with.

The goal on my ticker is my current "ideal weight" but I do know that I'm happy with my weight right now, but at least want to hit the 120s as that is where I've been happiest. That could change.

You know, I've consulted with my docs and medical teams and friends, family, charts, etc., for decades on this thing and can say only that I AM THE ONLY EXPERT ON MY OWN LIFE.

Slave to nothing lol.

Good thinking berryblondeboys!
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:23 PM   #12
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i totally agree with this!!! for me, since i started making gym time a routine in my life over a year ago, it's now become "normal behavior" and something that i enjoy....if i didn't enjoy it, i wouldnt have continued, simple as that...so for me going to the gym for 45-60 minutes a day is not undue hardship

LOL i love the example of three miles...as much as i would LOVE to be one of those people who run an easy 10 miles a day or whatever, my legs and in particular my LUNGS just won't go there (asthma)....i run several times a week, usually no more than 2 miles max, combined with more walking to total about 3.5 miles a day on the treadmill....

last night i decided to go for my New Year's Resolution - to run 3 miles and to do so consistently (once a week)....it took me 70 minutes of running and walking intervals but my distance running equaled three miles!! i was SO PROUD of myself but OMG was i ever pushing myself mentally and physically....that to me is "undue hardship" and NOT something i could do every day and enjoy it....i'm aiming for once a week now

i'm also battling in my head what number i need to settle at....right now i'm at 180 and look like i weigh less (according to DH, friends and my doctor)....but i know i need to lose more fat...if i aim for 150, which was my goal weight, does my body REALLY have 30 more pounds of fat to lose??? frankly i'm not sure...will i be really gaunt then? do i want to go that far? if i don't i'll be stuck in an overweight category BMI...am i okay with that?? i havent worked that all out in my head yet

I picked on running as I don't really enjoy it. Not enough to do it all the time. I enjoy doing aerobics, and Zumba and Step. I'm totally OK, with lifting weights twice a week and doing some aerobics 2-3 times a week for years on end. it's good for me, it makes me feel good.

Even when I gained weight this fall, I didn't give up on the exercise - I kept at it.

BUT.... running for an hour would be undue hardship. Having to eat 1350-1450 calories for life is undue hardship.

I used to think, "I'll just keep eating like this and exercising like this and the weight will just stall at some point." Well... after 16 months of that I realized I didn't want to eat like that forever. I don't want to go hog wild, but I want to be able to have a glass of wine once in awhile - or to eat so that I'm actually not hungry.

Right now my typical eating involves a protein bar for breakfast and a whey protein and yogurt shake and some milk in coffee, for lunch an apple with 3 tablespoons of peanut butter, and then a huge serving of something green for dinner with some olive oil or similar fat and a piece of meat and maybe a couple cheese sticks for a snack. That's it - and well... I love green food, but I don't love gnawing in broccoli, but other things I do like (even if it's low carb) is higher in calories.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:25 PM   #13
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I'm going through something so similar right now!!! Basically having decided to no longer worry about the scale but rather working out, getting stronger, etc etc. It all seems to still have a grip on me, but I'm working on it. You're right though, the numbers mean crap! I find myself not allowing myself to feel I look "good enough" because the numbers are not what I'd like, but if I were clueless about those numbers I'd probably feel differently which is so ridiculous!

I love this post becuase it really is about the mirror and how clothes fit, and fitness level, not about any number.

And I love what Freelance said about maintenance needing to not have any undue hardship! So true!
Well, I see someone very lean in the profile picture of you. It tells me that you look great and I'm envious of the no saggy arms!

The scales are evil - so are charts, but you are at least WELL WITHIN the ranges.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:28 PM   #14
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I always get a chuckle out of the BMI chart... it claims one of my good friends is obese. This guy is a personal trainer who climbs mountains, runs marathons, does olympic style weightlifting, etc. etc. and is the fittest person I know.
BMI charts are bogus. My husband lost 20 pounds recently. Both times he was within the healthy BMI range for his height. Yet, he did have a bit of pudge to him at the upper range. Now he's nearly the lower end, has built up quite a bit of muscle (as he weight trains with me) and he now looks great - thin, but not skinny.

My teenage boy is a bit underweight according to the BMI charts - he eats like mad.

My 7 year old is well above the BMI "healthy" range and he's not overweight either (and the doctor agrees). So yes, bogus... yet, they still have a hold on most of us.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:35 PM   #15
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i have to completely agree.

Although i'm "new" to losing weight and keeping it off (was overweight and did not try to diet or lose for 17 yrs so i'm not a yo-yo dieter/loser) i lost 90 lbs and have "maintained" for 6 months WITHOUT A SCALE. i mean it, i do not have a scale. i found out how much i weighed at a neighbors house after i lost most of the weight and i had to call my doctors office to see what my highest (weighed) point was (yes, talk about denial, lol) and that's how i found out how much weight i have lost. I just went by pants size. I had a size 12 that i fit in back in the 80's when i was slender" and just periodically tried them on during my weight loss journey and now i fit into them (granted i'm differently proportioned now that i'm 50, lol!) so it can be done--not being a slave to numbers and i never have been because i've always weighed more than what the average woman my height has weighed and i've looked good, ie, not fat.

I lost by exercise and counting calories and now i don't count calories anymore but eat healthy and do not over eat but i also know roughly kind of what i'm consuming and although i want to try to work on the spare tire that is left, it's going to HAVE TO be what is comfortable for me and not a constant state of semi-hunger, i just cannot live that way. Granted it IS hard to think that way especially being a woman, we, for some reason, cannot stand to have an ounce of fat on us but that really isn't realistic nor necessarily attractive or healthy so i'm kind of in limbo between wanting to try to rid myself of the small spare and eating and exercising comfortably enough to stay on goal

At any rate, congrats, berryblondeboys! i think you're onto something! Don't be a slave to anything!!
I wish I didn't have a scale - really and truly. I understand it's patterns now, but it's hold on me - what it says or doesn't say gets into my head even when I understand all about plateaus and water weight, etc.

But, different question - if you wore a 12 in the 80s, isn't that like a today's 6 or 8 (or smaller?) In HS, I wore a 14 at 175 and those were getting tight. At HS graduation, I bought a few 16s when I was 178. I now wear a solid 10 and weigh 10 pounds more.

Using pant sizes is one idea I have of not gaining weight, but they keep changing sizes on me? When I was a 20, I had NO IDEA they had done MORE vanity sizing, so that 20 would have been a 22 or 24 before.
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