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Old 02-01-2005, 02:36 PM   #1  
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Default Finding a Sustainable Goal Weight

Hi all,

In another thread on resting metabolic rates, Allie (Pyxie) made such an important (IMHO, of course ) point that I wanted to make sure we didn't lose sight of it. She said:

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It has given me something new to ponder over and a new tool to approach which goal weight I might decide now. I tried for 145 because it was the BMI rec weight, but I have realized it was too difficult for me to keep and I got tired of struggling. I am thinking that 150 will probably be my choice for goal weight - not some medical chart's choice of goal weight for me. I know it's healthier than 260 was. I need to pick a goal weight that I can maintain without all the calorie counting and charting of exercises. I've lost my weight without charting anything and I intend to live my life without the constant struggle. I just want to feel lean, strong and healthy.
Amen Allie!!

At 5-foot-4, I yearned and pined to weigh 120. Why? Because everyone else did? Because that's what the charts said? Because it was a magic number? I dunno. I did not equate it with a size. I did not equate it with fitness. I did not equate it with anything of any earthly importance. It was just what I wanted to do.

The last time I weighed 120, I did not yet have my drivers license, but I hung onto the dream, if you can call it that, for years.

When I first joined 3FC, and read everyone's bios, I decided that I would strive for 130, and a body fat percentage of under 20 -- 18% sounded peachy.

The last time I weighed 130, I might have been driving but I don't think I was drinking (legally). Who knows when I last had an 18% body fat reading?

The reality is that I struggle to maintain even 138. At this point in my life (56 and counting), 140 is a "real goal." I can maintain it with reasonable eating; with reasonable exercise; with reasonable living. (My doc is happy with 145.) I'm getting my body fat measured Wednesday, but I'm guessing it's about 25. Acceptable. Like Anne said a couple of weeks ago, I wear a Size 10/12, and I look much smaller -- a happy result of my uneven but heartfelt exercise.

The best of all: I feel good -- no, I feel great -- in my skin. I enjoy life. I have an occasional glass of wine and an occasional treat. And I can maintain without too much effort.

Allie, I think you're on the threshold of good solid decisions for you. I wanted to call attention to your comment because I think it's all too easy to get caught up in unrealistic goals. And when we do that, we beat up on ourselves for not attaining them. And if there's one thing I've learned for sure, mama don't allow no beatin' up here.

Just my 2 cents for the day.
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Old 02-01-2005, 02:54 PM   #2  
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Amen. For me a real turning point in this weight loss effort was NOT saying at the outset that I would strive for some number on a height-weight chart, but that I just wanted to get healthiER, live healthier, and lose as I could comfortably live with for the rest of my life. We have to guard against complacency, but there's a point at which we have to say the numbers -- weight, body fat %, size -- just don't matter. Or rather, they are selected based on real information and experience rather than fantasy or living in the past.
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Old 02-01-2005, 05:59 PM   #3  
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Wise, wise words, Robin, Pyxie, and Funniegrrl. I think we all have a tendency to get caught up in the numbers game. Who knows why? - it's probably cultural. Like we think that we should weigh xxx, just because anything else 'sounds' too huge.

I constantly have to fight the feeling that I'm a failure because I'm not smaller even though I've lost 120 pounds. Or if the scale goes up 2 or 3 pounds, it's like I've gained it all back. How is that??

For a reality check, I play a little game - I ask myself: if the scale said 130 instead of 140, for example - how would that make me feel? If everything else was exactly the same - how I look, the clothes I wear, my energy level - how would a different number affect my mood? If the answer is that I would be transported from the depths of despair to the heights of ecstasy, then I have my answer. It's just a head game over numbers. Because those ten pounds on the scale are meaningless in real life.

I continually have to remind myself that no one SEES the number on the scale or on the tag on my jeans except for me. It's not like we walk around with our weight tattooed on our foreheads. This is for the rest of our lives and we have to make it LIVEABLE. Like Karen always says - maintenance = living. It definitely doesn't mean obssessing over numbers and letting the scale dictate our mood for the day.

Thank you for bringing this up, Robin!
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Old 02-01-2005, 06:24 PM   #4  
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Hi,

Robin, thanks for quoting this great thought. I actually thought exactly like you when I read the posting by Allie. Interestingly enough, I went deaper than deciding which weight to choose - I choose weight which I had when I was 18! I just wanted to try how will I feel! And you know what, I felt like crap! Actually my size was smaller than when I was 18, but restricting my diet and counting every crumb just did not work! I have busy life and I like to sit down occasionally with friends or family and enjoy a glass of wine (which my DH does all by himself) and relax! Well, I could not. At some point one of my friends told me: all your problems are from the fact that you stopped drinking wine occasionally. It somehow settled down with me and I figured out that I am totally content on 130-135 range - trust me, those 2 pounds MADE A DIFFFERENCE! After all my size stays the same, it is just more of a bit of flab hanging around - ideally I would like to get rid of it, but heck, I tell myself, I have 3 kids and I simply look fantastic! And nobody knows if I am 128 or 133 today, unless I tell them!

I also measure my body fat on my Tanita scale - it is between 24 and 26 usually, so when it is 26 I start to watch what I eat, when it is 24, I relax.

I personally think that beeing happy and content with yourself (soul an body) is way more important than a number on the scale.
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Old 02-02-2005, 01:44 PM   #5  
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Good thoughts, y'all!

With me - at 5'4" tall - 'protocol' or the Powers that Be would probably say that I'm 'fat' at 145-149, and I should be more like 125-130. But...ya know...this goes to show you that those numbers don't mean the same for everyone. At 145, I can get into a lot of size 4's and 6's quite easily...and more importantly I can maintain this weight with a minimum amount of stress and effort (of course, MY definition of "minimum amount of stress and effort" includes going to the gym daily for an hour minimum...but I ENJOY that - yesterday my gym was actually CLOSED due to a water heater/sprinkler malfunction and all day I felt just TIRED...consequently, today's workout was a real kick-butt one!).

I own a Tanita scale but just weigh myself every couple of weeks, sometimes once a week, but never more than that. I don't even use the bodyfat function, because I don't think it's very accurate to say the least...

Once in awhile, if I go over 149 or if I just feel like doing it, I'll use Fitday or just write down what I'm eating for a few days, but mostly I just have my mental list of 'food staples' - what others would call 'clean eats' - that I rely on most of the time. Of course, I do go out to eat on occasion (with Jim or at business functions) and I just endeavor to make the best choices I can from what is offered...

Alcohol isn't much of an issue with me since I tend to get migraines from even a small amount these days - if I'm out on business, I order Pellegrino, iced tea or diet Coke.

Anyway, there ya have it.
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Old 02-02-2005, 02:03 PM   #6  
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Interesting. At 60 I have finally realized that I cannot get back to what I weighed in college - about 130. However, at that weight I wore size 10-12, though in 1960's sizes. My lowest maintainable weight in the last 5 years was 168, and I was wearing a size 12! When I started WW their goal weight for me at 5'4" and over 45, was 145. I know now that I will not look good at that weight, nor will I be able to maintain it. 155 is probably more doable, but like someone's signature says, for my goal weight "I'll know it when I see it!" Right now I'm more focused on eating healthy and exercising. While I don't see the pounds falling off, I do find my clothes fitting better. In fact, my jeans are loose everywhere except my waist. Once that gets down, I can go down at least one size. Funny, I always carried my weight in my thighs and butt, and suffered most of my life with the curse of loose waistbands. This latest transgression (i.e. gain) settled on my completely differently - in the middle, which of course makes my doctor unhappy, and my clothes fit entirely different than I'm used to.

On that note, I'm off to have a mid-morning protein boost. Tonight is a LBWO and hopefully a long cardio session. Beats listening to the State of the Union address.
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Old 02-11-2005, 08:22 AM   #7  
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I find the whole goal weight concept slightly unsettling. I didn't start out with a goal weight, I was 'just' going to change my life, and then somewhere along the way I got sucked into it. I 'should' weigh 150, I could push it down to 135. And at that point, it became more of a numbers game than a quality of life issue. BTW I feel the same pressure, perhaps more so, about clothing sizes.

Can I shave off 100 more calories a day? Do another 15 minutes of exercise? These all seem reasonable, I'll try it, and then the bingeing starts. There is a point beyond which my body just doesn't seem to want to go, and maybe I'm just not willing to push it there. I'm learning to be happy with my weight, but it is a struggle. It's work to remind myself that while my BMI is a little on the high side, my waist measurement puts me well into the healthy range, my body fat is in the healthy range, and my athletic accomplishments are more than I could have dreamed of a couple years ago. My energy and my relationships are good, I can eat more-or-less what I want within reason, and I look pretty good as well. What are 135 or size 4 but numbers then? How could that make it better?

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Old 02-14-2005, 09:40 PM   #8  
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I have a stormy relationship with my goal weight (hi, Pat!)

When I started losing my weight, it wasn't long before I had my heart set on a specific number (135, in my case). At 5'7'', that seemed perfectly reasonable. I was doing Weight Watchers, and there is (or was, in 1999-2000) a strong emphasis on the scale. My "range" was a stunningly broad 128-159, if I recall correctly, so I figured 135 would be perfect. Losing those pounds every week was better than candy -- in fact, it replaced candy!

I did hit 135, on the red-letter day of June 28, 2001. I wore a size 4 on top and 6 on the bottom, and my bodyfat was 15%. I was deliriously happy. But surprise, surprise -- I couldn't maintain it. Oh, it was fine for awhile (and I was helped by the fact that I had plastic surgery -- my body burned a lot of energy during the healing process). But by that winter, I crept up to 150. Now, several years later, I find myself maintaining at a size 6 on top and 8 on the bottom, between 142-146 pounds most of the time. Sometimes I get down to 140 and wear my size 6 jeans, and sometimes I even creep back near 150 and feel like a whale.

I guess it's a tradeoff. Maintaining an over-35 female body at 15% bodyfat is a thankless job and darn near impossible. Maintaining one at 20% is a lot easier, and it allows you to eat cake and drink beer (sometimes). So that's what I learned on the topic of selecting a goal weight.

I feel fairly comfortable knowing I can stay well below 150, as long as I exercise (nearly) every day: for me it is running and lifting weights, plus yoga. I also know that I could get back to 135 with a herculean effort, but right now I'd rather not. Someday I hope to get that drive back.
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Old 02-15-2005, 11:05 AM   #9  
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I get hung up on numbers. When I originally set a goal weight, I was advised by my very sensible, older group leader to go for the maximum in my healthy BMI range - 12 stone 6 (174 pounds). I was OK with this - or I thought I was - but a part of me hankered to get back to the size I was before I started gaining weight in my early 20's (I'm now 40). It also bothered me on some level that many people's starting weight was lower than my goal weight, even though I am 5ft 10, taller than average! I got to where I wanted, for a while. It was a good feeling, but it didn't last, and in retrospect I'm not planning to go back there. I really want to learn to maintain and unless I radically change my exercise habits and step them up greatly, I suspect that higher weight is the most realistic one.

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Old 02-22-2005, 06:14 PM   #10  
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Hi All Maintainers,

I love this thread, have come back to it many times. I'm finally adding my 2 cents! I think (hope) I had an "ah-ha" moment today and it relates to the topic of realistic goals. I struggle, and I mean STRUGGLE, to keep my weight in the 115 - 117 range. Many days I'm hanging on by my fingernails to keep my food intake down and exercise up so that the magic number on the scale stays under 117. I'm 5'4", but petite, and when I start climbing into the 120's I am instantly deflated and depressed.

Today I went out to lunch with my Mom. I ordered what I thought was a healthy grilled chicken sandwich, no fries, with a side salad. When I got the darn meal, the chicken sandwich was grilled with cheese (on a thin buttered roll) and the fries were on the plate even though I said I did not want them. I could have sent it back, but I didn't. Instead, I ate the sandwich as I was very hungry, then I started nibbling fries. Then my Mom & I ordered chocolate cake for dessert and the whole thing went downhill fast. Driving home, I could barely keep up my part of our conversation because I was so upset with myself for eating a cruddy meal that I really didn't even want!!

But back to my original point. Part of my obsession over today's lunch was tomorrow's number on the scale. Would it be over 116? I started planning my dinner of veggies only and telling myself "no carbs tomorrow, no fat, no snacking, no, no, no..." But you know what? I still look pretty darn good at 120. My clothes still fit and no one notices that I've gained 3 or 4 pounds. I started thinking I should relax on my "goal" of 115 because I really only see that number maybe once a month when I'm restricting calories & being extremely careful, otherwise it creeps up to 117 or 118, and sometimes 120. And although I'm a scale person who relys on weighing myself regularly to keep myself in line, I'm going to mentally "allow" my weight to fluctuate between 117 and 120 so that I stop having panic attacks every day. Because realistically, it seems there are so many more days in the month when I weigh in that range, versus in the 115-117 range, and like I said, it doesn't really matter. It's when I creep up to 125 or 130 that my clothes are too tight, and it seems like I can keep it at or under 120 since that is where I've been for over 2 years. Why have I been beating myself up for being 118 instead of 116? It just doesn't matter.

I hope this new mindset reduces my anxiety about my "goal" weight. For others who may be playing this type of numbers game, consider adjusting your goal slightly to be more realistic & give your head a break.

Lessismore

Last edited by lessismore; 02-22-2005 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 02-23-2005, 04:32 AM   #11  
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What an AWESOME post, Anne! And what a huge mental breakthrough! You're so right - so much of maintenance has nothing to do with our bodies. It's all in our heads and how we PERCEIVE things! I think you've taken an important step in maintenance by putting that number on the scale in perspective and giving yourself a more realistic range with a little *breathing* room. If we're going to be doing this for the rest of our lives (and we are ), maintenance has to be livable and comfortable and sustainable.

Way to go, chickie! You should print out what you wrote so that you can go back and read it whenever the scale starts playing mind games with you.
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Old 02-23-2005, 10:55 AM   #12  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lessismore
I'm 5'4", but petite, and when I start climbing into the 120's I am instantly deflated and depressed.
If it helps any, I'm the same height and 125 and I am perfectly happy here! I'm around 17% BF so all the extra muscles allow me to eat more! :P Have been maintaining around 2000-2200 calories a day, and I'm 37, not a youngsta ..

I had thoughts of getting down to 120, but I'd rather be able to enjoy food and not be hungry all the time so 125 it is. 130 is the 'danger danger' point.
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