PSA: Your Goal Weight Is Too Low

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  • Hi, I'm on my soapbox.

    Yesterday I noticed a few posters whose goal weights were very low for their heights. I punched in the BMIs and they were about 16.5.

    I realize some people are naturally thin. Many models say they eat whatever they want and never exercise and are just naturally underweight. Fair enough. I've known people to be extremely slim without trying. I understand.

    But I think the key word here is naturally. If you are 20 lbs overweight and you are trying to be 20 lbs underweight... that doesn't seem like your natural weight would be in the underweight category. My boyfriend is slightly underweight, eats more than me, very little exercise. If he put on a bunch of weight and needed to lose, why would he try to go back to his underweight weight? His metabolism has shifted so that he can no longer naturally maintain it.

    Anyways, I have worked with people with eating disorders for a few years AND I've had an eating disorder myself. My goal weight up until recently was 99 lbs which is a BMI of 18.6 on the nose. Every person I've worked with an eating disorder had a goal weight well below the healthy level. They were never allowed to see how much they weighed which was lose-lose. If they saw their weight, they felt too fat and wouldn't eat. If they didn't see their weight, they assumed they were gaining and wouldn't eat. And many of them had been overweight too. It seemed that while they were overweight, they glamourized the thinnest people and figured out how to get there. To get to these unhealthy weights, you need A LOT of calorie reducing.. like consuming 500 calories or less a day.

    I just think that for some of the posters with underweight goal weights--you'll reach a healthy weight and be unhappy and frustrated with how you look... THAT'S not healthy. In fact you'll spend the whole time you're at a healthy weight being unhappy and unsatisfied. That to me is disordered thinking.

    So if your goal weight is below the healthy BMI... please reconsider. You'll spend a long time being dissatisfied with your body and your goal might be impossible to achieve or maybe only achievable through unhealthy means.
  • I think most people choose goal weights that are perhaps based on their high school weight or some other number they think it would be nice to reach, but I also think most people reevaluate those goals as they move closer to them and choose more realistic goals in the end
  • And then you got people like me who's goal weight is in mid-overweight My goal weight is many peoples starting weight... Hopefully we'll all work it out in the end.
  • Quote: I think most people choose goal weights that are perhaps based on their high school weight or some other number they think it would be nice to reach, but I also think most people reevaluate those goals as they move closer to them and choose more realistic goals in the end
    That's probably right... it's just hard to read about people suffering to lose X number more lbs and I think--you're already at a healthy weight! Plus working in a hospital, I saw many eating disordered people come in at their worst... and it all started off that they just wanted to lose some weight.

    For me, raising my goal weight to something more middle of the road helped my extreme thinking that is indicative of disordered eating.
  • I think most fat women have heard WAY more unsolicited opinions than they ever wanted about what size their bodies should be and what they should eat and all that.

    "For your own good" doesn't go as far as some maybe well-meaning but ultimately interfering and disrespectful folks might want it to.
  • this was nice to see

    i like you.

    hah. i belong to a board where a 99% of the girls have an eating disorder and was surprised at some of the posts at this board. its supposed to be dieting and healthy weight loss and sometimes, it makes me sad to see how obsessed some 'normal' people get
  • Joyra. OMG. We're like, psychically connected or something. I was just thinking the exact same thing about a 5'7'' poster whose goal was 115 or something equally excessive, like, yesterday. OMG.

    LOL, seriously though, I strongly agree with this thread, here. My goal is actually still technically overweight. I set a goal that is the thinnest I remember being, so that it wouldn't seem quite so unattainable. I also wonder if maybe some women on this site are setting goals for the thinnest they remember being, but forgetting how young they were, like maybe these weights were before they developed hips and breasts?

    I hate to see a person sabotaging themselves by setting goals that discourage more than inspire.
  • I started at 200 lbs. I originally set my goal for 150. It was a comfy, size 14 size (pre vanity sizing!) weight that I had maintained for several years in the mid 90s. It seemed attainable, I never thought I would weigh less than 150, I had managed small dips into the 140, but never swam any laps in THAT pool. I eventually revised my goal downwards twice - ended at 130. I weigh LESS than I did in high school (but I was never a slim-hipped, skinny girl like so many of my high school friends). The whole goal weight subject is pretty interesting to me - just remember, it's not written in stone!
  • Yes I realize this post could be controversial, but then again, not really. What's controversial about suggesting someone stay within a healthy limit? It was a suggestion, not a demand. And places like Weight Watchers won't let you set your goal weight below a certain point, even if you intend to lose more.

    MariaMaria, you're right, this was unsolicited. Also, I'm sorry you felt I interfered with and disrespected you. That was never my intention for you or others.

    I was just basing this all on my personal and professional experiences. Cassiopeia, you're right.. there's a lot of obsessive talk around here that I would think implies disordered eating or even body dysmorphic issues. I once read a post that was like "I can't wait to be thin!" and the poster was 5 lbs from goal weight. I wanted to be like: You're already thin! There's nothing wrong with wanting to lose those last 5 lbs or even 5 lbs beyond it but to talk like 5 lbs is the difference between being thin and not thin? It seems so unhealthy!

    Sometime between when I joined and now, I raised my goal weight. Part of me does want to lose beyond that. But I was just looking at pictures of me where I was 10 lbs above goal from a few years ago and thinking how unhappy I was because I still wanted to lose 25 lbs and 25 lbs is so much weight and I was just still so fat. I wish I'd had some perspective.

    I've gained a lot from this site from the advice I didn't necessarily ask for and from people's experiences that they were nice and brave enough to share. And I raised my goal weight because of this site, not because of a specific person, but because there is such a focus on health and lifestyle cumulatively, not a focus on how to be skinny or get skinnier (like some dieting sites).. and because of it I feel like I'm on the healthiest weight loss plan I've ever been on.

    Glory87, you're right too. Goal weights are not set in stone. I have no idea why someone would choose an underweight goal weight, maybe it was a weight they once were like Suzanne said. I'm just suggesting that a higher goal weight might make a person feel better about their body and their weight loss--it did for me. Extreme goals can lead to extreme thinking and extreme measures to reach them. I know it, I've done it, and I've watched many women's minds warp to the point they had to be hospitalized. But yeah, most of us our adults, we can do whatever we want with our bodies and we can read things on the internet and ignore it if we please.
  • This is an informative post, and I don't have a problem with it :].

    I have my goal weight set at 199. I have so much to lose and I don't even remember what I looked like when I was under 200lbs . . . I think that this way it will help me judge on a weight that I can maintain and be happy with.
  • Joyra, I agree with your assessment, but try to remember that you too have shifted your goal from when you started. I am changing too, from just last December. I joined for support, not because I thought I had the wrong plan...I thought I knew what I was doing, but it turned out I learned so much here, I realized I didn't know what I was doing at all...and I expect to learn a lot more before I'm through. So, I'm not just here for emotional support anymore...I'm here to learn from other's experiences and knowledge.

    So I'm not too worried about the posts that seem a bit extreme to me, because they are usually from new posters, and I suspect their attitudes will change some too as they start to travel this journey.

    Also, this site is huge and will attract all kinds of people...many with eating disorders (like me) and sometimes it just takes time to slowly absorb what we hear...because we aren't just losing weight, we are healing our minds as well.

    So, while I understand your frustration and desire to fix can't. And it's not your job to fix anyone but yourself. You can, however, teach by example...and by sharing your knowledge and experiences.
  • Quote: And then you got people like me who's goal weight is in mid-overweight My goal weight is many peoples starting weight... Hopefully we'll all work it out in the end.
    HA! for my height 5'8" when I get to my goal (200lbs) I will still be considered overweight or maybe even obese! LOL!

    I doubt if I will want to go much below that because I am big boned and have more than average muscle on my body. My BMI says I need to get down to like 160 lbs to have a normal BMI and I haven't weight 160 since I was about 14 years old, I think this would be an unrealistic goal.

    I'll be OVERJOYED to get to 200lbs!
  • You are right to be concerned Joyra, some of the goal weights posted are basically unhealthy and are going to take a lot of sacrifice to attain and this could do a lot of damage along the way - mentally and physically.

    I do hope Recidivist is right - that most come from new posters who will reassess their goals as they progress along their weight loss journeys and gain knowledge and experience.

    My own goal weight is the heightest point in the recognised 'healthy' range for my height and believe me, if I make it there, I will be singing from the treetops!

    Joyra, hopefully your post will help some people reassess their goals now to something more reasonable - thanks for posting.
  • Even the BMI charts aren't always much help. I'm 5'3". At the height (or should I say, the very depths) of my eating disorder, I was at 115 pounds, which is considered a healthy weight for my height. But I know for me it wasn't sustainable. To stay there, I worked out nearly two hours each day & was afraid to eat a slice of whole-wheat toast at breakfast. I hadn't had a period in two years. I had terrible difficulty attending any social event because I wouldn't eat 95% of the food available at any place we might go to. I wore really beautiful clothing -- but in the end, that allure wasn't worth it. The tradeoffs in daily life just weren't worth it. I told myself I was willing to, in effect, spend my life in training, like an athlete, to stay in those clothes, but I couldn't do it.

    I'm willing to be heavier if it means being healthier & having a more balanced life, with more time for friends & for other interests. I've set my goal weight at the very start of the healthy range, just past overweight. Maybe I can make it a little lower. I don't know. But I am very careful about that kind of thinking because of my past history. Sustainability is key for me this time. And humility. I'm just not willing to be superwoman. A commitment to being healthy is one thing. But the days of unrelenting will & iron self-control are over. That, I see now, was when the disordered thinking kicked in.
  • Saef, thanks for a brilliant post - it just about sums it up - it's about happiness and sustainability - not achieving a really low weight at a price - that's just not worth it. Well done you for overcoming a difficult time and coming out stronger at the other end.