Friday, June 3, 2011

Original vs. Realistic Goal Weights

Having a weight loss ticker is an awesome and dangerous thing for me. I love seeing how far I've come, what I've been able to change in the last year and a half, and seeing that star a mere 9 lbs away from my original goal weight of 140.
But that's the key word there... ORIGINAL GOAL WEIGHT.
When I started with MFP, I consulted the BMI tool and figured out that I "should" weigh 141 lbs at most to be healthy at 5'3". Not knowing too much about fitness and body composition at that point, I put that in here as my goal weight (well, 140 lbs). And I was dropping pounds fast to get to that point! By October of last year, i was right around 155 and I knew I could hit that 140 by time Spring rolled around and sundress and swimsuit season returned. And then came what inevitably happens at the end of a weight loss journey.
I stopped losing. Completely.
I managed to drop from 155 to 150 or so between October and New Years, but then it came to a hault .And since I've been bouncing between 149 and 152 without really straying much from that range (aside from a few really bad days around Easter). But for most people, that would be an awesome situation.
I lost 65 lbs! AND I'VE MAINTAINED IT!!!
I feel like I read the statistic that 93% of dieters (even tho I hate that word) regain the weight after losing it. So being part of that 7% for 6 months is pretty amazing. I've never thought once about returning to my old habits and gaining back ANY of the weight. When I have a long weekend at home or something, I just work a little harder when I get back and within the week I'm right around 150 again. It seems I've found a happy and healthy balance in my life and I'm able to stick to it without any major sacrifices.
And that's the key to this thought I've been having. Maybe it's time to hang up the "weight loss" mentality.Honestly, it's been stressing me out. Why am I not losing? Why can't I reach my goal? But weight loss goals are funny. When you weigh 200 lbs and you're dropping 2 lbs a week and it's coming off (relatively) easily, you think getting to 140 shouldn't be impossible. And then I realize what my body composition is.
I've got muscle! I can do squats with a 60 lb kettlebell. Man push ups. 100 lbs on the pull down arm machine thingy (yeah, no idea what it's really called). I can run 5Ks... I've even run 4 miles! No scale can tell me that. Even the body fat handheld thingy at the gym can't decide what my body fat is. But measurements do. And I've got a 28.5" waist (and a small pooch, but it's going away). And I fit in size 6 jeans! And most importantly...
So, 140 might be this number that i see every time I come on MFP, look at my ticker, and wish that star would move closer to it. But I'm starting to believe that 140 isn't realistic right now. I'm not going to trade off FINALLY being happy with myself 100% for giving up the things that contribute to my happiness. My boyfriend wouldn't be too enthusiastic about no more dinners in DC. Or if I stopped meeting my team at the bar after kickball games. Or if I measured and counted and obsessed over everything little piece of food that goes in my mouth. I've done all that before, and it's not something I'd do long term.
So, the verdict is that I'm taking a step back from weight loss mode. I'm going to call this "happy mode". It's part maintenance and part focusing on goals other than losing weight. Like
- Building more muscle tone/decreasing body fat %
- Running my 5Ks (and working on my speed and endurance)
- Finding new and delicious HEALTHY foods and keeping my diet delicious but nutritious
And most importantly, enjoying my smaller, sexier, petite body the way it's supposed to be. I'm not a size 2 in a bikini, but I'm a size 6 in one. And might tummy might not be a washboard, but it's not a huge gut either. I see parts I want to improve, but that will come with time.
So, today starts my less-stress approach to this whole journey. Moving from weight loss to happy. It feels somewhat liberating, and maybe I'll end up getting my body used to it and it will decide all on it's own to drop a few more pounds. I'll be happy either way. 

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