This should be simple, right? There are countless resources out there that talk about “getting to your goal weight” as well as lots of resources about how to choose a goal weight and they all use a variety of factors.
In my brain the idea of picking just one single number that the scale has to tell me resides in the same place as the idea of trying to pick up a sea urchin (yep, that thing). Do you want to touch that thing? Didn’t think so.
Why do I feel that way? Well, it stems back to picking 125 as my goal weigh when I learned “How NOT to do weight loss.” That was a really bad idea for me. Here’s why:
In high school (when I was at my physical peak), I weighed around 125 on any given day. On the surface, that’s a rational weight to pick. But, did you know that changes and “growth,” although not necessarily height changes, continue to happen during your early 20s. In fact, your bones don’t complete the ossification process until you’re 25? Even during my first year of college, my body went through changes including an increase in my bra cup size (which I actually found to be painful & frustrating). And during college, especially my freshman & sophomore years, I didn’t regularly weigh myself. In theory I knew my weight went up a little, but I didn’t drastically change sizes or anything.
To add to the confusion, according to the BMI chart which is one of the most common resources used in healthcare to determine whether or not you’re healthy, I can weigh anywhere from 115 to 150 and be “healthy.” But there is a pretty drastic difference between how I feel at 150 vs. how I remember feeling at 125.
When I was participating in my work program, I signed up weighing 143 (already in that healthy range). And when I reached the height of my frustration, I visited a friend who was a dietician and they put me on one of those wacky scales that will give you a print-out of your body composition: water weight, bone weight, fat mass, etc. That lovely printout will tell you their recommendation for your “lowest” weight based on those combination of factors. So, what they recommended was not targeting a weight any lower than 128 because if I did target lower than that, I would likely have to eat at a calorie deficit for most of my life (not fun 😕). Coincidentally enough, the lowest weight I reached while doing my work program was 128 and then I started bouncing around between 133 & 128 for months and months of misery.
So, do I pick a goal weight of 128? Something higher? Something lower? Should it just be a single number? Should it be a range? OMG, there’s so much pressure!! If I don’t make it to that “magic number” I’ll be a quitter & a failure!
Based on that perspective, what do I do?
Yes, I picked a goal weight: technically my goal weight is 132 (at least that’s what I have on my goal board).
Mentally I’ve set my goal to be somewhere between 129 & 135 on any given day. Yes, that’s somewhat of a wide range. I left it intentionally wider because my weight has a tendency to fluctuate quite a bit (between 1-3 lbs) depending on things like: the amount of carbs I’ve eaten recently (they tend to make me retain water) and whether or not it’s “that time of the month.” So, rather than get really hard on myself and hone in on just one “magic number.” I’m shooting to get solidly into that range by picking 132 (right in the middle).
Wishing you an All+SUM LIFE,
– SUM Sarah