While the traditional approach is all well & good, sometimes it just doesn’t work for everyone. Using the traditional Goal Weight approach, didn’t work for me. Have you considered changing your approach?
As I mentioned in my post about having a “Goal Weight,” I’m not a big fan of them. A large portion of those feelings likely stem back to my previously crappy experience with losing weight. I felt significantly worse day to day at 130 than I ever did at 142 or even 150. I also found, from my long term battle of willpower, that getting to a magic number on a scale wasn’t enough of a goal to keep me motivated & making consistently good decisions. I would do really well for a week and then I’d just “fall off the wagon.”
And then I started thinking about “why” I wanted to get to that weight. One of the first steps in the introduction to TD Nation process is writing down and sharing your “why.” In reading a lot of what others posted, the most common reason was for people to be around for their kids. Another common reason, especially among the morbidly obese folks, was to be able to do basic things like walk into work from their car without needing to stop for a rest. It gave me something to think about, but it just wasn’t “me.”
I needed a starting point. At one point someone asked me why I even wanted to change. In their opinion, I looked fine & certainly didn’t need to lose any weight. Technically, they were right. I was technically at a healthy weight according to that BMI chart. So what was my damn problem? Why wasn’t I content with a body that apparently some people envied? Those few minutes that I forced myself to think through it made me realize just how negative my internal voice really was.
When I thought about how I felt about my physical appearance, here’s what I came up with:
Not very positive. Especially for someone who’s supposedly “healthy.” And notice that some of the words don’t have anything to do with my physical appearance. Tense, stressed, weak, anxious, passive.
And then I started thinking about how I really want to feel everyday. Clearly the way I felt was super crappy and not how I wanted. Regardless of my weight or a “target jeans size” (which btw women’s jeans sizes are a bunch of bullshit). But, how did I want to feel at the end of every day? And I realized that most of it wasn’t a physical goal.
I want to feel strong. Looking strong would be a nice bonus. But I want to feel like I’m stronger than my cravings. I want to feel like I’m strong enough to make healthy choices. I want to feel mentally strong and not at the mercy of the people, things and food around me.
I want to feel and be confident. I want to make decisions with confidence. I want to walk with confidence. I want to feel content when I look in the mirror. And what I realized was a lot of that was tied to how well I’d eaten lately or how consistently I’d been working out. Not some number I’d “achieved” on the sale.
I wanted to be in control of my own choices & my life. There were so many times when I would just be “overcome by the day” and I’d skip a workout. Or I’d have a food plan for the day and someone would come by pushing a tray of cookies at everyone and I’d take one because I’d feel like I was letting them down or being ungrateful for the offer if I didn’t take one.
I wanted my emotions to be calm, relaxed & hopeful. I make better choices when I’m not anxious, exhausted & weak. When I’m well-rested, I’m eating healthy and I’m exercising consistently, I’m not as easily tempted. Not even remotely.
Sure, there are some other physical descriptions I want to feel such as toned, energetic, and slim. But those really take a back seat to my true goal which is to truly feel better about myself; to value myself and behave in a way that actually shows that I believe I have value.
It was only after I re-thought what I really wanted and why did I start to lose weight again. My journey stopped being about numbers and started being about the quality of my life.
Waist measurements and the scale provide a very black & white measurement on how “well” I’m doing toward a goal to lose some weight. But, at the end of the day, being able to answer the question: “Did my choices today make me feel strong, confident & in control?” with a resounding “Yes” provides me with so much more motivation & pride than a simple number on a scale.
What are your thoughts on a goal weight vs. focusing on how you want to feel? Please share in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you think.
Wishing you an All+SUM LIFE,