This week’s Weight Watchers Weekly was focused on setting a weight goal for yourself, as opposed to checking a BMI chart and picking a “normal” weight that seems completely unattainable.
Back when I started WW seven years and 40 pounds ago, I checked the BMI chart and saw that 173 was the upper end of my “healthy” weight range. That’s what I weighed in middle school; that’s what I weigh now, finally, at age 39. At the time when I chose 170 for my Goal, though, I didn’t know what I would look like at that weight, or even if I would be capable of reaching that weight.
But I decided I’m not done yet. I still have at least 10 pounds to go — and then we’ll see how I feel when I get there, and reassess.
I also decided that I need to get serious about reaching Goal, instead of just hoping I get there someday. So, earlier this year, I challenged myself to reach Goal by Thanksgiving. (Not necessarily staying that weight through the holidays, though, because I know better than that. I just want to see what that weight looks like on me before the Holidays hit.)
A couple weeks ago, Weight Watchers launched this new concept of choosing a goal that’s right for you, rather than you picking a number from the BMI chart to shoot for. I can get behind that, to a point. Pick a weight, reach it, decide if you want to stay that weight forever. I did that, and decided I wasn’t done. Someone else might do that and decide they feel awesome, even though they’re still technically overweight according to the BMI chart. Depending on where they started, being merely Overweight instead of Obese could be a major paradigm shift, when trying to shoot for Normal would just seem impossible – and if something seems impossible, many people won’t even try.
Along with this idea of Choose-Your-Own-Endpoint, they also introduced a spot into each member’s weight record to enter a four-week weight goal. I resonate with that. I had been plotting weekly targets to get myself to Goal by Thanksgiving, but got so discouraged at missing multiple targets that I was about to recalibrate and shoot for Christmas instead. This month, though, when Week 3 arrived and I was 0.6 pounds heavier than I’d been on Week 1, instead of throwing in the towel, I decided to see if I could hit my original Week 4 mini-goal in one week instead of four. It’s actually looking like I might get pretty close.
Anyway, this week’s Weekly had a page of questions to ask yourself when deciding on a weight goal and a plan to get there. They struck me as the perfect writing prompts, so…
Do you eat out or socialize often?
We eat out as a family every weekend — Saturday lunch and dinner, and Sunday lunch. I go out with my co-workers every Wednesday for lunch, and will occasionally get takeout on my own one other weekday (but not always).
Is your schedule regular or unpredictable?
Painfully predictable. Always late to work because I oversleep, so 8:30am to 4:45pm, with breakfast at my desk around 9am. Usually pack my lunch, with aforementioned exceptions. Pick up the kiddo from preschool after work three days out of the week. See the hubby off to work. Make dinner in 30 minutes or less. Eat. Clean up after dinner while my son watches a TV show or two before bathtime. Bathtime for my son at 7pm. Bedtime routine should end around 8pm with lights-out (but frequently lasts until 8:30). I get about an hour to myself before my own bedtime routine begins. Lights out for me between 10pm and 11pm.
Saturdays are a bit more freeform, with me on kid-duty in the mornings, us going out to lunch as a family once Daddy wakes up, then Daddy putting our son down for Quiet Time. Two hours later, we all get ready and go out to dinner, then come back and hang out until 7pm, when the bedtime routine starts. Sundays involve laundry and grocery shopping during Quiet Time, and dinner at home, but mostly the same.
Rinse and repeat. Unless it’s our once-a-month Date Night, or some other schedule-uprooting occasion.
Are you able to balance work, family, and other obligations with free time?
Oh, sure. I get free time during the hour between my son’s bedtime and my own during the week, and I get a couple of hours on Saturday and Sunday during my son’s naptime — although my Sunday free time is shared with laundry time. That’s plenty of free time, right?
What part does exercise play in your life?
I work out at the Fitness Center at my office two or three times a week, during my lunch break. If I didn’t take advantage of the Fitness Center, I would instead be walking during my lunch break, either outside or in the tunnels beneath downtown.
Whether taking a fitness class, hitting the elliptical, or walking, exercise is a mood booster and a form of meditation, in addition to helping me get and stay physically fit. Due to my spinal condition, where one of my vertebrae has slipped out of alignment, getting and keeping my core strong is also key to pain management.
Do you plan to follow your Plan scrupulously, or are you happier relaxing it now and again?
“Happier” is a tricky term. Food makes me happy — that’s why I’m in this predicament. In the moment, I’m happy eating sushi, or bibimbap, or stroganoff. Happier than a pig in shit. But I’m also happy when I see my weight trending downward, or when I fit into a smaller size of pants. So, in the moment, yes, I’m happier relaxing my plan now and again, but I have to be OK with not seeing the results I want to see. This week, I’m planning ahead scrupulously so I can enjoy a meal at the Korean joint on Sunday. Other weeks, I might be perfectly fine with not planning so much and going over my Weekly Allowance Points — and seeing the scale move up a tick instead of down.
Have you lived at a “happy weight” where you felt comfortable, balanced, and, well, happy?
In short, no.
The more in-depth answer is that I get happier the lighter I get. When I first dipped into size 14, after a rigorous summer of drum and bugle corps in college, I felt awesome. A few years after I gained it all back (plus 50 more), I lost weight on Atkins and I felt awesome again. Over time, though, the awesomeness wore off once I realized that I wasn’t where I wanted to be yet, and I wasn’t living the life I wanted to live, food and fitness-wise.
I’ve never not thought about my weight. Not since I was in elementary school. I look forward to reaching my Goal Weight, and proving to myself that I can maintain it, and hopefully stop thinking constantly about what I eat and what I weigh, and start focusing instead on how I feel.
The mindshift is happening right now. Slowly, but it’s happening.