Thursday, January 24, 2013

My husband put a bug in my ear about maintenance weight

So, I was having breakfast with my husband before heading to the gym yesterday. We got on the topic about exercise and fitness. I said that I can see I'm bigger than I was this summer, but bigger seems HUGE, but I'm still wearing the same sized clothes, so it's not that I got all the way from a size 10 to a size 20 even though in my head I feel like I'm back to a size 20.

I then said that when I get back to my weight this summer (165), I'll probably be smaller as I've built up quite a bit of muscle this fall/winter. My husband asked me how much I weighed and I told him (he's known my weight the whole journey - up and down).

Then he said this, "Maybe that weight (165) is too low for you to maintain. I think maybe it might better for you to stay around 175 and maintain/hold that weight than to bounce around so much. If you have to work so hard to stay at 160, then is that a reasonable goal weight?"

My initial reaction to it was, "Well, but it's not that I've gotten to that weight and been stable. I started eating things I know I shouldn't. It's hard for me to know what a good stable, easy to maintain weight is if I haven't figured at that balancing act yet."

He then said, "Well, what I see is that several times in our marriage you've gotten to around 175 and were fit and active and healthy and looked great. Going below that seems to be where you start to have problems."

And again, it's because I never tried to maintain it - life got in the way and I messed up. And several times is like 3 times in 20 years. Is that enough "proof" that 175 is a good number?

But a few hours later, and after a workout at the gym, I'm asking myself, what is a good end weight for me? Do I shoot for perfection? One that is "ideal" - like the 25% body fat? Or do I shoot for something that is good and healthy, but easy enough to maintain so that I don't have to fight tooth and nail to get there and to stay there?

Especially with being overweight for so long (like 27 years?), is it even reasonable to expect to be able to easily maintain 25% body fat and around 160 pounds? (that's about where those numbers would line up). 

I know for sure that right now I feel and I am too heavy. I want to be a thinner and smaller and I can get there, but what SHOULD be the magic number or body fat percentage?

Yes, the final weight finds you, but how long does that take really to find it? I think it's going to be awhile for me as I can't possibly know what will feel maintainable long term.

So, what is a REASONABLE weight. What is something we should be happy with - that would make us WORLDS healthier if we were at THAT weight versus the heavy weight we are now?

I think that's where we as a society and as overweight people trying to lose weight get caught up too - this all or nothing mentality - like me wanting to be 25% body fat when at 255 pounds - still 20 pounds under my highest weight, I was 50% body fat!

Even if I stayed where I am now at 190 and pretty fit I am WAYYYYY healthier than I was when I was heavier, but I want more to feel better (and look better).

Someone brought up insurance will see me as still "fat" at 175 as it's over the highest normal range on the BMI chart. Well, this is true.  but... I will never, ever, ever be able to be 150 pounds and maintain it which would be in the "OK" range. Actually I think anything under 158 would be "OK". I would have to work out 6 days a week and I would need to eat 1200-1300 calories and I would probably have a body fat percentage around 20%. Do MOST people have to work so hard just to be an acceptable weight? is that reasonable?

But what about those extra pounds? It is true that the extra 20 pounds is harder on my heart. Sure, just as it is for a big, built athlete. Just like it is for large cats and dogs - they live shorter lives because their organs tend to fail faster than their lighter/smaller kin.

But I can't change my body build. 

I know there are TONS of people who say they have a large frame when they don't but guess what, some of us do. My 7 year old is WAY over the BMI chart for his age and height and has been since birth and never, ever has anyone say he was fat. His pediatrician says, "those charts aren't useful for him, so don't worry about it." Guess what... I'm his mother and he's built like me, just has more height from his father.  And not even as large built as they come! I've seen some really large built women who you just know could never fit on those BMI charts and be a "good" weight.

I will continue with exercise and losing weight as I don't feel THIS weight is good. I had a bod pod test done in January and will have one in March. I will do one again when I get to a weight I'm happy with and see what it says for body fat percentage.

So far, the bod pod, the fancy tanita scale at the gym (used by PTs) and mine at home all say the same thing. Which, if that holds true, when I was 165, I had 27% body fat and I'm definitely more fit now than then (with more muscle). So, we'll see.

I LIKE feeling strong. Plus, it 'supposedly' allows me to eat more. I cannot imagine how little I would be able to eat if I were not exercising and lifting weights! Eek!

I am not really answering the question yet of what is a good maintainable weight, but I think in my head I'm going to say anything over 175 is too high and we'll see from there where I settle, but I might make 175 that line in the sand (like that's helped me from going over it TWICE now). but I need to get better at finding and keeping that maintenance weight.

1 comment:

  1. This is a hard question, isn't it?

    I've been struggling to find my own maintenance weight, even after calling myself maintaining for four years now. I have inched up from the 117 I lost down to and the 125 I settled at for awhile to 145 on NYE this year. I think for me I've decided that 132-135 is a good target for me. Any lower than that and I can't do it. But - I've maintained that 142-145 for a solid year now. Should I stop fighting and make myself the best I can right here?

    I don't know if we ever find the perfect spot, as it seems to change as we age and our circumstances change.