Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Had a freaking epiphany on maintenance goals!

First, let me say, I'm a bit of a "let's think about this a minute" kind of person.

I look at our behaviors and our history and try to learn from it. What I have gathered from that is a lot of the "experts" don't know jack squat and even those who do know something will say that there are artificial lines in the sand drawn for convenience.  And before experts, what did we do?

I thought about this a lot when I was pregnant. I got to thinking about feeding babies - by the clock or by hunger? Well, duh, we've only had clocks in our homes for a hundred or so years (for most people). You eat when you are hungry - not by what the clock says."

What about introducing solids? by the book of "6 months" (like we had precise calendars we followed until recently) or when the baby shows interest? Following that 'gut" meant that one son starting eating solids at 4.5 months and the other not until 11 months.

It can go on and on - how SHOULD we behave? What makes sense?

Well... all this time I've been tormenting myself with goal weights. By the charts and the books I should try weight between 122-162 depending on my frame size. Well, I have a large frame size and around 160 is "ideal". Since my teen years, doctors have said around 160. My doctor was happy with my weight when I was 168 and the other at 175.  My husband thinks 175 is reasonable to try to maintain without having to work so hard to maintain lower weights.

And my head couldn't quite let go of the "Well, the charts say." And even when I started to let go of the weight scale, I still was stuck on the body fat percentage range.

Well, to heck with the charts! When were charts invented? What was their intended purpose? What does it mean for me? Am I really all of sudden healthy if I weigh 160 versus 168? or if my body fat is 24% or 29%? Why are we slaves to the scale when people didn't even own scales until the 50s. Why did we all of a sudden decide "oh, I'm too fat" and based on what the scale said versus what our bodies and clothes were telling us?

We all have eyes. We can see if someone looks good or not - if they are pudgy or not, are fit, or not - sort of. Hard to tell if someone is skinny fat or a fit heavy person, but within reason we can see if we could stand to lose some weight.

A friend of mine uses her jeans/pants as a barometer to see if she needs to drop pounds or not. If the jeans start to feel snug, time to reel in the eating or up the exercise (or both) - allowing herself a 10-15 pound range of acceptable weight and not letting the scale determine if she is "OK" or not.

So, why do I feel like I'm copping out if I decide my maintenance range is higher than what the charts say it should be? Why do I believe the charts are designed to rule our lives when I don't feel they should in other things?

My eyes tell me that at my current weight 186, I have a bit of fluff, but not tons.  When I was 165 I felt pretty darn great. I did at 170 too. I work out 5-6 times a week with cardio and strength training. My resting heart rate is 58, my blood work is perfect. Why am I stuck in a "I need to weight no more than 160 to fit on the charts for being "OK"?

I know I keep talking about maintenance weight, but I'm needing to get my head around the idea of what is good for me as I've never maintained a weight in my life - ever. I was either gaining or losing at random with no thought to it. Well, I can't keep doing that as my habits were bad, but I think I need to get rid of this little bug in my head about reaching some perfection. Why do I impose these things on myself?

So... with this epiphany, I'm going to be more at peace with myself for letting the scale settle where it wants to settle with good eating and a good exercise regime. I know I'm not there yet, so I'll keep trying to lose a bit, but I'm going to be less hard on myself and this "perfection".

My idea recently was to reach the 25% body fat percentage to be considered "fit" on the charts. Well guess what? who says that someone who is 24% body fat is fit and someone who is 28% body fat is not? Again, who made up those scales and what do they really mean? How is that different than the weight scales? it's another head trap of "needing to be perfect". Well, screw that.

I will not be upset with myself if I end up weighing 165 pounds and have a 29% body fat (which is about what it was in mid-April). That is GREAT FOR ME and anyone who would look at me would agree - isn't that the better measure?


  1. Hi Melissa - I just found your blog from the 3FC forum. Wow, we have quite a bit in common. I couldn't believe it when I was reading your profile. Recently turned 43 - me too! Married 19 years - me too! Mom (well, I'm a Dad, but close enough) of 2 kids - me too!

    I completely agree with you about the numbers game. Actually, searching for info on BMI got me so depressed and actually led me to the 3FC forum.

    All right, I'm off to read your earlier posts!

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