Originally posted 2011-08-03 02:04:21.
From the BGG2WL Fan Page:
Q: I finally reached my numeric goal..You know the one you dream about. Problem is my body does not look like I thought it would. Even though I’m loving my new shape/body It took me over a month 2 loose the last 3lbs. I made a new goal for myself 2 be fit & fabulous at whatever weight. Just wondering how can you tell if you’re body is saying..”OKay Enough..This where I’m supposed 2 be”?
I have an answer, but I think it’d call for a lot of explaining.
For starters, I remember when I first started out and the first thing I said was “If I could get down to a size 16, I’ll be happy.” I thought that size 16 would mean that my body would look the way I envisioned a size 16 would look. I thought it’d mean I had a flat tummy, big thighs and the booty of a thoroughbred race horse. What I didn’t take into stock was the fact that my body chose to lose the way it wanted, which meant that my loss pattern didn’t reflect my “fantasy.” What I also didn’t take into stock was that my size 16 didn’t quite look as small as I thought it did.
I didn’t realize that the body I wanted was, essentially, far more fit than I was at my size 16, which meant I had to hustle to pick up some weights. Hell, for a while, I was lifting my daughter – then, age 2 – as a weight. (Between me and you, that’s how I taught her how to count!) I didn’t realize what that arbitrary number meant, and I didn’t know that the size would guarantee me nothing, especially considering the fact that there isn’t even a standard for what a size 16 measures across clothing stores.
When I talk about ignoring the numbers, I’m a huge proponent of that because I learned it the hard way. When I was 330lbs, I couldn’t see myself smaller than 250 and swore I’d be happy there simply because I didn’t even remember what my body looked like at that size… I just knew that I’d be smaller, and anything smaller than where I was was good enough for me. Besides, losing 80lbs felt like such a difficult task, that asking for more felt like asking the moon to bring me a slice of cheese.
Reaching my goals was awesome, but it was still perplexing (and, I won’t lie, a little disappointing) to know that my goal number didn’t, in fact, bring me my goal body. So, when I say the numbers shouldn’t matter as much, that’s a big part of why. They can’t guarantee you the body you want. I could be a size six and still be flabby in the tummy area with sagging arms, or I could be a fit size six with a much stronger build. So, first… let the numbers go.
Secondly, I always say this but I feel like no one hears me – it is much easier to lose weight in the beginning of your journey than it is near the end. Furthermore, the more the weight you have to lose in the beginning, the faster it will come off in the beginning. Why? Because the further away from “your normal BMI*” you are, the more the “unnecessary” weight you’re carrying, and the more likely it is that you’re eating more food than your body actually needs in order to maintain that weight.
Take my body, for instance. At age 24, 6′ and 330lbs, if I wanted to maintain that 330lb weight, I’d have to eat 3,009 calories a day on average. At 174lbs? You only need 2248. That’s almost an 800 calorie difference. Per day. It’s easy to create a caloric difference in the beginning if, barring any extraneous issues (like, say, emotional eating?), you’re 100+lbs away from where you want to be.
However. If you’re 170 and want to get down to 160? It’s a caloric difference of, like, 100 calories. It takes hustle and burn and all kinds of other sweaty verbs that I don’t like to use outside of the gym. So, to me, it makes sense that those 3lbs took everything you had. The smaller you’re trying to go, the harder you have to work and the less you have to eat. A person who weighs 100lbs (and wants to maintain it) eats considerably less than someone who weighs 120 and wants to maintain it.
Not only that, but you also have to consider that as you lose weight, the amount of calories burned doing any given exercise is going to shrink. A person jogging at 175lbs is going to burn considerably more than a person jogging at 145lbs. They’ve got 30 more pounds that they’ve got to manage in activity! So, if you’re going from 175 down to 145 and you’re doing the same activity for the same time period, you’re going to notice a slow down and experience a struggle. It’s going to feel difficult. It’s supposed to feel that way. I haven’t even gotten to the fact that if you’re building muscle too, you’ll have to continue your muscle development routine forever in order to maintain your strength gains.
I bring all of this up to say, those dream bodies don’t come easily. Having those dream bodies are different from simply being fit, and thereby require a-whole-nother level of effort. So, do I think the body has a “settling point” where it says “enough?” No, but I think our minds do; and I think we have a personal limit regarding how much effort we think we should have to put forth, how much food we should have to not eat and how much we are willing to change to get there. And if, for you, that tells you that you need to go harder in the paint, then get down to business. If, for someone else, that means setting a point where you tap out, then get-to-tappin’. Only you can decide what’s best for you, and as long as your health is in the forefront of your mind, you’re bound to be better for it.
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