We’re sleeping more, exercising more, eating more vegetables, and eating less of everything else. Our initial motivation is wearing thin and the looming question is: how long to I have to do this?
Forever! (Bwa-ha-ha, I have you now, my pretties!) No, wait! Come back! I’m half kidding.
The healthy habits we’re forming should be for life. You want to be healthy when you’re 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, right? I’m going to be one of those cool grandmas who roller skate with snow white pig tails. And my grandkids won’t be embarrassed at all. The healthy habits you form now will help you stay healthier longer.
So how long do I have to keep this up? The VERY good news is that once you reach your weight goal, you can stop losing and just maintain. Losing is hard; a “low calorie” diet for women is 1200 -1500 calories per day depending on how quickly you want to lose the weight. You can eat more when you maintain; around 2000 calories per day to maintain a weight of 150 pounds. That’s why portion control, vegetables, and general taking care of your body works so well…it’s a “diet” that you can live with forever. (Forever…bwa-ha-ha!)
So what should your goal be? A number on the scale? A pant size? (Based on which clothing, brand, right? I can be three different sizes in one outfit!) Let’s explore our options and choose the goal that fits us best. We’ll start with the scale; pounds, kilos, or stones.
Confession time: I hate the weight chart doctors use; always have. I never fit into them the way I should. Even at my thinnest in high school, with sports practice five times a week, I was “overweight” on the chart. Could I have been thinner? Probably. Did I look overweight? No. Let’s check the chart.
Click HERE for the surgeon general’s chart; I tried to include it, but technology failed me.
So, at 5’4” tall, when I reach my weight goal of 150 pounds, I will still be “overweight”. Yup, I still hate that chart.
Okay, moving on to BMI! To calculate your Body Mass Index (Body Mass? Who comes up with this stuff, aerobic instructors with the bone density of a sparrow?) To get BMI, you multiply your weight in pounds by 700. (For me that’s 167 pounds x 700 = 116900) Then you divide that number by your height in inches twice. (For me that’s 116900 ÷ 64 inches = 1826.56 ÷ 64 inches = 28.5) The healthy range for BMI is 19-24.9, so once again, I’m way off target.
If I want a healthy BMI, I need to weigh a maximum of 145.7 pounds. Not going to happen.
Sigh. See why I just ignored the scale and my weight for years? It’s like telling me I’m officially healthy if I become fluent in Chinese. Yes, it’s possible, but it’s not going to happen in this lifetime.
So how do I choose a goal that’s right for me?
I’m aiming for 150 pounds. Why 150? It’s close to where I was back in college (I’m not sure exactly what I weighed; we didn’t have a scale) and it feels reasonable. As I get closer to that number, I’m refining my goal. Muscle weighs more than fat, and sometimes the number on the scale won’t budge but my clothing fits more loosely…using only the scale can be tricky.
My new and improved goal is this: to stand up straight and have NO back fat indentations. I don’t care what the scale says, when I have that smooth contour again, I’ll be happy!
Knowing your numbers (ideal weight, BMI) can be useful for measuring your progress; if you know where you started you can see how far you’ve come. But you should set your goal based on what’s truly important for you. Your goal can be a lower cholesterol number, the size of your jeans, or weighing less than your fridge. Maybe it’s back fat.
When we’re aiming for our goal, it’s important to keep a proper perspective on our progress. This is especially true when we see no progress for a few weeks! When I started dieting, I searched for verses on food, diet, etc. There’s a lot about God’s provision and blessing, but the Bible doesn’t talk about weight loss because most people throughout history were worried about having enough food to feed their families, not restraining themselves from overindulging. My favorite verses for inspiration were and are 1 Corinthians 6: 12-13a.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.”
I paraphrased it like this: “I can eat whatever I want! But I chose what will benefit my body. I can eat whatever I want! But food will not be my master.” When I overeat, I’m not really free; I’m a slave to my appetites and to my body’s limitations. If “I have the right to do anything”, then I have the right to feel good in my own skin. This is the call to battle, the challenge to have my body serve me, rather than the other way around.
The last part is the perspective part: someday my body, food, and everything physical will be destroyed. It won’t matter what I weighed or how slim I looked; only eternal things will matter. When I’m fat, God loves me. When I’m thin, God loves me. When I fail, when I succeed…God loves me. So why lose weight? Because I’m tired of complaining to God that I’m fat and tired and have high cholesterol. I’m tired of my weight getting in the way of focusing on serving Him. “I have the right to do anything”…so I chose to have a body that’s an asset, not a liability.
Phew! How’s that for deep and preachy? Quick, swim up to shallower waters while I think of a joke!
I’m starting a new program, called the Pasta Diet! The Italians have been using it for centuries. Here are the few simple steps:
1)You walka pasta da bakery.
2) You walka pasta da candy store.
3) You walka pasta da Ice Cream shop.
4) You walka pasta da table and fridge.
From KikiPeepers (http://www.youthink.com/jokes.cfm?obj_id=445816).
I’ve always been against using a scale and the numbers they show as a guide for our personal healthiness. My body is very different than another persons at my same height…or even build! There are so many factors to consider when trying to find an ideal body. I
I couldn’t agree more!
Thanks for this reminder … I’ve been so stuck on the fact that I haven’t lost a single pound in months that I’ve forgotten to enjoy what I HAVE done — back into a size 8 (my initial goal, too), working out 4 times a week and feel better fit than I have in my WHOLE life!! Those are big accomplishments that I should be celebrating — and those last 4 lbs may (or may not) come off but I should at least have fun while I am trying!!
Amanda, that’s awesome! Congratulations on all you’ve accomplished! Good point; if we’re not going to enjoy our results, then why bother? 🙂
Thank you for the good perspectives and reminder to create a healthy way to live. Awesome verse too. I’ve needed that one a lot too.
When I’m a grandma, I want to still be able to hike all day through the woods, carry things that are “too” heavy, and still be able to eat foods that I enjoy because I’ve made it my lifestyle to eat well.
I have that verse on my fridge; great reminder!
Yes! I want to be that kind of grandma too!
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