When I started out on this journey way back in January of 2011, I picked a final goal weight of 175. It really was like picking a number out of a hat. Never having been this small before in my adult life (and, let's face it, the body of an 8th grader can't be compared to that of 31 year old woman), I had no idea what I would look like at 175, let alone anything smaller, and it was a nice solid number that sounded maintainable while also allowing me to keep my oh-so-fabulous curves.
Along the way, though, I started to wonder if I was selling myself short so I lowered that number to 160. Then you have to consider that both Weight Watchers and the BMI Chart have 150 as the high end of my ideal weight (with 120 at the low end). At first I thought there was no way in hell I'd get down to 150. Ever. That's, like, half my starting weight. Half myself. How does one even begin to process that? But as I've continued along this journey, the more feasible 150 became. At least it became physically possible, if not mentally.
Saturday night I went out with my friend Lauren and while discussing my weight loss, she said that was something that had never really occurred to her: that at some point I have to stop. I've had other people make similar comments to me, too. When you start out at 311 pounds, the end seems so far off that losing weight is all you can think about. Eventually, though, you really do have to find a stopping point.
Today I stepped on the scale and saw 175.2. Not only is that a total of 135.8 lbs lost, it puts me at just about where my original goal weight was. Knowing this day was coming sooner rather than later, I've spent the past few weeks deciding where I would go from here. Yesterday's run through cold Cleveland solidified the choice for me (it's true: running really is cheaper than therapy). Because the more I consider it, the more I think my original instincts were correct.
I am comfortable at this weight. Comfortable, not complacent. There is a difference. If I ultimately choose to stay where I am right now I don't think I would be settling or coming from a place of fear. I run and practice yoga. I have a healthy relationship with food and a healthy relationship with myself. I look in the mirror and I like what I see. I'm rocking a killer figure and look healthy. I also look at my face and know that if I lose too much more weight I'd potentially get into that scary, unhealthy, gaunt looking space.
I guess I look at it like this: Maybe I could stand to lose a couple more pounds, but I do not need to lose the recommended 25 that WW and the BMI tells me to (also, I probably have at least 10 lbs of loose skin hanging around so if I ever get it surgically removed it'll probably put me where I need to be). Fact is, I firmly believe that it is possible to be too skinny, even if you're within your "ideal" range (remember when Star Jones first lost all her weight?) The BMI is antiquated and doesn't take bone frame into account. Some people have a body type that allows them to be thin and it looks good on them. I am not one of those people.
Plus: I like being curvy. I like having a body with a lil oomph. And good goddess am I sashaying with quite the hourglass these days. Ms. Monroe would be proud.
I'm happy and healthy at this weight and that is more important than any number. Yes, I'm still wearing double digit sizes, but a 12 is a far, far cry from the 28 I started at. And, yes, I'll still be considered overweight but it's much better than the morbidly obese I was two years ago.
I confess that when I first came to this decision I was worried that people would be disappointed in me. I started out and was going strong and there is this weird sense of obligation to all the friends and family members who have supported me to push through and go all the way. But then I realized how utterly ridiculous that was because I've already done amazing things and they are happy for me where I am and I need to be happy for me, too. Plus, hello, it ultimately is my choice. Remember, you have to be your own hero and find your own comfort zone and make the decisions for yourself and nobody else.
So this morning, after weighing in, I changed both my Weight Watchers and MyFitnessPal profiles to maintenance mode. I honestly don't know if this is the end. This is a lifelong journey and maybe down the road I'll choose to try and lose the rest of it.What I do know is that I move through life now with real, sincere confidence not just the bravado I faked for so many decades and that means more to me than anything the scale says.
Whether I'm 175 today or 150 a year from now or 120 ten years from now, I've never let The Number define me in the past so I sure as hell am not going to start now.
How did you ultimately decide on your own personal "ideal" weight?
Love from the ashes,