The ideal weight. What is it, exactly?
I had to laugh once again seeing an “ideal” weight chart come up in my research. I couldn’t help but glance at the numbers and wonder what or who came up with them.
Not only that, I could pull up several different charts and be given different numbers to work with. IF I paid attention to any of that.
One thing those charts don’t recognize ( well a lot they don’t recognize) is your body and what you do or don’t do. They don’t address your nutrition or your body mass ( is it more muscle or fat? or a balance of both?)
If there is one thing I see that people begin to get fixed on as they lose weight is what they perceive as their “ideal” weight.
Sometimes it’s a weight they were back in school or when they got married. Maybe it’s a weight they felt good or most confident at. Nonetheless, they have an ideal weight goal they set before them to achieve.
That of itself isn’t bad. It’s good to have something to shoot for, something that keeps you focused and working towards your goals.
Often though what we see as our ideal weight might not be so ideal where we are now. Maybe you looked good at a certain weight in high school but 30 years later, it might be to thin for you. Perhaps a few more pounds on you might make you look better and be easier to maintain in the long run.
Sometimes people believe getting to that weight will make them happy. They will feel they have “arrived” and that there is nothing left to achieve. Perhaps they think at that weight their body will look the way they think it should look.
Whatever the reasons, it’s at the top of the list when people are striving to lose weight.
Back to those charts.
I’m amused at some of those suggested weights for me. It might not be apparent if you are reading my posts, or seeing my photos, but I’m 6’0 and solid. Those charts don’t take into account I’ve built a decent amount of muscle on my frame or my body structure. If I were to weigh in at some suggested weights I’d look…well… beyond lean. I’d look scrawny for sure.
One thing I’ve learned in the past few years is how my body can fluidly change depending on what I’m doing. In my heaviest part of my marathon training it was fairly effortless to stay on the super lean side. I was running 50-55 miles a week if not more. I certainly didn’t take in more calories than I was burning off. If anything long training tended to kill my appetite and not help it. I topped some of my lowest body weight and body fat numbers during that time.
However, when not heavy training my body tends to bounce back to what I think of as my “happy weight” or the weight that is most effortless for me to maintain. It’s also a reasonable healthy weight.
Yes, when I started on my weight loss journey a few years ago I had a distinct number in mind. I’ve since learned to allow fluctuations in that weight and that it’s ok.
Was I happier at that weight goal? Well, on one hand yes, I’m goal oriented and love nailing my goals. On the other hand, nothing earth shattering happened reaching it. One thing I’ve found is once that goal is achieved the work isn’t done. You work to maintain and keep it there. And that can become a very mean task master if one is controlled by numbers. If those numbers moved up even a few pounds from there, it could ’cause you to feel unhappy or not satisfied. Or if you’re smart, you make adjustments you need to get the numbers closer to where you want them.
Numbers do kinda matter though
Ok I might be making fun of charts but it is good to understand, recognize, and know your body does have a “window” in regards to weight that you should know and should strive to maintain. A few pounds over it should be cause to make changes to keep you in your “window”.
Obesity is a major cause of many health related diseases and is totally preventable. Obesity here in the states is at an all time high in adults and more disturbingly, children. Maintaining your weight in your healthy zone can prevent health related diseases.
If you are highly active or do activities to build muscle, that as well will cause numbers to fluctuate. My body structure is now more about a body fat percentage versus the standard BMI which doesn’t take into account an athletes muscle mass.
I have a weight that is what I consider my “in season” weight when I’m training longer and heavier and an “off season” weight when I can be 5-7 lbs “heavier”.
Both of those are “ideal” for me. I’m really not focused on a set of numbers anymore as much as I am my bodies ability to perform well, to be strong, and to be energetic.
I’ve also learned enough of myself that there is a place that is healthy and easily sustainable without me being rigid and constantly watchful of what I eat.
It’s a pretty free place to be.
Find your happy place.
If you have weight to lose, know what your “window” can be and work towards that. Allow that you might get within 5 lbs and be totally happy or see that you look good right there and don’t need to lose more.
If you’re highly active and engage in heavy sports, understand how your body works and the processes it can go through in and out of training and how those numbers may look on the scale.
Finally, once you know what that place is ( happy and healthy) it is easier to maintain it and enjoy life without obsessing over numbers.
Have you found your happy, healthy weight?