Scary Phrase

I’m starting this week by sharing some of my numbers. Right now, I weigh around 170-173. I wear sizes 12-14, large, in most clothing. I don’t have a goal clothing size because sizing is so ridiculous across brands but my goal weight is around 150. I arrived at that goal based on my body mass index (BMI) chart but I’m not married to it. The BMI has faced a lot of deserved criticism but it is the primary tool in the doctor’s office so it is the one I’ve used to set a weight loss goal.

This last twenty pounds of mine is often referred to as “vanity weight” though for me it’s also functional. I’m still 6-9 pounds overweight per my BMI and further, because I run, the lighter I can get the faster I can be, to a point at least. I still need strong muscles and bones and those weigh something!

Also, I have a healthy waist-to-hip ratio now, which is often considered a better predictor of health than your BMI number. Because weight stored around your waist is more dangerous, keeping your waist measurement in a healthy range, particularly as relative to your hips can reduce your risks of heart attack and other health issues related to weight. You can calculate your BMI here and your waist-to-hip ratio here.

I started losing weight in May of 2015. I lost around 90 pounds in 2015, around 15 in 2016, and I’m on track to lose 1 pound in 2017. You’ll note that I’ve really fallen off. This is sometimes called a plateau, though there’s no solid definition for that word (sometimes refers to weight, sometimes to fitness). The cause of my (weight loss) plateau? Eating too much.

It’s that simple. I’m eating too much to lose. I think I am struggling with the concept of weight maintenance. It’s easier to lose weight than it is to keep it off, so if I tell myself that I am perpetually losing this last 20 pounds, I never have to face the long road in front of me that is keeping it off.  Weight maintenance is the scariest phrase in the world to me.

We don’t really have a whole lot of data about weight loss or weight management in general. But the National Weight Control Registry has been tracking weight loss and maintenance results since 1994. Their findings are interesting but are limited by many factors (participation is voluntary, 80% of the volunteers are women, data is gleaned from a questionnaire). Like the BMI chart though, these results are what we have. Those who keep the weight off do things like weigh themselves weekly and exercise at least an hour a day. You can read more about their data here.

I am sharing all of this because seeking this information out has been one of the most useful components in my weight loss quest. The best advice I can give to anyone looking to manage their weight is to read, read, read. There is a lot of information out there. Some good, some bogus, you’ll have to weed through it all (including what I have to say!). But the results will be worth it!

Next week, I’m hoping to share a little about emotions!


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