Some thoughts on "goal" weight.
I have some extra time today (ok, to be honest I'm ignoring the mountain of laundry in my house and just getting sucked in here, but whatever) and am catching up on some recent posts. Now that I've read Elina's posts regarding her gain/dinner with Dr. C, etc., I have some thoughts to share.
I am 5'3". A "healthy" BMI for my height ranges from 105-139--a HUGE range. At my first surgical consult, when I was around 265, my surgeon said he thought 130 was a good weight for me.I secretly thought he was nuts, because my brain could not fathom the idea that I could weigh 130.
Really, I figured I'd end up around 145, MAYBE 140, and I'd be happy.
Dr. C stayed consistent at 130, and even said I could go lower if I wanted.
I continued to secretly think he was nuts.
No one wants to "fail" WLS. I mean, having 85% of your stomach removed is a pretty dramatic step, and I didn't want to have taken that step only to fail. In my mind, not meeting my "goal" was failing.
So what did I do? I set my goal higher in my head--not because I really thought that weight was better, but because I was AFRAID of failing. I did complicated mathematical calculations with body fat percentages trying to figure out what my goal weight "should" be. Dr. C thought I was crazy (and told me my math was faulty), and continued to insist that 130 was the right weight.
Dr. C was not afraid that I'd fail. He also has way more experience with weight loss than me (not directly, but through is patients). Toward the end, when I finally decided just to "give up" and go with "his" goal, guess what happened--I made it. He didn't make me feel like 135 was failure (in fact, he was open to me staying there), but he never "took back" his original goal based on my muscle mass or appearance or anything else.
I wasted a lot of time being afraid to accept the idea that I could lose all the weight (and then some). I was also selling myself short.
At my last appt. (not with Dr. C, but with is PA), I shared that I was concerned about regain while I recover from plastics this summer. She suggested I lose 5 more lbs, slowly, between then and June, just to give myself a cushion so I'm not tempted to do too much too soon. The Sarah who was afraid would have been like, "WHAT? THAT is OUTRAGEOUS! CAN'T YOU SEE how SKINNY I am NOW??" However, I have just given up and "surrendered." These people have earned my trust over the past 15 months +.
This morning I was 127.8. Will I make it to 125? Probably. I'm taking it slowly and seeing what happens. I want to be in the best possible physical condition before my surgery. Will I stay at 125? I have no idea. I have no concept how much (if any) weight the skin removal will remove, or how the recovery will go. But I know and trust that my surgical team will guide me through it.
I know there are probably people who think I've lost too much weight (based on appearance), even though my weight is nowhere near the bottom range for my height. My therapist was actually surprised when I told her how much I weight (she thought I was more like 110). But I'm not worried with what those people think. I'm worried about what I think, and I trust my Dr and his team to be a reasonable, medically safe sounding board. I hope every person on this board has a trustworthy team behind them as well.
I look forward to figuring out my "new" maintenance goal when I've recovered from plastics. One of the most helpful things I learned from Elina is that I should have a "line in the sand" weight--one that, if I cross it, means I switch from maintenance to weight loss mode. Most "normal" people who maintain a healthy weight do this--it had just eluded me as a fat person. I may one day get to the point where I don't need to weigh every morning, but for now, it helps hold me accountable to myself.
And being accountable to yourself is all that really matters, in the end. :)
My point, really, is that YOU are in charge of your goal weight. I hope you have resources like good doctors to help you figure out your goal weight. I also hope you choose your goal weight based on what is right for you, and not because you're afraid you can't reach a lower weight. I think Cece said every body is different--it totally is. That's why BMI is a range and not one set number. For some people, the healthy weight is "technically" overweight according to BMI--but before you put yourself in that category (as I did), make sure you aren't doing that because you're afraid of failing. You are worth this journey, and you are worth seeing it through until you get to goal, whatever that is, and beyond.
I think this post is rather amusing considering where you were (mentally) when you first started this journey. I remember how hard you would fight Dr. C and than end up doing exactly what he told you to do. I remember you struggling to give up some of the control. I remember your first baby steps... you have come a long way from that time and that mind set. It was hard for you to trust but you did the right thing grinding your teeth the whole way. :) I would sit there secretly smiling, knowing that you were working it hard, but looking for an escape clause from his style. I always knew you would be a great success, even when you two battled it out in group. I miss you. We need to find a time to do tea or something.
on 3/28/14 8:22 am, edited 3/28/14 8:22 am
Thank you for this post!
My my doctor does not give me a goal weight which i find frustrating. I thought 174 - top of my normal was going to be way too skinny for me, but as I am getting lower I am not so sure.
I will just keep chugging along and shoot for healthy and strong. I can't predict which number that will be.
im jealous of how far you've come. I hope I am in a similar place in a year or so. GOod luck with the plastics!
Great post Sarah. I'm 5'2" so have a normal bmi weight range of 101-136. I had 125 in mind as a goal, but secretly thought I'd end up at around 135. When I got to 135, I was ready to push to 125. Much to my surprise, I've ended up maintaining at around 115 (BMI of 21). I couldn't have imagined that weight in my wildest dreams, but that's where I seem to be holding.
Recently, I had a bunch of testing done for a longitudinal study I'm participating in and learned I have 21% body fat. I was surprised because that puts me in the 'fit' category for my age. As far as people's perception of how I look' at this weight, health professionals are always thrilled, people who didn't know me when I was overweight view me as 'tiny' and people who knew me when I was heavier view me as 'skinny'. So if I had to look to others to decide, I would be very confused right now!
I know I'm healthy and I love the freedom I feel at this size. And I do think that it can be hard for those of larger stature to get their heads around our petite size. We are small - hands, feet, heads, shoulders, hips - everything is proportioned to our small stature. It bothers me when people assume or allude that the small sizes we wear mean we are anorexic or at best underweight, while in reality we are just made with smaller body parts!
Ht: 5'2" | HW 225, BMI 41.2 | CW 115, BMI 21.0
Great read !!!!
As you tell your truth..... I was doing the "chuckle chuckle" yes, at your expense !
But, the "chuckle chuckle" is also happy that you found the clarity. You resisted it, we heard it, we saw it and as Elina put it you were looking for the "Escape clause".
If memory serves me correct you were dunk tanking and doing heavy math all of which is not wrong, and even if you did claim a higher goal weight you would have and still would be fine.
But here are a couple of realities, you knew what you were getting into, you knew you were in a tough program, in a nutshell you always knew what was up.
Ultimately any claimed goal weight is individual.
Lots and lots of current bariatric programs today would call 5'3'' 180lbs. goal and successful.
Personally I never gave much thought to a goal weight, which looking back made it a bit easier. I just stayed in WL mode till he said "stop your done"
- Goal weight is individual
Do most leave some extra weight on the table? yes, for a number of reasons but mainly because it is very hard to lose the last weight.
For me to lose the last 20lbs. seemed like it was about 500% harder.
The other interesting observation is that body image and eventual body weight can be influenced by geographic location. I notice this when casting for actors and models. Some regions of the US can vary 20lbs. from each other "in general".
But, I totally agree with your message, choose your own weight, don't be afraid of failing and you may be able to go lower than you thought.
As a very early pre-op this post really adds to my enthusiasm. The changes in your attitudes are awesome. I'm at the "no way I can ever get to that size" stage. Numbers on a scale I haven't seen since probably middle school, 30 years ago, seems so crazy. It will be an interesting ride
Ha, I remember when Dr. C and I first talked about a goal weight and he said 115-130 and I thought "you're insane". But I what I said to him was "sure why not" figuring I'd probably be able to kiss 130 at least for a week or so if I worked hard enough.
However, at some point I realized it was going to be pretty easy (my body was really meant to be in that range) and I embraced it. And I knew that 132 (the point where I cross over into normal BMI range) is overweight for my personal frame. So, I figured "I'll get to 132 and then I'll just stop when I like what I see in the mirror or the weight loss stops, whichever comes first."
So, like Frisco, I never really had a true GOAL WEIGHT. I just had a threshold I wanted to cross. And, like Frisco, I think that actually made it easier for me.
I also think this shows how insane it is to use BMI on individuals. It wasn't designed for that! I see all these people beating themselves up because they don't have a "normal" BMI when they LOOK AWESOME. Remember: Johnny Depp hasn't got a normal BMI! And here I can have a normal BMI and be pudgy.
You have to pick your goal weight based on YOUR body. And your willingness to hold to a certain lifestyle. Nothing else really works. The people I see struggling are the ones who see anything other than a normal BMI as failure. Or who lust after a certain number on the scale but aren't willing to do what it takes to get there -- often because what it takes includes behaving like a crazy person with anorexia! So they yo-yo diet and/or they beat up on themselves every time they eat anything "bad" even if that "bad" food doesn't lead to any weight gain or health issue. It's no way to live IMO.
on 3/29/14 3:58 pm
the BMI scale becomes a false indicator when a person is very fit. A lot of muscle mass can put you into the overweight or even obese range and that's when you have to rely on things like body composition as your indicator.
Like many of you, I want to break into that "normal" range. But after that it's up to my body where it wants to settle. I'd rather be a few pounds heavier than my ideal and be able to maintain that weight than to constantly fight to maintain a lower weight. I'm 5'8" and according to my wrist measurement I'm a small to medium frame. When I lose weight I'm sure I'll be solidly in the small range. According to one chart I found that puts my healthy weight range at 126-139.