THE MAGIC NUMBER
We probably all have been conditioned to have a number in our head that spells success in the weight loss game. What is your ideal weight? What magic number do you have in your head? Somewhere along the line you figured out the number you are now is too high.
Years ago, when I was young (early 20’s) I really didn’t know what I weighed. I knew it was a bit too much than it should be. I guessed it to be about 70kg. I don’t know how I come up with that number. I never weighed myself, so didn’t have a clue. One day I jumped on the scales and found myself to weigh 78kgs. I was a bit shocked that my estimate was so out. I was nearly 80kg!
Another thing I have figured out is that your ideal weight varies over time. Considering over the years I have nearly gotten to 100kg, 78kg seems quite ok! It also depends on your age. As a young teenager growing up, yours and other people’s standards are quite high. You’re supposed to be the leanest and fittest as a 16-year-old. As a woman heading towards my 50’s (not that I look a day older over 35) I feel the standard has gradually dropped. It appears it is more socially acceptable to weigh more the older you get. This may or may not be good for your efforts.
This can perhaps have you confused about what is your ideal weight. Should you still want to be a size 8 if you’re not 20 anymore? The answer lies within yourself. What do YOU want? It shouldn’t matter about your age or whether you’ve had children or whether you’ve hit menopause or not!
WILL I EVER LOOK LIKE A SUPERMODEL?
The facts are if you’re 20 and 6 foot tall, yes you could look like a supermodel if you lost weight! Personally I’m 46 and 5 foot 3. I don’t believe I will. I don’t know any supermodels that age and height. You need to be aware that losing weight isn’t going to automatically make you look like a supermodel, even if you get down to the same size as one. This is something I wish I had known as I was losing weight. The fact is, unless you commit to the exercise regimes people like Michelle Bridges or Elle MacPherson have, and are their twin sister it’s unlikely you’re going to look EXACTLY like that. And we all know some of the images we see are touched up any way so don’t stress!
I find reassurance to think if I ate like Michelle Bridges, exercised like Michelle Bridges I could look SOMETHING like her and my age is not a factor. She’s roughly my age and height! Look around you. If others like you are doing it, you can too.
My ideal weight has always been 65kg. I came up with that because somewhere in conversation my best friend told me she weighed 65kg. She is roughly the same height as me and I always have thought she has a very nice figure. I wanted to have a body like hers. Of course our genetics were a little different. I had bigger boobs and a bigger waist to hip ratio than her, but I figured 65kg was a pretty good guide for me.
THE IMAGE IN YOUR HEAD
Matching the number with the picture you have in your head of what you’re going to look like is really guesswork. Until you get there how will you really know? Are we prone to just not being happy with our weight no matter what? That’s why I believe, if you become a little more focussed on your feelings you could almost ignore the number on the scale or the size on the tag.
I did get to 65kg, in fact I got to 64kg. I was extremely happy that I got to my ideal weight, BUT I didn’t feel good enough. I looked in the mirror and decided I still had the same wide hips and fat thighs! I didn’t match the picture in my head! What I really wanted was to have thighs that I could be happy to walk around in, bare at the beach. It was the indicator I had chosen years ago that would mark my success. I had decided 65kg was my magic number but it wasn’t the feeling I was really after. In retrospect maybe I should have paid more attention to thigh toning than a number on the scales. In my mind, 65kg on the scales with still fat wobbly thighs was not a true win. And back to eating I went.
STEPS TO FINDING YOUR IDEAL WEIGHT
FIND YOUR TRUE WIN
To find your ideal weight, you have to first figure out what that means for you. I don’t believe it can just be a number on the scales, or the size of the jeans you wore when you were 20. Or just wanting to go to the shops and NOT have to look in the PLUS size section.
Your ideal weight cannot just be a number on the scale or a size. Look a little deeper into it. What is it that you really want? You might find it’s more about a certain feeling.
Is it you want to feel confident? Do you want to feel happy to finally do some travelling and fitting comfortably in an aeroplane seat? Do you simply want to walk the kids to school without feeling puffed and feeling embarrassed? Do you want to go to the next family gathering and finally not be the fat cousin and feel really good about yourself? It could be all of these feelings and more! Get a pen and paper and write all the feelings you want. Determine the feeling you want and go from there.
At the end of the day, a number on the scales might not give you what you really want. It’s very different for everyone and you have to figure out what that is for you, when you finally decide it’s time to lose weight. It will help focus and motivate you if you know what you’re working towards. Your goal can always change as you go a long and reassess things but you should start somewhere. Blindly just wanting to ‘lose weight’ won’t keep you motivated enough.
CHOOSE A NUMBER AS A GUIDE
Having said all that I know that most of you will still want to have a number in mind. As long as you have one as a simple guide of your efforts and not the be all and end all. (Read my post about how often you should weigh yourself here.) But how to choose one? Here’s 3 steps you might find useful.
If there has been a time in your life, that you remember being happy with your body and your weight use that as your guide. Don’t worry if that was when you were 21 and you’re now 52! Sure, some things have changed but not that much! It’s all physically possible otherwise people like Michelle Bridges (late 40’s) and Elle McPherson (50’s) wouldn’t have the bodies they have now. Age doesn’t mean you can’t achieve that goal.
Like I did, maybe you could look at friends, or relatives with similar height and genetics that might give you an indication on how you might want to look. If like me you don’t remember ever being happy with a weight, this could help. Yes I know we’re not supposed to compare and everyone is genetically different etc etc. BUT this can just be a guide.
Check out a BMI calculator like the one here to pick a number. Keeping in mind this too has its limitations. The good thing about the BMI calculators is that it gives you a range to choose from. I would choose the high-end for starters. It’s always a good feeling to know that you’re within a healthy BMI range.
IN A NUTSHELL
You need to have a think on what you’d really like to achieve and look and feel like. I would like to FEEL good walking in my bathers at the beach. Determine what you would like to FEEL and aim for that!
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