“I’m five pounds from goal.”
“I’m ten pounds over my goal.”
“I got to my goal, but then I gained some back.”
“I just can’t get to goal.”
Goalspeak. Goals. What are they? What are they good for? Who gets to decide what our goals should be?
I’ve just kicked my old goal to the curb. Juliekins of Throesofwhatever.net, a blogger with an attitude about getting to goal, made me do it. Well, that is, she made me realize I long ago achieved the only goal that really, really, really matters to me. My blood pressure is back under control, my resting heart rate is normal-low, diabetes has been stopped, I have energy and much better health than I’ve enjoyed for years. I’ve done what I need to do to push off some really nasty health issues.
But. I don’t fit into the size I covet, a goal of mine dictated by… culture? I’m not sure. I haven’t reached the BMI number that tells me I’m safe, a goal dictated by a chart on a wall. I don’t weigh what I did when I reached my lifetime goal in WeightWatchers when I was 23.
Have I failed?
Juliekins talks about the problem of the “last 10 lbs,” those incredibly hard pounds to lose, the pounds that, if you never lose them, may flatten your ego, but may not make much significant difference to your health.
If I lost a few more pounds, the size-of-my-dreams would fit. But to maintain it, I would have to eat less than I do now, and also work out more. Is it worth the tradeoff? I don’t think so. Will my health statistics improve? Not by much. And they are already really good. So I wouldn’t get enough improvement to make the difference worth the effort. What is a smaller size worth? For me, it’s not worth giving up the occasional ice cream cone. Not worth the grind. Not worth stepping up my workouts still more.
So I’m refocusing on my original goals, my own goals. They have to do with bloodwork and blood pressure, resting heart rate and wellbeing. And staying the size I am now so I don’t have to invest in yet another wardrobe.
Let’s remember that the body mass index, the diet program weight tables, the insurance charts, are all guidelines based on averages. You are not average. You are you. Your skeleton, your muscles mass, your heritage, your family, your life, your way of being in the world should all factor into your goal that you set for your self.
So, if you’ve struggled for months and months to lose that last five pounds, you might ask yourself if you really need to lose it and why?
If your goal is your health, body weight isn’t a very good measure of your goal when the issue is a few pounds.
If your goal is about beauty, about a size, think some more. Consider what you need beauty for. Exactly how beautiful do you need or want to be, and why? How beautiful do your friends think you already are? What does beauty mean to you? What does it get you? What is it good for? It’s probably naive to completely dismiss beauty as a reason to get fit. Few of us can ignore it in others much less ourselves. We may wish it didn’t matter, but millions of years of habit says it does matter. But it matters in different ways and in different degrees depending on your stage and station in life.
Understand this, though, beauty isn’t a size. Beauty can’t possibly be a number on a scale, because no one but you sees that. If beauty is the reason for our fitness efforts, then we owe it to ourselves to be specific about what we want, and be honest about why we want it, so that, at the very least, we know when we’ve arrived, and won’t spend a lifetime perpetually feeling we have never arrived because “thinner is better.”
Above all, let your goals be clear and be your own. And try to know when it’s time to change that goal to one that makes more sense for who you are now.
I will if you will.