This past February I set the stage for a 20 pound fat loss goal. When I set the goal, several people told me that was too much weight for me to lose. My primary motivation for dropping 20 pounds was to increase the odds that my left knee, which had been in pain for a while, would heal quicker. But I was never convinced that a 20 pound reduction would be optimal. In fact I had it in the back of my head that I’d lean out, heal and then regain. From the section What is My Ideal Weight? on the post How I Regained the Weight I Lost.
If I were to ask my body what it believes my ideal weight is, I’d get different answers. My shoulders, chest and legs, would say I look most muscular at 215. My abs might say 185. My face looks younger at 200 than 185. But right now only one vote counts and that is my left knee.
My goal is to lose 20 pounds and return to 195. Once my knee heals, I can decide if I want to stay there or go higher.
But as the weeks and months went by, I started to doubt that reducing weight and performing the knee exercises I had researched were having any benefit. I lost half the weight and lost interest. When I left Seattle and arrived in California, I had to adopt to a shared kitchen, new grocery stores and new restaurants. I also no longer had access to a scale. For a while I was playing around with a tape measure, but eventually I even stopped doing that. My knee wasn’t improving, but my sleep was great and so was my skin, which were two things that weren’t great when I was super lean. So I stopped tracking weight or inches or calories or protein and gave up the goal completely.
Although I plan to discuss the knee more in a separate post, I now know what I suspected. The primary reason it is not healing is because I drive a stick shift car in traffic. Since college I have been driving stick-shift hatchbacks. Not the best thing for someone 6 foot 2.5 inches tall. I’ll shelf this discussion for its own post. Back to the fat loss goal.
So last week I was able to weigh myself 3 times from 2 different scales. This is the first time I have weighed myself since June. My weight is the same. I was able to keep the 9 pounds off that I lost in Seattle.
Maybe I have found my ideal weight? Maybe I don’t have an ideal weight? I’ve gone my entire adult life wishing I was some other weight than what I was. When I was scrawny, I wanted to gain. When I gained muscle, I wanted to be ripped. When I finally got ripped, my face looked like a meth addict and I wanted to gain again. Back and forth and never completely satisfied. That lack of acceptance wasn’t healthy.
Today I am happy with my weight. If I lose 5 pounds of fat or gain 5 pounds of muscle that would be great, but if I don’t, that is fine as well.
Photo by Wade Kelly
Nov 12, 2014 — 11:28 am
Great post about accepting yourself and not obsessing over some arbitrary weight goal.
Similar thing happened to me. In the past 2 years or so, I would obsess about crossing the 85 kg bodyweight mark. I don’t why I chose that random number but I simply wanted to surpass it while still being around 10% body fat. I would constantly weigh myself on a daily basis and I would be consistently below it – around 83 kg. I just wasnt eating enough!
Finally, this September I moved countries, and I didn’t bring my scale. Rather than thinking about how I wanted to add mass, I actually started eating a caloric surplus. This past week, I stepped on my gym’s scale and I was at 86,8 kg. I surpassed my 85 kg goal without even realising it. Instead, I was doing what was actually necessary to complete that goal – i.e. eating a shit ton of food on a daily basis! 🙂
Nov 12, 2014 — 1:47 pm
Nice post. I think performance goals are better than weight goals. Something like 10 (or 12, etc.) clean pull-ups in 25 seconds.
Nov 12, 2014 — 4:39 pm
@Glenn – Did 20 consecutive pull-ups in 2008.
I find super slow reps to be more challenging. Have you seen this video?
A single rep chin-up that takes 2 minutes. No momentum. Impressive!
Nov 13, 2014 — 7:37 pm
I’m 6’4″ I drive an automatic Toyota Highlander and it has great room, my wife’s car is an auto Honda Civic and it is adequate (no shoes and I am fine); depending on how our torso/leg ratios vary versus each other I would suspect you would be fine in either. Also there is a company in California that sells seat rail extension kits or you can go custom like this guy did http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1459028
Nov 13, 2014 — 9:04 pm
@RBiser – Leg room is fine on my VW Golf. The clutch is the issue. If I didn’t have to clutch, my left knee would be fine.
Nov 13, 2014 — 9:17 pm
Oh, then I was just projecting.
I drove a standard cab tacoma for a while (with a stick shift). When I got to work each day and home each night my back would hurt for half an hour. No legroom and the inability to lean the seat back were no good (and hunching over to see traffic lights didn’t help). Switching to the highlander fixed it, of course that was 1) legroom 2) headroom 3) A reclining bucket seat instead of a non-reclining bench and 4) no contorting to reach the clutch. As a bonus cruise control is awesome! I even use it in the city if I can and rest my feet behind the pedals.
Nov 15, 2014 — 1:31 pm
If you look up on the Internet, there are dozens of articles that were published recently that says, in general, that we might be at the forefront of another major economic disaster. Any comments on that, an article, maybe?
Nov 15, 2014 — 6:54 pm
@John – Every day you will find financial doom and gloom reports. Someday one will be right. Some people will get the timing right, most won’t. I have my own thoughts about what might happen, but not a clue on the timing. I might put together my “2 tidal waves” theory in a blog post next week.