Up to now, I haven’t set a goal weight. Choosing a goal weight can be detrimental to long-term success. It sets a benchmark that may not be achieveable and can inspire feelings of failure (e.g. “I lost 50 pounds but no matter what I do I can’t lose 55, therefore I have failed”). As anyone who’s ever battled with their weight or disordered eating knows, that feeling of failure too easily leads to unhealthy choices such as too many calories, too few calories, too little exercise, too little protein, etc., all of which lead to loss of lean body mass and/or fat gain. That feeling of failure becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. So I have been hesitant to choose a goal weight; instead, my goal is to be strong, healthy, and fit, at a weight where I feel comfortable lifting big and running fast (well, maybe just not-quite-as-slow-as-I-am-now).
But after taking my weight and percent body fat yesterday, I started wondering what a realistic weight for me might be. The “average” “healthy” weight for my height (100 lbs at 5′ tall + 5 lbs per inch) is 135-140 lbs. My current lean body mass is ~146 lbs, although this is a rough estimate because handheld bioelectrical impedence monitors are not super accurate; so let’s assume my lean body mass is somewhere between 130 and 160 lbs. Even if the body fat monitor overestimates my lean body mass by sixteen whole pounds, or >6% of my current total body weight, my current lean body mass hovers right around the recommended “average” “healthy” weight for my height, a number which is also supposed to include body fat. Unless I starve myself and lose muscle and bone mass (the exact opposite of what I want to happen!), there is simply no way I will ever reach that “average” “healthy” weight.
At 18% body fat (average/healthy for women):
180 total lbs –> 147.6 lbs lean body mass (very close to my current estimated lean body mass)
160 total lbs –> 131.2 lbs lean body mass (very close to a low estimate of my current lean body mass)
At 15% body fat:
180 total lbs –> ~153 lbs lean body mass
160 total lbs –> 136 lbs lean body mass
At 12% body fat (low for a woman):
180 total lbs –> ~158 lbs lean body mass
160 total lbs –> ~141 lbs lean body mass (pretty close to my current estimated lean body mass)
If I keep strength training and getting enough protein, I will *gain* muscle, not lose it, and I seriously doubt I would ever have low enough lean body mass *and* low enough body fat to weigh 160 lbs. However, if I gain enough muscle, I could be pretty lean at ~180 lbs.
So 180 is my tentative goal weight. It’s not set in stone; not reaching 180 doesn’t necessarily mean failure; reaching a lower weight isn’t necessarily better. But ~180 lbs is possible. It’s only 15 lbs less than my lowest adult body weight, at which time I was not lifting weights or eating enough calories or protein. Leanness has never felt as achieveable as it does right now, with a better understanding of what 180 lbs might actually mean for me, body-wise.
Conclusion: keep lifting the weights!
Brunch: 2 cups coffee with cream, 3 pumpkin pancakes with whipped cream, 3 sausage links, 1 slow bacon. 4 P, 5-6 C, 5 F (estimate)
Lunch: 3 pumpkin pancakes, 1 sausage link. 1 P, 3-4 C, 2-3 F (estimate)
Snack: Greek yogurt, 1 string cheese. 3 P
Dinner: pork loin chop (5 oz), roasted broccoli (olive oil), roasted potatoes (duck fat). 5 P, 1 C, 2-3 F.
Totals: 13 P, 10 C, 10 F