Stop me if you've heard this one:
"How to figure out your ideal weight: A five-foot woman should weigh 100 pounds, so add five pounds for every subsequent inch, and maybe five more if you have a large frame."
Does anyone know where this formula came from, and if it has even the remotest scientific validity? (And really now, is anyone not going to claim that they have a large frame?) I see it repeated everywhere. It seems forbiddingly low to me, but maybe that's because I'm in a society where so many people are so overweight that "normal" is being redefined upward. I don't know.
According to that formula I should weigh 125 pounds at the most, and even at my goal weight of 135 I'd be overweight. And at my current weight of 168, I must be a heart attack waiting to happen. No, I am not exactly streaking cometlike to that "In the Thirties by 39" goal; at the rate I'm going, "In the Fifties by 50" might be a stretch. I know that I need to cut the calories and ramp up the exercise if I want to reach that goal; I just haven't been able to do this on a consistent basis, and part of the problem is that I'm tired of it. Tired of watching my calories; tired of feeling guilty if I want to spend an evening quietly rather than working out; tired of thinking of my weight every damn day.
It's causing a lot of dissonance. I'm not unhappy with where I am now. I could be thinner, yes, but after being Extra-Value sized for so long, I'm reasonably content with being on the high end of average. I like how I look in pictures (well, usually). Most days I feel fit and strong. My blood pressure and heart rate are good. Fitting into "regular" clothes hasn't been an issue for a long time.
The day after my Old Navy trip, I took a trip to Hecht's-which-is-now-Macy's. And I tried on a few more Smalls that fit me fairly well. I almost bought a $99 size S skirt before sanity and financial responsibility prevailed and I asked myself what, exactly, I was trying to prove.
But somehow, I've gotten the idea that where I'm at still isn't good enough. The BMI charts and that odd formula would say I'm way too heavy. Do I listen to that, or do I let my body decide where I'm meant to be?
And while I fixate on the sacred 135, I sometimes forget that the last time I was at that weight, I got there because I engaged in a whole series of unhealthful habits; it started with starvation and smoking as an appetite suppressant and went downhill. And that goes double for when I was at 120, the weight I'm "supposed" to be. (And by that point, people were yapping at me that I was too thin, hard as it is to believe.) Undoing the physical damage to my body from that regimen took years. Undoing the mental damage ... well, I'm not even sure that's a past-tense thing.
I suspect I'm also at something of a loss because I cannot remember a time when I was exercising regularly and eating reasonable portion sizes as a matter of course (yeah, boo to the bad pun). In terms of weight I've always been either on the way up or on the way down. Maintenance is the one trick I've never mastered. I just plain don't know what I'm meant to weigh when I'm neither attempting to lose weight nor mindlessly gaining.
Maybe it's 168. That number only seems unreasonable if I start comparing it to the "You should weigh 120" formula or the BMI that puts me at around 135.
It's a tough call. It's something else for me to mull over.
Many of us talk about this whole weight loss thing being a journey. How do you know when you're there?