From a very young age most Americans are bombarded with messages about height and weight. Moms and dads refer to little Johnnie as being “over the 100th” percentile or “under the 50th” percentile for his age. These statements along with numerous images and headlines on the importance of body size and image can lead us to believe that when it comes to loving your body only weight matters. The challenge is changing that mentality. When deciding how we will measure success when it comes to losing weight it is much more important to think of the overall successes vs. the number on a scale. Here is an example:
Betty decides as a New Year’s Resolution that she wants to lose 40 pounds to get to her goal weight of 165 pounds. She diligently tracks her food intake over the next 6 months and meets her goal. However, during this same time she has found that when she comes home from work she is so tired that she barely makes it through watching her favorite program. She is also grouchy because although she has lost a good bit of weight her clothing size hasn’t changed much and those clothes tucked into the back of her closet that were three sizes smaller than the size she started at still don’t fit. She’s also finding that she doesn’t like the way her arms and legs look without long sleeves and long pants. So although she has reached her goal on the scale, she is still not happy.
Let’s make a better goal for Betty. Betty would like to be able to walk for 30 minutes at least 5 times a week, have energy to clean and do laundry after work so she doesn’t spend all weekend doing chores and she would love to wear the clothes in the back of the closet that she hasn’t worn in five years. By restating the goal, Betty is more likely to incorporate other behavior change rather than just logging her food intake to hit a number on the scale.
When setting your weight loss goals always look at the big picture. Setting positive overall goals will help you to feel much more accomplishment in reaching and being able to sustain the healthier (and lighter) you.
By: Molly McBrayer, Clinical Manager, Roper St. Francis Bariatric and Metabolic Services