Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Numbers game

Have you ever noticed how many numbers we use to define ourselves? Age. GPA. Salary. Number of bedrooms our house has. Credit score. Credit limit. And, of course, The Big One (or, hopefully, the small one!)...weight. I really try to look at weight as "just a number." I want to be more than a number. I want to believe how I look and feel about myself, how my clothes fit, how healthy I am is more important . But...BUT...the number on that damn scale still means a lot! It's a clear measure of our success (or failure), even though it can't really give us the whole picture, like how much is water weight, or "that time of month" weight, or that it looks like we gained but really it's only because we lost fat and gained muscle. It really should be only one measure of our success, but so many of us live and die by the scale! I only weigh myself once a week, because I know if I tried to do it any more frequently I would obsess over it endlessly, and really, I have enough I am obsessing about at the moment!

That said, this "magic number" is something that has carried weight (no pun intended) all my life. If you throw a date at me, I can tell you pretty accurately what I weighed during that period of my life. In fact, my weight is tied up in pretty much all of my memories - oh, I was skinny then, those were good times, or I was heavy then, I don't like to think about those days. Sometimes I wonder how my kids will remember me, or tell their kids about me, because I am in hardly any pictures - I refuse to let myself be photographed. I use the excuse "I'm always the one behind the camera."

I have been thinking a lot about my goals lately. I knew I needed to "nail it down" so to speak, but it suddenly seems like a Very. Big. Thing. To put an Actual Number out there, a target that I might miss, a goal I might not reach. I know, though, that without a goal, I tend to be pretty aimless. I know for sure I would not have run three days a week for the past 6 weeks without a plan and a goal . I'm not sure why it was so hard for me to do this - well duh, of course I do. I was afraid to set myself up for failure. Do I play it safe and aim for something I know I can reach and be satisfied, or do I take the risk and really push myself to be the best I can be?

So here's how my thought process went...In high school/early college, my low weight was around 140, and I considered that a good weight for my frame. I went up and down for a few years, then settled somewhere around 160 in my early 20's. When I got pregnant the first time, I was around 175, and for some reason, that is the number that has stuck in my head ever since as a "goal weight." In my mind, after having three kids and passing the Big 4-0, that just seemed like the best I could do. Every time I went to WW (numerous times - I've really lost count at this point), they would give me a much lower "lifetime" goal weight, but I would argue and say no, no, I am middle age, I have three kids, I have big bones, etc etc blah blah blah so on and so forth. I didn't really care what the "professionals" had to say, I had determined what I felt I could accomplish, so they must accept it.

Up until about a week ago, that was the goal I had set for myself. 175. It did not feel entirely satisfying, but it felt achievable. Then I started feeling like I was being kind of wimpy about it - I mean, did I want to do this or did I want to half-way do this? How hard was I willing to work? So, I lowered it to 165. I mean, that's close to what I weighed 20 years ago, so surely I could feel good about weighing what I did in my 20's, before pregnancy killed my abs and every gram of fat I ate took up residence around my belly or on my ass. But then I started reading some amazing blogs, women of all ages, Mamas and Not Mamas, who had lost 100 pounds or more, and I started to think...Could I? Would I? Dare I?

I didn't want to be someone who had to lose 100 pounds - OMG if anyone had said that to me a year ago I would have eaten myself into a coma stressing about it, but now, today, I think...I think it's doable. So, my new, official goal is to lose 100 pounds from my highest recorded weight of 250. 100 POUNDS!!! That's twice what my 7 year old weighs. Just slightly more than my 12 year old weighs. But you know what? I'm already halfway there, so I am going to keep on trucking, doing what I need to do, one day at a time.Ah, it feels so much better to have a goal!

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