The Skinny Daily Post™

Short, daily essays on weight loss and fitness
from a really average woman who lost 100 lbs.
and works every day to keep it off.

Journal Exercises, Toolbox, Eating, Exercising, Gurus, Rewards

Sunday, January 26, 2003  

What to Weigh?

The most interesting thing about losing a lot of weight is that once you’ve figured out how to take weight off and can commit to the new habits you will need to keep it off, you then get to decide what your “ideal” weight is.

For me the question has shifted from “ideal body weight” to “ideal body composition.” I need to choose what my ideal body composition looks like. What size, body fat composition do I want to maintain? That is, what kind of lifestyle do I want to have to maintain what kind of body? What does my body need to be able to do? What kind of image do I want to project? How much do I want to be able to eat? How much time do I really want to devote to exercise? Even after a year of maintaining my weight loss, these are still open questions.

I encounter lots of conflicting messages, thoughts, observations, of course, which change my mind daily if not hourly about what my personal ideal ought to be:

* My mommy thinks I’m too thin.
* My friends think I’m still losing weight when I haven’t really dropped an ounce since last January. I have dropped body fat, measured by two dress sizes down since last January, owing to lots of strength work.
* As I get smaller, so does my metabolic rate, because it takes fewer calories to support smaller people. I already have a lower-than-average metabolism, which will continue to drop as I get older, so how few calories do I really want to live on, me who loves to eat?
* When I look at myself in the mirror, I’m okay from the front. I’m pretty good from the side, but the view of the back reveals a reservoir of potential energy from my waistline to my knees, the appearance of which can be managed through careful fashion choices. But it has no where to hide in gym clothes. And I’m in gym clothes 10-15% of the time.
* Prima ballerina and supermodel careers are no longer options for me.
* The likelihood that I’ll be asked to consider filming a really tasteful and character-revealing love-making scene with David Strathairn if and when John Sayles decides to make a film about the short but dynamic life of the amazing Miss Janis Joplin, is highly unlikely. Besides, they’ll likely just slap a few more rubber parts on Nicole Kidman and give her the role. I just know it.
* I have clothes that fit now. It was a rather dramatic investment to buy all new clothes. If I get smaller, I’ll have to spend more. I’m cheap.

So… what is ideal? I’m healthy. I’m comfortable. I am, clinically speaking, at a good middle-range weight for my height. I project a healthy image, for the most part, except when I bum cigarettes from friends in bars… I can wear a pair of leather jeans without making people gag.

Except for those moments backing up to mirrors in dance classes, I’m fine.

Is fine good enough? Is fine where I want to be? Is fine stopping short of the finish line? Less than excellent? Short of World Class Performance?

I’m now empowered with the knowledge to go from fine to spectacular. From Girl Nextdoor to Fitness Model if I really wanted to. If that became my primary goal.

But you know what? I don’t think I’m going to go there. I’ve packed enough fitness work into my life. I’ve found the balance between time at the gym, time on the job, and time with family and friends.

I look normal. I feel well. There was a time not so long ago when I never thought I’d get this far. So. I guess. I’ll go get measured. Find out where I am. And this is where I’ll work to stay.

Hmm… I guess deciding you’re there is a kind of milestone, isn’t it?

As Mungo “Two Sheds” Toadfoot from the U.K., posting on signs off, “Knight of the Shedi, may the forks be with you,”


Measuring Body Composition
David Strathairn Fan Site
Janis Joplin Site
Ballet Dancing for Adults

posted by Julie |
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