Real Weight Loss Goals Versus Imagined Ones

A Gallup poll on obesity, desired body weight, and changing perceptions over the years caught my eye. The 2011 study, reported by Fox News, indicated that the average American weighs about 20 pounds more than they did 20 years ago. This is plenty obvious to me by just looking around the mall, visiting a school, or sitting at a concert.

What was of particular interest to me was the desired goal weight of the people surveyed.

Men indicated they wanted to weigh 181 pounds, and women said their ideal weight was 138 pounds.

Unfortunately, for many Americans, these are just imagined goals because so few people will actually lose weight and keep it off.

We are further away from those goal weights now than ever before, yet many Americans do not consider themselves overweight or think it matters.

On Facebook the other day, a friend of a friend of a friend posted this on her wall:

Honey, I’m cute in the face, and I’m thick in the waist. I look good whether I’m in cotton, leather, or lace. I’m beautiful, vibrant and above all, smart! And there’s more to me than my weight.  We all are not self-conscious about our weight. . .

For some reason this made me both sad and happy. I was happy that this woman enjoyed a healthy self-esteem, but also sad that she did not see the the necessity to get to a healthy weight, or seem to understand the health-related dangers that long-term obesity can bring.

The “ideal weights” from the people in the survey seemed reasonable to me, given that the average man is about 5’10” inches, and the average woman about 5’5″.  What is concerning is that even though we all have a an idea of what we’d ideally like to weigh, the majority of Americans cannot seem to get there.

Part of the weight loss process is setting healthy goals and taking the action you need to actually meet those goals. It is not enough to say, “I’d like to weigh 138 pounds” but not do anything about it, or to say, “I’m embracing my overweight self so there.

I was very excellent at saying I wanted to lose weight, but not very successful at the follow through. Unlike the woman on Facebook, I never really embraced my obesity because I was not healthy or happy weighing 300 pounds.

Diane Carbonell Before Pictures Plaid Jumper

Setting real, healthy goals and acknowledging your need to lose weight are one of the first steps to take when losing weight. So many of you have done that and I love reading your stories about how you are beating this obesity monster that looms large in America and passing your healthy mindset onto others.

Although I did not set a specific goal weight when I began to lose weight, I had some real, healthy goals for myself that I never lost sight of.

Here’s a few from my list from way back then:

– Be able to climb a set of stairs without huffing and puffing.

– Have the ability to run with (or after) my kids.

– Not wake up every morning feeling like a beached whale.

– Learn to make meals that were healthy and tasty.

– Getting under 200 pounds.

– Stop shopping in the plus sized department.

What were (are) some of your healthy goals that have helped you move past just talking about getting healthy and actually do it? Diane

8 thoughts on “Real Weight Loss Goals Versus Imagined Ones

  1. Susan Davis says:

    My biggest problem is not setting realistic goals which in turn sabotages my efforts and I give up and just keep hold of the 20 lbs! I have found a food plan that I am starting to embrace and it works for me….but as you say, YOU have to be in charge with realistic goals not the food…..you can do everything possible that’looks’ like you are trying to lose weight but if you keep putting extra food in your mouth it will never happen. I think I read on your posts that losing weight is 70 % diet and 30% exercise in that precise combination….it is difficult to make one happen without the other. Thanks for the post; I have been away too long.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      It’s so true that without putting the right combo of foods in our bodies and exercising regularly, weight loss won’t happen. Even someone who eats “healthy” can be overweight if they eat too much of those healthy foods. 20 pounds is so doable to lose but sometimes when you are relatively close to your goal weight, complacency sets in and making those good choices day after day is hard. You can do it!

  2. Julie says:

    Last year I lost around 100 lbs but now I’ve gained a bunch of weight back, like 40 lbs. I knew this was a strong possibility. It’s the mindless eating that gets me. Even when I mentally…and verbally say “no”, I’ll find myself mindless munching away an hour later. On a more positive note, I hiked/walked 8+ miles last Saturday and have a big hike coming this Saturday on the Pacific Crest Trail. My point is finding balance is HARD. I want to hang out with family and friends and not be a food Nazi. Thank for letting me vent 🙂

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      Finding the balance is hard but being 100 pounds overweight is harder – yes? You are smart to really be thinking about where you are right now and making changes before you gain it all back. I’ve been there myself and the balance is difficult but you can do it. I find that being firm in what I will and won’t eat is helpful and I also find that the less I say about what I’m eating to other people around me, the better. That way I just do my thing and let them do theirs.

  3. Mandy Cat says:

    My husband and I just returned from a five day trip to attend a family wedding. Looking around during the reception, it occurred to both of us that the people of healthy weight were: (1) the bride and groom; (2) most of the children under the age of what we’re guessing was 10; (3) almost all of the people over the age of what we’re guessing was 65. Of the remaining 70+ guests, at least 50 of them were overweight, some miserably obese. Of all the young women, I only noticed three or four of a healthy size. (They really stuck out in the crowd.)

    It was depressing to think that this is the future of America, especially since I’m guessing those thin little kids scampering around the lawn like puppies are fated to look just like Mom and Dad in a few years.

    • Diane Carbonell says:

      I notice the same thing around here in Tennessee. The adults of average size or even slightly overweight are definitely in the minority. I think it contributes to people being “okay” with being overweight because everyone else is too.

  4. Martha G says:

    Initially I wanted ti be able ti get on the floor with my house rabbits and get up without strain. I also wanted to be healthier. And I did both! Lost 89 lbs and have kept it off for over THREE year.

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