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Goals and Other Mythical Beasts



I've had so many goals, even just this time around alone. I've made so many lists, over and over again. Even just this time around alone. (Yes, I know that saying "this time around" implies that it's just another ride on the weight-cycle merry-go-round. I don't exactly think that, but I don't exactly not think that, nahmean?) And I've had so many goals. I don't think I've ever known what was really reasonable to expect. I could intellectually process, sure, but I don't think I could really imagine being any of those outcomes personally. Even here, I was saying "I could live here" like fifty pounds ago. But I'm starting to approach a place that would have felt like a totally reasonable place to end up. I'm down just shy of 115 pounds from surgery just over eight months out. I weighed 217.8 this morning. That puts me 18 pounds from one thought about a goal and 37.8 pounds from another thought about a goal (the one listed here) and 52.8 pounds from yet another thought about a goal. 

I want to lose more than another 18 pounds. And given that I'm only 8 months out, and still posting double-digit monthly losses, I should be able to do that. I can feel pretty confident about predicting that, even though the idea of predicting anything about this situation also sort of feels like asking for trouble. But I want to lose more than another 18 pounds, and I think I can. Frankly, I think I can also lose more than another 37.8 pounds. I'm starting to suspect I'd like to—I'd like to fit into the size-14 Gap jeans that right now get up my thighs but not over my @*#; I'd like to see the cheekbones I've sometimes suspected were there emerge; I'd like to be able to pick any dress I like. I'd like to have a little room for bounceback, too. 

Looking at the patterns of people whose starting weights, basic situations, and results are pretty similar to mine, I think I can expect my losses to start to taper down to closer to 5 than 10 pounds a month reasonably soon, but not immediately. I've been solidly averaging 10-11 pounds a month (I only lost seven-point-something in February, but I'd lost almost 15 the month before) since the first wild postsurgical rush. I think over the next two to three months, 10 will get hard, if not impossible to hit (without making sacrifices I'm unwilling to make, anyway). Cautiously, I've set a goal of losing 10.8 pounds in April, which would bring me to 207—which would in turn put me in a good spot to try to get under 200 by the end of May. I'd love to hit 182 (150 lost) by my one-year-out mark (7/28), but it feels like a stretch. Then again, I've beaten a lot of my own predictions. We'll see.

One consideration is how long I want to stay in active loss mode. The vast majority of days, I weigh and measure and log; I push water; I log in here or Instagram to check in with this part of my life, to support a few other people and hopefully learn a thing and keep myself motivated. I've logged into MyFitnessPal every day since the first day I logged on after surgery—even if it's a day I've chosen not to log, I like to check in on how other people are doing, look over my data, even just count water. I shop and cook and plan my days around this. But I also know that I don't want to be a person whose eating/body/weight is one of her top three priorities forever, ideally. Too much other stuff to get to. Got a life to live over here. Then again, I also know that settling towards maintenance mode—defining it, figuring out how it works for me—is ALSO going to be a lot of work, and possibly/probably keep this issue in the top-three list for as much as a full couple-few years after active loss is over, and (especially because of my ED history) keep it in the top five or six indefinitely. If that's the case, well then, I might as well maintain the weight I actually want (within values of what's possible for me as a person and a body). 

Which brings us to the second difficulty, which is that I really don't know what that weight is yet. Some days the thought of being a size 8 seems appealing, sometimes I feel like I'd rather be a 12. Some days all I care about is how my face looks, and would happily make that decision (to the extent I get to make it) on that basis alone. And maybe that's fine. Maybe I just take it one day at a time and see how things settle. I'm curious and interested but not suuuuper invested in, like, a single-digit dress size. I'm interested in plastic surgery but not sure if I'll be able to afford it anytime soon. But also, it's nice to have numbers to look toward, even if they sort of don't mean much. 

In short, I don't really have a Goal Weight, and I'm okay with that, but I sure do have goals.


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5 hours ago, Gretta said:

I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks for sharing.

I really appreciate feedback like this. Thank you! Glad it was helpful for you.

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I like your attitude toward your goals - the ever-changing nature of our priorities in our lives makes it hard to predict exactly how we'll feel about things in advance, but leaving some room for this shifting seems like a really healthy idea. This is probably especially true if these are numbers you haven't seen yourself at in your adult life. I'm hoping that when I get closer to the neighborhood of potential goal weights, I can have such a flexible outlook. 

It's great to hear that you've been really diligent with tracking and checking in on the WLS life. Sometimes I wonder if I'm being obsessive about it, but I think in the early days it needs to be a high priority, sort of ever present in my mind. 

You're doing really well. 115 pounds in 8 months is fantastic. 

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@Jen581791, I think it's really important to not get lost in obsession about a particular goal weight, and I also think it's important to go through this process with as much focus on behavior and input (rather than outcome) as possible. I am not a fan of all the five-day-pouch-test pick-a-diet-plan stuff. It's just not my style. I have a deeply health- and behavior-focused surgical program, thank God, and for me, it's far more important to get to a place of balance where I can start to put things on sustainable autopilot than to fit into a particular size. I'm not trying to get skinny here—I'm trying to find a weight that works for me and that I can maintain without killing myself over it every day for the rest of my life. 

And yes, for me tracking and checking in are a big part of my approach right now. In no small part because that kind of work keeps me dealing with the feelings, keeps me engaging, keeps me in touch with what's going on in this part of my life. Keeps me processing. For me personally, I feel like that's what it's all about—if I can keep my head in the game and keep taking things on as they come up, I'll be okay. Once I start avoiding...trouble. So yeah, for me...ever-present. At this point, I occasionally choose not to track a day, or to go ahead and eat the bread, or whatever, but even 8 months out, I find that right now, being vigilant about my behavior keeps me feeling like I'm doing what I can do.

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It's great that you have a good surgical program - really important for so many people. Since I did my surgery in Mexico, mine is way more hands off (they're there anytime I call and call me sometimes, but...), partly because of distance and partly as a cultural thing - I think this is seen as a bit more of a mechanical fix in most other parts of the world. I'm trying to do a lot of the head work myself, but I know I should probably seek out someone to talk to professionally. I agree that just being really engaged is of utmost importance. Every one of my upward weight climbs in my life has been accompanied by/facilitated by a disengagement with the issues at hand, so simply weighing, tracking, and checking in on support sites is hopefully a good start for me. It sounds like it's working well for you.


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I struggled with a goal weight for a very long time because I've been overweight all my life - to this day, I don't know what 150 looks like. 150 was my goal simply because at one point during one of many diets (Jenny Craig, I think), I got down to 165, and thought - hmmm, I'd think I'd be happy if I lost just 15 more pounds. Well, that never happened.... that weight eventually came back on and I went through this vicious cycle a few more times before bypass. So, I think it's 100% A-Okay to not really know what your goal is. Your goal really could be a clothing size, a BMI number, body fat %, or a delta (i.e. 10 less than my previous lowest). Or it could simply be being comfortable in your own skin and feeling healthy and beautiful. Whatever you decide - you got it! :)

PS - I still leave my goal at 150 because at some point in my life I would like to know what 150 feels like... and not because of old age or illness. I want to be able to get to a healthy 150 and decide if I want to stay there. How amazing would it be to have that kind of choice?!

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