Body Composition Testing and Losing the Goal Weight Mentality (Part Two)

So where did we leave off — ah yes, Weight Watchers thinks I should weigh between 135 and 169 lbs.

I made what I thought to be a realistic compromise and said 175 sounded better. Actually it still sounded cringe-worthy to me, but cringe-worthy enough that I could get over it because I’d have reached my goal weight.

Goal weight, goal weight, goal weight!

God I’m sick of hearing that phrase.

I consider myself a reasonably informed person. I seek out many sources before I make decisions. I’m open to new things, and of course like a good little member of Corporate America I try to make my goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable BLAH BLAH BLAH. (Can we all agree that I don’t need help in the Setting Goals Department? Thank you!)

But this Friday lunch-break experiment sort of blew the “Attainable” nature of this particular goal out of the water.

Let’s Talk About Goal Weight vs. Reality

Let’s take a look at these numbers for a second and make a few assumptions, shall we? Within that goal weight (175 lbs) I’m looking to have the bulk of my body be lean body mass (bones, water, muscle) and of course some body fat. This is normal and necessary to live and also I don’t fancy myself to have Sarah Connor aspirations.

Whoa, it just got 1990s up in here! I fear that reference may make me sound 80 years old. But dude, she’s still kind of an OG badass, right? (Also though, much thinner than I remember. Hmmmm.)

ANYWAY.

So there are healthy recommendations everywhere for body fat, but generally you will find 19-26% is acceptable depending on your athletic goals. Let’s split the difference and say I’d like to be 175 lbs with 23% body fat.

Sounds average, right? (God, just to be average! Yes!) Now let’s do math!


Source

(Jesus, first a Terminator reference and now LOLcatz. My credibility is dropping FAST. :))

A quick bit of multiplication on this goal of 23% body fat at a weight of 175 lbs would put me at 41 lbs of fat on my body, along with 134 of lean body mass.

Sounds reasonable, right? I know they make supermodels that weigh less than 41 lbs, but I have finally (GOD, FINALLY!) given up my supermodel aspirations. So I think we’re good.

134 lbs of lean mass. 41 lbs of fat.

This has been the goal I have seen as attainable. Let’s talk about reality for a second, shall we?

Friday’s test informed me that I CURRENTLY, as in right this very second, am sitting on 147 lbs of Lean Body Mass. I’m probably sitting in a cubicle in an uncomfortable desk chair, but still — sitting on 147 lbs of lean mass.

ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY SEVEN POUNDS OF MY BODY IS MUSCLE, BONES AND WATER.

Fist bump, please.

The idea of that is major. That’s 147 lbs that I don’t want to get rid of! So first of all, WEIGHT WATCHERS, how the hell am I supposed to reach for that range that starts at 135 lbs? (Again, Weight Watchers: SUCK IT.) I couldn’t weigh 135 lbs if I had 0% body fat. It’s physically impossible.

Now let’s look at the high end of that range. To weigh 169 lbs I would be rocking about 13% body fat. Wanna see what that looks like? I hear Annie Thorisdottr only has 13% body fat.

Granted she only weighs 150 lbs, but the thing is, I’m pretty sure she eats barbells for breakfast. I am more interested in a life where I get to eat bacon for breakfast, and lift barbells when I feel like it. And this, I think, is where the turning point for me lies.

What are my goals for my LIFE? And how can those intersect with my goals for my BODY?

New Approach // New Goals

  • I would like to be healthy in the most basic sense (ie: lacking ailments)
  • I would like to have most of my health indicators not raise egregious red flags with the medical community. I mean listen, I’m not that invested in the majority of the medical community’s opinion anyway, but let’s just say I don’t want to be lectured about obesity every time I have a cold, you know?
  • I would like to complete athletic endeavors comfortably and for fun
  • I would like my clothes fit well (because I LOVE clothes)
  • I would like a closet that stays relatively the same size over time (Barring things like pregnancy, of course. I’m not crazy)
  • I would like to maintain a lifestyle that prioritizes treating my body well
  • I would like my body fat to be in the 20-25% range

Holy shit you guys, do you know how freeing that is? I’m already making tons of progress in many of these areas!  I prioritize treating my body well! My clothes fit well! I complete athletic endeavors all week long without batting an eyelash. I’m halfway there! And you know what…the others will come over time.

Letting Go

Aside from measuring my body fat and lean mass last Friday, this test did give me a new “goal weight” based on my lean body mass. That new goal:

189-198 lbs.

Yeesh! That still sounds heavy to me! But you know what else? It also sounds FUCKING REALISTIC. And very, very close I might add. It is a far more reasonable goal to “get over how heavy it sounds to be a fit bad ass who weighs 200 lbs” than it is to try and mold myself into a Weight Watchers/Dr’s Office/BMI “Healthy Weight Bracket.” So screw it. I’m not even going to worry about it anymore. In fact, I am pledging in this very moment to LET GO OF THE GOAL WEIGHT MENTALITY. I have other things to focus on, and this idea of a goal weight is only a distraction.

Yes, my body fat percentage is still in the 30s and I want that to go down. Lean Body Mass is great, but I am still concerned about body fat. But, honestly, can you imagine what it was 100 lbs ago? I’m trending in the right direction, so I’m just going to trust that it will go down. I’m going to concentrate on making more performance based goals, tweaking my diet based on how I feel and not what the scale says, and working hard on getting more hydrated. That was the other aspect of the test that was informative. I’m pretty darn dehydrated. I’m not particularly surprised, but it was a confirmation for me that will lead to action.

Wanna Test Yourself?

I can’t recommend this test highly enough. If you are making strides to be healthier, you just can’t go wrong with getting an overall picture of your physical make up. The scale can only tell you a certain amount, and even those fancy scales that say they are measuring your body fat and hydration levels in your own bathroom are not usually calibrated correctly. Do yourself a favor and find a place that does some kind of Bioelectrical impedance testing. Calipers can have a 5-7% rate of error because they don’t measure hidden body fat. Dunk tanks are more accurate but are inconvenient. I stepped on a scale (no problem doing that! ha!) and held on to some crazy electric devices for about 3 minutes, and voila! PAGES AND PAGES OF INFORMATION.

It’s changed the game, you all. And I’m kind of excited about it. When was the last time you said THAT when you stepped off the scale? Get some information that will actually help you instead of messing with your mind. It’s totally worth it!

*******

Did I leave any questions unanswered? Let me know what you think!

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