If asked, most of us could immediately come up with a number; that number that represents the time we felt the best about our weight. It is that ideal weight when we felt we were at our best. I bet you can picture it now; there you are in your cheerleading uniform or wedding dress flashing your most dazzling smile. Now, you look back at those pictures and wonder, “Where did that girl go?”
It seems as if the years have dragged you, kicking and screaming, to a place you don’t want to be. You look down at the scale and see an all-too-real number that does not even slightly resemble that number you carry around in your head. Here we have the ideal versus real dilemma.
Reaching For That Number: Ideal vs Real
Here is an important thing to remember about that perfect picture of you that is tucked firmly in your head. Most likely, the “perfect you” was, at least, 20 years younger than the person reading these words today. A lot has happened in those passing decades. You have faced multiple stresses and undergone various medical procedures. Women, you may have birthed several kids; not to mention the hormonal changes that are currently sending your body into a tailspin.
It can be helpful to realign your weight expectations to match your body here and now. Keep in mind that our body composition changes as we age. Typically, our body fat percentage increases once we reach 40.
Healthy body fat percentages for men range from 8-20% (age 20-39 yrs) and 11-22% (age 40-59 yrs). For women, healthy body fat percentages range from 21-33% (age 20-39 yrs) and between 23-34% (age 40-59 yrs).
Instead of focusing on an ideal weight, you can achieve a significant boost in your metabolism by losing 7 to 10% of your current body weight. Then, you can reevaluate your situation at that point. Once you have established a weight loss mindset and healthier habits to reach your first goal, it can be much easier to set a new one. Keep in mind that the “ideal” is only a number that does not necessarily reflect your current life or circumstance.
The “real” you has climbed some mountains and has stories to tell. Undoubtedly, there have been some stumbles along the way, but your scars help to remind you that you have lived. When we idealize our younger, fitter selves we can focus so much on physical appearance that we forget the miles we’ve traveled to get where we are. This does not mean that you should not desire to improve yourself; however, it does mean that you should look at yourself without the rose-colored glasses.
Here is a fun website I found that has a lot of different weight calculators. http://halls.md/ideal-weight/body.htm