New Bariatric patients often ask this basic question: “How do I determine my goal weight?”
The SET POINT:
Each person has his/her own “set point” that the body has programmed deep inside which lets the body know the amount of weight it wants to maintain. Basically, this “set point” was established near puberty; so based on if you were a slim or chubby child approaching puberty, this will determine what your set point” is.
Think back to when you were in your pre-teen years and then what type of body (slim or overweight) you had as you entered puberty. This will give you an idea of what your body would be comfortable at weighing again. Of course, you should add a few pounds because the matured adult body is different from the body at puberty. Take in consideration your level of activity as a child, your eating habits, etc. These are factors for why the matured adult body will not appear exactly as your body at puberty. For instance, at puberty, if you weighed 120 pounds, your matured adult body after weight loss may not return to 120 pounds, but rather may return to an adult body of 135 or 140 pounds. This is reasonable since you are not eating these days as you did as a child and you may not be as active as you were as a child like playing on the playground everyday, walking or riding your bike everywhere, etc.
Some patients are actually able to go past their set point because as a matured adult, they are more active and eat healthier than they did as a child. The task of truly evaluating your young life’s habits and routines will be the first step in understanding the number you want to expect on the scale once you are done losing your weight. Be realistic in this evaluation. There’s no sense or happiness is setting a goal weight that your body just refuses to accept.
Take upon a personal assignment this week to fully consider what your goal weight “should” be, then add a few pounds to that number for reality-check.
Go through this list below and write down your answers. This will help you in your evaluation. All of these questions refer to YOU as a pre-teen near puberty:
Did you eat healthy snacks or eat a lot of junk food?
Did you participate in sports, bike ride, swim, dance, or do other high-energy activities?
Did you sleep-in a lot on school days off or in the summertime?
Were you happy with life in general?
Did you worry about weighing yourself often?
Were you instructed to always finish your plate at mealtimes?
Now look at your answers you wrote down.
Are you surprised at your answers? Have you ever thought of these things being a part of who you are today?
Keep your answers and review them often and do this.
REPEAT the things in your life that brought you success in the past, and DON’T DO the things on your list that you know could make you GAIN weight after you’ve lost your weight.
So, now that you have the image of your young life in your mind, reflect upon your habits and routines you had then, and incorporate the GOOD THINGS back into your life today. Skip the BAD THINGS you used to do because they certainly won’t work for you as an adult.
In short, BE REALISTIC in determining what your goal weight should be in the end. Be kind to yourself and remember that if you end up being 20 pounds shy of your goal weight, YOU SHOULD REJOICE that you were able to achieve so much in the first place! It may take a long time to lose that final 20 pounds, so don’t despair. Just stay focused and keep doing what works best for you.