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Goal Weight

Goal Weight

I lost .2 at weigh-in this morning.  Once again, I was expecting more – I had a particularly good week.  In fact, according to my scale at home, I was down a full pound as of yesterday morning. 

But then I went out for dinner last night to celebrate my boyfriend’s father’s birthday, and even though I was careful and followed all of my own rules about dining out (see my post about Surviving Restaurants), I know from experience that a bigger meal the night before weigh-in typically results in a small loss or a slight gain.  But refusing to go out to dinner would, to me, be like letting the scale control my life – so even though I didn’t get the number I wanted, I still know that I had a great week.  I’ll just have to deal.

This morning I weighed in with a receptionist who has lost over 120 pounds, and has managed to keep his weight off for many years.  He really seems to “get” it when it comes to what it takes to maintain weight loss, and is always quick to offer encouragement, support, and advice when I visit him at the scale. 

He knows I’ve been on Weight Watchers for over two years, but today was the first time he has ever asked if I’ve set my “goal weight” yet.

(For those of you who don’t know, you must set a goal weight that falls within an appropriate BMI for your height in order to begin your “maintenance” phase and attain “lifetime” status on Weight Watchers.  Your only other option is to present a signed doctor’s note to your leader that indicates you can weigh something beyond what their BMI charts indicate.)

I immediately came back with an ”absolutely not.”  I told him that I know I’m nowhere near where I need to be, and I’m not ready to nail down a number just yet.  I truly believe that a large part of my success on this program comes from not obsessing over the big picture.  When I first started losing weight, instead of stressing over the fact that I needed to lose over 100 pounds, I instead focused on losing just 5 pounds at a time.  I poured all of my efforts into losing 5 pounds, then 10, then 15, then 20 and moving forward from there.  These mini goals were attainable, and thus I never felt overwhelmed by the road ahead.  I knew I’d be more likely to quit if I sat down and actually thought about the enormity of losing 100+ pounds, and what it was going to take to achieve that goal.

He asked me my height, and I told him I was 5’4.  He looked down at his BMI chart and said, “oh, wow, that’s another 30 pounds you would have to lose.” 

He then looks up at me and says, “you know, you’re so thin already, you don’t want to go too far.”  He advised me to consider getting a doctor’s note as soon as I reached a weight where I was “comfortable.” 

Most people would have taken this as a compliment.  My mind was reeling that someone would ever refer to me as “thin!”   However, I perceived this as him telling me that I can’t do it.  Surely he must mean that he has no faith that I can lose 30 more pounds.  He has been watching me struggle with the same 5 pounds for a year, so he’s essentially telling me I should focus on losing a little bit more weight, get my doctor to sign off on whatever the scale says, and throw in the towel.

As much as I would love to think that I could lose 10 or 15 more pounds and declare myself at “goal,” at the same time, I don’t want to feel as though I’m giving up just because it’s difficult, or that I’m taking the easy way out. 

My main reason for wanting to lose weight wasn’t to wear cute clothes or get hit on at the bar.  It wasn’t to fit into a size 2 or weigh any particular number.  I wanted to lose weight because, for the first time in my life, I wanted to be “healthy.”  All I wanted was to feel confident enough to look someone in the eye when I talk to them,  or have the ability to get up off the couch and do something.  Of course I’m thrilled that I can shop in any store now, and that I’m not too self-conscious to wear girly dresses or bare my arms in a tank top, but my ultimate goal is to experience life not at someone who is “obese,” not as someone who is “overweight,” but as an average-sized, healthy, physically fit person. 

I want to know what it’s like to be comfortable in my own skin.  I want to be able to look into the mirror and see a lean, muscular body that’s capable of running and lifting and – someday – bearing children without endangering my life.  I want the energy to tackle the demands of each day, and the initiative to chase down my dreams.  It’s a shame that I have to try to put a number on all of that.

These are the things that matter to me – not what some stupid plastic box or a BMI chart says.   


  1. David Craigmile says:

    Hi Jennel…

    I’m a newbie at and have just begun checking out the 100 + Pounds to Lose message board in Weight Watchers and came across your recent post in the “SINCE I BEGAN MY JOURNEY” thread this morning.

    It was your picture and smile that absolutely captured my attention.

    I said to myself… she looks so incredibly happy!

    And so I jumped in and followed your story… (smiles).

    What an amazing journey your writings and your pictures tell.

    I especially like your “pumpkin” before and after.

    It’s perfect!

    I am deeply touched and excited to see your progress… and, just so you know, your SMILE is absolutely gorgeous!

    I too, have set a 100 Pound Goal for myself: 279.2 / 257.2 / 189.2 and have been at it since January 2nd.

    And hope to break through my first 25 lbs barrier this coming week.

    Thank you so much for sharing your courage with the rest of us Jennel!

    Now I know why you’re so HAPPY.

    Namaste’ – David Craigmile (dcraigmile@aol.com)

    • Hi David,

      WOW, thank you so much. You’ve made my day! It’s funny because the one compliment I always get from people is about my smile. I keep meaning to give my orthodontist a call to thank him. ;-D

      Anyway, I really appreciate you checking out my blog. I’m glad you found me! I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you earn your 25 lb star this week.

      Best of luck with your 100 pound goal – I know I’m not quite there yet myself, but I do know that it CAN be done. Just don’t give up!

      Losing this weight is, by far, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but you’re right in that – for the first time in my life – I am truly and genuinely HAPPY. It is SO worth it.

      I’m looking forward to chatting with you on the boards, and feel free to follow me on Twitter (@jenniferlnelson) or check back in for blog updates.

      Keep me posted on how you’re doing!


  2. Felisha says:

    Hey Jennifer, I read a comment from you on the boards, so I followed your link to your blog. I love your voice here. It seems like you’re in a really good place, mentally, and I know that takes just as much effort as weight loss. Thanks for sharing your victories and challenges!

    ~Felisha (Carolle23 on the boards)

    • Hi Felisha!

      Thanks so much for your comment. I’m glad you found me!

      You are so, so right. Weight loss is just as much a mental battle as it is a physical one. It took me 20+ years to get my head in the right place, but the moment I realized it wasn’t about starving myself or racing against the clock to “look good” for an event or a trip, I finally began to find success.

      I hope you’ll check back in often, and feel free to keep in touch via e-mail (thefinalforty@yahoo.com), or follow me on Twitter (@jenniferlnelson).

      Best of luck to you!


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