Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I went to my biweekly WLS support group meeting on Tuesday night. As usual, we started the meeting with introductions. Instead of taking the usual approach of introducing myself with how much I'd lost, I went with, "Hi, I'm Monica. On Saturday, it will be 10 months since my surgery. I have 35 pounds left to lose." (emphasis added to the important part).

I'm not sure why, but it felt right to lead with my goal instead of my starting point. Perhaps one reason is that starting with "I've lost 151 pounds from my highest weight and 117 since surgery" feels braggadocious. Not only that, everyone at the support group claps after you announce how much you've lost. I've netted a 2.5-pound loss this past month; I didn't want to hear any applause.

But I think the main reason is that I'm increasingly worried that I won't reach my goal weight. Maybe if I continually say my goal weight aloud - "152, 152, 152" - I will speak it into existence.

After my introduction, the nurse who leads the group says, "Well, you've done great. You look like you're already at goal." In response, I raised my eyebrows, looked down with embarrassment, and shook my head. I felt the pressure of my monstrous belly against my snug size 14 skirt. I thought, "If this is goal, I'm really disappointed."

I'm just not sure what my ultimate goal weight should be, and now that I'm on the downward slope of my weight loss phase, the lack of a clear goal is a problem. My surgeon doesn't assign a goal like some do, which makes sense philosophically, but may not make sense for clueless people like me. He asked me how much I wanted to lose; my response was, "Umm... I'm not sure." I haven't had a normal body weight since I was 5 or 6, if then. I have no idea what a healthy weight would be for me.

I initially turned to the BMI charts. My first goal was 156, because at 5'6.5", that would give me a "normal" BMI of 24.8. Later, I slightly lowered the goal to 152, half of my surgery starting weight. That would give me a BMI of 24.2, still on the high end of normal.

I'm not even sure if a normal BMI is realistic or desirable. Right now, my BMI is 29.8, right on the cusp between "obese" and "overweight." Some people decide their goals based on the percentage of excess weight lost, based on a medical perspective that RNYers can expect to lose up to 80% of their excess weight. So, if I base my excess weight on my highest weight of 338, "goal" would be 192.4 - in which case, I'm below goal (whatever.) If I base my excess weight on my surgery weight, my goal is 185.6, less than 2 pounds away.

Gee. This post is even more scattershot than usual. I'll just say this: I'm confused. The post reflects my general puzzlement about what my stopping point will be. I don't want to have a goal that I physiologically won't ever reach, but I still want my goal to be aggressive.

192.4: 80% excess weight from highest measured weight of 338
188: BMI of 29.9; no longer "obese"
185.6: 80% excess weight from official surgery start weight of 304
169: Half of highest measured weight of 338
156: BMI of 24.8; no longer "overweight"
152: Half of official surgery start weight of 304

I still need a mini-goal somewhere in the low 180s and/or 170s.

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