Seeking answers to questions raised about approaches toward weight, I talked to an old friend, I’ll call her J, who has spent decades on the weight-loss circuit and given a lot of time to figuring it all out. Here’s J’s take on weight issues in her own words:
“Let’s adjust your target weight,” my doctor, nurse practitioner, actually, a compassionate young woman named Jenny, suggested when I went in for my quarterly weigh-in over a year ago. “You mean even lower,” I gasped, still struggling to take off the thirty-five pounds that would get me to a Body Mass Index (B.M.I.) score in the normal category, albeit at the very top of that designation.
“No, not a lower weight, a higher one,” Jenny said and I stared at her in amazement because for so many years, the medical community had been urging us all to lower and lower target weights, citing studies supporting low weights as defined by the B.M.I.
Now, fourteen months later, I am seven pounds from my revised target-rate, a figure in the B.M.I.’s overweight category just about equidistant between the highest weight in the normal category and the lowest in obese. If this sounds too high to you, take into consideration that I’m over sixty and big-boned, and a brisk walk is for me real exercise, and the B.M.I. applies the same to me as to a small-boned female in her 20’s who participates in triathlons. Does this make sense to you?
What Dieters Don’t Realize
Most dieters are deluded in thinking that a lot of lost weight can be kept off simply by reaching a target weight and then living like those who have always been at this weight do; not so.
Last year I read in the New York Times an article called The Fat Trap which explains that “to lose weight and keep it off, a person must eat fewer calories and exercise far more than a person who maintains the same weight naturally.”
When I digested (excuse the pun) this grim tidbit of information, I realized how wise was Jenny in urging me to embrace a more realistic weight-loss goal, because the more weight lost, the harder it is to maintain that loss.
Yes, this is a real bummer but the only chance of coming out on top of the metabolic deck that’s stacked against us overeaters is to get real about weight loss and loss-maintenance. And now there is valid data suggesting that weight should be evaluated in terms of where on the body it is distributed and the overall physical condition of the patient and age of the patient, instead of relying simply on a B.M.I index which takes no other factors into consideration.
As I near my modified target weight, I know that maintaining it will be highly challenging; but I do have the consolation that I will have a better chance of maintaining a revised target-weight than I would have maintaining my original goal.