It’s funny how we go into new diets or health regimens with these unrealistic ideals about how we are going to look and what we are going to weigh when we are done. Some of it is based on what science or doctors tell us, and some of it’s all in our heads.
For example, when I was on herbal magic a few years ago, I thought for sure when I was done I would be 120 lbs and gloriously fit and slim. I was sure I would be maybe a size 2 (or smaller) and I would be super strong and healthy.
Reality: I have a large bone structure and it’s completely unrealistic to expect that I will morph into a stick figure thin woman. That isn’t about losing weight, that is about completely changing my body or maybe doing a body swap with someone else who happens to have that kind of figure. It’s unattainable. Additionally, because I was not exercising – not enough calories for that – I am not sure how I expected to be strong or fit. As a last note, I think I weighed 120 lbs for a glorious year in my teens and my family worried that I was starving myself. It really wasn’t an achievable goal.
When I decided to get fit and healthy last year, I questioned my ideals and really focused on creating acheivable goals. I didn’t want to repeat past mistakes and I didn’t want to focus on trying to achieve an ideal goal weight that wasn’t attainable. Instead, I created goals that I felt were achievable and while I do have a goal weight in my head, it’s negotiable. Yes – it might change. Right now it’s more of a guideline than a goal because this time around, I don’t want to focus on ideals – I want to be realistic about what is good for me and my life.
My goals include the following:
- Making healthy choices for anything I eat and choosing foods that are predominantly fresh, whole foods.
- Avoiding foods that are processed, labelled as ‘diet’, frozen or fast
- Completing 3 – 4 hard workouts a week that include a combination of cardio, core and strength training elements
- Drinking lots of water to stay hydrated
- Focusing on my macros as well as making sure that I eat a healthy amount of calories every day – no more starving myself!!
- Decreasing my overall body fat and increasing my lean muscle mass (I started at 55% body fat and want to get to 26-28%)
- Ensuring I get enough sleep every night
- Taking personal time for myself – even if it’s only 30 minutes – every single day
A lot of these goals are habit-based, not ideals based. I think I finally learned my lesson on that score. Do I track my weight? Sure. It’s a good guideline and indicator that things are moving in the right direction. It’s not the be all, end all thing to focus on however. In a video I was watching the other day by fitness trainer and expert, Mike Vicanti, he summed up what I have only just come to realize – that there is no ideal goal weight. Shocking right? Not really. In fact, it’s an essential thing to realize so that we can all set realistic individual goals that are attainable. Everyone is different and there shouldn’t be a cookie cutter approach to health and fitness. You should simply be trying to be the healthiest and fittest version of yourself.
So if you are working on improving your health and fitness like I am, take some time to examine your ideals and goals. I love goals. They are such good motivators that can effect positive change in your life. They just need to be realistic and we should be prepared that they may change. Maybe you will bulk up more and trying to lose lots of weight will impact your overall health & condition. Maybe you will feel great at a higher weight and still have a body fat percentage that is in the normal range. It may not be what you thought it might be and that’s okay. I tell myself that daily as well. It’s okay. As long as I keep working, keep strengthening my body and nourishing it, the end result may not be an ideal but it will be real. And it will be something I can maintain and enjoy for many years to come.
So keep it real everyone and don’t be afraid to set new goals, re-evaluate current ones and discard them if they just don’t fit. At the end of the day, effort, consistency and quality of life are what truly matters.