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"Unrealistic" body goals



  • J72FITJ72FIT Member Posts: 5,725 Member Member Posts: 5,725 Member
    It depends on what it is. Getting into the healthy weight range is a realistic goal for almost everyone, and can be done with relatively few disruptions to one's life (you don't have to spend hours in the gym, cut out entire food groups, or even exercise at all).

    A lot of people think they can't do it, or it's not a priority for them, or they really deep down have no desire to do it, so they turn that into "it's an unrealistic goal for me." And as for other people telling you that being a certain weight is an unrealistic goal -- well, that's probably just their own projection, or even a subtle form of sabotage.

    I even wonder a lot of times if these unrealistically restrictive lose-weight-fast diets people go on are a subtle form of self-sabotage, as in "See? I told you I can't lose weight, it's impossible!"

    Getting a certain physique, like really large muscles or something, is a less realistic goal, both because of the time commitment and because of health issues that may preclude strenuous exercise. But it's still doable for many people if it's your priority. However, you may also find that it's not a priority after all. I used to wish I looked more muscular until I went to a Brazilian jiu jitsu class and realized that, even though many of the women there were strong, most of them really weren't visibly muscular. So there's kind of a difference between "vanity muscles" and having enough strength to do what you want to do.

    (Also, sometimes working out can actually be counterproductive. My husband works out too much and oftentimes he is tired and sore for the rest of the day and can barely do anything. Whereas I do pretty light exercise but if I need to do something, I have the energy for it. When we were moving a few weeks ago, I had more energy to carry everything up and down the stairs than he did, even though he works out a lot more!)

    Love everything about this post! Spot on...
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member, Premium Posts: 6,839 Member Member, Premium Posts: 6,839 Member
    Yeah, that's really common.

    I initially got fat (180 at 5'3, so obese) after having been normal weight without thinking about it during my youth and into my late 20s, but having (mid 20s to early 30s) a stressful job where I worked late and could get dinner there (and lots of business travel with restaurant perks), and not figuring out how to continue the walking/running I'd done before. I didn't think I was eating more than I had, but I was. Having basically been normal weight without thinking about what I ate, I saw gaining weight more as something outside my control and not a result of my eating and exercise behavior, stupidly. My sister, who was much less disciplined than me re education or career, was more educated re exercise and nutrition, and when I talked to her she gave me some advice and I decided to try losing weight without thinking it would actually work (I determined I'd at least be a super fit and healthy fat person) and of course it worked.

    For whatever reason, my sister has always noticed if she's gaining and immediately done something to stop it, and has never been outside a normal weight (usually on the lower end). She doesn't not exercise discipline about it, although different things work for us -- she basically grazes and I hate even snacking -- but as noted it's not actually true that the fundamental difference between us is willpower, as I have more willpower in other contexts. She probably cares more about not being fat than me, but not because I am less aware of health issues (she smokes). So dunno.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 18,926 Member Member, Premium Posts: 18,926 Member
    Yeah, me too, pretty much, with a few twists. I gained via slow creep after college, less activity, bigger portions, and pretty much stabilized (probably in my 30s) just over the line into the obese BMI zone. Other than a few desultory attempts, I didn't really make a serious effort to change that.

    My fundamental challenge is more an inclination to self-indulgent hedonism. That IMO can be an unhelpful trait, perhaps even a character fault or psychological flaw, but I think it's laughable (in my case) to consider it anything even remotely close to an addiction. Throughout, I was reasonably aware that I probably could lose weight if I really wanted to, it just wasn't a priority (vs. at various times things like graduate education, career advancement, etc.).

    Later in life, in my 40s, I became quite athletically active, training regularly and even competing (on-water and machine rowing), not always unsuccessfully. For a while, I deluded myself that (1) it was good enough to be fit even though fat, and (2) I must have a "slow metabolism" because I was so active but still staying at the same weight.

    While it's better (per research) health-wise to be fit and fat than unfit and fat, I finally reached the end of my denialism rope on point #1 (persistent high blood pressure and high cholesterol despite regular intense exercise and mostly healthy whole-foods eating, doctor threatening statins). That got me calorie counting.

    Calorie counting revealed that #2 was also bunkum: I burn *more* calories by quite a bit than MFP and my fitness tracker believe I should, probably partly because of higher than average muscle mass and mobility compared to the average in my demographic, from that athletic stuff. 🤷‍♀️

    I'm still just as hedonistic as ever, I just express and manage it in different ways. Still not addiction, nor utter absence of discipline/willpower (as expressed in other realms over the whole of life, and now in managing to stay at a healthy weight for 5+ years now, after the 30 years previously of obesity).
    edited January 23
  • HerNameIsMischiefHerNameIsMischief Member Posts: 158 Member Member Posts: 158 Member
    cgvet37 wrote: »
    The real problem I see is trying to look like someone else. You have all these "fitness influences", who post a selfie and an inspirational quote. Then you see all the "I want to look like him/her".

    While I haven't seen any fitness influencers (I barely use social media), I know what you mean about trying to look like someone you simply can't. The guys I think look good/would want to look like are like 5'9"-6' and slender. I'm 6'3" and broad shouldered. It's hard (but I suppose necessary) to revise your goals to look like the best version of yourself. It's very tough and disappointing to realize that hard work and determination can only get you so far, and in my case, I can't lose 6 inches of height and alter my bone structure. In the past, that realization has derailed any efforts to improve what I have, figuring "What's the point?" One of my challenges is to accept what I can't fix (forget "learning to love it," give me a break).

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