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Adult Fitness: think SHAPE not WEIGHT

Target weight. Urgh, were there ever two more dispiriting words in the English language?
Something about that loaded little phrase is all wrong, if you ask me. It conjures up nasty little images of starving oneself to fit back into favourite trousers from twenty years ago, when what we should be talking about is something much more inspiring, realistic and achievable.
So how do you like the sound of ideal shape, instead?
Most of us have had an ideal or goal weight in mind at some point, and you may still have that ideal lurking in the back of your mind or even stuck to your fridge door, if you’re more  the motivational poster type.
But if you do, it’s time to think afresh, and aim for an ideal ‘shape’ rather than a ‘target weight’. As well as being more achievable (and goals which aren’t achievable are not goals at all – they’re just a form of torment…) it’s also much better for you for a whole host of reasons.
Here’s are five reasons why:
1. Your ideal weight is specific to your height… so it makes no sense to just arbitrarily pick a weight and hope it’ll look good on your body! You might get there and still feel you’d like to be a bit leaner or a bit more toned, which would be a bit disappointing after working so hard to get to goal.
2. Your weight will be significantly affected by your generic predisposition to more or less muscle when you arrive at your ideal shape. In other words, what I said above but more related to the fact that Muscly You may well weigh lots more than your Not-So-Muscly Mate – so aiming for the number on their scale is utterly pointless.
3. It’s impossible to know exactly what percentage of body fat and thus what total body weight you’ll be when you look and feel your best. You’ll only really know that when you get there, so forget the scales and just focus on getting there!
4. Your ideal body weight can change with your age. Yup, really. So that’s permission to give up trying to be the weight you were when you got married / wore a bikini in public / fitted into those really flattering jeans. Do you expect to have the same haircut as you did back then? Of course not, cos lovely as it was, it’s just not right for who you are today. Same story with your weight.
5. It’s totally normal for your body weight to fluctuate by up to 5lbs every day based on everything from your hormone cycle and the time of day when you weigh yourself, to your hydration status (no, I’m not talking about weighing more after wine o’clock…) and of course how much you’ve eaten or drunk that day.
So… I hope I’ve convinced you that it’s loads better for your long term goal-setting – not to mention your sanity and overall wellbeing – to set a body shape goal instead of – *shudder* – a target weight.
Let’s face it, when you think of a body weight goal you’re not really thinking about the numbers on the scales, but conjuring up a mental image of how you think your body will look at that weight. So actually you’ve already got a mental picture of an ideal shape, not a goal weight at all.
Remember: weight without shape is just a number. And, no-one’s ever likely to say ‘Wow, you really suit weighing exactly that!’ They’re going to compliment you on how well your clothes flatter your frame, how well you look when you feel good in your skin, and what great shape you’re in.
So focus on aiming for that shape, and when you get to a look and shape that feels good, then you can step on the scale and see how much you happen to weigh. That’s the right way round to do it.
There, doesn’t that feel so much more doable?

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