How much should I weigh to be healthy, what weight can I realistically maintain? I have been doing weight watchers for 4 years my starting weight was 20st 7lb. I currently weigh 14st 1lb. May 2010 I was at my lowest at 12st 0.5lb, this was the week before I had my first accident in which duck+front wheel = separated right shoulder and 2 months at home on drugs. Psychologically I hate being in the 13 stone bracket, it feels unlucky. At the moment I feel like I should lose some weight but unsure how much. I have asked the GP and they gave me a really generic, unhelpful response. It is such a complex question, one that I have really struggled to find an answer that I am comfortable with.
At Weight Watchers your goal weight is based upon a healthy BMI. Body Mass Index is a ratio of weight:height and results in a figure, 18-25 is healthy. BMIs fatal flaws is that it doesn’t take into account your body composition, the often cited example is Jonny Wilkinson the muscular rugby player is classed as overweight. Body weight is made up of skeleton, muscle, fat, internal organs and skin. I need to lose fat but losing weight loss could be due to any number of reasons, the weight of my clothes (jeans weigh 2lb+), amount of water that I have drunk, lost muscle or lost fat.
Having lost 6st+ I have been left with excess skin. This isn’t a fact that surprises me, but it does raise the question how much does this excess skin weigh? The excess skin contributes to my weight which in turn increase my BMI but to what extent? I can’t lose the weight of the skin without surgical intervention so I just have to put up with it.
18 months ago I went and got some sports testing done with Garry Palmer last week I went to get re-tested. All my results had gone the in the wrong direction which I knew they would, I just wanted an objective read of where I am right now, not deluding myself with where I was. Amongst other fun tests he performed a caliper skin fold test. It is a slightly more technical version of pinching an inch. Since the last test I have put on 12.3kg (almost 2st) however according to the caliper skin test 5kg of this is muscle, which is a good thing. This test I had 26.4% fat and previously 21.4%, below 18% for a female isn’t good for long-term health. One ratio that is important for cycling is power:weight ratio, my power should increase the fitter I get and if the weight goes down that will increase the ratio too.
If I don’t base it on the scales what should I base it on, feelings? Some people go by feelings; how they feel in the clothes, whether they feel comfortable in their own skin. My issue is that when I was morbidly obese I didn’t feel obese. I knew I needed to lose a bit of weight and gain a bit of fitness but I didn’t feel like I was out of control with what I ate (even though I was).
Having a scientific background means I like numbers and seeing improvement in the figures. I find something comforting in the numbers reinforcing what I believe. Maybe I should just stop looking at numbers and live life.