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Should I Lose Another Five Pounds?

canstockphoto18430488You’ve been working hard, training hard, eating clean. You are at, or very near, your goal weight and now find yourself asking, “Should I lose another five pounds?”

Recently, I had this very conversation with one of my amazing clients who has been killing it in terms of her goals. I thought it would be helpful for anyone nearing that goal line, or for those thinking about setting a new goal.

Question:

I am really starting to see the effects of our training sessions. I was so excited to go shopping this weekend and treat myself to some new clothes. My husband is thrilled for me too and suggests (in a supportive, non-pushy way) that I try to lose another five pounds to keep me going. That will take some serious commitment, and I am really pleased with my progress so far. As my trainer, what do you suggest?

Answer:

You are knocking it out of the park, and you really need to think about what you want. I get that your husband is in awe of your commitment and wants you to push yourself, but take a step back and reassess your plan.

Consider what is important to you and how far you want to go with your fitness goals. Losing five more pounds will take some sacrifice, and you need to decide whether you are up for making lifestyle adjustments to meet a new goal. Are you willing to cut out drinks with girlfriends or your favorite pasta dinners? Can you plan your meals carefully to keep on track?

I’d also like you to think about whether you want to have a goal based on weight or body fat. I realize I am getting technical, but bear with me.

Though many people focus on the scale to determine fitness goals, I recommend focusing on body fat percentage. (If you need a reminder of why I don’t think the scale is the be-all and end-all to measuring your body, check out this post I wrote a few years back on Five Reasons Your Scale Sucks.)

By zeroing in on a body fat percentage, you are targeting a look for your body and incorporating exercise and eating choices that will help you get to your goal. For an idea of what your body might look like with varying levels of body fat, check out this site.

With a body fat percentage goal in mind, I can help you pick a goal weight by factoring in your current body fat percentage and current amount of lean mass. Right now, your body fat percentage is 27.5%, which is very good! Instead of thinking of your long-term goal in terms of another five pounds, maybe you should shoot for a body fat percentage of 24% or 25% and see where your weight is once you reach that goal. If you lose a few pounds of fat but add a few pounds of muscle, your weight might not shift that much.

canstockphoto8239919If you are motivated to reduce your body fat percentage or body weight, go for it! But do it because you want to, not because you feel pressured to do it by outside messages. As Jen Sinkler says, “Our bodies are our own business.” You are doing great right now, so give yourself some credit for where you are at this very moment too!

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