A dream might be a wish that your heart makes, but a goal is a wish that your brain makes.
What is your weight loss goal? For most of us, that goal is a number. It might be a number you remember fondly — such as what you weighed in college, when you got married or before you got pregnant. Or it might be a size, such as the size of your wedding gown or your favorite pair of jeans.
But not all goals are numbers. Why not set a goal to play tag with your kids — until they want to stop, not you? Or to run up a flight of stairs without effort? Or to dance without missing a beat?
Rather than falling in love with one number, set as many goals as you wish. Write them down and post them somewhere you'll see the often. On Jan. 1, my sons and I each created vision boards. I framed mine, and it's sitting next to me on my desk. It includes a picture of me at my best — the me that I most love to be.
Here's what our mommy M.D.'s — doctors who are also mothers — do to set and reach their goal weight.
"My goal was to get within a few pounds of my prepregnancy weight," says Lennox McNeary, M.D., a mom of one son; a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Carilion Clinic; and a co-founder of the Mommy Doctors Bakery (makers of Milkin' Cookies) in Roanoke, Virginia. "I'd been an avid exerciser, and I knew where I felt best. I wanted to get back to that 'happy place.'
"Rather than setting a goal weight, I set a reasonable goal range of weights that are between 5 and 10 pounds apart," says Hana Solomon, M.D., a mom of four and grandmother of eight; a pediatrician; and the author of "Clearing the Air One Nose at a Time: Caring for Your Personal Filter," in Columbia, Missouri. "The actual number is meaningless; it's all about how you feel."
"My goal weight is the weight I feel most comfortable at," says Jennifer Bacani McKenney, M.D., a mom of two and a family physician in Fredonia, Kansas. "It would be ideal if everyone was in the normal BMI range, but that occasionally makes weight management more daunting and unrealistic, which sometimes discourages people from starting the weight loss process in the first place. I try to find the weight where I can look in the mirror and feel confident in myself."
"I don't set goals, not even weight loss goals," says Jennifer Hanes, D.O., a mom of two and a wellness physician in Houston. "Instead, I make intentions. An intention is something that you work toward, but just getting closer is success, rather than trying to meet a specific goal. Rather than setting a goal to lose 10 pounds, I made an intention to eat better and exercise more. I can't fail!"
Dr. Rallie's Tips
"The way I set a goal weight for myself has changed dramatically over time. When I was in my teens and early twenties, I wanted to weigh 115 pounds, like a fashion model. (Never mind that I was a tall, sturdy farm girl of 5 feet, 9 inches, and I hadn't weighed 115 pounds since the sixth grade.) At that time, I wasn't really interested in having a healthy weight. I just wanted to be thin and glamorous-looking.
"Now that I have more sense and maturity about these things, and through years of trial and error, I realize that I feel healthiest, strongest and most energetic when I weigh around 145 pounds. At 5 feet, 9 inches, weighing 145 pounds gives me an acceptable BMI, so I know I'm not overloading my heart or my joints or endangering my health in other ways because of excess weight. At this weight, I can also carry enough muscle mass on my body to ride and train my horses, throw a bale of hay across a fence or haul a couple of buckets of water to the barn if I need to. I can pick up my grandbabies and toss them into the air. I can hug my sons with gusto.
"At 145 pounds, I will never be able to squeeze myself into a pair of size 6 jeans — unless they've been mislabeled by the gods! — but I'm willing to live with that. The trade-off is that I get to feel strong, athletic, healthy and vibrant — and I get to do all those things that I love to do every day of my life." — Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H., mom of three, co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to Losing Weight and Feeling Great," nationally recognized health expert and family physician in Lexington, Kentucky.
Jennifer Bright is a mom of four sons, co-founder and CEO of family- and veteran- owned custom publisher Momosa Publishing, co-founder of the Mommy MD Guides team of 150+ mommy M.D.s, and co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years." She lives in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. To find out more about Jennifer Bright and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.