What is a “realistic goal” anyway…

losing 100 pounds, losing weight


First, thank you guys so much for all your encouraging words. Just when I least expect it, you surprise me with a note from your hearts. You make me smile.

You also make me know that weight loss success is possible. I mean, I know it’s possible in the grander sense of things, but on my small platform in the world, it’s been such an elusive goal. But your encouragement lets me know that I can do it.

I was talking to my husband the other day and he said something that got me thinking. I was talking about how I’ve gained back about 40 pounds since I left Weight Watchers last September and how for the last couple of years that I was a member (and mind you, I never missed one meeting in that 4.5 years), I kept fluctuating between 160 and 180, but I never could make it back down to my all time low of 158. I said that I always seemed to make it back to 170 but I couldn’t stay below 170 for very long. Then he said: ‘if you had made that your goal from the beginning (170), I know you would have reached goal and probably lost even more’.

I had to stop and think about that statement for a while. Then I started thinking back.

When I first started Weight Watchers (almost 5 years ago to the day: 5/12/07–I only remember that date because it was my daughter’s 18th birthday), they presented me with a weight chart. It showed the “healthy weight” range according to my height. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, I just punched in my height and it told me my ideal weight was between 124 and 155. So, I set my sites on 155.

Three years later, again, never missing a meeting, I had FINALLY lost 100 lbs. But that only brought me to 165. It wasn’t long before I’d gained 10 pounds back. And then another 10 pounds. It wasn’t straight up hill, there were gains and losses and gains and losses, but the overall arrow on my weight loss chart was pointed in the upward momentum.

Another year later, I was finally able to make it back down to my 100 pounds lost again. I was determined then more than ever that I could actually make it to my ultimate goal of 155. I was on a roll. And I was for a short while, I was able to make all the way down to 158.5. But then I went on vacation and gained 8 pounds. From there, it was all I could do to maintain my weight. And I didn’t. I very slowly, two-tenths of a pound at a time, meandered my weigh back up to 165, then 175, until finally a year later I was up to 183.

That’s when I stopped going to Weight Watchers. It wasn’t that I thought Weight Watchers was doing me wrong or not helping me lose weight. I still to this day think that Weight Watchers is the best weight loss plan out there on the market today.

But getting back to what my husband said. Say I walked into Weight Watchers in May of 2007 and I said, I’d like for my goal to be 170. (I won’t dwell on the fact that they would require a note from my doctor saying that the higher weight was my doctor-approved goal weight.) I would have made goal within 2 years–about 3 years before I actually quit Weight Watchers. And those 3 years were torture. I had to stop and think about how different things would have been if my goal had been 170.

I remember what it felt like to be at 170. I was so comfortable in my skin. I truly felt skinny. Sure, I still had tons of cellulite and flabs flapping from every limb, but overall, I truly felt happy. I felt sexy. I felt attractive. But most importantly I felt happy with my body.

AND, chances are, I would have kept trying to lose more weight once I made my goal. I’m sure, for a period of time, I would have stayed at 170, maybe even for years, but at some point, I’m sure I would have tried to make it down to a lower weight.

But all that aside, what my husband said really made sense to me. So I’m taking a new step in a different direction. My goal is no longer to fit into the numbers on the chart of “healthy weight” or to see a certain number on the scales. Now,  my goal is to lose enough weight until I feel comfortable in my skin again  (and by comfortable, I don’t mean complacent or “just satisfied”, I mean being able to sit with something in my lap and it not toppling over my knees, or being able to sit in a pair of blue jeans for more than an hour without my gut aching from the pinching of the waste band, or to be able to fold my arms on my stomach, not my chest, etc. Those types of comfortable things.). To look in the mirror and be happy with what I see again.

My goal is not a number any more, my goal is…

My goal is my happiness.

I think that’s an achievable goal, don’t you?


  • I was going to read the whole thing because I was kind of in a hurry but when I seen what your goal is I have to read on.

    • Yea, I’ve been told my blog posts are way too long. LOL! And if I’d write shorter posts, I’d get more people to read them. The thing is, it helps me to to process things when I just flesh things out. Helps me get to the root of my habits and reasons for doing things.

  • I am so proud of you Cara. You are an awesome person and deserve all the happiness this world has to offer. You, my dear, are my rock and I will always be there for you as well.

  • I too am proud of you Cara! You are still one of my most sucessful Weight Watchers members in my almost 13 years as a leader. You set an excellent example not only through your flawless attendance, but through your perserverance and commitment to making weight loss work for you. You not only shared your own insights into the challenges of losing weight, but never failed to come to the aid of a fellow member who had encountered a setback or challenge that had discouraged them. You will always be a success in my eyes and I hope that you will find your happiness in your own way. You are always welcome to come back to Weight Watchers if you feel it is right thing to do for you! The doctor’s note is still a standing policy with the company and you could use that 170 pound number as your anchor if you wish. Someone once said “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”, but you can always begin again and make a new ending. May the butterfly find you in the stillness!

  • I think you have the right idea! I also am working towards a body that I am comfortable in. I wish you all the success in your journey!

  • Very well written post. I also struggled for years, beating myself up against the wall because I wasn’t at the weight watcher approved (BMI) weight. I kept getting to 180 and couldn’t go lower. I would dip down below for a day or two and then just popped back up. Like you, I have regained some of my weight. I’m about 60 pounds up. (boo) In a way though, I think I needed to regain the weight so that I was forced to look back at me at the 180 pound mark and say. You were happy, you were satisfied with your body. You felt fabulous! Because the problem…when i was there, all I could focus on was that stupid magical number that the BMI gave me. This time down, I’m going to celebrate how my body feels!!!

  • You’re lucky to have so many people supporting you in your weight loss. I just started blogging about my ups and downs to keep myself acountable as well and it’s encouraging to see that I’m not the only one.

  • Great post! Keep up the good work, and I’m positive that you will achieve happiness. One thing I’ve found to be extremely helpful and useful as a supplement to my current diet/exercise plan is Fullbar (www.fullbar.com). Not only do their products help you lose weight, they also help maintain your weight loss.

  • Great blog Cara, love the journey. Personally I do not believe happiness can be an achievable goal. I actually don’t believe happiness as a state is actually attainable, what passes for happiness is summed up wonderfully by your Nathanial Hawthorne quote, it comes when you are not expecting it, as brief moments of serenity, or satisfaction or even joy, but life soon snaps us out of it. I am about to start a similar blog, and I think my first post will be on happiness… you have inspired me!!!

  • Bravo, Cara. You never quit. I am so inspired by you. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and come at it from a different angle. You are tenacious and full of life. You are a beautiful person. Bravo!!!

  • Yeah, I think that is a really good idea. Even though I sort of have a weight loss goal, my main big goal is just to be fit and a core strength. You have inspired me to start my own blog! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Hi,

    I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could e-mail me?


  • Hello, first of all congratulations on your weight loss! After a while the whole number and weight thing gets hard, specially when your body starts getting used to being at a certain weight. I think it’s great about what you have said on not losing a number but reaching your “I feel great” weight.

    I am also trying to lose 60 lbs and have lost 34 already and I also feel great! But I would love to get support from you and if you could follow me that would be great =) Thank you and good luck!!

  • I think you can have huge goals that are beyond your wildest dreams, but I also think you need smaller goals which add up to help attain the huge goal.

  • Well done on your progress :) I think a realistic goal is one that you can see in your minds eye, and you believe you can achieve.

  • You’ve done phenomenal, keep up the great work :)

  • I’m no stranger to fat burners, diets and appetite suppressants. Although it took me about 10 days to start seeing results and experiencing the effects, I’ve certainly noticed that I no longer have the urge to snack and eat constantly with my cravings. This Garcinia Cambogia product definitely works from “Elite Gold Solutions.”http://www.amazon.com/Pure-Garcinia-Cambogia-Extract-Clinically/dp/B00C103UCM

  • Thumbs up guys you are really carrying out a great job.

  • Your information pertaining to the waist watcher program is good. Cab you please explain what diet one should include in his/her Best weight loss plans for better results. Thanks again

  • Yeah I agree that one musts set realistic goals in order to achieve weight loss objectives, keep it up.

  • Loving what your doing and loving this post especially. x

  • It is always 2 steps forward and 1 step back. That is what i like about you, you never give up.

  • Your doing really really well so keep it up and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

  • I really delight in whilst I go through your blogs and articles.

  • I found this blog worthy to read and I do agree that Weight Watchers is the best weight loss plan available; I will be getting this guide too.

  • I read your blog and it fascinated me that you have achieved your weight loss goal and it is always good for me to know that people succeed in losing weight.

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