Happy Weight

Posted: July 21, 2011 at 7:00 am

After your interest yesterday on my Facebook page, I decided to share all about that elusive term - “happy weight”. Happy weight. It sure sounds nice, doesn’t it? But…what in the world does it even mean?!?!? Many of us would love to define our weight simply as happy, but don’t even know what that place physically looks or feels like. I can relate.

It took me years of my weight playing the yo-yo game before even remotely understanding where my body functions best. But, with time, I did eventually find my “happy weight”. I  discovered that place about 9 months after the birth of Makenzie and have found it again now.

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I knew I had achieved it and it felt amazing. But how? How did I know when I reached that place? How did I know the steps to take to get there?

What IS Your Happy Weight?
In my opinion, three factors play into the definition of a person’s happy weight:

  • a weight your body naturally inclines to when living a balanced lifestyle
  • a weight that you can maintain relatively easily once reached
  • a weight where your body functions optimally and has energy

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Four Ways to Achieve Your Happy Weight 
1. Overcome Eating Issues. I truly believe you cannot manage to reach a comfortable place for your body if you constantly battle food. I spent years in a vicious binge and restrict cycle. As I discussed yesterday, I could limit myself to 1200 calories a day for days on end without ever achieving a healthy, fit body. Yet, my emotional struggles with food kept me from ever truly achieving a healthy size for myself. I did not reach my happy weight until after my personal journey to overcome binge eating.

2. Learn through trial and error what foods fuel your body best. For years, I consumed myself with food rules and could rattle off what foods someone “should” or “shouldn’t” consume when trying to lose weight. I could tell you the number of grams of protein, carbs, or fat for an “optimal” meal. I could spew off data on a variety of eating plans. Yet somehow I still had no clue how my body worked best.

bella burger 2

It turns out eating low-carb, which I believed to be the Holy Grail of dieting, actually caused my body to revolt and hold onto weight. Through trial and error - and relieving myself of all the “cans”, “cannots”, “should eats”, and “mustn’t eats” – I finally began honoring my body and it showed its appreciation by feeling better and better. And also losing stubborn weight without a sense of deprivation.

3. Discover workouts that keep you energized. Similar to finding a method of eating that suits you, we also must search out ways to stay active that fulfill us. Not every person will love running. Not every person wants to shake it in Zumba. Choose a way to move your body that you will enjoy so you can reap the health rewards of activity without wanting to shoot yourself in the foot. It will keep you motivated to continue and your level of fitness will naturally continue to improve.

4. Don’t kill yourself. Be able to experience life and the fun things that come with it. Healthy living does not have to be difficult. There really are no top-secret files on how to make it work. Simply consume quality foods, stay reasonably active, and enjoy life. When I found a balance of 80% wholesome, nutritious foods and 20% not-as-nutritionally-sound foods, I could easily keep up with healthy choices. I didn’t have to turn down things I enjoyed and could really live life. Taking the stress off myself improved my happiness and my desire to pursue a healthy lifestyle.

The Number One Way to Stay There 
Lose the number! Many of us have a weight in our mind we believe will make us happy. It may be a weight we compare to others or one of our previous sizes. This is not a true happy weight. You can fight your body to reach the number on the scale you think you should be and I can guarantee you that you won’t really be happier. Don’t view your happy weight as a particular number. View it as a feeling. A really, really good feeling.

jump for joy

If you are having to workout hours a day or want to eat your arm off 24/7 to maintain the weight you are at, it likely isn’t your body’s happy weight. Your body craves balance. It is a smart machine and will fight being in an unhealthy place. If you don’t feel strong, healthy, energized, fit, and able to LIVE then you need to adjust what you think is your happy weight. Our bodies know what is best. We don’t need a scale to tell us that. Focus on how you feel and remember - strong, energetic, and healthy looks good on everyone.

  • How would YOU define “happy weight”?
  • What is your go-to food for great energy?

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104 Comments to “Happy Weight”
  1. Awesome post! I was just having this conversation with my hubby this morning. The number on the scale was up but, since I’ve been exercising, my clothes have been fitting better even though the scale doesn’t reflect it. I told him that I would be able to forget the number easily when my clothes fit the right way. THAT’s how I define my happy weight :)

  2. LG says:

    Hey Tina,

    I have a question for you since you’ve dealt with eating issues in the past. I have too…starving and bingeing. Anyway, not sure if you’ve addressed this before on the blog, but if you eat more or past fullness one day, do you ever still feel guilty about it the next day? Would you say you compensate for it by eating a little less the next day or tend to just go with it and generally end up eating your “usual amount” the next day? I’m trying to find the best headspace after going out for a large meal + dessert on special occasions, like last night. I’m still hungry for breakfast and am concerned about depriving myself the next day, but also, well, am still a bit worried about gaining weight. (Ahem, even though my weight has been the same forever. Lingering ED symptoms, anyone?) Anyway, I would really be interested in your thoughts or being directed to a post where you’ve written about this – thanks and keep up the awesome work!!!

  3. LG says:

    PS…in the past I would always skip breakfast after a big meal and play games with myself the next day, trying to “equal out” the calories. It makes for a bit of a stressful next day but I must admit, I’m afraid to dump this mentality.

  4. Lindsay says:

    I find your posts so so refreshing Tina!!!! I’m pretty close to getting back to my happy weight after having my baby boy last fall. it’s been slow and steady but by changing a few bad habits and being pretty consistent with the healthy ones I’m almost there :) My little man is a skinny baby too and he eats more than my 3 year old!!! Just proves that even when we are babies our bodies come in all different healthy shapes and sizes!

  5. [...] to sync with my body and flow during the yoga asanas. And the weight I am at now? It’s my happy weight. This is where my body likes to be. It’s where my body stayed through all the good and bad [...]

  6. teresa says:

    Okay, I love this post!!! I have to share it with all my diet blog buddies. And read it again myself. I’ve watched/read you since you were pregnant this last time and you really did exactly what you said you would and look so wonderful and happy.
    I’ve never been at my happy weight and I’m 46 years old. How sad is that.
    I know now that I’ll be happy at 180 and happier and happier on down. Don’t know how low I even need to go. I want to be strong. I’ve always loved to work out but at 46 and nearly 250 pounds it’s so hard to do what I want. I’m getting it back though and we’ll just see how well I can do.
    I love your foods and your posts and your blog. And you. Thanks for visiting my mom blog by the way (mom grooves). I appreciate it. You’re so sweet.

    • I just wanted to say keep working at it. One day at a time. I am not sure precisely where my happy weight is, but I know it will be where I am most comfortable and happy with all aspects of myself. Haven’t seen the underside of 200 myself since my son was born almost 7 years ago. Keep trucking mama!

  7. Fabulous post Tina and I agree and can relate to every single word you said. Through my disordered eating and over exercise days, I maintained a weight that was about 15 lbs. less than I am now…I thought I looked good, but I was underweight, had zero energy, and had to suffer and put my body through turmoil to stay at that weight.

    My journey is still a work in progress. I’m at a healthy weight, but in having to revamp my diet and exercise routine in order to get my period back, I may gain a few pounds and then that will be my happy weight b/c my body is functioning properly. Either way, I’ve accepted and am happy with where I’m at now (or more!) because I feel good, am energized, and don’t have to deprive myself to be at this weight :)

  8. Lauren says:

    I can’t stress enough to people that the number they have in mind isn’t necessarily the number their body needs them to be at. Sometimes, it’s best to just throw the scale away and realize that being a healthy weight isn’t measured by a scale. Great post!!

  9. Lisa says:

    When I was trying to lose 100 pounds my “happy weight” was 150. That was what I wanted to reach. That was the highest weight the doctor said I could be at my height and body type to be considered “normal.”

    Then when I got there I kept going. I lost another 8 pounds or so and stayed there for awhile. I kind of got obsessed with reaching 140 for some reason. I never really got there, and I only stayed at 143 for a little while. I realized that I need to stop changing my “happy weight” and just be HAPPY. Happy that I am UNDER 150 and that’s it.

  10. Helen says:

    I very rarely get on a scale anymore. I like to keep up with my body according to how my clothes fit/feel. If they start feeling snug then I know that I haven’t been following my healthy lifestyle, and that it is a possibility that I have slipped back into some bad habits. At that point I think about my food choices to determine what needs to be done. Too much dessert, not enough exercise, etc. Then I am able to correct it and get back to happy healthy me!

  11. This is a GREAT post! I recently took a magazine poll about this and it told me my “happy weight” was about 18 pounds lighter than I was. Umm…I’m actually pretty happy with my weight as it is and know I would never be able to maintain the “happy weight” that the magazine was telling me.

    I define my happy weight as a place where I am confident in my skin, and where my clothes fit me. I have stopped worrying about what number that weight is, and have become more focused on how I feel. Do I love the number staring back at me? No. But if I know that I am happy with my health and fitness at this number, it doesn’t really bother me too much.

    Good stuff!

  12. taryn says:

    so very, very true – great post, tina! when you’re engrossed in disordered eating, it’s really difficult to not only discover but ACCEPT your weight set point. i’m just learning to do that now. it’s a struggle (the acceptance part, that is), but a very worthy goal!

  13. Tiffany says:

    I’ve only been at my goal weight for a few months now, so I’m still adjusting to things. I don’t know if I should lose more (for tummy) or am I already at my “happy weight”….cause it has been hard to get more weight off…so IDK.

    My favorite go-to foods for energy are fruits in smoothie form :)

  14. What a great post. I have no happy weight number in mind myself, but I know I will get to where I should be eventually!

  15. you continue to inspire me with your words Tina! Thanks for reminding me that my happy weight is definitely where I want to be.

  16. Love you. My Happy Weight is SORRRTA coming back now, which makes me very happy. You are gowahhhgeous, and these tips are so helpful! I need to let go of a lot of those things, in order to help myself keep stress away. For energy I add a shit ton of MACA to my cookie dough bowls!!!

  17. This is an awesome post, thank you for writing it. I’m struggling finding my happy weight but am aware that I need to get past my food noise. Baby steps are working for me yet it’s my impatience that always sets me back. But I’ll get there! You’re a great role model.

  18. Cate says:

    This is seriously a great post Tina! All four points are spot one. and number four is definitely important!

    I finally made a decision to change how I was living my life because I wanted to be healthier about two years ago. Being able to experience everything life has to offer and not having to constantly worry if I can eat something or how I look is freeing. I have found that having a positive attitude about things really makes a difference. I am not at my happy weight yet (still a bit more to go) but I feel better and happier than I ever have. I have confidence that I will find it though :)

    and recently a pbj sandwich on fresh whole wheat bread has been my go-to food for energy.

  19. Amy says:

    Tina this is a wonderful post!
    Every single point rings true. Even though I am a health professional I have struggled with my own eating issues for many years. Finally over the past two years I made a pact with myself to be kinder to myself and as I lost the weight I did it through making food choices that made me feel good, performing workouts that kept me happy and by just enjoying life more rather than always focusing on a number or a size. Thank you for this wonderful post :)

  20. Love this last pic of you… Great post. I’m also enjoying your binge eating posts. I’ve always struggled with that and I really am right now while I can’t be active.

  21. Let’s start with my saying that I heart you. I heart you a lot. Not in a creepy way. I promise. I am SO HAPPY I found you thanks to Gina. Next, let’s talk about happy weight. I am so wish you! It’s never about the number. It’s about how you feel! I actually used to weigh myself but then realized that I often weighed more when I was most happy with myself and it’s because muscle weighs more than fat! so WOO Concentrate on how you feel :) Again, I heart you.

  22. You make so many fantastic points here! As soon as I saw the words “happy weight,” a number immediately popped into my head. A number that I literally haven’t seen on the scale since my senior year of high school. How irrational is that? Thanks for this great post!

  23. Anne Marie says:

    This is such an awesome post Tina!! Thanks for the great tips :) I think this is such a constant struggle for everyone. I know that when I’m stressed out and feel like there’s no time for myself to plan or exercise, my body and well being suffers. Now I have a little better idea how to get to my happy place!

  24. Iris says:

    I love this post! And you absolutely look like you have found a place where you are at your best! But honestly, regardless of your weight, you will always look good because you transport so much positive energy and you smile is radiant – that is what beauty is about!

  25. I agree with you on all points!! You shouldn’t have to starve or excessively workout – that’s obvi not a happy weight!

  26. I couldn’t agree more! Once I forgot the number and started doing what made my body feel best (run, eat a balanced diet, stretch) I just fell into a great weight.

  27. This is an excellent post! I, too, feel I am at my “happy weight” by simply listening to my body. I know it’s easier said than done, especially after years of calorie counting and figuring out how much you need to burn through exercise to reach a “goal” number of calories per day. But once you do, it is very VERY liberating. I think it’s important to let go of the scale as well. I personally still weigh myself once or twice a week to keep myself “in check” but I think my ultimate goal is to get rid of it altogether! It’s better than twice a day, though!

  28. Love this post!! My “happy weight” now is at a much higher place than it was years ago. I am more realistic, I guess, and the older I am the harder it seems to do the whole weight control thing. Darn hormones. I really agree that we have to find a place where our bodies can be comfortable and we find life livable.

  29. Great post, Tina! These are excellent points and I’m so glad that you’ve found your happy weight again.

    I would define my happy weight as the weight range my body is at when I’m running, practicing hot yoga and eating fairly well. Though it’s difficult to not get caught up on a number, it’s more about how you look, feel and how your clothes fit in my opinion!

  30. I’m obsessed with this post. Just sayin. Thank you SO MUCH for it!

  31. Alison says:

    This is so interesting! I don’t even think I know what my “happy weight” is. I don’t weigh myself anymore because I obsess with numbers too much if I do. But I can’t even think of a time in my life where I’ve had a really balanced approach in all areas. Scary actually. In highschool I was probably more balanced then I am now, but I didn’t like my body very much. Although I did have tons of energy, spent lots of times with friends..I was VERY social. It wasn’t until I got more into fitness that I started ditching friends/get togethers to workout. Now I’m kind of slowly getting back into the social scene but I find it difficult, especially when food is involved. I am very sensitive to sugar and processed foods now so I often struggle in social situations to be comfortable. I am also battling other medical problems with my bladder that make it even more difficult to relax when I’m out and about. Maybe that’s why I am so controlling when it comes to my fitness and food routine, because I feel like I’ve lost control in other areas of my life. haha..wow that was long..I guess I’m just sort of talking through my thoughts! :) Anyways, great post! :) My go to food for energy is a veggie omelette :)

    • Tina says:

      I know what you’re going through and have certainly been there before. I imagine its even more difficult with health issues coming into play. Keep working towards that balance and don’t let that guilt get the best of you either. :)

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