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. Mandy says:

    Ahhh can’t wait to be there again ;)

    My happy weight is where I feel good about my myself inside and out– where I can ENJOY life and ENJOY food and yet still feel beautiful. It’s about 10-15 pounds lighter than I am right now ;)

  2. Definitely with you on #4 – if you’re beating yourself into the ground, there’s no way you’re going to keep it up in the long term without sacrificing health. I think I do my best weight-wise (happily) when I load up on fruits and veggies and healthy grains. Give myself the option for treats, but still have to get the healthy stuff in. What typically happens is that I’m satisfied with the healthy stuff. Buuutt not always. ;)

  3. Nadia says:

    Fantastic post!

  4. You look so beautiful and strong in that running picture! You go girl ;)

    Happy weight to me is where your body should be with the consumption of healthy food, no scale, regular exercise, and a happy lifestyle :D

  5. Well, I, for one, think you defined it quite well yourself! :)

    My body loves carbs too. My mom’s loves protein. Both of them love (read: demand) being fed frequently.

  6. Well, I, for one, think you did a great job of defining it yourself!

    My body loves carbs too. My mom’s loves protein. But they both love (read: demand) to be fed frequently.

  7. love, love, love this Tina!!

  8. So glad you’ve reached your happy weight , and when B is only 6 months old- wow! I’m looking forward to finding my happy weight again, too, and anxious to see how my body does with adjusting after the baby is born.
    Beautiful post!

  9. I’d define my feel great weight with a feel great me! Enjoying life, enjoying food and feeling confident. When the afternoon slump hits an apple and greek yogurt gives me that boost I need to get through the rest of the day!

  10. Krystal says:

    PERFECT description. I know mine, too. I still have 15 to go to get there, but know once I’m there, I feel awesome and don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do to maintain it. <3!!!

  11. i think you described it perfectly! i don’t have a magic number or pants size, but it’s a feeling of “i feel strong, i feel lean, i have energy, i feel HEALTHY”!

  12. Great post Tina! I thunk so many people are unrealistic about their expectations for their bodies. You are exactly right that you shouldn’t have to fight to stay there once you get to your happy place. You should be able to maintain by leading a healthy lifestyle. :)

  13. This is such a wonderful post, as usual :) This issue is actually one I have been trying to talk about and understand for quite some time now… look for it on my blog in the future :D
    The idea of my happy weight is a great one, but I have to let myself be comfortable at that point. Maintaining without starving is the ultimate goal and I thank you for writing about this

    • Tina says:

      It’s important to remember that your body is happy there. It does take some getting used to if its different than a specific “ideal #” that isn’t really ideal for the body. You’re working on it though. It will come with time. :)

  14. Cindy says:

    Hey Tina! I recently started reading your blog and love it! I really appreciate you writing this post because right now I’m strugglig to find my happy weight. I’ve been restricting a little too much and need to get back on track with my health!

    P.S. Last night I made your Spicy Honey Chicken with soem broccoli and cherry tomatoes added in and it was great! Thank you so much for sharing your great recipes! :)

    • Tina says:

      So glad you liked the chicken! I love easy recipes like that one.:) And thanks for the sweet comment on the blog.

  15. Loved this post! Congratulations on finding your happy weight once again :)

  16. Really agree with you–especially interesting that “diets”, even if done right–a la low-carb–can simply not work for some people!

  17. Ahh the happy weight discussion..For me it’s actually a number or I should say a range. I am one that has not given up the scale but, I don’t think I have an unhealthy relationship with it and I’m ok keeping it around. I use it 1x a week max and I like it. But more than a range, it’s also the weight I feel good about myself at and fit comfortably in my clothes.
    Congrats at getting to yours!

  18. There are people that don’t like Zumba? Gasp!!! ;-)

    I realized I had a happy weight quite by accident. Eighteen months after having my first son, I suddenly realized that I was back to my pre-pregnancy size. I hadn’t been exercising more than normal or dieting. It just happened. It probably happened slowly, ounces at a time, for quite a while, but when I suddenly realized I was back in my old clothes, I was elated. I truly believe that was my Happy Weight at the time, and my body knew it wanted to be there.

    Now that I’ve had a second baby, ten months ago, it’s time for my body (and me) to find my Happy Weight again. What I need to remember is it may not be exactly what it was before.

  19. Thank you for this post! Despite feeling energized and healthy, I have a number in my head that I want my body to be at (about 5lbs less than I am now). I need to accept the fact that my body is healthy NOW and that I am at my “Happy Weight”!

    Thank you for all your amazing posts and inspiration. You rock!

  20. Your posts are always awesome and they always resonate with me! Congrats on finding your happy weight again! I agree with you that your happy weight should be a place where you are able to do the things you love and feel energized while doing them, a place where you are healthy but can have indulgences, and a place that your body wants to be at!

  21. I mostly go with your third point: a weight where your body functions optimally and has energy. And I measure this by how I generally feel during my workouts. Lightheaded? Probably getting towards the low end of happy weight. Sluggish and just feeling gross? Probably towards the high end.

    I just had a reminder of this at the end of my vacation to Hawaii, where I very much enjoyed the local cuisine. My run on my last day there did NOT feel good. I wouldn’t change it, though – I can lose the 2-3 lbs I put on, but I can’t go back and re-experience Hawaii!

    • Tina says:

      Definitely. I always enjoy vacation. It ends up with me not feeling my best physically after indulging more…but wouldn’t change it because the body will jump right back to normal when going back to those healthier habits. Glad you enjoyed Hawaii. I want to go there so badly!

  22. you look amazing in all your pics :) I defs still need to find my happy weight. Peanut butter, figs and apples always gives me energy!!

  23. LOVED this post, Tina. You’ve been posting some killer stuff lately that totally resonates with me.

    I weighed myself today for the first time in a month or two (just didn’t even care to know the number) and was suprised to realize I’ve almost reached that *happy* number I always dreamed of just by giving up my food issues and eating a healthy, balanced diet, but still enjoying what I eat. :D

  24. I think my happy weight is when I feel good and my clothes fit well. You’ve done a great job getting back to where your happy weight after a baby. So impressive!

  25. Amy Lauren says:

    Your posts are really inspirational. I have no clue what my happy weight is because of ED related issues, and hopefully I’ll find it one day and fully recover.

    What I like about this post is you don’t reference numbers. As someone with an ED, I’m a numbers nerd and count things anyway. It bugs me when I go to a doc or nutritionist or someone who’s obsessive about weight, calorie counting, BMI, etc.

    Those numbers aren’t a measure of health- what good is counting calories if you can’t enjoy life? My husband’s BMI is obese but he can outlift anyone with a healthy BMI and he runs 5Ks. Plenty of people with “healthy” weights never exercise, that’s NOT healthy.

    Anyway- I loved reading this :) . I think we only have so much control over our bodies, and that our happy place really is where we thrive and our bodies work best. Not some magic number :) .

    A.L.

  26. Jess says:

    YES!! This is an awesome post – one that I happen to entirely agree with on so many levels. And something else I agree with? That I too am finally at my happy weight. And guess what? It makes me feel HAPPY to be where I am. Not deprived. Not stressed out about eating. But happy. Healthy. Nourished. Fit. :)

  27. Great post Tina and I am so proud of you for getting to your happy weight! It has been great reading about your progress since Baby B was born.

    For years, I thought my happy weight was when I weighed a certain number — a number that I haven’t weighed since 9th grade — and I told myself that once I’m there, then I’ll be happy. It took me a while to recognize that my happy weight is when my body is happy — when I’m living a healthy lifestyle (with exercise and healthy foods).

  28. Excellent post, Tina!! If my printer was working I’d print it out and keep it where I can re-read it when I need to. I was never really “binge” eater, but I was always a “big” eater…eating too much most of the time. It took Weight Watchers and many years of practice to find my balance and get to what I feel is my “happy weight.” I am below my WW goal, but I have a personal goal which I will hopefully reach on Saturday at my weigh-in. I have a quarter pound to go and I think I will reach it. I’ve changed my eating habits in recent months, giving up chips for Lent which I have continued. I think these kinds of changes plus added exercise (sensible exercise for me) will help me to stay there. You are an inspiration!

  29. Tina says:

    I love this post Tina! You defined Happy Weight perfectly.

    I have yet to see my Happy Weight. I have dieted and gotten down to my high school weight, but I was unable to maintain that lifestyle and gained all the weight back.

    In time with consistency (as you said ) I’m sure my body will let me know what that happy place is.

    I so enjoy reading your posts each day. You have so much insight and inspiration to offer : )

  30. Robyn says:

    Great post Tina! You have a talent for sharing your experiences, expertise, and relating to your audience in a real way. You will make an AWESOME Personal Trainer!

    I find if I listen my body will tell me what I really need. Sometimes it is carbs, others protein. For some reason something sweet usually goes over well (lol)!

  31. Great post, thanks for sharing your thoughts about your happy weight!
    I’ve never been happy with my weight, so I have no idea, what my happy weight is or what it feels like. But I think that I’m closer than ever right now. I still have some eating issues, that I need to overcome. Only then will I be able to find my own happy weight.

  32. Thank you so much for writing this blog! I cannot tell you how many nights of beating myself up and feeling horrible in the morning about what I did and did not eat; about how my body was shaped like this versus that. Comparing myself to stick-thin models and feeling that I would never be good enough if I didn’t match their measurments perfectly. I love the idea of “Happy Weight” or as I’ve heard also, “Feel Great Weight.” I spent an entire school year added on the pounds (15lbs) because I was obsessing over hurt feelings, depression, home sickness, and then self hatred ideas. This summer, after reading inspirational blogs like yours, I realize that my body is MINE, nobody else’s. And I should be the one to determine what feels and looks good. And I have. I was able to put on a pair of capris that I’ve held as my “Feel Great Weight,” and NOT A NUMBER ON THE SCALE!!!! Again, your blog is amazing and THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!! For sharing!

    • Tina says:

      You just made me tear up. It never ceases to humble/amaze me that my words can have an impact. You all impact me so much too!

  33. Coco says:

    Yep! I think you nailed it. I’ve battled the same struggle with an emotional eating driven cycle and finally seem to have found the right balance. I find that when I eat enough food I don’t spend the day thinking about food – duh. It is important to find the right mix of foods that work for you–it might not be the hottest trend but that doesn’t matter.

  34. Thank you so much for this post. This is something that’s been on the forefront of my mind lately. Recently…well over the past year or so as I’ve gotten more into running and less into calorie tracking combined with 2 amazing oversees trips (read…no regular exercise possible) i’ve found myself within 15 pounds of where I started when I first started to get healthier backin 2008. I’m learning now though that what I did at first is not sustainable for me and I have to get to a point where I am comfortable with my fitness level and how my body feels and not the number on the scale.

  35. jobo says:

    a-freaking-men. I love this. Everything you say is so true. And I think I am finally getting to that happy weight place. There are still areas I want to work on, but I just FEEL good. I feel healthy and strong and happy. Lose the number – my favorite thing you say here. Absolutely. I have no clue what I weigh and I kinda like it that way.

  36. Danica says:

    You defined it amazingly!! I think there’s way too much pressure about the number on that scale, and it really is about finding that place where you feel good, strong, and capable of doing all that you want to. I could go on for hours about the horrible pressures our media puts on women, especially young girls, to look a certain way or that they have to be a certain weight to be happy or pretty. The beautiful thing is that every single body is different! And you’re right–”fit looks good on everyone!”

  37. sarah says:

    hmm go to food for the most energy? Well, oatmeal is literally the ONLY thing that fills me up in the morning. So, I’m gonna go with oatmeal and peanut butter :)

  38. Jen says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for quite awhile now, but have never commented before. I just wanted to say that this is an amazing post.

    I too hope that I can recover and find my happy healthy weight some day!!

    • Tina says:

      Thanks so much for commenting!!! I love hearing from readers so much. :) It makes doing this more worthwhile with every word of support.

  39. Loved this post! I find my happy weight is when I’m working out how I want, eating without getting overly hungry and am feeling well rested. :)

  40. Megan says:

    I’m still trying to find my happy weight. I’m taking my time and trying to figure out exactly what my body needs. Eventually I’m going to switch to Intuitive eating, but for right now, calorie tracking works for me.

    • Tina says:

      Happy weight definitely can take some work to get to, but is easy to maintain. That’s my opinion at least. Gotta do what works for you to get there as long as its still a focus on health. :)

  41. I actually hardly ever weight myself anymore! I kind of think of happy weight as how I feel in my jeans, etc. Honestly if I’m putting lots of greens, fruit and veggies in my body, I feel like I just look better and try not to worry about the rest of it. The scale can really drive you crazy, and I just don’t want to play that game anymore!

  42. Chelsea says:

    Were you worried after restricting so long that you had wreaked havoc on your metabolism when you decided to finally let your body decide rather than your mentality?

    • Tina says:

      I was worried but I reminded myself of my health and just took things slowly with making adjustments. I never experienced any huge backlashes that way. Only good things from my body. :)

  43. FAVORITE post ever!! Thanks for writing about this topic. I can so easily become stuck with numbers. Why must we let the number take so much control? You shared this beautifully!

  44. I love this post and the way you continually have healthy efforts to be fit (not skinny). You go girl!

  45. Tina – you did it a again! Another great post that I can totally relate to!

    Like you, I used to think that low carb, high protein was the secret to finally getting the body I wanted. It worked, then it crashed and burned. I think finding a happy weight is choosing a eating plan (whether it be vegetarian or what not) that is sustainable over time. Low carb and I are not sustainable. I love my whole wheat sandwiches far too much for that!

    Though I will admit that I’m still searching for my happy weight, I’m over trying to do it in unhealthy (low cal low carb) ways. Keeping portions in check and making sure the majority of my meals are healthy is key for me.

  46. I did a post series on this and call my “happy weight” my “goldilocks weight.”

    It’s a weight **range** that I feel good at and am able to achieve without over exercising or undereating. AND still being able to enjoy food or even have my fat kid moment (like last night which involved Dark Chocolate Dreams PB..doh!).

    Good tips for achieving whatever you want to call it though!

  47. Whitney says:

    Hey girl! You look great! I am very happy to hopefully be at my happy weight soon. I’m not sure when that will be or the number. Being almost 6 months post baby makes me feel a little better! I also wanted to say I think its great that you make B’s baby food. I’m not sure how much he weighs, but all babies are so different and some are just smaller than others. :) He looks healthy to me!! My almost 6 month old is a little chunk and he doesn’t eat that much. Maybe I will try the banana first and them venture to making some other baby foods. We love sweet potatoes too, so maybe that will be next!

  48. Becca says:

    Loev this post… I think my happy weight is where I’m comforatble. I”m probably NOT in prep, I’m working out and doing cardio I enjoy or fun, having my treat meals but feeling healthy and happy

  49. you explained this perfectly!! I love that I am at place where I feel healthy and concentrate more on how food/exercise makes me feel instead of concentrating on a number on the scale…it defintely feels great!

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