H is for Happy Weight

H is for Happy Weight

Sometimes when I look at old pictures of me I struggle to make the connection that it was me. I don’t feel like that person anymore, I don’t see her when I look in the mirror (most of the time). I often wonder “How did I let myself get that big?” Of course there are also days when I look at those old photos and think “I wasn’t really THAT big!”

It’s all about perspective. And perspective can change with a flip of a switch. Hormonal changes. Emotional changes. Things that are going on in my life exteriorly can change my perspective sometimes hourly. It all depends.

Going Scale-Free this summer helped me realize that my life was less about the number on the scale and more about how I felt. I realized that what I was doing was working, that I could maintain my weight loss with my active, healthy lifestyle. That changed my brain in many, many ways.

The first change was that I cared less about the number. In the past my whole day was effected by that number. It could make me ecstatic, or it could send me tailspinning downward if I saw a +1, +2….Most often that increase in weight was hormonal or water retention. After realizing that I didn’t have to stress about it so much, I felt better. I felt like I had a better relationship with my scale and my body.

The second change was the perspective of health. Health was less about my weight and more about my fitness level, or how I felt physically, or if my jeans fit comfortably.

The final change was that I realized my Happy Weight was This. I didn’t have to restrict my calories in order to “lose those last 5 pounds” I’d been stressing about all year long. I could be happy with where I’m currently at.

What does Happy Weight mean to me? For me, it is the weight that my body wants to be with the current exercise regiment and calorie maintenance I do. No matter what I do my body likes being 144 pounds. I think this is my happy weight, this is what my body wants to weigh. Striving to weigh less would just mean mental anguish, severe caloric restrictions and the most important part: I probably wouldn’t be able to maintain that lower weight.

Realizing this has made me much happier about my body. I feel strong when I swim miles, I feel confident when I lift weights. I was able to bike 72 miles and walk the next day! I like what my body can do now.

QUESTION: How do you know what your happy weight is? Do you think happy weights can change?


A-Abstinence * B-Balance * C-Calories * D-Vitamin D * E-Emergency * F-Fast Food and Fine Dining * G-Gym Bag * H-Happy Weight *

24 Responses

  1. I hate the scale! The number doesn’t change much and it just discourages me and make me feel like a failure – despite looking and feeling better, despite my clothes fitting looser, despite my fitness level increasing. It still negates everything good I’m doing in my mind.

    The last time I stepped on the scale, I remember waking up feeling particularly skinny that morning, got on, and the number was 3 lbs. up from the last time. I just refuse to abuse myself with it anymore. It’s not a good gauge for me – I weigh about 10 lbs. more than a friend, but we are the same clothes size/height. I weight train, she does not.

    My magic number used to be 155, I’m 5’7″ so that would put me back in a size 8, where I feel best. Now I’m solely focusing on how I feel and what my body looks like. Can I see more muscle tone in my legs and arms? Is my stomach flatter?

    Just this morning I put on a pair of pants that are looser on me then a couple of weeks ago and I feel awesome about it. Non-scale victories!

    1. See! You prove my point. It’s not always about that stupid number. That’s the #1 reason I started weighing myself only once a month. My weight fluctuates so much day to day but at the end it doesn’t change month to month. Why put myself through that anguish every day or every week?

      I think you’re smart going by your clothes and how you feel instead. Non scale victories are usually better!

  2. Such a great post! I often wonder if I’m just at my happy weight right now. I was 10 pounds lighter at my lowest weight in September 2008 but no matter what I do I can’t seem to get back there. And that was also right after I’d lost all my weight by eating a lot of “diet” foods. So maybe the fact that I’m a foodie now and eat REAL, WHOLE foods means that being 10 pounds heavier is where I’m going to stay?

    I feel best about my body when I’m doing lots of different kinds of exercise and eating real, whole foods that are mostly good for me. Since I started my food blog I’ve been feeling A LOT better because of awareness of what I’m eating. Those extra little things I was eating without thinking about it really made a difference!

    Also? You look AWESOME in all those photos!!

    1. Thank you Amber! 🙂

      I agree with you. I lost my weight by restricting my calories and eating diet food. I think you are completely right that it’s better to eat real and whole foods that don’t come out of a box. I think that could be contributing to me not losing lose that few pounds either, but I don’t care. I FEEL better eating real food!

      As for your situation, I bet you running has something to do with it too. When I was running a lot I weighed at least 6 pounds heavier even though I was eating right. I think our bodies hold onto food longer for fuel. Just my thought.

  3. I definitely think that my body has a happy weight. Probably 155? I could go lower (i’ve been down to 148) but it’s difficult to maintain and I don’t think it is worth the effort. If I get up to 160, I start to feel a little pudgy and soft. I’d rather be 155 and happy than 145 and miserable.
    Leah @ L4L recently posted..Thanksgiving Weekend

  4. Hey Lisa! Another wonderful post as always! It’s funny that you wrote that today of all days because this morning I got on the scale and it was +.1 which I realize is obviously nothing! It’s just my body fluctuating, but it put a grim start to my morning. I’m not quite close to finding my happy weight yet. But, I do plan to only weigh in once a week on MyFitnessPal so that way I don’t get discouraged. Since I seem to struggle so much with my weight and being able to maintain it or get below a certain number, I’ve decided to focus on fitness right now. I’m on week 6 of Couch to 5k and I’m hoping to run a 5k this January to start my new year out right! Thank you for all your inspirational posts!

    1. I’m so glad you liked this one, Katie. I like the way you put it: “A grim start to my morning.” I’ve so been there. I wish it didn’t effect my mood so much but that stupid machine does! Time to walk away.

      That’s great that you are on MyFitnessPal. I really love the app. It helps me a lot.

  5. Hi Lisa
    here here to eating whole unprocessed foods – I am a 6 year plus maintainer and am an avid ultra runner, weight lifter and cyclist (trying to increase swimming). I absolutely do think that your happy weight can fluctuate. I maintained at about 150 lbs for several years with being careful but not depriving myself. I increased my level of exercise over the years and although my calorie intake has increased, I have very slowly continued to lose weight (interestingly in bursts over the last 2 yrs) and have become much leaner and stronger. I currently weigh 142 lbs (5ft 7) but am about 2 dress sizes smaller over the 6 yr period. Over the last 12 months I have finally been able to trust when I am hungry and eat. Equally to recognize when I’m full and stop. This has been my absolute break through. I also look at pictures of myself when I was very big and it all seems a bit surreal – intellectually I know it’s me but I cannot relate to them at all.

    1. How much weight did you lose Louise? Congratulations on keeping it off for 6 years. That’s fantastic! It gives me hope that this CAN be maintained lifelong.

      I like how you said you finally have trust in your hunger. I’m getting there too. I’m becoming more in-tune with my body and can recognize the symptoms of crashing. I try to prevent that.

  6. I am confused about what to do! I want to lose 10 pounds and see if I can maintain that. But…. I might be at my happy weight now and just not know it. I don’t want to “settle” here unless I am sure that 10 less is not my happy weight. Does this make sense? What would you do?
    Jill recently posted..Stubborn 10 Update

    1. How tall are you and how much do you weigh now?

      I can see how you’d be confused as to what to do. I had the number 140 in my mind as my goal for so long it was frustrating when I couldn’t get there. That’s when I realized 144 was probably going to be my number. I guess it just depends on how hard it is for you to maintain where you are now…?

  7. I have another side to the idea of a “happy weight”. Shortish back story: after I was done having a pile of babies, I lost the 30 lbs I’d been carrying for years and have mostly maintained for over a decade. Over the last couple of years about 10 lbs had crept back up, even though my exercise regimen hadn’t changed. Then I was told I was pre-diabetic, even though I was not at all overweight (5’6″ and about 145, size 8ish). That news motivated me to step up the workouts and eat better, and I toned up and re-lost about 10 lbs and a size or two. I felt and looked fine at 145, but I feel and look better now. I feel like this might be my happy weight, if there is such a thing. It’s such an individual thing, though, and ideally health should be more of a motivator than vanity…and I’m not sure what my point is. 😀

    1. Interesting! Were you at risk of diabetes when you were overweight?

      Developing diabetes was something that scared me enough to lose the weight. I never considered that I could possibly develop it at the current weight I am. I got my blood sugar checked last year and it was normal, which is good. But it’s definitely something to be mindful of at any weight, clearly.

  8. I don’t know if I was ever technically overweight (definitely pudgy, though), and was never tested outside of my pregnancies. I did have gestational diabetes, though, and have a family history of Type 2 diabetes. I didn’t think I was at risk since I was fit and at a healthy weight, but my doctor tells me that my history puts me at more risk than the general public. So I’ll just have to be vigilant–but I forgot to add the happy ending! After I stepped up my workouts and lost a few pounds, I was re-tested and my blood sugar was down to right on the border between pre-diabetic and normal. I’m hoping to see it all the way into the normal range next time.

  9. As you know, I struggle with happy weight, although I don’t know what my exact weight is because my scale has no weight on it. I figure my body must be happy staying where it is, even if my mind isn’t happy 😀
    Lori recently posted..November wrap up

    1. I saw your post yesterday. It was nice to see that you struggle sometimes too. You seem so put together and accepting of your body. I had no idea you struggled. Anyways, thanks for sharing it. 🙂

  10. I lost roughly 100 lbs. I absolutely believe weight loss can be maintained but only with diet and exercise. I also believe that you can have too little food and trash your metabolism. Like yourself I started with processed diet foods as I was frightened of not knowing exactly how much of everything I was eating. I have discovered however that its OK to be a foodie and I now really enjoy good quality whole foods. I’m very suspicious of processed foods and feel they play a huge role in food addictions but also that our bodies don’t metabolize that stuff in the same way – hence you can eat like a sparrow and still get fat.
    Sorry for such a long reply but this stuff gets me really fired up. I hate it when people talk about being on a diet, with the concept of a beginning and an end. It really does come down to a complete turn around in lifestyle. Unfortunately I also do think it’s harder for people like us who have previously been big – you cannot afford to take your eye off the ball .

    1. Congratulations on losing 100 pounds!

      I agree completely with the word “diet” and how it implies there’s a beginning and end. A lifestyle change is when things really stick and the weight stays off.

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