Ideal Weight vs Happy & Healthy Weight

I spent years trying to look something like this, like the woman in this picture above.

She’s tall, has long legs, a thigh gap, flat stomach, strong/toned, etc.

While sure, I had to come to accept that I’m 5’4, and I’ll never have the long, lean legs I had dreamed of, I knew I just HAD to get those other things so I could feel happier, healthier, confident, worthy, successful, accepted, and loved.

But more on my situation a little later.

We live in a world where we create concrete measures of ‘success’ in all areas of our life. We feel like we need some form of scoring to tell us that we are succeeding. Like getting A’s on your report card = smart, good student.

Thanks to the weight loss & diet industry, many women adopt these types of measurements for success, like:

  • being a certain size
  • weighing a certain number
  • eating less than xx calories
  • having xx% body fat
  • completing xx workouts a week or getting in xx steps per day
  • exercising for xx length of time
  • avoiding eating certain foods/groups (i.e. carbs, sugar, fat)

But when it comes to having a good, happy and obsession-free relationship with food and your body, chances are – your old way of thinking about ‘success’ needs a makeover!

In this post, I want to challenge your current mindset, what you consider healthy, and help you figure out what you really want to work toward: your ideal weight or your happy & healthy weight. 

Let’s start with some terminology:

Ideal Weight: Magical number you decide you want to see on the scale or on your clothing label, based on things like what you used to weigh, what a doctor told you, what a friend weighs, what you would consider acceptable, etc.

Happy & Healthy Weight: Number on the scale or on your clothing that your body naturally wants to be, is the healthiest for your unique body at this moment in time, and is effortless to maintain.

Like I mentioned before, I had some and specific goals for my body.

And guess what, I got there!!

I eventually hit what I considered my ideal weight on the scale. I also had a flat stomach, was strong/toned, had a thigh gap – all the things.

But the weird thing was…NOTHING CHANGED!

Don’t get me wrong, sure I was psyched about it, but that (very, very) quickly faded. It didn’t feel like I had imagined it would at all, and it made no sense to me.

“If this was exactly what I had been working towards, then why did I feel so miserable?”

I didn’t feel any happier, more worthy, or more confident.

I wasn’t living this new, amazing life filled with new fun activities and friends.

I still felt self-conscious, uncomfortable in my own skin, but now also hopeless and frustrated.

I also felt this feeling of overwhelm about maintaining my new weight. I was CONSTANTLY paranoid about gaining weight

I had to fight like hell to get there, then I had to fight like hell to maintain it:

  • I ate less (and less) food, and felt hungry all the time
  • I missed out on going to social events and hanging with friends to avoid temptations
  • I was mega restrictive about the foods I let myself eat
  • I beat myself up SO hard for missing a workout
  • I obsessed and worried about food and my body constantly
  • I popped diet pills like they were candy

Sure I fit into a size 0 and considered myself “healthy,” but I was miserable. I’m pretty sure I made everyone else around me miserable too.

In reality, health isn’t what you see on the scale or in your jeans, it’s more than just physical, and it’s influenced by lots of factors, but mostly the actions you take.

Healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes (read), body diversity is real! 

As I later learned, this “ideal weight” was an unhealthy weight for my body. Sure it might have been ideal in the sense that I picked that number, but in reality, my weight was less than my body wanted me to weigh. It wasn’t healthy, and it sure wasn’t happy.


Reality Check: 

Really think about your goals, and the type of life and experiences you want to have vs the cost of getting there.

To get to your ideal weight you may have to:

  • stop eating foods you love (good-bye dessert!)
  • stop girls nights out with friends (good-bye wine!)
  • miss out on experiences to avoid temptation/getting off track (see ya fun memories!)
  • spend crazy hours at the gym (hello exhaustion!)
  • spend crazy hours in the kitchen (cooking ALL your meals…hello broccoli and chicken, again!)
  • have ALL of your thoughts taken up by thinking about food, insecurities of your body, and your next workout

PLUS – there aren’t even any guarantees you’ll be able to get to that weight, or maintain it, or feel the way you think you will (and for more than just a short period of time). 

There is not a thin, super fit with a full 6-pack and chiseled arms and legs person inside every body just waiting to get out 🙂

I now call that time in my life when I hit my “diet rock bottom.”

I realized I couldn’t be at what I considered my ideal weight while still living and enjoying my life.

And I’ve spoken with SO many women who have experienced the exact same thing. Low is never low enough, and the lower the number, the crazier the food and body obsession and sacrifices get.

On the flip side, I had no idea what my happy & healthy weight was! Would it go up a lot? Would it go up a little? Would it move at all? But I had to decide which was more important to me.

I decided enough was enough with that lifestyle. Life’s too short to feel that crazed about food and my body ALL THE TIME.

It felt like a MASSIVE weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I got a new lease on life!

I ditched the diets and restrictions and adopted an approach called Intuitive Eating to reach and effortlessly maintain my happy and healthy weight. 

Intuitive eating supports the idea of learning to listen to and honor what your body wants and needs by tapping into what FEELS GOOD for your body. Understanding that your body wants to be balanced, wants to be healthy, and wants to feel fabulous!

When we learn to listen to our body and learn to love ourselves enough to give it what it’s asking for, that’s when the magic happens. 

Now, my body is where it wants to be, I don’t obsess over every little thing that goes in my body, and I eat foods I love and that make me feel amazing.

“Your body isn’t meant to be at a weight it can only sustain through restriction” – Christy Harrison

“If your body was meant to weigh less, it should not require drugs, supplements, extreme workouts, or intense self-monitoring to get there” – Rebecca Scritchfield

Do you want to end your food and body struggles for GOOD too, and get your life back??

My custom coaching program will make getting there even faster and easier! Set up free mini session with me to get the ball rolling!