I wanted to look like this. Like the woman in this picture above.
I tried like hell to get to my body’s version of that (I had to come to acceptance a while before that I’m 5’4, I’ll never have the long, lean, beautiful legs I had dreamed of, I had to work with my shape!), and my hard work paid off. I did get to what I considered my ideal weight: I saw that magical number on the scale and on the label of my pants.
I considered it a success in that sense of things…but more on my situation a little later.
We live in a world where we expect a concrete measurement of ‘success’ in all areas of our life. We feel like we need some form of scoring to tell us that we are succeeding. For example, in school getting A’s on your report card = smart, good student.
Many women apply that concept to their health and weight as well (which is greatly influenced by dieting industry), and think there are certain measurements for success they need to reach, 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)
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 if you want to work toward your ideal weight or your happy & healthy weight. Having a clear goal is helpful in driving your actions!
Let’s be sure we’re on the same page with some terminology:
Ideal Weight: Magical number you want to see when you look at the scale or your clothing label
Happy & Healthy Weight: Number your body fights to be at and naturally wants to be, that is effortless to maintain
Which do you REALLY want?
Think about this.
Like I mentioned before, I finally hit what I considered my ideal weight years ago, but it turns out, I was at an unhealthy weight for my body, I weighed less than my body wanted me to weight. I was at my thinnest – but nothing changed or happened differently like I thought it would. I wasn’t living this amazing new happy, confident life filled with all kinds of new fun activities. It was more of the opposite!
Yup that’s me above, at the number I wanted to see on the scale, my “ideal” weight.
I had to fight like hell to get there, then I had to fight like hell to maintain it.
I ate less food and felt hungry all the time, I missed out on going to social events and hanging with friends, I was mega restrictive about the foods I let myself eat, I was still super self conscious about my body and had low self esteem/confidence, I beat myself up SO hard for missing a workout, I was CONSTANTLY paranoid about gaining weight, etc.
Sure I fit into a size 0 or 2 and considered myself healthy, but I was miserable. I’m pretty sure I made everyone else around me miserable too.
Looking back though, I wonder how I considered living that way to be “healthy”?
Isn’t there more to “health” than what the number on the scale or the tag of my jeans says?
I’m sure you know someone that looks like they’re “healthy” according to the scale or label on their clothes, but they eat fast food and junk food all the time.
You probably also know someone that might not look like you would define healthy, maybe a bigger frame, but they eat lots of vegetables and rarely eat “unhealthy” foods.
Think about what you really want. What it would take for you to achieve it.
For example, if your ideal weight is less than your happy & healthy weight (it might be, it might not be!), achieving it may require you to:
- stop eating foods you love (good-bye dessert!)
- stop girls nights out with friends (good-bye wine!)
- 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
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. I had no idea what my happy & healthy weight was though! 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, and I wanted my body to do what IT wanted to do. 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 restriction 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. Like to me, when I eat mostly vegetables, whole grains, meats, nuts, seeds, healthy fats – I feel fantastic!! Sometimes it also feels fantastic to eat a cupcake or have some pizza. And that’s ok 🙂 I know when I eat that stuff all the time though – my body does not feel good, so I don’t eat them too often.
In order for your body to naturally guide you to your happiest & healthiest weight and self, you first need to re-learn how to listen to her voice – understanding that she wants to be balanced, she wants to be healthy, she wants to feel fabulous. When we learn to listen to her and learn to love ourselves enough to give her what she’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.
It’s you turn!!
I want to invite you to take a quick minute, and bullet out on a piece of paper how you define health. Judgement-free, just write whatever pops up in your head. What would need to happen for you to consider yourself healthy based on the type of life you want to live and what your priorities really are?
Now take another minute and bullet out what happens if you don’t hit your success measurements and markers. How does that affect how you think about yourself? How does that impact the actions you then take? Has thinking this way helped you to achieve and effortlessly maintain your health goals?
If you’re anything like myself and my clients, you’ll want to focus on the happy, rather than the ideal.
Want one-on-one support getting there even faster and easier? Set up free mini session with me to learn more about how I can help you through coaching 🙂