In order to reach your happy weight, there are some things you’re going to need to let go of, and I don’t just mean the cookies and pastries, dear! There’s more to finding your happy weight than dieting, though that can be part of it for some individuals. I’ve been both underweight and overweight multiple times of my life. Both are horrendous experiences for how they harm your health and make you feel. Finally, after 20 years of disordered eating, a happy weight is something I’ve found really is possible to achieve. Your happy weight might be different than your dream size, but when you get there, you'll know because you'll care less about sizes and pounds, and more about your body's health. The best way to find your happy weight is to let go of some key things that might hold you back from getting there. Find out what they are, and be sure to let me know how you reached your happy weight.
One of the most important things to do to reach your happy weight is to get rid of your scale. Seriously- I don’t own one. I quit weighing myself almost 10 years ago. I know when I’ve lost or gained weight by my clothes, and a number on a scale means nothing to me. A scale is just a machine that gives you a number- it won’t tell you what number is healthiest for your body.
I used to envy women that wore a certain size, yet what I found was when I reached that size, it didn’t make me happier. Just because you admire the way someone looks doesn’t mean you should look that way, or that it will make you any happier. No one will ever look exactly the same, nor are we supposed to.
When you reach the point where you can start looking at food as something other than a caloric number, you’ll be able to reach your happy weight much faster. Your weight has more to do with your overall quality of eating, along with your activity level, than it does with calories. Calories are just a way to measure how much energy it will take your body to metabolize the food, not a way to measure how much that food can make you healthy. Seek quality over quantity in terms of calories, and start eating quality foods. When you can do this, you’ll naturally reach your happy weight, and feel so much better too.
If you measure each and every ingredient you eat, you’ll never reach your happy weight because you’ll always be obsessing. I realize some people feel safer, especially when trying to lose weight, if they measure out portions. This is okay in the beginning for newbies on a diet, but it becomes a problem when you measure out your portions because you’re fearful of food and calories. One way to make your meals healthy without measuring is to include mostly vegetables for ½ your plate, your protein to ¼ your plate, and a healthy starch to ¼ of your plate. It’s a very simple way to make you meals healthy, without measuring cups and spoons at every meal. I don’t really measure anything I eat, and instead just go by what amounts make me feel full and energized. Over time, you learn what works for your body, and it becomes habit.
To let go of the stress of eating and dieting, start working it out! Your body is more than a dieting machine, it's also a vessel for movement and activity. Activity is crucial to reaching your happy weight since it positively affects your mood. Moving your body not only keeps your metabolism humming, but it also makes you prouder of your body. Being active is something each of us should be prioritizing, not dieting and counting calories. Pick something you enjoy, and do it for 45 minutes a day. You should also be more active throughout the day, however possible, to keep your energy up, along with your metabolism and your mood. Being active makes you happier, helps you take pride in your body, and as long as you’re not obsessed with exercising away calories, it will also help you reach your happy weight.
Another tip for finding your happy weight is to think about some things in terms of your body. Think about how much your body does for you daily. It wakes you up, puts you to sleep, digests your food, keeps your heart beating, allows you to feel emotions, allows you to enjoy the taste of food, allows you to move, allows you to work, and allows you to think. It allows you to excel at your job, in school, and have relationships with your friends and family. It does so much for you and it can’t do any of that without fuel. Feeding yourself is about more than fitting into a certain size. Think about that the next time you eat, and give your body a little thanks. It will help you reach your happy weight much sooner, rather than later.
Probably the most important suggestion I could give anyone wanting to reach their happy weight sooner, is to start listening to your hunger. Many women have trouble letting go of the control that comes with restriction, but it's absolutely vital to find your happy weight. Begin listening to those little cues you might ignore that tell you that you need to refuel. Many of us ignore those and put off eating until the next meal. That leaves you ravenous, and often leads you to overeat later. Or, perhaps you’re past the point of being full and that chocolate just won’t quit calling your name. Listen to your hunger, and remind yourself your stomach is full, and that chocolate will taste so much better if you’re really hungry later. Or, perhaps your body is telling you it needs something warm instead of a cold salad. Make a hot soup full of healthy vegetables, or roast a pan of vegetables and bake some fish or cook some quinoa. Or maybe, for breakfast, you’re not digging a bowl of oatmeal like usual, and want a cold, creamy smoothie instead. Listen to your hunger, and your cravings, and satisfy them in a healthy way. This puts you in touch with your body, and with your hunger. Uniting those two things is key to loving your body more, and reaching your happy weight much sooner rather than later.
I’ve found my happy weight isn’t what I ever thought it would be. It’s actually smaller than where I was when I began my journey to healing my relationship with my body, yet it’s fuller in terms of my happiness than I ever imagined possible. And for the first time in my life, I’m not starving, stuffing, binging, or restricting, but instead- I’m eating, appreciating, loving, moving, listening, and learning. What do you think? What is the most important way to reach your happy weight? Got any tips?