I have been thinking a lot about “happy weight” lately. Happy weight is a bit of a catch phrase these days and has been showing up EVERYWHERE, from magazines to web articles to the 6 o’clock news.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? Happy weight 🙂
But what is the weight behind this phrase?
As those of you who have been following my blog know, in mid-June I was hit with a severe bout of kidney infections and flu. Six weeks later and I am still recovering and four pounds lighter. Four pounds that I was trying to lose for a while. Four pounds that I do not miss when I step on the scale. So here I am at that number that I had in my head as my happy weight and…not so happy.
I am almost happy but something is missing.
What I am realizing is that my happy weight is actually not a number at all but a combination of three factors that lead to a confidence and contentment, a happiness!
THE THREE FACTORS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY WITH MY WEIGHT
- THE NUMBER
Yeah, it can be a bit arbitrary but there is something so satisfying about seeing that number on the scale. I like facts. A number on a scale is a fact. Yes, there are a thousand factors your number does not measure, like muscle mass, stamina, bad belly fat,or body shape, but in it’s own way this number on the scale gives us a fact about our bodies. The number I like to see on the scale is 133. Anything lower and I know it probably won’t last long, anything higher and I am trying to lose a few pounds.
- THE FOOD
One way I achieve my happy weight and stay there is by eating for fuel. These last six weeks of illness have really helped me break out of some emotional and social eating patterns that are so easy for me to fall into. I am eating to fuel my recovering body. I am eating when I am hungry and only until I am approaching full, rather than full. I am NOT eating sugar (it’s no fuel for a recovering body), cheese, coffee, or alcohol (all hard on the kidney’s). I approach a meal or snack by asking myself what my body needs rather than what sounds tasty. Have I eaten enough greens? Whole grains? Protein? When I am at my happy weight I think less about food and enjoy letting my hunger build before a meal or snack instead of feeling the desire to eat at the first sign of hunger. When I am at my happy weight my relationship with food is calmer and more functional.
- THE EXERCISE
And this is the piece of the puzzle that is currently missing. When I am at my happy weight I am exercising regularly but not manically. I feel strong and lean and ready for anything. Although I have been off antibiotics for four days now I still feel exhausted, sore, and tight in my muscles. My exercise life has been interrupted for so long that I have started to lose muscle mass, strength, and endurance. I cannot feel happy with my weight if I am not active. I cannot enjoy a lower number on the scale if I am tired all of the time and a walk up the stairs makes me winded. I just feel puny.
So there you have it, my happy weight is only one-third or less about an actual number. And it is much more than the sum of its three parts. It is an attitude, an emotional state, a relationship with my body, a physical feeling, a confidence in my appearance.
I want to reach my happy weight. My goal now is to have the first two factors stick for long-term and slowly rebuild my strength and endurance.
Today I will go for a long walk at a steady clip and do a bit of yoga, not what I would consider much exercise a month and a half ago but I must start slow and listen to where my body is TODAY.