Our Weight: When Is It ‘Happy’?

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on July 6, 2009

Welcome back everyone!

I hope you had a lovely weekend, whether it was celebrating the 4th of July or just a couple days off work! :)

Two quick things before I get into today’s hot topic:


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Jillian Michaels in Self Magazine:


While I was on the treadmill the other day, I was reading Jillian Michael’s interview in the latest issue of Self Magazine.

Jillian Michael’s on her weight:

“I try to start the season [of The Biggest Loser] in the best shape as possible…Then, during the season, I’m so exhausted that it’s hard for me to workout, so my body will change on the show. I get 8 to 10 pounds heavier. I’ll go from 115 pounds to 125 pounds…At 115 pounds, I look ripped, but I also look old. And my hunger is raging, my body doesn’t want to be there. At 125 pounds, I’m working [on the show] like crazy, stressed out of my mind, having a glass of wine every night. 120 pounds is actually good, I can hold it there.”

I think this quote is so interesting because it reminds me that our weight is typically not a static, unchanging thing. I used to have the mindset that I wanted to be ‘x’ number of pounds and once I got there I was going to stay there for good. Ummm….sorry, Ange…never going to happen! Not even celebrity personal trainers are immune from weight fluctuations from time to time.

I can relate to Jillian’s words so much because it took me a while to figure out my happy weight.

What is a happy weight? A happy weight is a weight that your body can maintain with relative ease where you feel healthy, energetic, and sane. For Jillian, her happy weight would be 120 pounds, the weight that she can feel good and ‘hold’ or maintain.

What is an unhappy weight? Our ‘unhappy weight’ is a weight that we do not feel our best at energy wise, health wise, and hunger wise. For Jillian, an unhappy weight was 115 pounds. She said she ‘looked old’ and her ‘hunger was raging’. In my opinion, it is almost impossible to achieve a healthy balance in our life when our mind is constantly on food and we are always starving! This is a signal that our body is trying desperately to put on a few pounds.

Another unhappy weight for Jillian is 125 pounds. She says when she weighs 125 pounds, she is typically highly stressed out, drinking alcohol, and probably eating poorly. She recognizes that life happens, and her weight can fluctuate depending on what is going on in her life. I think we can all relate to that! I know I put on some weight when I was injured despite my best efforts and I also tend to gain a bit of weight over the winter months.

Since I have come to the realization that my weight is not a static thing, my mind has been more at ease and I have been able to see the bigger picture of my overall, long term health. If I go up a few pounds in the winter, does it really matter? Probably not. If we have a stressful month and gain a bit of weight, is it the end of the world? Hardly. Life happens and whether we like it or not, our weight is going to fluctuate a bit over the course of our weeks, months, years, etc!

I have had unhappy weights. I have been at lower weights in the past and I was miserable. Much like Jillian, I was starving all the time. I couldn’t get my mind off food. I was obsessed and barely thought of anything but my weight and negative thoughts about myself and my body. I never felt like I was good enough. Actually, at my lowest weights, I felt the worst about myself. Depriving oneself can really mess up the mind, that is for sure.

When you aren’t treating your body properly, you will never feel good, no matter how small the image is looking you in the mirror.

When it came down to it, when I was at my lowest weight, I couldn’t even appreciate it because all my body wanted to do was desperately gain a bit of weight! I had no time to think of anything but food and weight. I couldn’t study and I couldn’t go out with friends. That was NOT a happy weight!

I think it is really important that we learn that being super thin or ‘x’ amount of pounds will not bring happiness. Happiness comes from the inside, feeling good about yourself, and making healthy choices in your life.

I have also been at higher weights, that I would call unhappy weights too. Even though I was heavier than I am now, my mind was always on food. I was like a rollercoaster ride…barely eating one day and bingeing the next. It was not healthy for me because my body never had a healthy balance. It never knew what to expect from one day to the next, and when I did eat, you can bet your bottom dollar that it held onto every single calorie that it got.

I definitely think that the place I am at now, and have been for a while, is my happy weight. I don’t know what I weigh (since I ditched the scale), but I know I am at a happy weight because I can eat when I am hungry, enjoy an active lifestyle, and my clothes generally fit about the same. Of course, some days my pants may feel a bit tight or something may not fit right, but I have come to realize that that is pretty normal, especially being a woman and all! ;)


My questions to you today:

1) Do you know what your happy weight is? Without getting specific with numbers, try to talk generally about what a happy weight is to you. Do you know when you are there? Have you ever been at your happy weight? How did/do you feel?

2) What about unhappy weights? Have you ever been there too? What was going on that made this an unhappy weight?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts as always! :)

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{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

Danielle July 6, 2009 at 7:30 am

Wow, great topic! Unfortunately, I have yet to discover my happy weight. I know its not where I am now, but everytime I have lost weight in the past it has been through deprivation. My goal now is not a number on the scale, its to be at peace with my eating habits and to fuel my body with healthy food. I’m about a month into the journey and I have never felt better, though I’m sure I have barely lost any scale weight. I still dont love my body but I do love my attitude towards it, and I adore not being tied to a number on the scale.

Similarly, my unhappy weight is also less about a number and more about when I KNOW I’m treating my body badly!


Lindsay @ A Taste of Sparkle July 6, 2009 at 7:41 am

Love the new header! It looks great.

I am still trying to figure out my happy weight, but I think I’m getting close. I’ve maintained that weight I am at for over a month now by exercising moderately and eating when I’m hungry, stopping when I’m full – something that seems simple, but is actually revolutionary for me!

I have definitely been at unhappy weights. I have been higher, especially when I was younger, during periods of restricting/binging, and I could just tell that my body did not want to be that way. I’ve also been lower, but only got there through unhealthy means. I was so miserable and barely eating, but I thought that I would have to sacrifice happiness in order to be okay with my body. As soon as I started eating more normally, I immediately put on a few pounds, another sign that the weight was unhappy.

Now I feel ok in my body. Sure, sometimes I feel like my weight is too high, but I’m not struggling to maintain it, and more importantly, I’m so much happier!


Madison July 6, 2009 at 7:44 am

I read that article in Self too and, like you, I was encouraged to know that even Jillian’s weight fluctuates. I used to think that people in the media and in the fitness business are immune to all of this, but no one is! It is a fact of life–but we can make it easier on ourselves if we live a healthy lifestyle.

I have a happy weight and unhappy weight as well. I used to weigh almost every day, for about 3 years, but now, I rarely weigh. I will probably weigh in a few days (not right now b/c the July 4th weekend has left me bloated haha). The scale can be your enemy is you obsess over it–it is all about what you feel like and does that make you happy. Happiness is not a number–be it dollars or pounds–happiness is a feeling.


Shelby July 6, 2009 at 7:47 am

I have no idea what my weight is now I don’t even care to know. I feel great in my body and I don’t think a number should change that.


AGS July 6, 2009 at 7:48 am

Not that long ago, I said to my husband, “even if I lost 10 pounds, I don’t think I’d really be happy.” I think I’m about at my happy weight, but am still adjusting to it. I started realizing what a good weight was, when I found that gaining a little weight or going down a bit, didn’t make a big impact on how my clothes fit.

I also realized that for my lifestyle — which is very active — I just have to eat a certain amount of food. When I try to get much lower than now, I have to cut out all discretionary calories. I’ve done that a couple of times, but find it’s just not terribly useful for feeling my best day-in, day-out.

An unhappy weight. . . that’s when I can’t see my abs, and have difficulty running (also, been there). It’s where I just feel frustrated day-in, day-out.

Perhaps it’s as much about who you want to be altogether, as it is the weight.


Michelle Hisae July 6, 2009 at 8:04 am

Great post. I’ve loved Self’s idea of a “Happy Weight” ever since they introduced it. I would say I know my own happy weight. Because when I’m lower, like you, I don’t even appreciate the fact that I worked hard to get down to that weight. I end up putting on weight just because I’m stressed out with not liking my body at a place I thought I would. When I’m higher than my “Happy Weight,” I wish I was at a lower one. But was I happy back there? Not necessarily. I’m at the right weight for me when I’m happy, carefree, and still respecting food and what’s put into my body. It’s more the mindset than anything!

Whew! Honesty is tiring, haha.


shannon July 6, 2009 at 8:06 am

I love this post. I can totally relate to being happy/unhappy. I am still not sure what my happy weight is, as I don’t think I have EVER been there. I know I am on the right track though. I am done obsessing over food, like you said, I always have obsessed no matter what my weight has been. I try not to pay too much attention to the scale either but I do hop on once a week. Most importantly it’s how you feel about yourself and I am finally coming to that realization.


Victoria July 6, 2009 at 8:10 am

I’m still struggling to find mine. I was much higher in my teenage years and also quite a bit lower a couple of years ago. It’s hard for me because even though I loved my body at a low weight (I am 5 3 with a very small frame), I know that I was moody, hungry and weak. I maintained the weight with little (very healthy) food, lots of coffee and diet coke (yuck!) during the week, then I went to town on the weekends, drinking about 10 units of alcohol (vokda and diet coke, obviously!)and eating whatever rubbish I felt like. It seemed like an ok balance to me then but looking back it was so unhealthy and could have caused me some real problems!

So now I’m eating good whole foods, no alcohol or dairy. Being an angel as much as I can, but also treating myself occsionally to small portions of sweets/chocolate.

Through reading so many blogs of such amazing women, like Angela, I know that this is the path to a maintainable, happy weight!


April July 6, 2009 at 8:11 am

Excellent post! I think i’m at my happy weight right now. I’m enjoying foods I never thought I would be able to eat again. My energy is awesome and my workouts are proof of eating carbs = energy.

I do figure competitions and i’m starting to realize that may not be ideal for my health and mind. I get really small and think that is how I should look all the time. I know that’s NOT maintainable. It’s just another form of yo-yoing for me. I’m glad I found blogs like yours and with my trainers help i’m getting happy again :)


Runjen July 6, 2009 at 8:20 am

Great topic!! I think after all of these years, I have finally found my true healthy weight after giving birth to my daughter two years ago.
I feel great, hardly weigh myself, and just feel healthier and lighter than I did during my 20’s. In all honesty, I am not even sure how much I weigh now, which is a huge change from my scale obsessed early 20’s and college years.
I workout 5-6 days a week, eat healthy 85% of the time, and have never felt better.


leslie July 6, 2009 at 8:29 am

i have SO many things to say! this is a huge topic for me. i’ve been at both higher and lower weights than i am now. at my higher weight i knew nothing about nutrition, was out of shape, and unhappy with my body. at my lower weight, i was well versed in nutrition, in the best shape of my life, and still unhappy with my body. i strongly believe that having a positive body image has nothing to do with a number or jeans size, or i never would’ve continued to lose weight past my original “goal.”

for me, a happy weight is a place that is easy and enjoyable to maintain. when i was at a lower weight, i was obsessed with staying there. going lower was ok, going higher was terrifying. i had to be perfect in eating and exercise all the time. i was completely isolated because of it. when i finally realized i had to put on some weight, i was incredibly afraid to give up that control. but once the weight started to come on, i realized i felt so FREE – if i missed a few days of exercise, if i had more than one glass of wine, if i didn’t have exactly x calories for lunch – it was ok. it is easy to maintain my weight when it’s in a healthier place.

i was also very self-conscious that people would think i had “let myself go.” and getting to a “happy weight” made me realize i didn’t care what other people thought – i was so much happier, and that’s what mattered. and i was surprised when the weight came on that i actually started getting complimented on my appearance again. i think if you’re at the right weight, within a range of course, your body just radiates it, your mind is clear, and other people can see that you are where you’re supposed to be. it’s a beautiful thing. :)


Allison July 6, 2009 at 8:32 am

Because of the binge-diet cycle I was in for 2 years, my weight fluctuated 30 lbs depending on my eating. Both ends of the extreme can be characterized as unhappy weights for me. At my lowest end, I would be starving and obsessed with not putting on weight, which my body would definitely do if I had just one bad night of eating. At my highest weight, I just felt so uncomfortable in my own skin and out of shape/out of breath. I hated my body and would only go out when I had to and would wear sweats to conceal my weight.

Ditching the scale and stopping calorie counting have been key to ending the cycle for me. I am still amazed that on some days, I would wake up and say, “I feel good about my body today. I feel lean. I look good!” Then I would get on the scale, see a number I didn’t like, and would have a complete 180 in thinking. Its ridiculous how a number can control how you think about yourself. Its stupid actually.


Elisabeth July 6, 2009 at 8:33 am

I’m at my happy size right now. I can’t say I’m at my happy weight because I have no idea how much I weigh. All I know is that my body feels great, my face is glowing, and I’m happy. And my clothes fit awesome, so that’s always a good test!

My weight does fluctuate–over the winter I definitely put on some extra. My clothes become a little uncomfortable around December/January/February, and the jeans that slipped on effortlessly in August or September have a bit of “spillage” at the waist. I just take it with a grain of salt–I’m still the same girl, and I know that I’ll get back to my happy point in the spring!

Ditching my scale years ago has allowed me to be more in tune with my body, and now I just listen to what my body needs, rather than letting the scale dictate where my “happy” point is.


Kristine July 6, 2009 at 8:33 am

Hi Angela,
Great post. I think it is also really important to note in this post that Jillian Michaels is 5’2″, because 120 pounds can seem quite low for a “happy weight.”


Paige July 6, 2009 at 8:39 am

Hi Angela,

I’ve found my happy weight for sure. For me, my happy weight is when I eat clean and healthy 85% of the time, and indulge 15% of the time – all while working out 6 days/week. Doing so, my weight hardly fluxuates at all, and I have plenty of energy!


Mara @ What's For Dinner? July 6, 2009 at 8:43 am

Great topic, as usual Ange :)
I have never had a happy weight. Ever. I’ve always been unhappy at whatever weight I was. When I was thin and fit at 145? I wanted to be smaller, like my friends. Now, at over 200 (believe it or not) I’m pretty much “stuck” but working on being happy with it. *sigh* its a neverending battle!


Sam July 6, 2009 at 8:46 am

Here is how I determined my happy weight. I used to weigh about 5-7 pounds less. But I was working out more, and not having many “treats.”

Recently, I said to my boyfriend (who loves treats too), “If I could eat less chocolate, ice cream etc., I would be ripped because I workout so much (only because I enjoy working out most days)

He said, “yeah, you might be skinnier, but you wouldn’t be happy.”


Valerie July 6, 2009 at 8:56 am

I would say I’m probably right around my happy weight now. After spending a year losing weight, I’ve maintained the loss for two months now. Of course I’ve had some ups and downs but my weight has been fairly stable overall, I eat healthy foods I enjoy, I exercise regularly and I don’t feel as though I’m depriving my body – if I really want chocolate, I’ll eat some.

So that’s really what a happy weight is for me – one that I can maintain through a healthy lifestyle, as well as a weight/size where I like my body.


Jenn July 6, 2009 at 8:59 am

Great post! You have so many things going on this month (already!) that are really resonating with me. I’m loving this boot camp. I’m loving the total aspect of it, body and mind and spirit. Great job.

I’m still working on a happy weight. After cancer treatments, I had what doctor’s call the “falling off the face of the world syndrome” which is some pretty raging depression. I gained a ton of weight. Then I got pregnant and gained some more. I’ve been working on losing that, and have shed about 40 lbs in the past 2 years. I’ve still got some weight to lose; I’m about 15 lbs over a healthy BMI for my height.

I used to look at people like Kath and Jenna, who had ditched the scale and think, oh, of course it’s so easy for you to stay away from the scale, you’re already thin and beautiful. I’d think that once I got to a “good” weight, then I’d ditch the scale too. Like it’s that easy. But it really isn’t. I’ve seen people who look amazing, people with bodies I envy freak about 2 or 5 pounds. I think weight and physical appearance are so important to women, and that we place so much worth it in. I want my worth to be defined my so much more, and I decided that for me, part of SGBC was putting away the scale for a month.

It’s hard. I’ve been working my butt off, and I want to get on the scale and see it it’s paying off. I’m not, though. What if it says something I don’t want it to? Will that change how hard I’ve been working out? What if it’s low? Will that give me license to splurge on Oreos?

I’m working on it. For me, find my happy weight is a process. I have a lot of goals though that have nothing to do with weight. If I make sure that each step I take moves me towards those goals. the weight will follow. I think once I can fully hold that idea in my grasp, I’ll understand my Happy Weight.


Melanie July 6, 2009 at 9:01 am

I have quite a ways to go for my happy weight, I think. Looking back, I feel pretty sure that the weight I was at around my wedding was a good, healthy and happy weight to be. Unfortunately, I wasn’t satisfied with it then, which I regret now. I’m really working on giving up the scale so that I can tell where my happy weight is naturally.


Anna July 6, 2009 at 9:04 am

Oooo happy weight, that is definitely a hot topic. I can honestly say that I’m above my happy weight right now, whatever that may be. I just don’t feel as comfortable in my skin these days as I remember feeling 2-3 years ago. It makes me sad to say that, but it’s the truth. Whenever I get too down, I just try to remind myself that I’m a work in progress.


fittingbackin July 6, 2009 at 9:07 am

This is such a great post! I’m personally having a hard time finding my happy weight. :( I lost 20 pounds since I started blogging in September. My goal. Then I lost about 6 more, and now i’ve gained back the 6 leading me to believe this may be the weight my body is comfortable at. I seem to maintain here- feel satisfied, but not hungry or full. I walk a lot for exercise- but not too much to where I can’t squeeze it in and not too little to where i’m not challenged. I’ve thought about giving up the scale, but for now i’m a daily weigher trying to ensure I don’t let my weight balloon again like I did during my engagement! Hopefully i’ll get there one day.


Barbara July 6, 2009 at 9:21 am

This is a steller post!

At 34 years of age, YES I do know my “Happy Weight” yet i still fight it tooth and nail. It’s a mental thing with me know and something that will take a while to over come.

I’m 5’9 and my Happy weight is probably 140-145lbs, this is with muscle and all. I was 135 a couple summers ago, size 4 and loved it for all of 1 week? With that low weight came a slew of digestive issues, irregularity and unhappiness. My body can work much easier at 140 and below 148lbs.

Another bad side effect of getting my weight to 135(extreme for me)…Thyroid issues. Bad diet can create hormone issues that lead to thyroid problems. Sigh* Guess you can call that..on the job training.

Thank you for always posting good stuff that makes us really think!


Angie July 6, 2009 at 9:23 am

Great post, Angela.

I love the topic of “happy weight” vs. “unhappy weight”. I’m a dietitian and I work with clients/patients struggling to lose anywhere from 5 pounds up to over 200-300 pounds or more. Often it is the people so close to a healthy weight that are so unhappy with their bodies and are constantly striving for better.

Personally, I struggled with finding happiness in my body for years. I think most women do from time to time. And, what I found is that how I felt about myself manifested in how my body looked….meaning, if I was unhappy, my body was not in its best place. As I became happier on the inside, my weight naturally came to a happy place and my body image followed.

I see the point of a scale as a tool, but I believe for most people who struggle with their weight…it is more of a hindrance. I haven’t owned a scale in years and go by the way I feel. Great topic – Angela. Thanks for provoking some interesting thought and discussion.


Jessica July 6, 2009 at 9:25 am

I’m happy when I’m 145 or less. I haven’t found my unhappy low weight yet, and I know that my ideal weight is probably going to be 140, maybe lower, but I’ll figure it out along my journey. My goals are to go low enough to feel good about myself, look good, be happy, and feel strong and not hungry all the time, like jillian felt. I do not want to go under 130 because I may veer into underweight at that point, but as my body is very deep (big bones) I feel that I need to be on the lower end to be happy, but we’ll see how it goes!


kim July 6, 2009 at 9:25 am

I was at a happy weight once, right before college. I had lost about 45 lbs and felt sooo good! Unfortunately, the challenge to maintain and dealing with going off to college happened at the same time and I never figured it out. I’m again on a search for my happy weight and hoping I can figure out what it is. I’m trying to not focus on the scale right now, but focus on developing habits that are sustainable.

My current weight is a very very unhappy weight. I feel really insecure about my looks which trickles down to a lot of other areas of life. It’s not fun being the big girl. From feeling like you are the elephant in the room to the fact that I can’t even purchase the cute clothes I want because they don’t come in my size. Even as I lose, I still feel unhappy, but at least more positive. It helps that my fiance is MAJORLY supportive and understands that even if he doesn’t care about my weight, it’s something I am working on to make myself feel better.


kim July 6, 2009 at 9:26 am

Oh, and I CANNOT WAIT for Glo Bakery to ship to the US! Jealous of the Canadians who can order this sampler pack!


Holly July 6, 2009 at 9:29 am

I haven’t found my happy weight yet. I do wonder if it’s maybe harder to figure it out when you’ve lost SO MUCH weight. I’ve lost over 80 lbs, and as my BMI and % fat and all other guidelines are higher than I would like, I feel pretty sure that I am where I need to still lose another 20 or so. Or instead, 10 plus some muscles. Because it’s not really POUNDS I’m after, it’s INCHES.

I’ve actually adjusted my thinking a lot re: the NUMBER on the scale, though. I actually don’t care what it is. Maybe it will help me later when I get to that happy place, just to know what it is. Maybe not.

Another obstacle I have is excess skin. I have some… but I can’t tell where it begins and where the excess fat ends. I don’t know how much of it CAN come off anymore.

Since I’m not always feeling happy and healthy, since I’m not always fueling my body with the best possible nutrition, I know I’m not at my happy weight yet. I hope through inspiration like all you food bloggers who have found that balance, I can get there.


Kristen July 6, 2009 at 9:44 am

I think I’m more or less at my “happy weight”. I weigh myself about once a week (sometimes less) just to see where I’m at and I’m still learning that if I’m a little bit over that “happy” place, it is just fine. I’m healthy, I’m active, and I know that my body is capable of a lot. If it wants to hang onto a few pounds, there’s probably a reason for it (or sometimes it is the ice cream…mmmm ice cream).


Tammy (Defining Wellness) July 6, 2009 at 9:46 am

Great post, Angela! I have written about this topic in depth on my blog as well, because I think it’s such an important one. I, too, finally gave up weighing myself. I think even Jillian may be a little strict on herself — 5 pounds up or 5 pounds down change how she feels about herself?? A little harsh, perhaps? I feel so amazing now because I’m not at my lowest weight and I’m not at my highest — I haven’t binged in months — I haven’t gone to bed starving in months. My clothes fit nicely, and like you said, some days are a little more snug and some days are a little more loose. I love being active and consider “working out” to be my playtime! I enjoy healthy foods and indulgent foods on occasion and a daily treat. Most importantly, I’m able to focus on the things that matter in my life and really soak in every moment. I love spending time with my husband, family, pets, and friends. My mind is finally free to do so! No matter what I weigh, I’m at my healthy weight because I’ve never felt happier in my life.


Gillian July 6, 2009 at 9:55 am

What a great topic! I can relate to finding my happy weight – I am there now but finding it was not always fun getting to. I can now balance out my eating and treat myself and now get upset if I eat too much over a day or two because I know it will all smooth out again! I LOVE food now and it doesn’t stress me out like it once did!


Ruby July 6, 2009 at 10:31 am

1) I recently talked about “happy weight” as well. To me happy weight is when I can enjoy life, feel good about the choices I make in food & exercise and not feel hungry or stuffed all the time. My happy weight is when my body feels happy – it needs a certain amount of comforts to feel good: a minimum bodyfat%, enough calories in, enough challenging exercise and enough rest. Within those things there’s a weight range where my mind generally feels happy too. Even if happy is realizing I over indulged a little and maybe I need to watch the wine or fries a while. Somehow I think that signal comes 50% from my body (saying it needs better nutrition) and 50% mind (seeing clothes not fit properly).

2) Unhappy weight is when I’ve not exercises for a while and constantly over-eaten, as well as whenever I get down to the lower end of fluctuation – I personally don’t feel unhappy, but I can feel my body does not want to go lower. It would be happier with a few extra lbs.

I also am learning that getting to a certain weight someone else has, does not mean you’ll get their body, *lol*. It’s so personal!


Shelly July 6, 2009 at 10:33 am

My happy weight has changed over the years. I used to look really good weighing XYZ lbs and that’s what I weighed all through college. Ironically, I didn’t eat healthily *at all* back then.
A decade later, I look *way* too bony at that weight and I have to work pretty hard to get down to it. I guess my fat has distributed itself differently because if I only weighed that now, my chest bones would stick out in a manner that I consider to be frighteningly unattractive. I also don’t have much of an appetite at that weight, and I didn’t feel strong or healthy then.
Conversely, right after I graduated college, I put on 15 lbs. in a about a year. I was definitely unhappy at that weight. I just didn’t know anything about being active or eating right and I felt really tired and heavy all the time.
Since then I’ve become much more active, but my weight has still gone up and down. I recently found myself at my highest previous weight again- (after having a very social fall and a decadent Christmas holiday)- and it spurred me to lose about 10 lbs., but one thing I noticed is that although I was at my heaviest weight, I was a lot smaller because I was more active than I was the last time I weighed that much. I still wasn’t happy because my pants were too snug, but I was in much better shape and really didn’t look too bad.
Now I’m the most active I have ever been, I’m at a weight in between my highest and lowest points, and I feel great. This is my happy weight for now. But I do think that number changes as one’s body changes over time. I honestly need to carry a bit more weight on my body than I did when I was younger- both for beauty and health. I guess that’s once of the differences between being a girl and a woman for me.


brandi July 6, 2009 at 10:34 am

i love the sound of all the new flavors of glo bars!

my happy weight is still something I’m figuring out, but I want it to be where I can eat healthy, stay sane, and still enjoy the things I want to without freaking out about it. I know weight fluctuates day to day, so I don’t worry about that


Erika July 6, 2009 at 10:37 am

Another incredible post! I think I am currently at my happy weight finally at 32! This is after my high point when I was constantly drinking and eating in college, my lowest right before my wedding and two healthy pregnancies.

Although the number on the scale is fine with me, I am striving to get into better shape. A little less jiggly would be nice but, my goal right now is to workout consistently over a longer period of time. I tend to get frustrated and give up. Your blog is a great inspiration though! :)


Brandi C. July 6, 2009 at 10:41 am

First off let me start off buying saying, “Man I wish I lived in Canada! I would’ve tried to be 1 of the 1st 10!”
Second, this topic is FABULOUS! I know exactly where my happy weight is and when I’m there I feel so energetic, lively, and confident! I have also been above and below my happy weight as well. When I was below I always thought about my next meal and would NEVER put anything into my mouth that I hadn’t planned on. (Ie. The samples at WFM even if they were healthy or treats someone brought to work) When I was above my happy weight (before I even began to think about health and vitality) I ate out almost daily and made very unhealthy choices. I didn’t feel bad about my body then, but looking back on it now…the pictures disgust me amd made me realize that I was not taking care of my body and I can’t believe I treated it that badly!


Fitzalan July 6, 2009 at 10:56 am

I have no idea what exactly I weigh right now. I haven’t weighed myself in months and I am so proud of myself for that! I personally think I am fairly close to being at my happy weight. I workout daily, I eat healthy and I lead an active lifestyle. I feel that means where my body is right now is where it should be.

Anything below what I believe is my happy weight means I have lost tons of my muscle definition and I am not eating enough. I have been much smaller and I felt awful…weak, sore and starving. I thought if I reached a certain # that all my issues would go away. They definitely didn’t and it is almost impossible to maintain that small number. I have weighed more and I absolutely hated myself when I looked in the mirror. That was my motivation to try and slowly and healthily lose the weight…so I wouldn’t be angry at myself because that is one of the worst ways to feel in life. When you feel anger when you look in the mirror, there is almost no chance you can enjoy anything else in life. Once you are happy with yourself, the other things will begin to come too.

Happiness Awaits


sarah July 6, 2009 at 10:58 am

Great topic! I think that it is really healthy to remember that weight fluctuates and that it’s not the end of the world to gain or lose a few pounds! I forget that all the time. When I was engaged, I lost several pounds and could relate in a way to how Jillian says she feels at 115… I could just feel different pains in my body and felt like there wasn’t a lot of cushion for my muscles. Right now I’m feeling a lot of stress due to a variety of circumstances and I feel like I’ve gained a couple of pounds… which stresses me out more! It’s releasing to realize that it’s not the end of the world if I gain a few pounds… there will be a less stressful season (hopefully soon!) that I can focus more on being in shape. Thanks for your post!


leatitia (inspire lea) July 6, 2009 at 11:03 am

God, those bars are TEMPTING! I just booked a week long trip to Washington DC and New York, so the cash flow is a bit low right now. Otherwise, I’d so order right now. My mouth is watering, the new header is WORKING! ;-)

Regarding your question of the day, I’m very very happy to say that I’m at my happy weight right now. It’s easy to maintain with regular exercice (at least 3 x a weeks which is what I should be doing to my health anyway) and I can splurge on that cake on the weekend without freaking out.

I don’t weight myself anymore. I measure my waist about once a month but I usually know beforehand if I maintain by the way my clothes fit.

If I maintain this lifestyle (that I love!) I’ll maintain the body I also love. Win win!


Erin July 6, 2009 at 11:13 am

I remember being happiest with my weight in high school but even then I was not small. Crap I haven’t been small since I was 10 years old. I am not a small person either (5’8″-large boned etc) by build or by genetics, thanks irish german roots lol! I am sorta amazonish is what you would call it but it has taken me the last 3 years to really embrace it and be ok with it (losing 65lbs helped to). Plus I always wear a 3-5 inch heel so I usually tower at 5’10 – 6 ft.
Being a happy weight to me means not ever being over 200lbs again (haven’t been there in over 2 years) but also being strong, being able to run, having my joints not hurt etc. I actually feel my best when I maintain a healthy diet and workout, my body and mind actually need exercise and crave it.
My unhappy weight was 30 lbs heavier than when I got married. Just like the freshman 15 I gained “happy” weight when I got married. I was eating pure crap! Yes I will eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s after having a Large size Wendy’s meal. I was incredibly sedentary and felt like I was on a rollercoaster, I am an emotional eater. I made a decision in October of 2005 that I was not going to be 30 and feeling and looking like I did. By the time I was 30 I had lost 60lbs and I really would like to see another 20 gone but slower is better and I am pretty content now which is why it is probably taking forever for it to come off!


emma k. July 6, 2009 at 11:25 am

I don’t know what my happy weight is, because until recently I didn’t work on taking care of my mind, heart, and health… I was just focused on the outside and the numbers.

I have experienced unhappy weights though. Last summer I got very thin, and although I thought I looked great in clothes I was also secretly fearing food, obsessively working out, and always on edge because I felt like everyone was talking about my weight loss behind my back.

Then during the school year I fell into a deep depression and suffered from chronic bingeing and emotional eating and gained weight fast. This was also an unhappy weight because I wasn’t treating my body with any respect, I was just stuffing my emotions. I felt completely uncomfortable with my own body and out of touch with my mind. It was horrible.

Right now I am on track to getting to my happy weight and I’m really excited about it. :)


Mandy A July 6, 2009 at 11:29 am

My happy weight is around 130… I was there and able to maintain it with no problems up until about two months ago. I haven’t been eating as well as I normally do… one too many sweets/drinks/bread/etc lately along with not keeping up with work outs! But 130ish is where I feel most comfortable with myself… although, I’d never admit it to myself. I’m always, ALWAYS trying to look better… or thinking where I am isn’t “enough”.

I’ve lost over 100 pounds and have kept it off for about ten years… it’s pretty sad that I don’t give myself enough credit that I’ve come that far, ya know? I am WAY easier on myself than I used to be… but I definitely need some “operation beautiful” in my life!!!

My husband and I were talking about me buying some new clothes… since I’ve gained some weight and can’t fit in my normal stuff… he said (very cautiously, too!) – “shouldn’t you wait until you’re the size you want to be?” as to which my reply was “am i EVER the size I want to be?”… he said – “good point”…. so this topic is very real to me!!!


Stephanie July 6, 2009 at 11:34 am

I used to aim for a specific weight but in the past year I incorporated a ton of strength training into my routine and instead of losing weight, I gained 10 pounds of solid muscle and look better than before. So now, I could care less about the number =)


Beth @ CrossBorderCravings July 6, 2009 at 11:38 am

This is a really great discussion! I know that I’m at my happy weight when I’m eating exactly what I want when I want it, I feel healthy and happy and I look my best. When I’m at an unhappy weight – too high or too low – I obsess about food too much and stop enjoying life the way it should be enjoyed! I love certain foods and feel my best when I incorporate indulgences with healthy habits to achieve a nice balance :O).


Danielle C. July 6, 2009 at 11:38 am

I’ve come to realize over the last few years that I am at my happy weight (right around 135, this can fluctuate during the course of the day obviously). I used to think (like you) that I would be happy to get down to 125 but after a few years I know this is unrealistic and like Jillian explains I would be hungry all of the time and that I just wouldn’t be happy!

Now I know that at around this weight I am so happy, I can eat well, and have energy for my workouts. The caveat is that I hope to continue converting to lean muscle, I now care way more about what I see in the mirror and that I am SMILING when I look in the mirror.


Ashley July 6, 2009 at 11:50 am

Great topic!

I think weight is like an outfit – you need to try it on and get a sense of what it feels like in your body before you know if it’s right for you. This is a reason I often suggest to my members that we choose a “goal weight” once they are closer to it.

My happy weight has a range of about 3 lbs and it’s something I’ve figured out in the last year or so. When I first got to my goal weight, I found it incredibly challenging to see the change in my body. Because we see ourselves every day, I think we can often have a distorted view of what’s actually appearing back at us in the mirror. My happy weight is a place where I can eat well, but not have to feel like I’m constantly *working* to stay there. I feel great where I’m at right now and have been recently working on toning and changing my fat/muscle composition.

As for my unhappy weight, I guess I have the two extremes. I was definitely unhappy when I was at my biggest recorded weight of 161. I felt big. My clothes looked and felt terrible. I didn’t feel healthy or happy. I was also at an unhappy weight in 2007 when I got really sick after a Crohn’s flare up. I had JUST gotten to my goal weight, and then lost another 15 or so lbs. I was too thin. I saw bones. I felt weak and I recognized that I didn’t wanna go back there.


AGS July 6, 2009 at 11:57 am

Ashley — I love your analogy! I have written it down on a sticky-note to show my husband (no — I’m not kidding). I think that’s a great way to approach life — not just weight.


Jen July 6, 2009 at 11:59 am

Oh Angela this really spoke to me today. Just what I needed to read/think about. Im struggling right now through a relapse with my eating disorder and numbers are driving me crazy. You have been an inspiration to me for the past year. Thank you for this! Unfortunatly I cant say what a happy weight is for me. I know what an unhappy weight is..


Susan July 6, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Awesome post Angela, happy weights are one thing I love to talk about! I think finding your own happy weight is SO important. To me, my “happy weight” is feeling good in my jeans, but still being able to go out with friends sometimes and having a beer.

I’m naturally thick around the middle, it’s where I carry the majority of my body fat. In an ideal world, I would have a flat tummy. I bet if I really limited the foods I ate, it could happen. And I’ve tried. I once cut my carbs (and my wonderful fruit!) waaay down and OD-ed on protein to cut back on belly fat. It kind of worked, but I hated life. So I fell back to my natural eating habits, and got a little squishy around the middle again. I still fit into everything, I just don’t have the body shape I’ve always dreamed of. But in the end, being able to eat normally is way better than having flat abs ever will be. So THAT’s my happy weight :)


Jenn Eats Nutritiously Now July 6, 2009 at 12:03 pm

I’m definitely at an unhappy weight. I’ve pretty much been there my whole adult life. Right now, I’m working on just eating better and exercising more, and hoping my happy weight will find me.


SarahF July 6, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Great topic Angela!

I definately think I’m at my happy weight right now. I’ve never really been bigger than I am now, but for a long time I had such a fear of getting fat that I was constantly working towards being thinner. About a year and a half ago I started working out and became obsessed with going to the gym and making sure I was eating healthy AT ALL TIMES. But then I would have my Thursday binges (I’m not sure why Thursday but it always was) where I would eat everything in the house. I was constantly tallying calories in my head and trying to compensate for a bad night (For example: “Friday I ate 3000 calories so today and tomorrow I’ll only have 1200 and that’ll average out to 1800 each day”).

I’ve also had to let go of weighing myself because before I started working out I weighed 137 pounds and I now weigh 147 (I’m 5’11). I really freaked out when I saw that I was putting on weight but I later realized that I actually went down a size in clothes and I was putting on muscle.

Now I try to exercise whenever I have a chance (works out to 2-4 times a week) and eat well but I also have indulgences (such as this past weekend at Stampede) and I no longer sweat about it. Goodbye calorie counting…hello happiness


Courtney July 6, 2009 at 12:31 pm

My happy weight, I was right on the cusp of getting there, is in between 110-115. I sit a BIT heavier than that now, I’m learning how to moderate food with exercise to keep me at my goal weight. :) The reason I liked being at this weight, I felt like I could run faster — may seem silly, but I P.R.ed the most during this time. I was also the thinnest becasue I was training. And I am happiest when I’m training! :D


Mrs. Myers @ Eat Move Write July 6, 2009 at 12:37 pm

I can honestly say I’ve never in life been at a truly healthy weight (according to the charts) unless I was maybe age 2. I’m still technically overweight today. But, I’m happy, despite the fact that I want to continue losing. (Is that possible? :)…) I have a feeling my body’s happy weight will be higher than the 105ish pounds my doctor has told me I should weigh. I don’t like looking small and frail. At 5’1, I’m super petite as it is. I don’t want to look like a child. I agree too that its important to accept a fluctuating weight. I need to get that through to my brain!!!


Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope July 6, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Awesome topic Angela. To me, a happy weight is where I am treating my body with respect, listening to it, and finding a healthy balance with food and exercise. Life is inevitable… there will be trips, busy times, stresses, etc that make our weight fluctuate, but as long as we have an overall healthy and happy lifestyle, our “happy weight” should come naturally.



RunToFinish July 6, 2009 at 2:04 pm

i do think it takes a maturity and time to understand a happy weight. realistically where I am right now is probably my happy weight. I feel good and can eat! So why is it that I still want those six pack abs so badly?


Chloe July 6, 2009 at 2:38 pm

I definitely know my “unhappy” weight and it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ve gained more than 5 pounds. It could be that I’m not treating my body well, not eating right or exercising enough, and it makes me feel bloated and crappy. Not to mention down on myself for treating my body that way.
My happy weight is about 7 pounds less than I weigh right now, but I definitely gain in the winter too. A recent post you made about accepting the fact that you’ll gain weight in the winter and lose in the summer really changed my point of view about my weight fluctuations.
Great post, this really helps me to realize that our weight isn’t static but will change – even from day to day. This is why I LOVE your blog!


Marcia July 6, 2009 at 3:52 pm

What a great blog post today! It was nice to hear about Jillian’s happy weights, etc., because you just need to add 10 lbs, and that’s me.

Happy weight, 125, but I’m starving and look every one of my 39 years, if not more.

Unhappy weight, 135…drinking too much, eating too much chocolate, pants too tight.

Pretty happy-and-easy-to-maintain-weight is 130.

We’re probably the same height, but I’ve got a stockier build than our fair Jillian. Heck, my calves are bigger than most men I know. The joys of coming from good old German farmer stock.


Emily July 6, 2009 at 4:13 pm

My genetics have given me a naturally slight, boy-ish (read: no curves!) body. Gaining weight won’t make me curvy; it will only make me feel like a slug. I can accept that.

“Happy” weight is the perfect term for it. I’ve been at my happy weight, as well as on the wrong side of it (on either side). I’m not EXACTLY where I want to be right now, and I am sure it is a function of stress. A year ago, I was the happiest I have ever been in my life, and my body reflected that. Now, my eating and exercise habits are by no means drastically different, but I’ve been under some stress and it does wear my body down. Thankfully, though, things are on the upswing, and I feel right on the verge of being really “happy” once again. :)


Jen July 6, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Great topic and post! I just recently discovered your blog and I really love it.

I’ve never been at my happy weight, so I have no idea what it is. I started gaining weight right after I hit puberty, so I don’t even know what my body looks like at my adult height without these extra pounds. It’s frustrating sometimes to not have anything to look back on as motivation, but it’s also inspiring to beat out my own path and know that once I reach that happy weight, I’ll know, and I won’t want to push myself to lose more weight just because I weighed less at some point in my life.

The encouraging thing is, while I’m not at my happy weight, I’m at a much happier weight than I was 3 months ago. I’ve lost 28lbs and it’s amazing how much anxiety and sadness has gone away with the weight. I know my happy weight will come, and when it does I will be active, outgoing and content, which I’m really excited about.


Ally July 6, 2009 at 5:20 pm

Love this topic–and your outlook–so refreshing! I read that article in Self magazine too. So nice to hear that even “professionals” like Jillian battle this too!

I’m currently trying to get to my happy weight–I was there back in May and because of a rash of stress and illness, I’ve gained a few and it’s frusterating because I have to “re-learn” healthy habits, etc. But, I’m not totally “unhappy” right now either, but, know that I would feel better down just a few because I know the the reason I’m not at the point is because I’ve let myself get lax with my eating and have been eating a lot of junk! Weight or no weight, my body feels ick when I do that!

But, I’ve also pushed it to the other extreme. In college I did fitness competitions (not smart for a gal with low self esteem and poor body image!) and was freakishly thin (and ripped!), but I was always hungry. I thought about food–I let it rule my life. This was also the height of the low carb craze, so, I literally went 4 months without bread, tortilla, pita, pasta–anything like that. I actually broke down in tears on Easter Sunday because my family and I were at this gorgeous hotel on a river with a gorgeous Easter brunch spread and I was upset because “there’s nothing I can eat!”–seriously. Insane. I might have been thin, but, I was miserably unhappy (as was everyone around me, I’m sure!) and it go so bad that my sister had to force feed me a cookie at one point. Literally, force me to eat it. YIKES.

I think it’s also a process of growing up–I was young and silly and didn’t respect by body. Sure, I’m not in love with the way I look right now, and am working on eliminating the junk that I’ve been eating, but, my body can propel me through 16 mile runs, intense yoga classes and the like. Now, that’s a package worth taking care of, right?

OK, sorry for the ramble!!


Jocelyn July 6, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Hi Angela! So glad you did this post. I enjoyed reading, and it made alot of sense..

To answer your questions..

My questions to you today:

1) Do you know what your happy weight is? Without getting specific with numbers, try to talk generally about what a happy weight is to you. Do you know when you are there? Have you ever been at your happy weight? How did/do you feel?

To be honest, I haven’t been at my happy weight since I was a kid. A weight where I am so comfortable that I don’t think about it on a day to day basis. I would be able to enjoy ALL food I eat (bad and good) without worrying about getting excersise in after..or daily. My skin would be healthy…I would be energised daily…I would feel comfortable in my own skin..and not to mention smaller sizes of clothing ;) I would ENJOY shopping! And wearing a bathing suit. lol.

2) What about unhappy weights? Have you ever been there too? What was going on that made this an unhappy weight?

I was at an unhappy weight this time last year..I was over 215 pounds. Not only the number made me unhappy..but I felt like poop to be honest. My body felt slow and weak and sore all the time, my skin was very uneven and definitely not glowing…I craved food that just made me feel down..I binged and I starved. I’m glad to say that I am on the road to recovery and feeling much better these days… I’m losing weight, not in an obsessive way..but healthy way :)


Holly July 6, 2009 at 11:02 pm

I’m not sure that I do know what my happy weight is.

Sometimes it seems that my current weight is my happy weight. At this weight I can basically eat how I want to eat. I’m active. I’m fit. I feel good.

But at the same time, sometimes I am dissatisfied with this weight. However, my only real issue is that I would like to have less weight around my waist. (Hence my goal to have a smaller waist measurement.) To be honest, I know that only a few pounds one way or the other makes a big difference on my midsection, so… I would say that if I’m not at my happy weight, I am close to it. I would at least say I am in my happy weight range. Would I be happy 3-5 pounds lighter? I’m sure I would. Would I be happy 1-2 pounds heavier? Yes.

Another reason I would say this is my happy weight range (I think having a happy weight range is better than having a specific happy weight – less stressful to maintain and who needs more stress?.) is that I can do the things that make me happy and still maintain this weight. I can run. I can strength train. I can push my levels of stamina and endurance. I can enjoy a pretzel at the farmer’s market. I can go out with friends. I can have a few drinks at a party. I can have pizza and cupcakes and cookies and ice cream when I want them. And I can do it without feeling guilty, without feeling like I am failing at something, without obsessing over every bite and feeling constantly under scrutiny. And THAT makes me happy. I am happy to be free of that. If the cost of being able to actually live life, not hide from it, is a couple of extra pounds – that is a price I will pay. Happily.


Kathy July 7, 2009 at 12:19 am

I love this Angela :) I have ditched the scale too but I think my body is finally at its happy weight. It’s been about the same more or less for a while now, in terms of fitting clothes and just me feeling good, and that is all that matters.Who cares about a stupid number anyway~! :)


Maria July 7, 2009 at 1:21 am

I was at a happy weight most of my life, at least in retrospect. Of course at the time I thought I needed to lose a pound…I am 5’7″ and never weighed more than 128 naturally. No exercise required. At age 26 I got depressed to the tune of thirty plus pounds lost….and it then turned into an eating disorder right before my very eyes until I was only 88lbs. One day I woke up and realized I could die any minute. While I never sought professional help as I should have. I started to eat( but I would also chew and spit) but still not like I should. In turn my body turned against me and in effort to save us both hung on to evbery last morsel I ingested. Not sure how much I weigh right now but it has been almost a year since I started gaining weight and last weigh in I was 151. Which is uncomfortably high for me. Naturally I have beaten myself up for messing up my body. I have developed ovary cysts from a lack of periods for more than 2 years. My thyroid was out of wack, no muscle mass left…the list goes on. I can honestly say it is the hardest thing to take control of I have had to encounter thus far. Every day is a battle with myself to not beat myself up. It took me a ahwile to get down so low, it will take a lot of TLC to rebuild my body. I am finally taking care of myself in a proper way and including exercise to rebuild my muscles. I am also happy to report I have had two periods in a row which is a big accomplishment. Will I ever look at food the same as I did before? I am not sure. I do know that when I beat myself up I start to envision myself as I want to see my reflection in the mirror. I dont want to be just like I was before. I want to be better. I will be better. Our minds are the most powerful tool we have. Thank you for your blog, it inspires me daily. I actually just started my own yesterday. Like my life it is a work in progress.


Jess July 7, 2009 at 10:18 pm

I think I’m getting close to my happy weight. I was there about 5 years ago, but then I was young enough that I didn’t really have to ‘try’ to keep it there. Now, it’s work! But I’m really loving the work :)

Unhappy weight – ohhh, yeah, been there. In the past year I hit my highest weight and I was just … well, unhappy. I slept all the time, I was depressed, I didn’t feel good about myself, none of my clothes fit, I didn’t feel pretty, let alone sexy, I just hated myself. I hope I never feel that way again.

I must say, this morning, I was still in my pajamas when my hubby said to me ‘wow, you really have lost a lot of weight – it really shows.’ That made me smile. I looked at my legs and have really noticed a lot of definition in them that I didn’t have before. I’m really proud of myself.


Jess July 7, 2009 at 10:18 pm

I think I’m getting close to my happy weight. I was there about 5 years ago, but then I was young enough that I didn’t really have to ‘try’ to keep it there. Now, it’s work! But I’m really loving the work :)

Unhappy weight – ohhh, yeah, been there. In the past year I hit my highest weight and I was just … well, unhappy. I slept all the time, I was depressed, I didn’t feel good about myself, none of my clothes fit, I didn’t feel pretty, let alone sexy, I just hated myself. I hope I never feel that way again.

I must say, this morning, I was still in my pajamas when my hubby said to me ‘wow, you really have lost a lot of weight – it really shows.’ That made me smile. I looked at my legs and have really noticed a lot of definition in them that I didn’t have before. I’m really proud of myself.


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