What Does Happy Weight Mean? [According to a Dietitian]
When you reach a number on the scale at which you feel comfortable in your own skin, you are said to be at your happy weight. At this weight, you’re eating in a sustainable way that allows you to enjoy life.
A happy weight looks different for each person. For some, it means reaching a specific number on the scale. For others, it’s about how comfortable they feel in their clothing. It’s important to listen to your body and find a place where you can stay healthy and happy.
As a dietitian, I understand that a number on the scale doesn’t mean much unless it’s part of a bigger picture.
Happy Weight Meaning
There is no specific definition for happy weight that applies to everyone. For some, it will be the same as their ideal number, while for others, it may be higher. The most important part of finding a happy weight is that you feel physically and emotionally satisfied.
Does Your Happy Weight Need to be Within a Healthy BMI?
Let’s start by explaining how the body mass index (BMI) is calculated. Your BMI is the ratio of your weight to the square of your height. While it’s not completely accurate, this measurement is used as an indicator of overall health and fitness.
The BMI does not take into consideration factors such as:
- Your body composition (fat vs muscle mass)
- Body type
Also, what very few people know is that the interpretation of BMI is different for older adults.
It’s one measurement healthcare professionals use to assess overall health. But it would be a disservice to use it as the sole indicator of health and fitness.
It would be great if your happy weight falls within a normal BMI but doesn’t have to. Also, it’s okay if you prefer a lower or higher BMI. This point is that it has to feel right for you — it has to make you happy.
Should Your Ideal Weight Be Your Happy Weight?
The standard ideal weight calculations were created in the early to late 1800s and then improved upon in the mid-1900s.
The ideal body weight (IBW) only takes into consideration height. It does not factor in age, gender, body composition, ethnicity, or other variables.
For example, according to the IBW, a fit 5’6″ woman in her 20s is supposed to be no more than 130 pounds. However, that figure might be too low for many women and hard to sustain. On the other hand, it might suit others well; it really depends on the individual.
Your happy weight will likely be unique and different from what is considered ‘ideal.’ The key is to find the balance between being fit and feeling good about yourself.
Finding Your Happy Weight
Here are some steps to help you identify and maintain your happy weight.
Love Your Body
Loving your body at its current weight and shape can make it easier to take care of yourself.
Your body is amazing, and it’s important to see it that way. Love and take care of it.
Set Realistic Goals
Setting realistic goals for a healthy weight is key to reaching and sustaining your happy weight.
Think about what type of changes you want to make and how long it will take. You should also consider the amount of physical activity, nutrition, sleep, stress management, and other habits that play into successful weight management.
It’s okay to have small goals. They are much easier to achieve, and once you have accomplished them, you can build on that success.
Create a Plan
Creating a plan will help you reach your goals.
Once you have a plan, it is much easier to follow. Make sure you also build some flexibility into your plan; if you allow yourself to get too caught up in expectations and rules, it can be overwhelming and make it hard to stay on track.
It’s okay if your plan doesn’t follow all the latest trends or fad diets; find something that works for you and stick with it. A registered dietitian or nutritionist can help you create a plan that works well for your needs and lifestyle.
Get to Know Your Body
Do you know what foods make you feel energized? What kinds of physical activity do you enjoy?
Learning the answers to these questions and applying them to your life will help your body find its natural balance. As an example, if you love dancing but hate running, take dance classes instead of running. It’s that simple. If you’re looking to get fitter and lose weight, then of course, you will need to add cardio and strength training to your daily routine. But there many ways to get there.
It’s the same with food. You might do great by eating smaller, more frequent meals. Or intermittent fasting might work best for you.
Find Your Happy Weight
As you work on healthy eating and fitness, you will find your happy weight.
Finding your happy weight is a journey of self-discovery. Be patient, compassionate, and kind to yourself as you explore different habits that will help you reach and sustain your happy weight.
Dr. Su-Nui Escobar, a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist in Miami, FL, is dedicated to empowering women in perimenopause and menopause to live healthier, more satisfying lives.
With a doctorate in clinical nutrition from the University of North Florida, she has expertise in menopause and weight loss, including the unique challenges faced by those on weight loss medications.
Su-Nui’s passion for her field is evident in her previous role as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson.