I like to call your “happy weight” the place where your feel your absolute best, with just the right amount of structure and flexibility. Basically, you’re living life and your emotions or body are not holding you back. You’re also not on a diet or restrictive protocol, which is a good thing considering the fact that, statistically, over 95 percent of dieters regain the weight. Of course, many of us have dreams of what our ideal body would look like, but more important than that, we want it to finally stick while still being able to enjoy the things we value in life!
So why do so many dieters regain the weight? Well, to begin with, the context in which most dieting programs are approached is rather limited. We follow strict rules of “approved” and “non-approved” foods and continue the protocol without pausing and asking ourselves:
“Am I happy?”
“Is this realistic?”
“Am I emotionally balanced?”
“Is this lifestyle contributing to or inhibiting my life?”
“Can I picture eating this way for the next year or two?”
The issue here is not with diets themselves but with how we choose to approach them. What perspective are we taking when we engage in a diet program? So many of us approach it with the hope that “this will be the one that will fix me”.
Now, what if we first entered the diet without calling it a “diet” but rather a “food plan”. Plans are flexible; when some part of the plan isn’t working, we switch gears or tweak the approach so that we can still achieve what we want. This requires us to be dependent on learning throughout the food plan instead of being dependent on the outcome.
In this way, we set out with the intention of self-reflecting. How does this fit or not fit into the context of my life? We learn more about what or what not to do and as a result begin to develop our own food plan. Only you can figure out what works best according to the context of your life. This can be done on a daily basis by observing how the food you eat makes you feel (are you bloated or lethargic, for example), how it fits into your life (are you eating lettuce leaves while out at dinner with friends), and how it fits into your frame of values and ideals.
Only when you’re able to answer the above questions positively and truthfully and have found what your meal plan is (with lots of trial and error, no doubt) will you truly identify what your “happy weight” is. This is by no means easy or quick; if you’re looking for an unsustainable “lose five kilos in one week” kind of plan, this is not it. However, it will allow you to sustain a lifestyle where you no longer swing from extremes on a pendulum of weight loss and weight gain.
Your “happy weight” is actually more of a feeling. It is the weight range at which you feel confident and happy and where you can practice enough structure with enough flexibility. It’s a sweet spot, a place where you are living in harmony with your values, a place that is fulfilling both physically and emotionally.
Sarah Malki is an Integrative and Holistic Health Coach based in Dubai.