Written by Dr Kirsty Seward behavioural scientist (PhD Behav. Sci.), dietitian (BNutr. Diet) & body image coach
In the nutrition, fitness and wellness world, there is so much talk about weight and weight loss – and over my decade of coaching in this space I’ve seen too many women emotionally beat themselves up every time they fail to reach an unrealistic number on the scale – this is the true impact of diet culture.
So today I want to introduce you to the concept of your ‘happy weight’. According to the set-point theory, we each have our own ‘happy weight’ and it can be described as the weight our adult body functions most optimally (aka at its best!). You should be able to maintain your ‘happy weight’ with ease by enjoying a balanced lifestyle and feel great. It’s the weight where your hormones are balanced, you feel grounded, you sleep well and your mood is generally stable.
“Your happy weight is reached & maintained by tuning into
your natural hunger & fullness cues.”
Your ‘happy weight’ doesn’t require you to jump on the wagon of the next fad diet, eliminate your favourite foods or punish your body with endless HITT sessions. Your happy weight is reached and maintained by tuning into your natural hunger and fullness cues, enjoying nourishing foods 80% of the time and indulging 20% of the time and engaging in exercise or movement that brings your joy.
Here are my tips to find your happy weight:
1. Throw away the scales – put them in the bin. Your health is not defined by the exact number on the scale. Choose to no longer let the number on the scale define your progress, mood for the day or your self-worth
2. Work on your relationship with food – if you’re someone who finds themselves constantly yo-yo dieting, eliminating food groups or feeling stressed about food, I suggest taking some time to reflect on your relationship with food. You can work with a dietitian to support you to heal your relationship with food.
3. Practice mindful eating and tune into your natural hunger and fullness cues.
4. Start engaging in movement and exercise you enjoy – if you’ve always viewed exercise as punishment, it’s time to flip your mindset and start exploring new ways to exercise which you actually enjoy. Try new activities, join new sporting groups or sign up to that online yoga app you’ve been wanting to try. Rediscover the joy in moving your body.
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5. Work on your body image and self-esteem – reflection journaling can be very powerful to explore your body image, use prompts such as:
How do I view myself?
How do I talk about myself and my body?
How does my body support me each day?
What is my definition of ‘beauty’ and where did it come from?
Who influenced my definition?