The Weight of Happiness

I had a friend say to me once, “The difference between where I’d like to be, and me enjoying my life is about 8 pounds – so I’d rather keep the 8.” Not often is happiness measured so quantifiably, and for her happiness weighs in at 8 pounds exactly.  Far too often, however, there’s a wait for happiness based on a certain number; which is too heavy a weight to bear.

Our “ideal body weight” charts were invented decades ago by an insurance company. Why they have yet to be updated I don’t know, but you can guess that the insurance company had incentive to label someone ‘overweight’ to increase premiums.  I’ve said this a million times in my career yet it’s always refuted with: “This number is just the weight I want to be.” Where did you get that number? Is it really that important?

Weight tends to get lumped in with other nonsensical things we create to postpone happiness like: I’ll be happy when I have a new car…when I get that job…when I lose 10 pounds.   Does that mean you’ll just be downright miserable until then? That’s ridiculous.   Even if you have weight to lose or gain, it doesn’t happen overnight so don’t waste another second not being happy with all that you are in this moment.  I can prescribe a diet and exercise regime for days, but I’ve never seen anyone change a single pound without finding some happy first- ever.  If you’re struggling, here are 8 Steps to Get Happy with your Weight:

  1. Assess your bad-assed-ness: Step number 1 is to make a mental list of all the things you (and your body) can do really well. Make a mean frittata? Nail the Elaine dance? Run a mile? Tell a great joke? Master a headstand? All totally badass.
  2. Find one thing you love about your body: You can do it, one thing. It could be a physical trait, or something like: this is the body that took my brain to get a Master’s degree.  This body birthed a human. This body can win an arm


    wrestling match.  Again, all totally badass so be happy that your body got you here.

  3. Stop the Weight: Get rid of the scale and erase the notion of some arbitrary number that means nothing. It’s about figuring out what works for you and your body.   The scale won’t tell you what that is of course, but your body will.
  4. Get real: Understand that there are some things about your body that won’t change, and that’s OK because those things are uniquely you.  Comparing yourself to a weight or a person’s body type that isn’t yours is the quickest way to undermine happiness.
  5. Show me what you’re working with: Now that you got real with it, own all your glory and rock it out- right now.  Know that all of the parts that add up to you make a unique, wonderful, beautiful package both inside and out. Strut like you mean it with your shoulders back and head held high.
  6. Talk it out: If it’s felt impossible to follow any of the afore mentioned steps, go talk to someone.  Either a friend or therapist, talking can help get that weight off your chest.
  7. Rewind and Remind: It takes some mental training, but when you find yourself talking smack about yourself, mentally say “Stop!” Remind yourself of your list from steps #1 and 2. Write them on various post-it notes if you need to for happy reminders.
  8. Zoom out: When you zoom in too close to an object, it becomes blurry. The same goes for our personal assessments.  Hyper focusing on all your tiny perceived flaws blurs your vision and blocks happiness. Zoom out (take a giant step back from the mirror) so you can look at the big picture and clearly see all of your awesomeness.  Know that you are, right now, the ‘ideal’ weight for a total badass.
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