What's Your Healthiest Weight? Hint: It May Not Be the Smallest Number on the Scale...


Year after year, the top New Year’s resolutions in the United States are consistently some variation of “Exercise More” “Go on a Diet” or “Lose Weight”. If your goal is to be healthier, that’s great! But it’s important to remember that your healthiest weight may not be the smallest number on the scale.

Nor is it always your best look, for that matter. I have an athletic friend who was naturally stocky and well-muscled, who was so obsessed with having the smallest number dress size possible, that on the two yo-yo occasions that she achieved her goal (an unnatural size 8), her normally round, pretty face became gaunt, lined, discolored, and positively haunted looking. She looked sick.

She was not anorexic, just deluded by the advertising messaging about weight that she grew up with in her formative years (much more awareness now). I used to tell her she was ruining her face with these meshuganeh rigid ideas size 8 status, that it wasn’t natural to her, but she kept those size 8’s in her closet for YEARS, maybe using them a grand total of 5 weeks of her life.

So, how do you know when you’ve reached your healthiest weight? This excerpt from Dr. Traci Stein’s recent article in Psychology Today “What’s Your Healthy Weight? How to Know & How to Reach It” provides some examples.

An important and often overlooked part of the [weight loss] process is understanding how you’ll know when you’ve reached your particular healthy weight – and even more important, when your health is balanced – mind, body, and spirit.

You’ll know you’re at your healthy weight – and healthier in general – when:


  1. Your sleep and overall energy improve.
  2. Your general health improves. This may be reflected in results on medical tests, as well by improvement in physical symptoms such as joint or back pain, fatigue, muscle strength, mental clarity, etc.
  3. In general, your body is better able to do the things you need and want to do on a daily basis.


  1. You feel proud of what you’ve accomplished, but your weight does not define you.
  2. You are more aware of how specific foods make you feel – and how your feelings in the moment affect your eating one way or the other.
  3. In general, you find yourself thinking about your weight less often.
  4. You view eating as a tool for proper nutrition and self-care.
  5. You think about exercise as a way to feel healthy – have good energy, feel strong, and do something that is self-loving.
  6. You know that the point of exercise is not to punish yourself for eating something or failing to achieve a weight goal.
  7. You understand that almost no one else is fixated on whether you are a size up or down. And even if they are, it’s their issue. You don’t need to make their issue your issue.
  8. You know that you can’t make everyone else happy – and that it’s not a worthwhile goal to try to do so.


  1. You remember that your body – its appearance, function, and size – are a part of who you are – but not the only or even the most important aspect of who you are. You are far more than your body alone.
  2. You believe that you are here for a reason – and you have goals that are in line with your sense of purpose.
  3. You remember that how you relate to your body will impact those who look up to you – your children, grandchildren, and others. Your self-acceptance will help others to love and accept themselves.

This is an excerpt of a post that originally appeared in Psychology Today.  Click here to view the full article: "What’s Your Healthy Weight? How to Know & How to Reach It."