My Perfect Weight is Not a Weight At All


I’ve been feeling rather “soft” lately. I’ve been dealing with the aftermath of that one time in August when I lost my balance wearing heels. I’ve been limited in the amount of both running and yoga I’ve been able to do. The fact that I seem to lack any amount of self-control when it comes to eating doesn’t help.

I tell you this at the risk of sounding like those friends who have complained to me about their singular pimples. I had ACNE as a teenager. I have scars. I will probably never feel comfortable getting a facial because the idea of anyone getting close to my pores makes my heart race faster than a 5K does.

So let me assure you. I know I’m not fat. But I’m also not in MY best shape. I have put on weight, and it bothers me.

Years ago I read an article about crime in Oakland. The mayor commented that he thought people had the wrong idea, that crime was really only up in “East and West Oakland.” I knew what he meant, but I couldn’t help but find it amusing. My husband and I still joke about the crime-free 2-dimensional center line that runs through Oakland.

I feel the same way about body size and shape. If I don’t exercise much and eat a donut and Chick-fil-A in the same day (like I did today), I am not being healthy. I accept what society tells me. This is bad. If I exercise regularly and eat nutritious food I will lose weight and people will accuse me of having an eating disorder.

I feel like I can’t win.

What is the perfect weight? Isn’t that the one million dollar question? How do we find the 2-dimensional center line of optimal health?

And since I’m studying the Eight Limbs of Yoga, I will also ask: how do we strike a balance between the niyamas santosa (contentment) and tapas (self-discipline)?

I suppose this is a question we each have to ask ourselves. And I suspect we’ll all have a different answer. My practice of santosha includes accepting that I have a pear shaped body. I will never have skinny legs or large breasts. (Except for when I’m nursing and fill out an entire A cup.) Instead of telling myself that my thighs are too thick I can be grateful for the strength they provide. Those legs have carried me hundreds of miles.

My practice of tapas will never be too much as long as I’ve set the right intention. I can reduce my consumption of sugar and junk to prevent diabetes and strengthen my heart. I can run far. I can run so many miles others think I’m crazy because I know how much running long distances has already transformed my mind and life, and I want to travel even farther down this path.

I can do these things. One day I will. I know in my heart and in my gut that it will serve me well. My weight and shape will be what they are, and it won’t matter what anyone else has to say about it.

So I have some work to do on both ends – contentment and self-discipline. I could love my body more and also feed it a few more vegetables. I’m not there yet, but at least I know the answer. I know what my perfect weight is, and it’s not a weight at all.

4 thoughts on “My Perfect Weight is Not a Weight At All

  1. I do have something to say about this! I couldn’t agree more (in so many ways – the thing about acne and facials, filling out an entire A cup when nursing. OMG, get out of my head. We have clearly lived the same life.)
    My perfect weight is also a 2-dimensional mythical line. I literally just ate an entire sleeve of Thin Mints about two minutes before reading this, but I also ran six miles this morning, walked two this afternoon and filmed a grueling agility HIIT workout between.
    I like my body so much that I admire it naked before I get in the shower most days, but lemme tell you it is NOT anybody else’s idea of “perfect.” I’m okay with that.
    Come the day when I can’t do the activities I want to, maybe I’ll feel different about my weight. Maybe I’ll want to “diet.” Good lord, I hope that day never comes!


    1. Pahla, you have struck the absolute perfect balance!!! I would so much rather run 6 miles and eat a sleeve of thin mints than any other combination that equals the same net calories!


  2. You and I have a similar body type, pear, and so, not surprisingly my perfect weight is also not a weight at all. It is how my jeans fit. That’s it. If I can fit into my jeans, I’m happy. A week ago, I weighed myself and I had lost 7 pounds, which for me is a pretty big loss. I don’t fluctuate. What was the reason? Was it because I was eating less, cutting out sugar, or working out more? Nope. It was because I had been stressed and busy all month. We bought a house, moved into that house, began fixing up that house, and I had been pre-committed to organizing a fundraiser all in the span of a few months. And I was worried about my daughter’s school situation. These weren’t healthy habits, but unhealthy ones. The only other time I’ve lost weight was when I was in the first trimester of pregnancy and too sick to eat. So for me, losing weight is usually when I’m unhealthy. Eat more vegetables and get outside and move. That’s it, that’s the goal. And if I’m doing those things and I still can’t fit in my jeans, buy bigger ones.


    1. How my jeans fit is a big one for me too. I commented somewhere else that it’s funny I wrote that I’ve gained weight because I don’t even weigh myself! But my jeans are a bit too tight so there you go! That does sound like a lot of stressful things at once! Hope things are beginning to settle down for you.


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