What is the Perfect Weight?

On a recent trip to Target I saw a scale display that inspired this post. Let me preface all this by saying that I am a woman who has struggled with my weight for a long time. I have been as heavy as 165 this past May and as low as 120 in 2009. I have been fat to the point that none of my clothes fit me anymore. I was fit enough to compete in a 2011 fitness competition for the WBFF, Fitness Model division. Seriously, I have been all over the map. But there was always that one thing that was a common factor for me through all of that: The number on the scale. A slight gain would wreck me and a loss would elate me. Sometimes this would happen in the same week. Sometimes in the same day. I was an obsessive weigher and I attributed my worth to the "magic number". And, even when I was onstage, I was not at my lightest, nor was I 125 pounds. But, I was definitely at my leanest and strongest. But I will admit, when I didn't place, I berated myself for being too fat; I should have been 10 pounds lighter! Just for the record, I was about 130 pounds and 16% body fat. I only tell you this because looking back, that was insane of me to have thoughts like that. I looked AMAZING. I had a six pack, for goodness sake! Who cares if I didn't place. Just being in the position to be able to compete on stage was a huge accomplishment! [caption id="attachment_29068" align="aligncenter" width="273"] Kara Wilde, May 21, 2011 WBFF Central Championships, Fitness Model Division[/caption] But, I was fixated on that number. If I would have weighed less, I would've been better. That mindset of feeling "not good enough" sent me a near 2 year tailspin and all the hard work disappeared as I gained nearly 30 pounds. The point is, what is ideal? What is normal? Every person's body is different. There are many factors to be considered: Body Type, body composition, metabolism, just to name a few. 125 on a woman who is 5'3" is a lot different than it is on someone who is 5'8". So getting back to my initial thought - the Target trip and the wall of scales. Though there were a couple different brands and styles of scales, their advertising numbers were not too different. One brand was 126.4, the other 128.6. This was obviously intended to target women. There are not too many guys over 16 years old that weigh less than 130 pounds that I know. 126.4. 128.6. Hmm. What is that saying to you as a passerby if you, let's say, don't weigh that? What does it say to you if you do? I can say that if you weigh more, it could make you feel like there is something inherently wrong with you, that you don't measure up or that you need to change somehow, probably starting with your weight because now you feel bad about yourself. All of a sudden, that grande latte seems regrettable and the waistband of your skinny jeans feel snug. And, if you are in that range or less, you would probably feel pretty good about yourself; you are the "ideal". It is a mind game. We are our own marionette and the scale holds the strings. The truth is, there is no perfect weight.  In fact, in this article from livestrong.com states, "According to the National Health Statistics Report by the Centers for Disease Control, the average weight for medium-built women varies per age group. The average weight for all women over 20 years old is 164.7 lbs. The average weight for women ages 20 to 29 years is 155.9 lbs., and that number increases each decade until the 50 to 59 age group, when average weight reaches a maximum of 172.1 lbs. Between 60 to 69 years, the average dips to 170.5 lbs. and then drops significantly over the next two decades, to a final average weight of 142.2 lbs. for women 80 years and older." Now, some people may hem and haw and say, "Yes, but the nation is getting fatter and fatter, so these numbers reflect that. Our nation is bigger than ever. If we just accept fat as the new normal, then of course these numbers make sense!" I am not saying that there are parts of that argument that I believe to be true. I advocate health and healthy choices. I advocate taking care of yourself. But even I, with those beliefs sometimes struggle. But, I want to look at some other numbers really quickly. Let's take the glamorous Marilyn Monroe. At barely 5'2", her lightest weight was around 118. She fluctuated and at one point weighed 140 pounds. I wouldn't call her "of average build"; she was quite petite. Was she fat? She is revered as one of the most beautiful, sexy, ravishing (enter other adjective epitomizing femininity and grace here) but she was not thin, necessarily. Not by today's standards. Today we focus on being a size 0 or a 2. God bless the girls who are! And that is great! But not everyone's body can be that small. And accepting that fact, stopping the comparison between yourself and other people, and working hard to be the best YOU is paramount to your success. The main thing is to be healthy. Weight is not everything. It is only a fraction of overall health. Look at this:   I love this because it really exemplifies the fact that weight, the number on the scale, doesn't tell the whole story! In the first picture, she is the same weight as the second but her body composition is completely different! Pay attention to that! Use your clothes as an indicator of what is going on with your body. Don't rely solely on the scale - it only tells part of the story. And believe me, many factors affect you weight, even from morning until night. I can easily gain 5 pounds in a day. But is it real weight? No. It just depends on how hydrated (or dehydrated) I am, what I ate throughout the day, if I worked out and got a sweat on, if I am feeling stressed...but that is MY BODY. Yours could be different. You might not fluctuate at all and eat whatever you want. But me comparing myself to you will only drive me nuts!   Happiness does not rest in how much you weigh. It might effect your self image and your confidence, of course. But it doesn't determine your worth. It doesn't dictate who you are. It doesn't define you. So, stop listening to all the crap in your external environment telling you what is "ideal". Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and so what is right for you. Even if you never weigh the arbitrary 128.6 or 126.4, be the healthiest you can be. Be the best you can be. And love you for you. I would love to know if something like this ever caught your attention the way the scales caught mine. I would love to hear what you thought about it. Please leave me a comment below! XO,      

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