People come in all shapes and sizes. This truth has only recently begun to gain support in our culture, which traditionally values a particular body type as the ideal.

As the topic of body weight becomes better nuanced, there are two primary considerations to guide us. The first is kindness and acceptance towards our bodies. In fact, anywhere from 60-71% of women report dissatisfaction with their bodies, and this is an increasing problem for men as well. (1) Also, negative body image is associated with a higher risk of depression and anxiety and is not good for overall wellness. (1)

The second consideration is health. Certainly, we cannot ignore the reality that weight plays a role in our physical wellness. On top of that, being overweight or obese increases the risk of chronic health conditions. (2)

These two considerations require a delicate balancing act. Hence, we must honor both if we want to experience true well-being. Rejecting either one would not benefit us as whole people. But, overemphasizing one at the expense of the other can also be detrimental to health.

Be kind to yourself - discover wellness

Being Kind to Ourselves

There is no being healthy if we cannot first be kind. In fact, this includes kindness towards ourselves and our appearance.

Some people are super fit yet continually despise their bodies and only focus on their flaws. At the same time, the most beautiful people are usually those who are confident in themselves and accept everyone’s uniqueness, their own included.

Regardless of what our bodies look like, they are worthy of love and care. Our bodies give us the means to move and live in the world. If you think about all the wonderful things your body allows you to do, there is much to feel grateful for. From hugging loved ones to exploring amazing places, our bodies give us the means to do the things that matter most.

Therefore, accepting our unique shape, size and form are essential to well-being. That doesn’t mean we can’t work to be the healthiest we can be, but that effort should come from a place of caring. Your body weight is a number – find which number best describes you.

Finding a Healthy Weight

Everyone’s healthy weight is different. Our culture would have us believe that there is an ideal body type that is better than all others. In fact, fit and sculpted is the vision of health we have been sold.

However, that is not reality.

There are many sizes and weights at which a person can be healthy, depending on genetics, bone structure, activity levels, and family history.

A few things to consider when trying to find your personal healthy weight:

  • The number on the scale or your BMI gives limited information. They are snapshots in time, so in general, don’t obsess over them. They can be helpful and, for some people, motivating tools, but if they lead to feelings of judgment and frustration, choose other indicators to guide you. For instance, the way your clothes fit and your general feeling of well-being or lack of it can often tell you what you need to know about your weight and state of health.
  • “Maintain, don’t gain.” is a good philosophy in adult life. (3) If your weight is continually creeping up, that can mean an increased risk of chronic illness and early death. (3) If you notice this happening, begin to pay attention to your habits and how your body is feeling. It is likely time to make some changes to protect your health.
  • Assess how your body feels. Do you have enough energy to get through the day? Are you able to enjoy your favorite activities and do the things you want to do? Are there health conditions you have been diagnosed with that would improve by losing some extra pounds?
  • Consider whether you are engaging in healthy habits that make you feel good. Are you choosing healthy foods? Do you get enough movement? These two things are big influencers of body weight, but they are not the only ones. High levels of stress can contribute to weight gain in addition to all its other impacts on wellness. (4)
  • If your weight is not healthy for you, and especially if you are experiencing any negative impacts from being overweight, set a weight loss goal. Losing five pounds over two months is a reasonable place to begin. If using weight numbers is not a healthy choice for you, set another type of goal, such as your pants feeling less tight or your energy levels increasing.

Creating habits that will help you achieve a healthy weight takes time. It’s a long-term process that is often most successful when done slowly. Avoid crash diets or extreme measures unless you have a doctor-supervised reason to do so.

Find a healthy body weight and be kind to yourself

Healthy Body Weight for a Healthy Life

Keep your focus squarely on creating a healthy life that makes you feel happy and well. Being at a healthy body weight for your body type isn’t about looking good at the beach or wearing a certain clothing size. It encompasses how you feel each day and the steps you take to treat your body with care and respect.

There is no magic number for what you should weigh. But your body will send you plenty of signals to let you know when something is not right. Being kind to our bodies means listening and making necessary changes to be the healthiest we can be.