“Happy” Weight Vs. “Fighting Weight”

Call it the weight loss/maintenance limbo: “How low are you willing to go?”

A couple months ago, SELF magazine had an article/quiz about finding your “happy” weight.

I had to laugh when it said my “happy weight” was 135, which ironically, had been my original WW goal.


Their idea of a “happy weight” is my idea of a “fighting weight,” a weight that I might not reach without serious deprivation or over-exercising … and even if I got there, it wouldn’t necessarily be maintainable in the long-term.

How do I know this? Well, the truth is (shhhh!!!), the lowest I ever got on Weight Watchers (on my old scale) was 138.4 (Note: on my new scale I never saw below 144).

I saw that “beautiful 138.4” twice, and nearly cried for joy seeing a “3” in my stats (though in reality it was probably not accurate).

And you know what? Both times I shot up to 142 the following week. At the time, I didn’t understand it. Until then, I’d been losing steadily, so why did I hit that wall?

It turns out, I evened out around 140-142 and stayed there for about a year before I settled a couple pounds higher than that the past two years.

It seems my body — which had been on the heavier side my whole life — was naturally happy at 140-142.

It suited me fine, and didn’t require a lot of effort to maintain: I just exercised like usual, and kept following Weight Watchers.

Today, I’m nearly five years older and a few pounds heavier from my lightest. Fortunately, I didn’t gain back too much, but like most people who lose weight and manage to keep it off, I’ve gained a couple lbs. from my lowest weight, which is more proof to me that my “fighting weight” just wasn’t meant to be.

At nearly 5’6 with broad shoulders and big thighs, a pretty-flat tummy and an otherwise fairly muscular frame, I have a good BMI, good waist-to-hip-ratio and good body fat percentage …

So now I consider anything below 145 my “happy weight.” I have a couple pounds to go before I am back there, but it’s nothing a couple weeks of extra diligence couldn’t change (though I’ve been struggling here for two years). And even if I don’t get there, it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Regardless of the three digits on the scale, I refuse to be disappointed in myself. In fact, I’m hoping giving myself that wiggle room will help me get back to goal.

It took me a long time to realize it, but 135 would really be my “fighting weight” and quite frankly, I don’t want to work that hard to see a number anymore.

I’m still a size 6, I exercise daily, I eat pretty clean, and I don’t hate my reflection in the mirror. Those are all positives and I ought to focus my energy there, rather than on the scale.

Some things just simply aren’t worth the fight. In the end, it’s just a number and I don’t care as much about “going that low”.

As Dr. G would say, there’s not a big difference between and A- and an A. Both are As. It’s high time I embrace it. I’ve kept off at least 25 lbs. for 4.5 years, and that says a lot.

“Fighting weight” be damned!

How about you? What is your body’s natural “happy weight,” and how does it compare to your “fighting weight?”

14 thoughts on ““Happy” Weight Vs. “Fighting Weight”

  1. I just took that happy weight quiz and immediately burst into laughter. They claim it’s the weight where you can just be happy and not have to worry about dieting anymore, but the weight they chose for me is 25 pounds less than the minimum that my doctor wants me to shoot for. They’re crazy! There’s no way I could get to that weight without starving myself and I refuse to do that.

    One thing I’ve realized over my weight loss journey is that I don’t have to fit an ideal. In fact, I’ve thrown my own image of what’s ideal out the window and have started focusing on what would really make me happy. And you’re right. It’s not a number on a scale.

  2. I’m not going to go check out that self quiz, because i’m already too irritated. 135 is your happy weight? what? huh? how on EARTH can a quiz deliver that number?? ugh. I’m just annoyed. a “happy weight” should never be generated by a mass-produced quiz. No one can tell you what makes you happy – it needs to come from within.

  3. In my case I literally have a fighting weight (because I fight!) and it’s 132lbs, whereas my happy weight is 140lbs. As happy as it makes me to see my body at it’s ‘best’, getting there is utter torture and I doubt I could stay there for any length of time.

  4. Pamela, exactly! It was ridiculous. I love your attitude!! 🙂

    That’s my point, Sarah. 135 is not MY happy weight; it’s what a quiz told me my happy weight would be, and that was the point of this post…I know where I feel good, and I’m not willing to go “that low.” It would defeat the whole purpose of self-acceptance.

    Aarayan, that’s why I upped my happy weight to 145. 🙂

  5. I took their quiz and it’s got my happy weight 5 lbs below where i want to be and i know that would be pushing it for me!! No thanks i’ll go where it will be easier to “live” with 😉

  6. My happy weight (according to them) is 114.5. Uh – no. I’ve been happily maintaining at 118-120 for 5 years now. Right now I will admit I’m at my slightly dissatisfied weight of 123, but that’s because I am recovering from two weeks of vacation indulgence.

  7. my happy weight is 10 pounds higher than what i am now… so i guess i should just stop fighting 😛

    3 years ago, i was 180lbs for 5’2″. I wasn’t feeling good at this weight of course, so i decided to eat better and exercise daily. I lost 60 pounds in a year and a half. I was looking and feeling better in my body, but the need to lose more and more appeared. Im now at 110 and my goal weight is 105… but im really struggling to get there obviously, so i guess there is no need to fight my own body to get to a number… which is only a number. But in my mind, this number is the ideal weight for me, because i remember what i looked at this weight years ago and i want to be like this again… but the thing is i’m 10 years older now 😛

    Thanks for the article, i think i’ll stop worrying so much for nothing.

  8. My happy weight is about 8ish pounds more than now (well, haven’t weighed myself in eons but that’s what I’d guess), so I guess I’m with Nikita and should stop “fighting.” I definitely do agree that everyone has a weight that their body would like for them to be. Sure, many people who want to lose the “last 5 pounds” could do so – but is it worth it if it means obsessing about every morsel, every workout? I sure don’t think so. Maybe it’s just me, but I think as I get older I realize that being a size smaller isn’t worth all of the anxiety and stress it causes me! 🙂

  9. Word. There is such a difference between the lowest weight you can get down to and a normal maintenance weight. This is what I’m struggling with now – it’s like I’m still holding myself to the standard of the lowest weight I’ve ever been (130ish) when I have no intention of ever working that hard ever again. I love the A/A- analogy (though I was also an perfectionistic overachiever about grades, too!!). I’m working on realizing that 140-145ish is just fine, too. It’s an A-!!! 🙂

  10. Way to go, Susan and Suzanne!!

    Nikita, love yourself!! Your happy weight isn’t even your fighting weight — you’re there! 🙂 You too, Holly!! 🙂 embrace it!

    Sar, I know 🙂 Love ya!

    Emily, so true. And as you can imagine, I’m a perfectionist too. It’s hard to let go…but we need to!

  11. I hate numbers. Weight Watchers did help me lose weight and I am forever grateful, but it’s so easy to get caught up in the numbers game. That stupid quiz told me my happy weight (at 5’2″) is 120. My WW goal was 125 and I only got there because of my unhealthy behaviors. Right now I’m at 134 and a size 6. I’m still struggling with being okay with this number, because ideally I’d like to be 5-10 lbs lighter. Like you, I have to keep reminding myself that I’d rather be where I am and not kill myself dieting and excessively exercising.

    My fighting weight was 118- the lowest I got. I know I won’t go back there because I just don’t have it in me. It’s a different ballgame when you’re trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Because I reached my WW goal and hit my lowest weight by using my disordered eating habits (toward the end of the weight loss), my body now has to find its way of getting to the happy weight without resorting to the old way.

    It makes me happy to read that you feel it’s not worth the fight and they’re just numbers. I feel the same way, but it’s still so hard to change your way of thinking when you’ve gone so long obsessed with numbers!

  12. Wow, was I the only one who had a good result on that test? My “happy weight” was 140 – just 2 lbs less than my current weight. (I am 5 ft. 7)

    Of course, the factors are key – I put in that I like to have the occassional treat and work out 3x a week…Also, when I changed the test from “medium frame” to “small frame”, the “happy weight” went down to 133, and I know I would struggle to stay at that weight! Doing the fingers around the wrist test I think I am somewhere in between small and medium frame so for me, my goal of 137 seems just right.

    What did other people put as answers to the questions? Did anyone try changing some of the answers around?

    Really interesting, Liss! Thanks!

  13. Kristen, I agree that for many of us it was a stupid quiz. We don’t want to get to our fighting weights (or our happy weights) through disordered eating behaviors. We def don’t want to kill ourselves for a number!! Esp. not at the expense of health or a healthy balanced lifestyle.

    Guess so, Yas!! I guess the key is maintaining whatever the fighting weight is, or happy weight in your case — and you’re doing it right now, so for you, this IS your happy weight — hope that makes you feel amazing!

    I didn’t play too much with it; like Sara, it kind of annoyed me. I put working out the most they had, and medium frame, I have never smoked, and I forget what else… but I am glad it worked for you!

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