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Is “Happy Weight” for the Formerly Obese a Myth?

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I’ve heard and read a lot about “happy weight.” I remember finding a “happy weight calculator” on the Self magazine site awhile back. The description promised that you could find your happy weight and quit obsessing over an unrealistic number on the scale.

I was so excited! I filled out the little questionnaire with excitement, eager to see an easy-to-maintain number that I could aim for.

Imagine my disappointment when the number revealed was nearly 10 pounds lower than my goal weight – the goal weight that well-meaning friends and relatives have told me is unrealistic. (For the record, my goal weight is on the high-end of the normal weight range for my height and body build.)

I’m sorry, but that’s not my idea of a happy weight. To me, a happy weight is more like what’s described in this article from The Huffington Post or in this post at Faith Fitness Fun.

My description of a “happy weight” would be a weight that I could maintain by eating healthy foods with an occasional treat, somewhere in a daily calorie range of 1500-2000 calories, and an activity level of 30-45 minutes of cardio 4 or 5 days a week and possibly 2 or 3 days a week of strength training.

That doesn’t sound like too much to ask, but I wonder if it is.

I know that Dr. H. (the health consultant on The Biggest Loser) always says that formerly obese people will have to plan on working out 1.5-2 hours a day 5 or 6 days a week for the rest of their lives to maintain their weight loss.

So, is there a happy weight for the formerly obese or will we constantly have to battle our bodies to avoid arriving at a set-point that is higher than we’d like – and possibly even higher than is healthy?

I’m not trying to be discouraging. After all, I’m not considering the changes I’m making a diet, but rather a lifestyle change. I’m not considering eating healthy and being active temporary fixes that are going to cease once I’m at my goal weight.

That being said, the happy weight scenario I described above sounds very appealing – maintaining a 1500-2000 calorie a day range, running 3 or 4 (maybe even 5 or 6, but not necessarily 7+) miles several days a week, and a couple of days of strength-training. Those sounds doable.

But will it be enough?

I’m looking forward to being at the place where I can find out. What do you think, though? Do you think maintaining a significant weight-loss (upwards of 100 pounds for me) is going to require a lifetime of extreme vigilance?

I’m willing to do it if it does because I never, ever want to go back to being obese, but there’s a little part of me that hopes it’s not always as much work as it’s been these past 21 months.

Honestly, I’m relatively happy where I am now. I never thought I’d see 136 again. However, I’d love to lose that last 11 pounds and see what 125 feels like. I’m sincerely hoping that the last 11 pounds comes off my thighs.

When I get there, I’ll see what kind of work it take to maintain it. Who knows? Maybe I’m at my happy weight now.

Do or do not. There is no try.

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