Mar 2013

Your Ideal Weight

You may be thinking I’m gonna throw some BMI calculation at you… if that’s the case, we don’t know each other well enough yet;).

Women spend a lot of time thinking about how they want to look or how they “should” look.

If I’m being honest with you, part of me would love to be a size 2. I could wear large drapey sweaters a la sexy art teacher/librarian and look like a Top Shop model instead of something a little less “fashionable”.

When I think about why I want to be size 2 it’s because I’ve attached the size with being fun, carefree, and feeling gorgeous and sexy all the time.

But as you probably know, I’ve worked hard to feel that way regardless of my size, and I teach women how to do the same.

And here’s why this is important:

What you want to look like and your ideal body weight are probably different. Most people’s ideal body weight, their constitution, is 10-15 pounds heavier than what they want, and that’s cool.

You see, most people think that having no fat on them is “normal” or the way they are supposed to be.  But the reality is that women are built to have some padding.  What makes us curvy, busty, soft and womanly… what makes us beautiful, is fat!

What if you’re dying to be a size 10, but in fact your body’s healthiest state is a size 14? Your issue may not be that you don’t have enough willpower, it may just be that you need to recognize what’s right in front of you is perfect. Tweet it.

Here’s how to know what your ideal weight is (no scale required):

We will naturally move to our ideal weight when we eat only when we’re hungry (not every time we want food), eat the foods our body is craving when we’re hungry (if you’re really tuned in, it’s never cookies or chips) and to stop eating when we feel satisfied (not full).  And then I believe that we have to have a healthy dose of the best wine, chocolate, bread and cheese around on special occasions (because if we eat it all the time, we’ll feel sick).

And when you eat in a way that is sustainable, comfortable and feels easy, you can maintain that way of eating and your weight for the rest of your life.

Now, this way of eating can be a struggle to master, especially for those of us who are emotional eaters, but that’s why I’ve created a whole business around helping women heal what’s underneath their eating habits so they can start to have this specific relationship with food.

Sure, if I really wanted to be a size two I could eat only vegetables and never have a glass of wine again, but eating that way isn’t natural for me, and if being a certain size means constantly restricting myself, I’m not into it.

Now, you may feel like you need to lose some weight to feel healthy and comfortable in your body, but I want you to really think about the difference between what you feel like you “should” look like based on our culture, pressure or standards, and what your ideal body weight is. I’m hoping you’ll see that you may not be as far off as you thought.

So here’s what I want you to do this week.

1. Think about the feeling you’re attaching to weight, and start embodying those feeling now.

2. Tune into your body and ask what her ideal weight is

3. Eat in a way that’s sustainable for the rest of your life, not just a 2-week “quick-fix”.

And in the comments below I want you to tell me what you think about this idea of “ideal” weight and what steps you’re going to take to embrace it.

Can’t wait to chat!


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  • I love this post! I’ve settled into what I think it pretty close to my ideal weight after years of restriction and struggle. I’ve been a professional model since I was 13 and from the very beginning I was told I needed to lose weight to meet the high standards of the industry. I was probably between a size 6 and 8 when i started and 5’10” tall. It took everything in me and a very ‘small’ personal life to have the unrealistic body that was required for my profession. About 4 years ago I decided that I wanted to enjoy my life with my husband, friends and family more than I wanted to be unrealistically thin for my body type. I started eating what I wanted and actually participating in life. Eating what I want doesn’t look like I feared it would. I love healthy food and I love feeling good so I mostly choose things that support and nourish my body. I still model but only if I’m accepted for the weight I am at. One of the most significant things that helps me feel more comfortable with my body is surrounding myself with a community of women who are on the same path to honor, love and accept their bodies. Sarah, this is why I love hearing about your experirnce and journey so much. When I hear you participating in life and celebrating your body it inspires me to continue doing the same. Thanks for your honesty and service.

    • Sarah Jenks

      Rhonda, I am so touched by your story, thank you so much for sharing. Many women forget that even women who are thin struggle to be that way, and settling into our ideal bodies can bring us so much happiness. I’m so impressed with how grounded you are in this shift.

      I love your tip of surrounding ourselves with women who also love and respect their bodies. That is so important.

  • katherine

    totally love this post! its amazing what society does to try to convince us of an “ideal” weight that is not so ideal!

  • Amanda

    Sarah, I absolutely love your posts. They always come at the right time. I get self conscious sometimes because when I was younger I was always SUPER thin. I tried to put on weight and I just couldn’t. My mom would take me to the doctor and thought there was something wrong with me. I ate a ton (though I was a pretty healthy kid) and once I got to college I realized I couldn’t eat like that anymore without gaining weight. I work out pretty consistently and am pretty active just in my every day life, but I started struggling with weight and would go from a very restrictive diet to eating total crap for a month. Just within the past year (I am 25 now) I have started to accept my body and know that I am healthy and that is what really matters. For the past five to eight years I have struggled with “the last 10 lbs” but the more I think about what I am eating and how I am living I have come to realize that those last 10 lbs are kind of an indicator that I actually have a life. I go wine tasting, I like to eat fancy dinners (occasionally!) with my boyfriend, I like a good chocolate torte, and when we go to dinner at his parent’s house, I eat the incredible desserts that his mom makes. If I really wanted to lose the last 10 lbs I would have to give up many of the things that enhance my life. It’s not even worth it. Thank you Sarah for this post! I am still working on accepting my body and feeling confident and sexy, but I feel like soon I will be there. 🙂 Thank you so much Sarah!

    • Sarah Jenks

      YES! What an amazing revelation. So true.

  • Hey Sarah —

    Recently someone asked me “How did you decide you were going to love how you looked, no matter you size?” and I thought…and I replied “Because I felt like if I looked this way for the rest of my life, I’d be happy with that.” I’m a size 14/16 is this is where I’m happiest, healthiest and feel most alive. I worked too hard before trying to become some other size, as if that held the power of my happiness with in it. And when I reached once an 8, I wasn’t happier at all.

    Like you, I’m a coach to women around weight & body-image, but my #1 rule with any client is you’ve gotta understand that lasting, real pazzo-wow change will never come unless you love and accept who you are right now.

    Thanks for sharing your work & inspiration <3

    • Sarah Jenks

      Rachel, so awesome! I can tell that you are just an incredible power of example. And I love that you experienced that when you were a size 8, you weren’t any happier. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • I love this!

    My ideal weight is totally not where I’m at right now, because there are still times that I’m consciously choosing to eat more, although I’m really grateful that all of these decisions are now made consciously instead of out of habit.

    I remember when I was younger, I would just eat anything I wanted and was between 125-130. I never had to weigh myself or moderate my portions because I just stayed at that weight. These days, I weigh around 140 but that’s pretty stable. It doesn’t really fluctuate. I eat what I want when I want and my weight doesn’t really fluctuate.

    My new goal is to work on the internal shift to “reset” my weight thermostat – to make my new “normal” back to 130, which is when I felt the most strong, solid, and physically fit in my body.

    Looking forward to hearing more from you!

    • Sarah Jenks

      Hi Shannon! I love this. And I want to give you a qucik reframe. Instead of focusing on getting to 130 so you can be “strong, solid, and physically fit” What can you do now to feel strong, solid, and physically fit? So happy you’re finding a rhythm with your food, keep it up!

  • Sarah, I love this! It’s refreshing to see this kind of thinking. I do believe many of us have an ideal in our heads that is influenced by what we see in the media every day. And also on a version of ourselves at a different, younger age.
    Our ideal weight will change as we get older and have babies. And accepting that, maybe even embracing it is wonderful.
    My goal now is to move every day, eat as you describe and know that I am giving my body what it needs. Thanks for this.

    • Sarah Jenks

      Lynn, thank you for saying that! yes, getting older and having babies definitely changes our bodies and that can be so hard. I find theres a lot of chatter about “turning back the clock” but I really believe in embracing the clock:) So glad you brought this up.

      Have fun moving!

  • Maria

    First that is a beautiful picture you posted!

    I always struggled to be thinner even when I was ‘thin’. In my late twenties I went down to 135 with Weight Watchers and once I hit my target I stayed at it for about a week! I had to work out so hard and eat like nothing EVER. My BMI says I should be no more than 150, so I thought that must be the right weight and I slowly crept back up to it.

    Then came baby number one and I gained about 60 pounds. After baby I worked to get to 168 and thought, okay 18 more to go to get back to my 150…and then I realized I actually felt REALLY REALLY good at 168. My clothes fit well, I felt hot, so why struggle to get to a fabricated notion of thin?

    After baby number 2 I am 14 pounds heavier and I feel it and see it. But I am more interested in healing the why I eat over the what (which is pretty stellar most of the time) and see where I land.

    I am scared and nervous and struggle to have the confidence that I can actually do this. So I am over the moon that you are here to help me!

    Thanks for the post!!


    • Sarah Jenks

      So here for you Maria! Your journey is so normal. I’m so psyched that you’ve already made a huge shift in knowing that being around 168 feels really good. That’s awesome that you can really tune into your body.

      This is such an awesome opportunity for you to focus on your relationship with food and think about how you want to feel today.

  • Sarah G

    Once again, you’ve made me look at weight in a whole new way. I’ve never thought about the feelings that I attach to my “ideal” weight, like how I think I’ll feel if I reach my ideal weight. I really want to explore the feelings or privileges I think are attached to this ideal. I will be journaling about this 🙂 And I will really pay attention to what exactly my body is craving-whether that’s food (and what KIND of food), movement, emotional release, etc. Thanks Sarah!

    • Sarah Jenks

      Youre so welcome! I’m so happy this hit home. Journaling is key, and really thinking about all the magic you “think” will happen is great bc then you can clearly see what you need to bring more of to your life. Let me know how it goes!

  • Niamh

    Hey Sarah!

    Woah, this post totally triggered me! At first I was like, OMG Sarah is so frickin’ hot already, if she thinks that she needs to be a 2 to be ‘fashionable’ then who am I fooling and I want to work in the fashion industry!?

    Then I got thinking about ideal weight. Particularly over the past month I’ve been eating well and moving my body lots in a way that feels good. My weight has stayed pretty much the same but I do seem to have more energy and my body feels pretty good. My inner critique went crazy. I started thinking that I must be ‘lazy’. If this is my ideal weight then I’m just not pushing myself hard enough. Also, I’ve started to feel guilty about indulging even on special occasions. So crazy, right?

    Those feelings haven’t quite disappeared just yet but I’ve outed them at the very least! Any action steps that you’d recommend?

    Thanks Sarah!


  • Yes! I wish more people got this. Luckily I found a doctor who noticed a trend with me that if I went below 163 pounds (8 pounds OVER the highest BMI weight I am suppose to be) I got injured and told me not to worry about BMI as even when I was obese (and a size 26) I always worked out and had good numbers so he was fine with that if I was.

    I’m a 12 now but my healthy weight usually puts me at about a thick 8/small 10 and I am perfectly happy with that. I still look adorable in clothing but can eat the things I want to (within reason).

  • Katy

    I love your common sense way of eating. I watch some of your YouTube videos. I am struggling with losing 5-10 lbs. I know that doesn’t sound like much but I am 63 years old, have post polio so I can’t really exercise. I used to walk lots with my crutch which really kept my weight down. Now I use my electric wheelchair more and more. So I am trying to eat less. I don’t want to keep gaining 2-4lbs each year. Maybe I should keep a food journal? Any suggestions?

Sarah Jenks

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