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Letting Go

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

ďLetting go doesnít mean rejecting what is here. Rather itís an attitude of letting things be without picking up what we donít need.Ē James Baraz

Letting go is the theme of my Awakening Joy course this month. Itís a profound theme and practice, in which James Baraz suggests we let go by simplifying, by letting go of the stories we tell ourselves, by being generous, and by letting go of expectations and excess. I know I have room to work on all of these aspects of my life, and am paying more attention to it each day.

In keeping with this theme, I realized something this morning. I think I've been at goal for years now but I've been fighting against accepting this weight since I was a teenager, and Iím finally ready to let go of that particular story.

I'm 5'4" barely, and somehow I have this idea in my head that the only way I'm successful is if I weight 120 or less. This summer when I got to 110 I was in heaven. I felt I'd arrived. I was finally skinny! But the truth was that my bones were sticking out, I had absolutely no fat anywhere, and I stopped getting my period for about 6 months. Further, I was eating in a way that was too restrictive for me to keep up as a lifestyle.

Iím now back up to about 128-130, depending on the day. The truth is that since high school, my body seems to come back to this weight of about 128 pounds, sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less. And then I diet my way down to 120-ish, get excited and scared, and gain it all back plus. Then I start over. That's how it's been for over 30 years of my life.

I just finished re-reading the Beck Diet Solution (great book, highly recommend)
and in the very end she has a great chapter in which she explains when a person is ready for maintenance. I found it very eye-opening to reread this chapter, particularly because in my own handwriting, I saw that the last time I read this chapter, last year, I was in the same place - I had wanted to weigh 120 but then gained back up to about 128-130.

Here is Judith Beckís take (from her blog (I also highly recommend, you can get her free newsletter there) at
ď[the] concept of Ďideal weightí Ė itís the weight that you get down to when youíre eating and exercising in a healthy way that you can maintain. Now this weight may not the weight of your thinnest friend, it may not be the weight you were at in college, and it almost definitely isnít the weight of the celebrities we see on television. In our minds, your ideal weight is the weight that you can get down to and stay at, not the weight that you can get down to, then gain some weight back, then work on losing it again, then gaining it back again. We just donít believe that itís worth getting down to a weight that you ultimately canít maintain (by either exercising or eating in a way that is not sustainable) because youíll just gain it back and then feel very discouraged.Ē

My note:

This is exactly what Iíve been experiencing. Though I can get to 120 or less when Iím obsessively focused on it, itís not sustainable because it takes too much restriction.

She then goes on to say, ďItís also important to know that most people, when they lose weight, get down to what we call their lowest achievable weight. However, most people donít stay there! They eventually end up relaxing their habits just a bit and gaining a few pounds back and end up leveling off at we call their lowest maintainable weight. Their lowest achievable weight is probably not their lowest maintainable weight because it would require intense focus on their eating and exercise.Ē

My note:

Yes, when Iím at 120, I have to focus intensely. Iíve was there when I got married, and for a few weeks each year, but never for a long period of time. Iíve never been able to maintain it.

Finally Beck gives very practical ways to learn to accept ourselves at this lowest maintainable weight, which for me, isnít the weight Iíve been telling myself I should weigh:

She says, ďÖ you [donít] have to be at all unhappy with where you are now. In fact, you should be extremely proud of yourself for the weight you did lose and for all of the hard work and dedication you put into it. Instead of focusing on the 10 pounds you didnít lose, think instead about all of the weight you did lose. Even if youíre not quite at the weight you wanted to get down to starting out, think aboutÖDo you feel better about yourself?...Ē

She continues, ďYou can also ask yourself: How would my life really be different if I lost another 10 pounds? Would the differences be so significant? Is it possible that Iím already experiencing many of the things I wanted to achieve, even though the number on the scale isnít what I initially had in mind? It sounds like it may be worth working on changing your concept of your own ideal weight, feeling proud about where you are, and move forward appreciating all the wonderful changes that have come about as a result of losing weight."

My note:

So here I am. I'm not at my lowest desirable or achievable weight, but I think I'm at about my lowest maintainable weight. And in my core, I know that if I could just accept myself at this weight, life would be so much easier. I've been at 120 and my life really wasn't all that different. Yes, I wore a smaller size, but that's about all. When I think about it, during those brief weeks at 120, I was also quite stressed about regaining, very uptight and anxious about any social plans, irritable because I was hungry all the time, and then plagued by months of binging, starving, regaining, and self-loathing.

When I let go of this story, I can see that I live a very healthy lifestyle and have since I was about 20. In fact, I love living this healthy lifestyle and all of the things I'm listing below come quite easily to me:

1. I workout daily.
2. I track my food.
3. I weigh myself each morning.
4. I drink a ton of water.
5. I weigh and measure my foods.
6. I eat most meals seated, slowly and mindfully.
7. I keep within a set calorie range for the most part.
8. Most importantly, I actually LOVE healthy foods. I don't eat sugar (gave it up completely 9 years ago when I had my daughter), adore all veggies and eat them with abandon, and prefer home cooked meals.

I also think that over time, maybe very slowly, my numbers might come down a bit, because this would be the FIRST time in my life that I'm accepting myself at this weight and saying, "I'm OK now". Further, because there is no more binging (day 12, hooray!!!!) and my body hasn't ever experienced this kind of consistency, I have this feeling that over time my body will settle in, perhaps around 125, which would be great. But if not, I know I'm OK at this weight. I'm not fat at all. I may not be skinny, not as skinny as my fantasies, not as skinny as some of my friends or my mom or some of the amazing people here on SP who are my height, but I'm fit and pretty slender.

I think Iím finally ready to let goÖ

ďWhen you see through your negative story, what you have left is the truth. That is why the practice of letting go of a limiting story is extremely liberating and leads to great spaciousness and joy.Ē James Baraz
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NELLJONES 7/10/2014 8:25AM

    I am 5'4" also, and weigh just under 106. Most of my maintenance was at about 114, but I'm old now. I haven't had a doughnut or a cupcake in years. I eat dessert just a couple of times a year, and never eat between meals at all. I rarely eat in restaurants, maybe a few times a year. That doesn't make me a better person, it's just something I do. Some days are harder than others, but I am willing to do it. There is no crime in seeing this kind of life as a sacrifice and not being willing to do it, but for now, I live this way. "Sustainable" means "willingness", and "willingness" is directly proportional to my ability to see my life not as a sacrifice, but something I enjoy.

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ALICIA363 7/10/2014 7:06AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KEEPFIT2013 5/1/2013 10:26AM

    Yes!!! I am also paying attention to 'my stories' and how they can limit possibilities. Thanks for sharing.....great support!

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MJREIMERS 4/30/2013 7:35PM

    What a healthy attitude you now have. (It's not always easy getting to that healthy state of mind, but it's emoticon once you achieve it!) We have very similar experiences!

This really hit home for me as I've finally found that weight that I am happy at and I maintain with regular exercise and eating right. I'm still working with my oldest daughter on this one, but we're getting there together and I know emoticon !

I am so happy that you are on day 12 of this new healthy lifestyle. I know you can keep it up! You are a beautiful woman and being healthy and happy are so much more important than the "s word" aka. skinny.

Keep being healthy!!! Remember others are with you in this journey and together emoticon !

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HOPEWELLNESS 4/29/2013 7:37PM

    What an inspirational thought!
I am an exercise physiologist and I had a mentor at Canyon Ranch where I worked who had a wonderfully freeing way of talking about ideal weight. He said that if you exercise as reasonably as you can and you eat as healthy as you can and you are honest with yourself about these things for 18 months, you will be at your ideal weight. There is something liberating about that thought. The trick is to be honest about your eating and exercise.

But what do you do if you really are doing your best at these things... exercising almost every day... and eating very healthy food... and you still have too much fat around the middle??

I really do feel I need to train myself to need less food. I guess as we age, we need less fuel. Hmmm...

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MKELLY72 4/29/2013 11:19AM

    Very eye opening! I think this is a realization I have recently been working toward, and you have put it to words very nicely. I maintain very easily (give or take a pound of two) at 148--even though in my mind I would love to see 145 or a little lower (weight in high school), and I realize (have for a while) that is probably unrealistic--I have gotten to it a few times over the last two years--and it gets me all excited and hopeful, but really-I'm very comfortable at 147-149--I hate seeing it hit 150, and I know that is a psychological issue too that I'm working on being more accepting of. It's an ongoing process.

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OFGREENGABLES 4/29/2013 11:07AM

    thanks for this!

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BROWNCOFIDDLER 4/27/2013 10:23PM

    Outstanding, insightful blog. We can learn so much from each other. Thanks for sharing your wonderful thoughts & maintenance plan. Congrats for a job so very well done!! emoticon emoticon

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KAB7801 4/27/2013 1:41PM

    Accepting myself the way I am is very hard. I need to let that go!

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CAROLISCIOUS 4/26/2013 9:45PM

    Excellent blog! I always say I am searching for the life that I can live with. A healthy life, but not so restrictive that I am miserable...and I make everyone around me miserable.

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MY1FAN 4/26/2013 8:43PM


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MOONCHILD8 4/26/2013 8:01PM

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am short at 5 feet 2 inches and I weigh 124 but go a little up and a little down. Like you I have been at 120 and at 110. I looked to skinny at 110. My bones also where sticking out. I was hoping to go down to 120. I am not trying to lose any more. I too track my exercise, food and weigh myself weekly. We still need to work at maintaining. Linda from bean town

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AMARILYNH 4/26/2013 6:13PM

    Great blog - I think your experience is something many of us have lived. That attainable vs maintainable concept is powerful!! emoticon

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THOMS1 4/26/2013 5:58PM

    Love your blog. I have been fighting for the last year to get down 10 more pounds but, maybe I should just maintain the weight I am at right now. Why not. I feel great. emoticon

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SUSIEMT 4/26/2013 5:20PM

    I not only liked this blog if there had been a spot to Mark Love this blog I would have hit it. WooHoo to you! I felt a bit guilty about raising my goal weight from 150 to 165 but I just could not sustain it. I have been doing great at this weight and feel so much relief. Thank you!

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FITMOMINNJ 4/26/2013 2:07PM

    What a HUGE breakthrough!!!! Like you I went to a very low weight, while I thought I looked great, in reality I looked sickly. My own son who was my biggest cheeerleader while losing told me I had gone too far. No energy, cranky but like you said, I was THIN.

May 1st will be 1 year that I have been in a healthy range. I have NEVER done that before. Thank you so much for sharing your insights, you do *GET IT*. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SHERRYLHBB 4/26/2013 9:43AM

    I want to stand up and applaud! What a great blog. :) I've been thinking along these lines myself over the past few days. You put it all into words so clearly that the muddle in my brain finally makes perfect sense! If one lives a healthy lifestyle, then the body will naturally be at its ideal weight, no matter what the scale says. Thank you so much for sharing your struggle and your valuable insights.

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DSJB9999 4/26/2013 2:24AM

    emoticon emoticon

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AALLEY2 4/25/2013 11:14PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LRSILVER 4/25/2013 7:31PM

    Great blog WTG!!

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WATERMELLEN 4/25/2013 5:35PM

    Great blog!! Like you, I found Judith Beck's distinction between "lowest achievable" and "lowest sustainable" weight really helpful. It's got to be a weight that is sustainable with a realistic amount of attention and focus . . . I really really wanted a "middle number 3" but . . . although I achieved it all right, it was not right for me.

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TUBLADY 4/25/2013 5:31PM

    Great blog. I know what you mean about a ideal fantasy weight. It's also a weight that maybe we were back 20 years or so ago. but not realistic now. I too got to a low of 132, my doctor said I could go down some more. but I was miserable. I went back up to 143,145 and I'm comfortable. I'm 5'6". For years I weighted 115, 118 and had bones stick out, but was model thin and thought it looked good. But I was also in my 20',30's. I'm 71 now.
I might someday weight more for I continue to build muscle and they weigh more.
Be what weight you feel comfortable with and feel healthy.
I found mine.
Take care, good luck.
Be strong, stay positive.
Tisha emoticon emoticon emoticon

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AEHEGE 4/25/2013 4:28PM

    Great blog -- there is much wisdom in your words, and also much for us to consider.

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POPSY190 4/25/2013 2:45PM

    Attainable vs maintainable emoticon . Thank you for this.

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SHERYLDS 4/25/2013 2:25PM

    great blog ... thanks for sharing

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LESLIESENIOR 4/25/2013 2:23PM

    Yes, yes, yes!!!! I'm with some of the others who expressed feeling teary when reading your blog. My tears are tears of relief. I lost 60 pounds over a three year period after some personal life changes, and maintained my "lowest achievable weight" (I love this distinction!) from 2006-2010 when I started exercising again. Once my walk/jogging was very consistent, I gained back about 8 pounds and have not gotten it off successfully again to date. I've considered, and even blogged about, the fact that maybe my body is telling me something. Woo Hoo to read that my maintainable weight is seriously legitimate and not just my rationalizations. I just joined this team and I'm so grateful to you for your wonderful blog.
Hurray for living life to its fullest.
God Bless you!!!!!!!!!

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_LINDA 4/25/2013 2:17PM

    Fabulous insight! I am fortunate that I was not obsessed by the number on the scale. I simply wanted to lose my excess weight and live a healthy lifestyle as best I could within my physical limitations. Ironically my 'goal weight' was decided when I broke my elbow and was unable to exercise in the high intensity way I was used to. 121 became the number and my body seemed happy there. What size clothing mattered little to me especially because women's clothing is all over the place in sizing.
2 years at this weight so it must be right. No deprivation, no hunger, just feeling great. I have a friend who is very obsessed with being a certain number on the scale and struggles mightily to keep getting there. She doesn't engage in unhealthy behaviors for it though. Just constantly reads every tiny fraction of a lb on that scale daily. She is very fit, looks fabulous and runs races. I hope she reads this and maybe realizes that goal weight isn't what her body is willing to be.
Deciding a goal weight is a huge struggle for many! Thanks for bringing all this great information together!!
Well done accepting where you are! You have reached your happy weight!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MISSB8604 4/25/2013 1:00PM

    I cannot even begin to tell you how much I needed to hear this. I'm in tears, seriously. I've been so dang hard on myself for not getting back to 185 that I've been doing a lot of things you did to get down to 120. I really like my body where it is, my mind just can't handle the fact that I'm not 185 again. It can't be about the numbers, it has to be about how you feel.

I can't thank you enough. I'll be re-reading this blog once I stop blubbering. HA!

You rock.

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-SHOREIDO- 4/25/2013 12:43PM

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. It's one with quite a few ups & downs I'm sure. So I'm wishing your more ups and less downs.
On that weight thing I think your right. Our bodies do seem to zero in on a certain number(at least mine and a few friends do) and its push to get it focused on numbers that are more favorable to us, right? OK so downs on the bod & ups on the recovery.
Best wishes for you and yours.
ginny emoticon

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VISUALLYRICS 4/25/2013 11:50AM

    ((((Love))) your blog...I'm celebrating with you that You are've accepted yourself here & now. How important that is! emoticon emoticon
I struggled with this too....trying to find "MY" ideal weight....what a challenge that is! I too follow your numbers 1-8 regime and LOVE my healthy I asked myself, "why the constant struggle and discontent"? I let GO too!
emoticon ...:::so I too celebrate your decision!

Thank you so much for sharing! ~ your new friend, Laura

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MILLEDGE2 4/25/2013 11:33AM

    You have given me some important things to think about! And you said them very articulately, so I'm going to save the link to this blog for future reference. emoticon

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LCERVERA 4/25/2013 11:20AM

    I can really identify with this! I have also had those times when I can be a maniac and get to a super-low weight, but like you said, it's just not realistically maintainable, and not compatible with having a life!! This is the first time I've lost by exercising and making long-term dietary changes (no flour, no sugar) and it feels great. I read on someone else's blog the other day, she refuses to do anything she isn't willing to do for the rest of her life. So starving, exercising beyond what's doable, avoiding social events and life in general to stay at an unrealistic weight are OUT!
Thanks for the post. emoticon

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_JODI404 4/25/2013 11:08AM

    Great blog! I enjoyed reading the info you shared from Beck.

I totally agree that your weight should be maintainable with little "struggle". You should keep it fairly easily within a range with healthy food choices and consistent exercise -- just the same healthy choices that are now your lifestyle.

Best wishes to you as you let go and I think you will be so much happier overall.

emoticon emoticon

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MANILUS 4/25/2013 10:55AM

    Accepting ourselves is a major challenge. I wish you peace with your husband's diagnosis and your journey.

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CELIAMINER 4/25/2013 10:32AM

    Powerful blog! I've been going back and forth around a central weight and stressing when I go above it. Think I need to redefine my goal. Thanks!

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WENDYDANCER 4/25/2013 10:17AM

    I've been thinking along these lines myself! Really great blog!

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VTRICIA 4/25/2013 9:58AM

    I've also totally reframed my backstory. I'm so happy for you!
(And I tracked down that blog. They don't make linking easy!)

Comment edited on: 4/25/2013 10:27:21 AM

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-AMANDA79- 4/25/2013 9:06AM

    Great blog! I experienced what you are talking about in the 2nd to last paragraph. I couldn't get under 140 and once I stopped focusing so much on the number and just focused on doing the right things, the weight started slipping off again!

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MIDROAD 4/25/2013 8:56AM

    I always learn and get so inspired reading your blogs!

Sincere thanks,


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DESERTJULZ 4/25/2013 8:50AM

    Very interesting info. I might have to take a look at that book. Thank you for highlighting your own experience as it related to what you've learned.

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KANOE10 4/25/2013 8:46AM

    I like separating attainable verses maintainable goal. This was a great article.

Your daily healthy habbits are great and will keep you successful.

You are doing well to be happy with your current weight and staying on track. Thanks for sharing an excellent insightful blog. emoticon

Comment edited on: 4/25/2013 8:49:55 AM

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NUOVAELLE 4/25/2013 8:21AM

    Your blog is definitely food for thought for me. I've been maintaining the same weight (+- 3 pounds) for almost a year now but my mind is still on a lighter goal about ten pounds lower. And I've been thinking about the "maintainable" weight for a long time...
I'm glad you have arrived and you can finally let go. Setting aside a few "must's" in our heads is always liberating.
emoticon emoticon

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MOMMY445 4/25/2013 8:15AM

    such a wonderful blog, thanks for sharing! have a terrific day!

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PEZMOM1 4/25/2013 8:12AM


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SLENDERELLA61 4/25/2013 8:00AM

    Congratulations!! You have arrived. And now you know it. Hooray!!

I've read those Beck words before, but somehow when I reread them in your blog they meant more to me. I see the wisdom. I'm still not sure whether my goal is maintainable or not, but if not, I'll be okay with that. I've kind of said 2013 is my year to try and find out.

Absolutely wonderful blog! Good job. You spelled it out really well. Here's to life, well lived, at your healthy weight! And here's to all your healthy habits! Hooray for you!!

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WENDYANNE61 4/25/2013 7:13AM

    Very moving blog - Thank you!

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DIANNEMT 4/25/2013 7:09AM

    I am looking at the same thing--I would LIKE to be 145 but just can't get there for more than a day! So I am taking my 150 and trying to be content with that. Your words DO make me happier with my 150!! Thank you!!

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MOBYCARP 4/25/2013 7:04AM

    An interesting view from the opposite side of goal weight than mine. My initial goal weight wasn't aggressive enough, and I spent months wondering if that last pound or two I lost was dangerous. Ultimately, my body settled in; but I still wonder whether I ought to be maintaining 5 pounds heavier than I am.

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KEEPITSIMPLE_ 4/25/2013 6:49AM

    Great blog, thank you for sharing, and for sharing your resources as well. It is very freeing when you can accept yourself for who you really are, imperfections and all, and be free to live and fulfill life's dreams.

Best wishes to you on your journey and discovery process.


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BESSHAILE 4/25/2013 6:37AM

    Wow - singing my song! sounds like you're going to have a new friendship with yourself now.

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