Ideal weight

My ideal weight (as I presently conceive of it) is 153lbs.

I haven’t used any formulas to find that number, it’s just what’s on the scale when I feel at my best.

Not coincidentally, it seems to be the weight my body wants to be when I’m paleo-pure.

If I get paleo-sloppy, my weight creeps. Sometimes it just slinks up to 158, which is probably not discernable to others, but I don’t feel as fantastic.

My intent is not to achieve an ideal weight, but to find patterns of living that result in an optimal experience of well-being.

I’ve learned from my paleo experiments so far that when I’m feeling optimal, I weigh just under 155lbs, so my weight is an indicator that helps me dial in peak condition.


I monitor my weight because it is a quick and unbiased way of gathering data when life is busy. Because well-being is subjective (perhaps especially if you have more than one teenager at a time).

I can be crying luxuriously and still have well-being. I can be infuriated about finding all the bowls (dirty) in my kid’s bedroom, but still be at my finest in every other respect.

I weigh myself as a way to maintain well-being.

And I weigh myself because I am just as inclined toward sloth, gluttony (exactly how many dark chocolate bars can I get away with?) and type-A extremism as any other sinner.

Losing weight can get addictive. All I need to do is dial back my carbs a notch or two, and my type-A extremism can amuse itself by watching the numbers on the scale drop: 151, 149, 148…

But for what?

Although I don’t experience a reduction in energy at a lower weight, my knees clack together in an unpleasant way and I get cold really easily. And being cold makes me sad.

192lbs was my skinny

Before I went paleo, 192lbs was my skinny. If I starved myself and went to the gym five times as often as I wanted to every week, I could get to 192lbs. But being hungry all the time was exhausting and I could never keep it up.

When I started paleo my goal was to achieve the highest weight that would let me be in the healthy range on the body mass index (BMI) scale. That was 184lbs, according to the old BMI calculator. This seemed like a laudable goal, 8lbs less than my previous skinny and 46lbs less than I was at the starting line.

But paleo living changed me and I soon found I didn’t want to go back to my SAD old ways. Paleo took effort, but I was no longer spending all my energy worrying about being fat. That stress had been eroding my vitality for decades, and the absence of it was like having a band of benevolent angels at my back.

So I celebrated when I hit 192lbs, hardly noticed when 184lbs slipped by, and the first time the scale dipped below 155lbs I felt like I was home.

At 6’ tall, I now have a BMI in the 20-21 range, depending on whether I use the old or new calculator. Before I went paleo I had a BMI of 31-32, which made me obese.

But scales & BMI calculators only provide information. Weight in itself is not an indicator of well-being. If society crumbled and famine hit our land, we could all find ourselves at or below our goal weights without the strength we’d need to survive.

If you’re on a weight loss path, consider letting your ideal weight find itself.

One way to do that is to be paleo pure until your weight naturally stabilizes and you feel terrific. Then experiment with patterns of eating and moving that enable you to tweak the fantastick-ness that ensues:

Com, and trip it as ye go,

On the light fantastick toe.

~John Milton, 1645

2 thoughts on “Ideal weight

  1. Great post! For me the number is 200 lbs. I think of it as my “natural” weight, my equilibrium point as it were. At my leanest point (after a year of paleo with a final 3 months of P90X) I was 195lbs but that was “ripped” levels of bodyfat (~5%), and represented my minimum weight without losing muscle mass to achieve it (it also represented a 70 lb weight loss from my starting point). As I relaxed from the brutal P90X workout regime and started to allow some sensible indulgences it normalized at 200 lbs, and has stayed steady there for the last 4-5 years. If I overindulge a little it may drift up to 205 lbs, but I notice. Not just on the scale, but in how I feel. I tighten up a bit and move back to 200 lbs. That’s the sweet spot. It feels healthy, it feels right, it feels like the size I was always “meant” to be.
    PS – The blog is great, I have been sharing it widely 🙂

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