Healthy and Sane

Is it worth it?

August 6th, 2009 · 30 Comments · Boston, breakfast, chicken, dessert, restaurant reviews, salad, sandwich, sweet potato, yogurt

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, and so I’d like to share some of my thoughts with you and see what you think. Actually a lot of “the thoughts” are really questions, so maybe you can help me find the answers to them :)

I’ve been trying to lose weight since I was a young teenager. I always tried one form of diet or another and was never happy with my weight. At some point, my Junior year in college, I got really close to my goal weight. I could “smell” the finish line – I was really really close. I was becoming a lot more confident in how I looked, which in turn made me happier in many aspects of my life. Unfortunately, I was also working out twice a day and counting every carb gram I was consuming (yeah, it was the low carb craze at the time and I fell victim to it) – so I was also hungry… often. Anyways, I’ve clearly come a long way since those days. I eat pretty well balanced meals and don’t even think about quick fix diets.Β  I know better now. The thing is I’m also about 15 lbs heavier today from my Junior year of college… and I really want to smell that finish line again.

Here is my question – is it worth it fighting so hard to “get there”? I’m trying to rationally think how my life would change if I got to my goal weight. I know my husband would not love me more (luckily he already thinks I’m hot πŸ˜‰ ) and I know my friends and family would not care one bit – they already think I’m fit and healthy and just want me to be happy. I may approve of my body more, but is over-analyzing and judging every food choice for the rest of my life “worth it,” especially since this so often makes me unhappy in the process.Β  I definitely struggle with answering this question because I don’t think I’m doing anything drastic at this point (I stopped counting calories, allowing myself treats, etc.), and I can’t turn off my desire to look hot in a pair of shorts or a bikini. Are you at your goal weight? How did your life change by getting there? Are you happier? Was the journey to get there, and the diligence required to maintain this weight, worth it? If you’re still trying to lose weight – why are you doing it? How do you think your life will change when you get to your goal weight?

Ok, enough deep talk – let’s get to FOOD πŸ˜‰

Breakfast – oikos, 1/2 banana, juicy peach, Bear Naked continental divide blend trail mix + coffee



Mid-morning snack – cashew cookie larabar:


How can something with just 2 ingredients taste so good? :)


Office treat(s) of the day – homemade banana bread (amazing!!!) + a brownie


Lunch: sweet potato/ organic kidney beans/ avocado/ light mexican cheese quesadilla


Great combo!


For dinner I met up with Shannon, Lauren, Tina and Mary Kate at Scoozi.


We ordered a pitcher of sangria, which was let’s just say much needed after a long day of work πŸ˜‰ The sangria was light and fruity and totally hit the spot! :)


I wanted to keep dinner on the lighter side given my office treats earlier in the day so I ordered the mesculin field greens saladfield greens with goat cheese, tomatoes, candied walnuts in a citrus vinaigrette. I asked for the dressing on the side, and added some grilled chicken to it.


The salad probably had a whole chicken on it, but it was SO good! The goat cheese was so creamy, the candied walnuts were perfectly roasted and sweet and the dressing was great too! I ate every bite despite the fact that really there was way too much chicken. I just couldn’t stop eating – it was too good! You’ll be definitely seeing more trips to Scoozi on the blog (we’ll be living minutes away from the restaurant after the move).

For dessert the girls decided to walk down the street to J.P. Licks. I LOVE J.P. Licks. It’s absolutely my favorite ice cream shop and the only time I allow myself, with no hesitation, to order the full fat ice cream. The coconut almond chip is my favorite, but this time I decided to branch out (just a bit) and order 1/2 of my fave and the other 1/2 of maple butter walnut. This is a small cup.


OMG – this is definitely my new favorite combo! Creamy, nutty, de-licious!!! I was a happy girl when this picture was taken. πŸ˜†


Unfortunately I was unable to get a photo of the lovely ladies, so check out Tina’s recap of the night :)

Hope your day is going well! Happy Thursday :mrgreen:

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30 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Alison

    Hmmm…I preferred how I looked when I weighed about 10 pounds less than now. But I also had to really calorie restrict and was more tempted to binge. Now I feel more balanced. But I do miss how I looked…

  • #2 - Shannon (The Daily Balance)

    I don’t know how you survive with all those delicious looking office treats!

    I’m all about healthy balance and truly beleive that 5-10 pounds is not worth constant huger and crabbiness. Luckily, I’m blessed with a fairly high metabolism and have stayed the same size (with the exception of 3-5 pounds) since high school – through eating healthy, balanced meals and working out a few days a week. Once my metabolism catches up to me, it’ll be interesting to see if my view on the subject changes!

  • #3 - Lauren

    The ingredients in the quesadilla sound and look so yummy together!

    To answer your question at the beginning of the post, I am not currently at my lowest adult weight, but I do feel fit, strong, and healthy. I completely understand what you mean about wavering between looking slender and feeling happy. I do believe that every body has a “happy weight” and attempting to reach a weight below that level can leave you hungry and crabby. I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that my body is happy at my current weight, and fantasizing about a “perfect” body is rather pointless.

    I must say that I really do think you look GREAT!

  • #4 - katecooks

    that quesadilla looks great! i love those fun combos, especially with the sweet potato! ive been able to maintain my happy weight most my life, except in the last 6 months ive gained 10 lbs and am now trying to lose it. i think there is nothing wrong in trying to get to the weight that makes you happiest BUT it should be a weight you can achieve with eating healthy foods and enjoying treats in moderation. say, once in a while for something bigger and a small, 20o calorie chocolate thingie every day. plus exercise! i think that if you had to work out twice a day and cut carbs to reach that “happy” weight, it probably isnt realistic to maintain. i cant imagine you will be very happy working out all the time and never enjoying bread or pasta you know? im trying myself to stop worrying about it so much and maybe skipping some of the unhealthy stuff when i dont really want it and realizing that it will be there for me to have later and i think that if i can maintain those thoughts and eating habits, the extra 10 will slowly fall off again!

  • #5 - Lora

    i had homemade banana bread to today! I think that the “feel great weight’ that is talked so much about on blogs, comes when you least expect it. It is when one day, everything fits together. Eating, working out, indulging too much, lack of workouts should all balance out and complete happiness will always be there when a person is at the “feel great weight” I think that if you are happy at the size your are at now, then just stick to being healthy. Maybe if you change your mindset, the weight will come off naturally, as opposed to calorie restriction and intense workouts. Balance really is key. But if you think you need to lose a few LBS in order to get to that maintenance weight, then go for it! Honestly, I think the weight will fall off, if you just live everyday as though you were maintaining, listening to your body, enjoying workouts, enjoying days off, stressing less about foods and being happy. It took me awhile to come to terms with my body, and although I havent weighed myself in almost 9 months, I am the same size because i listen and enjoy the idea of balance :) do what works for you girlie!

    p.s LOVE THAT ICE CREAM COMBO!! makes me want some tonight πŸ˜‰


  • #6 - lyss

    first of all, you totally do not look like you need to lose any weight – you’re stunning! i mean that! but, i do know that sometimes it’s not about vanity, it’s about how we FEEL, so i would never tell you NOT to lose those last few pounds if you really felt you had to.

    that being said, i was a bit overweight all through middle school and high school, and only got down to my “acceptable weight” through unhealthy dieting and disordered behaviors. however, bouncing back from that and gaining a bit of weight really put things in perspective. our bodies all have a weight that works best for us, and if we are fighting too hard to fall below that weight, it’s not worth the misery! when i don’t eat enough or when i deprive myself, i get cranky. it’s not pleasant. i’d much rather live life care free and be 10 lbs heavier than life my life counting calories and being upset, you know?

    wow, i’m rambling. :)

  • #7 - lyss

    *live my life

  • #8 - Shelly

    a) I am currently at my ideal weight. However, I have adjusted my ideal weight up about 5 lbs. from what I used to consider ideal. I have done this for 2 reasons- 1: as I’ve gotten older, the previous weight is no longer flattering on me- I look bony- especially in my chest, and I don’t think it’s flattering. I think it ages me. 2: I felt that it was important to cut myself some slack and learn to accept that the world doesn’t revolve around me weighing what I did when I was 18 (10 years ago….gah!)
    So my point is that just because it looked right on you in college doesn’t mean that such a low weight will suit you anymore.
    b) I don’t know your BMI, but you certainly do not appear to be overweight. If you are within the normal weight range, losing more weight isn’t likely to improve your health, especially considering that you are very fit and that you eat very nutrient rich foods. You look lovely and certainly do not look like someone who needs to lose 15 lbs. That seems like a lot of weight to me.
    c) I know that when I reach a certain weight or my clothes start fitting a certain way, I don’t feel very good about myself. Whether or not it is mentally healthy or politically correct or whatever, there is a point at which I need to lose some weight so I will feel better about myself. In January, I was avoiding going out b/c I didn’t want anyone to see how my clothes looked. I thought my face looked different in photos. I just wasn’t okay with how I looked and I tried to diet myself for a couple of months. When that didn’t work out, I went to a nutritionist (and started reading fitness blogs) and was able to lose the 10 lbs. I needed to shake off pretty readily after that. And I’ve been able to maintain pretty easily since then thanks in a large part to the healthy changes I’ve learned to make that make me feel really good. I feel marginally more confident at this weight, but I’m not blissfully happier. And in terms of happiness and confidence, I’ve gained a lot more through increasing my level of fitness than decreasing the number on the scales. I’m a lot prouder of my muscles than my waistline at this point.
    My point here is that if you feel really bad about your appearance, yes, you need to work on your self esteem but losing some weight can help with that so I understand why you keep trying to lose weight. I personally don’t think that you need to lose weight for appearance sake, but people would have said the same thing to me 10 lbs ago. I felt bad for a very specific reason (the way my pants fit) so I did something about it.
    d) it sounds like you are trying to find the balance point between accepting yourself and improving yourself. It is definitely a fine line.
    I think that a reasonable, doable weight is one at which you don’t have to be extremely diligent to maintain. I mean, if I get into an unhealthy eating rut I can definitely gain weight at this point (that’s pretty much how I gained the 10 lbs. I didn’t want, actually) but if I eat normally and don’t eat out too much (my weakness) I generally stay at this weight. If I couldn’t, I would consider that weight to be beneath what my body naturally should be at.

  • #9 - Mandy A

    elina, I have always thought that you are GORGEOUS. You have never looked to me like you need to lose weight at all! VERY fit and healthy!!!

    that said, I do understand the struggle! As you know for me right now… I am above my goal weight. I was at my goal weight for about two years up until recently and it seems no matter what my efforts are right now, my weight isn’t budging!

    Was I happier at my goal weight? I don’t really know… I always thought there was “room for improvement”, ya know? I was proud of myself for making it there – and really, it wasn’t hard to maintain… I ate well but didn’t have to restrict or anything like that… so why it’s hard now, I don’t get it??

    right now, I’d like to get back there mainly for my confidence level… I felt more comfortable with my body there than I do now! plus, I’d like to fit back into my favorite clothes :(

    at the same time, i have been asking myself all week if it’s worth it? If I stayed where I’m at, would be it that bad? which i can’t seem to find the answer to yet!

    Anyway… you’ve got some great responses here! have a great night, sweetie!

  • #10 - K

    For what it’s worth, I think you look great! The way I see it, as long as you’re healthy, at the end of the day the only person who’s worrying about that number is yourself. Like you said, your loved ones are going to be there no matter what. To be honest, I don’t know how much I weigh. If I fit in my jeans then I’m aokay with that :)

    I am dying to try JP Licks and I have a feeling it will be soon! πŸ˜‰

  • #11 - angieinatlanta

    I reached my goal weight last summer…and I was MISERABLE!

    My goal weight was not realistic for my body to maintain and trying to stay at that number made me irritable and sad. My workouts suffered, my social life suffered, my relationships suffered.

    I reached a point where I realized that it wasn’t worth being at my goal weight at the expense of not living my life! I relaxed my restrictive diet, allowed myself to break my food rules, and instantly gained back about 5 pounds.

    But I can maintain this weight with a healthy lifestyle and enjoy life without binges…so I think this IS my real ideal weight.

    My ideal weight is what I weigh when I’m healthy and happy.


  • #12 - Krystina

    Hi Elina ! First of all, you are a truly gorgeous woman who, to me, doesn’t need to lose weight.
    I’m 5’7 ft, and weigh 132 lbs, and 20 years old. It’s been 2 years that I’m at this point. Before, I was slowly lowering, reaching at one point 110 lbs. That was NOT healthy. To achieve this, I didn’t drink when I was going out with my girlfriends, I sometimes intentionnally didn’t go to dinners with them to be sure to not overindulge, and everybody kept telling me I was too thin. I was also pretty unhappy, except when I was on the scale. I’ve always been pretty active so I’ve always beeen at an healthy weight before this dark part of my life.
    Now, I go to the gym about 5 times a week, because I WANT it, not because I SHOULD. I eat fairly well because that makes me feel good, but I have no problems to indulge during the weekend. My weight has been the same since about 2 yearsm so I guess that’s what my body wants. It’s just to say that we all have different needs, and cravings, and everything. So if for you that means having a treat everyday, or two (or three :D) is what makes you feel happy, and that your run during the day makes you happy, maybe you should focus on these feelings and, as Lora said, just letting yourself go and relax will make you in a happy process, and maybe after that, those few pounds won’t be as important as they are now. I lost 3 years of my teenage years and adult life trying to lose those “last pounds”, and I can now say that, for me, it was not worth it.

    Big hugs, and keep on going ! :)

  • #13 - Tiffany

    It’s hard for me to think of my weight as a set number; that sounds odd for some but in all honesty, a number has never really been the sole determiner of whether or not I look or feel thin. I think part of it is that I’m naturally a curvier figure-I love my curves, so its never been my goal to rid myself of them; and when I was my doctor-termed “ideal weight” (110), I felt like my body looked nothing like me.

    I’m 5’2″ and I weigh 135 lbs. I am somewhat toned, and ok, maybe I’m carrying too much weight for my frame, but I feel good about how I look and feel when I see myself. So while I appreciate a love for numbers, I think it’s much more important to feel healthy and know your body isn’t wanting or needing for anything. And I think you do an excellent job of catering to your body.

    BTW, what stylish shopping partner helped you find that shirt? She must have stunning taste! πŸ˜‰

  • #14 - Hangry Pants

    Elina I am glad you asked this question. I understand that weight is so personal and you have your reasons for wanting to weigh less, but in every picture I see of you I am always so confused – you look awesome. πŸ˜€ That said, I support you in your quest of course.

    As for me. I weighed less once, but it wasn’t because I was trying to lose weight to get to a goal or something. I was also a completely miserable person with no energy. Needless to say, I am happier now with my womanly curves and all. :) Believe me – I was not happy when I started putting the weight on, but I know now it was for the best. I think our bodies have a natural happy weight and I think I am at mine. I guess if I tried really hard I could be skinner, but I would rather enjoy myself.

  • #15 - Daria (Summer of the CSAs)

    Ah, such a good question! I’m at what’s probably an ideal weight for me, but I almost always feel like if I just lost 2 or 3 pounds I would be perfect. I know that this is obviously untrue because I look and feel fine and am quite healthy, and when I do manage to lose a few pounds nothing really changes.

    And for what it’s worth, you look stunning in that photo. I know it’s hard to see yourself with other people’s eyes, but in all of the pictures you post here you look fit, healthy, and slender.

  • #16 - Julie

    I think you look perfect, but I know exactly what you’re talking about. I was once 40lbs heavier than I am today and once 5lbs thinner than I am today. It was a long struggle and I’ve finally just became “okay” with the fact that my weight will be an issue for the rest of my life. It is what it is. The pendulum will always swing 3lbs.

    So, what’s a foodie to do? Pick my meals. Get excited about saving up money and calories to blow on a beautiful meal. Plan my 3 meals out and make them as interesting as possible. Ignore the boyfriends pizza that’s on the kitchen table behind me and know that my breakfast for dinner stuffed me up and was under 300 calories and took longer to eat than the one slice I could’ve eaten. Just eat to live during the week and live to eat when it’s really, truly worth it.

    At 5’4 and 115lbs, I feel I’ll never be happy. But it’s only because I still see the girl who weighs 155lbs years ago.

    On a side note, the boyfriend says he likes it when I weigh less because I’m far more happy. He also says that his favorite meal is one that I clap at when the food is placed in front of me because I’m just as happy.

    So, just keep doing what you’re doing. You’re doing an awesome job.

  • #17 - Lori

    The problem is being focused on a number. There is that magic number that one wants to weigh, even if it isn’t realistic, there is the desire to get there.

    The real question is more about whether you will be able to do what needs to be done to get to this number and still be happy.

    For me, I have a higher goal weight set for a number of reasons. I also really love food, and I am not interested in cutting out so much that it takes away one of life’s true enjoyments.

  • #18 - ttfn300

    so many great eats! great question… i can say that i don’t focus on a number. the only reason i know i need to lose weight is b/c of the bad habits i’ve picked up (binging, eating when i’m not hungry, etc). what i want is to change those behaviors, and i know then i’ll be happy, whatever weight that may be.

  • #19 - Nabeela

    Interesting question you posed. When I started exercising and eating healthy, I felt like I was depriving myself of treats for a couple of weeks. But I very quickly got over it. I now enjoy lots of healthy treats without feeling deprived…and thus, feel that getting to your “feel-healthy-weight” is perfectly worth it….but that’s me. I did have it easier than others, I think, since I have a high metabolism and only had to lose ~15 lbs to get back to my regular size 2. I personally feel like I didn’t have to struggle much to get to this happy place….so I say it was worth it for me. But if you’re struggling with feelings of deprivation for more than a couple of weeks, and it’s constantly keeping you sad…..then it might not be worth it for you.
    P.S: I also want to mention you look GREAT in that last picture.

  • #20 - Lara (Thinspired)

    The answer is…I have no idea πŸ˜‰ Really, I don’t know if it’s worth all this craziness just for 5, 10 lbs.
    Lots of interesting comments here. Great discussion. I have to agree with what others have said though, and I’m sorry that I haven’t mentioned it before because in all of our conversations it never came up…I really do think you look fantastic from your photos and can’t imagine you being able to take many more pounds off. Really. So, whatever that is worth, I hope it provides some comfort in the madness!

  • #21 - Elina

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for all of your comments. Every single one touched me, and I’m amazed at how many readers I have that really care. You are awesome!! :)

  • #22 - Eating like an adult – responsibly

    […] Is it worth it? […]

  • #23 - Strawberry @

    I’m trying to lose weight because I GAINED weight while I was abroad in China for a year. It’s a bummer because, like you, I feel that I have always been on some sort of diet. Finally, though, I’ve come to the same realization as you…I’m not a kid anymore and I can’t eat like one! I’m hoping when I get to my goal weight that I’ll finally feel confident with my body.
    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now…and I know you’re not at your goal weight yet but you look awesome!

  • #24 - Ally

    I surpassed my goal weight a few months ago by a few pounds-I’m 5’7, and my goal was 143. I got to 139.7. The funny thing was, I got more compliments a few weeks earlier when I was at my goal weight of 143. When I dropped below 140, I think my mother said that I “wouldn’t want to lose any more”.

    I managed to maintain 140 despite being on a month long holiday filled with lots of yummy, rich food. I’m curious as to how long I would have been able to maintain 140-unfortunately I’ve since gained 10 pounds.

    I’d love to get back down to 140, but I wonder why: is it because it’s smaller than 143, or is it because I truly liked my body better at 140? When I look back, I didn’t even really notice such a huge change in my body, so why do I care what the scale says?

  • #25 - Elina

    Ally – hmm, this is such a tough topic, isn’t it? I think so much of it is mental; we need to truly question what’s important. The number on the scale really shouldn’t matter but for some reason it often does. I stopped weighing myself a while ago. It was surprisingly freeing.

  • #26 - The Last 10: “Worth It”? | Thinspired

    […] that I am really not sure about.  Elina did a great post on this last month and asked, β€œIs it worth it fighting so hard to β€˜get there’?”  September 12, 2008 […]

  • #27 - Leah @ L4L

    I’d rather be “fat” and happy than skinny and miserable. Just sayin’.


  • #28 - Elfin

    Just like to say hi! (i’m a newcomer to your blog but already love it so much – such beautiful pictures and thoughtful posts!)

    When I got down to my desired weight it was a huge letdown – I finally realised that my stomach was PERFECTLY flat, but it didn’t make ANY difference to my life. It didn’t help me do better at my job, it didn’t make people like me more, but the amount of effort I was putting into maintaining it was insane! (no drinking, six tiny meals a day, no bread or cereal etc). But nobody noticed and nobody cared. Just think what I could have done if I took all that concentration and effort and channelled it into something productive and useful to myself or the community!

  • #29 - Not the New Rules of Blondie Baking | Healthy Twists

    […] it might be possible to diet and exercise down to a certain weight and physique, it’s not necessarily worth it if it means being miserable. Β (Those bloggers talk about this subject far more eloquently […]

  • #30 - LC @ Let Them Eat Lentils

    Just found this post from Thinspired. What a great question.

    I was teeny weeny in college (don’t know how much because I never weighed myself) but had no curves, stringy hair, and was miserable (which is why I lost all the weight in the first place. Some people eat when they’re unhappy – I do the opposite).

    When I went abroad and gained some poundage because I was HAPPY, I was shocked at how boys responded. Guys really LIKE girls with curves. You may feel like you need that last 5 pounds, but chances are, they don’t even notice it. I bet your husband prefers you just how you are. When you lose the weight, it’s pretty impossible not to lose some curves too.

    Also, you may think your fav celeb role model is down to that weight, but they probably just airbrush off the last few pounds for her (they airbrush jessica alba for god’s sake).