What if your ideal body type isn't ideal?

I've been working out pretty 'hardcore' for about 2 years now. I workout about 5-6 times a week for an hour or so and eat a clean, vegetarian diet. When I first started working out years ago my goal was to lose weight. I was technically obese with a BMI of 30.5 and my goal was to not be fat anymore. Vague, but effective. Now, I find myself wondering sometimes what my new goal(s) may be. Why am I working out? More importantly - why do I struggle with not feeling content in the body I have now, especially given what it used to be? I asked people on Twitter and Facebook a few days ago how they decided what their 'ideal' body type was. I receive an incredible number of responses! A few of my favorites:

"My ideal body is when I feel great in my clothes & swimsuit. When I have loads of energy & desire to better myself everyday."

"Ideal usually = unattainable. I believe one's happy body allows for exercise, eating without restricting and is medically healthy."

"My ideal body is a balance of following bliss. Eat what I need, keep things moderate, and run as far as my body tells me."

I asked because I'm not sure what I'm expecting my body to look like. I'm seeing now that no body will ever be 100% perfect. I never expected that, but after losing 50+ pounds I was surprised with some of the negative consequences of losing weight. That topic was the basis for the first freelance article I wrote in the health/wellness industry for MindBodyGreen: 3 Surprising Side Effects of Major Weight Loss.

As I said before my #1 goal when I was at my heaviest was to just lose weight, period. I'm not sure if I had a 'magic' number in mind. For some reason I feel like I may have though 120 was a great ultimate goal.


After losing the first 20 pounds people started to notice and the compliments were a great motivator to keep up the hard work!


The whole process took about 2 years but I finally got down to 130 and was honestly happy with the way I looked for the first time in ages. I'm actually surprised at how much ab definition I had then!3

That brings us to the most recent:

4I've gained about 3 pounds since this photo. I'm not 100% sure since I've stopped weighing myself but my clothes still fit! The lowest I've ever been was 112 and that's when the concerned comments started coming in from family and the then-significant other. I'm content with where I'm at now, but I'm so goal driven I feel like I may lose motivation to exercise if I don't have a specific end-point in mind.

I'm just so curious how people 'decide' on what their ideal body is. What if it's not realistic? What if you are not meant to have a 6 pack all the time and 17% body fat? I'm finally getting to a place where my goal is to be happy, have energy, and feel comfortable with myself. If I were to eat what I wanted, in moderation, and put on a few more pounds perhaps that is the way my body is designed to be. I could try to fight against genetics and I'm sure I could maintain a super slim toned physique but would I be happier weighing a few pounds more?

We'll see.

How did you formulate your 'ideal' body type?