Goal Weight VS. Smile Rate

This is a concept I created to help me get over this unfortunate guilt for not being my “goal weight” by my wedding day. What the hell does that mean anyway? Goal weight? What I learned to be more important, for my own sanity, is SMILE RATE.

Let’s go back to several years ago when I had my first “big girl” job as an Asst. Private Events Director. I loved this job. I was able to profit off my love for planning and organizing, so it was the perfect job for me at the time. Our facility had 9 private event spaces and one of the largest venues was the ballroom located on the second floor. The ballroom was the show stopper of the property and since a large majority of my sales came from weddings, I spent most of my day walking up and down the stairs showing future brides and mother of the brides our beautiful space. I know you are probably wondering what does this have to do with goal weight or smile rate. But trust, it has EVERYTHING to do with this topic because it was the first time in my adult life I created a goal weight.

Remember I said the ballroom was located on the second floor? Well, although I am embarrassed to admit it, I HATED showing the ballroom. Not because it was ugly or hard to sell but… the stairs. Yes, you read right! I hated walking up the stairs because I couldn’t catch my breath after. The four inch heels didn’t help! It was horrible. I would walk up the stairs and instantly start wheezing and/or panting heavily. Can you imagine how embarrassed I was, trying to describe how beautiful the room could be with personal decorations and running out of breath?

Not long after holding this position I met, Kim, publisher of RSVP Magazine. She came to talk to my boss about advertising in her magazine. I met her and we instantly became friends. She asked to feature me in a prominent section of her magazine called The List. This was a feature of top young professionals in the River Region. I was honored and could not wait for the photo shoot! The shoot came, went, magazine was published and spirit was slightly tarnished! The body I had in the magazine was not the body I expected to see. Was I overweight?

Below: The List — 2008
and Tate as a puppy.

These two instances played a major role in my idea of creating a goal weight to achieve happiness. I kept thinking, “If I was only 30lbs lighter, I would be so much happier.” Have you said this before? Maybe not 30lbs, but even 5 or 10lbs. Have you let the scale dictate your happiness? Solely from personal experience, sticking to goal weight solely is total BS and will always create a battle with yourself that just may decrease your smile rate even more. I totally understand there is a science to BMI, weight related illnesses, etc. and I do not want you to read this and disregard your doctor.

What I want you to do is start giving yourself other targets besides numbers on a scale to be happy.

After failed attempts at diets and sporadic exercising, I decided to stop looking at the scale EVERY DAY. I know I am not the only one who did this. If there was a day I lost weight, I worked out and ate better. If I woke up and stepped on the scale and I didn’t drop a pound, I ate worse than the day before. It was a terrible cycle that needed to STOP!

So I decided to change my answer to why I was eating healthy or exercising. It was not so I could step on the scale and see lower numbers. It was so I could increase my smile rate. So I began to write down all the things that made me frown:

  • Running out of breath when walking up the stairs at work
  • The way I felt when I looked at myself in pictures
  • The heavy bloated feeling I had just walking around
  • Consistently being sleepy
  • Lack of energy

I started to research and create a game plan on solutions to each of these frown induced issues. Running out of breath was a result of my asthma and lack of cardio exercise. The last three resulted from my diet and the picture issue, well that can be solved after I resolve the other issues!

Going to the gym and jumping on the treadmill was extremely boring and attending a bootcamp where everyone had to do the exact same thing (without even good music!) wasn’t cutting it either!

My solution: convincing my boyfriend, now husband, to buy me a puppy on Valentine’s Day.

My logic? Highly energetic puppies need to be walked. IT WORKED! I didn’t know how to begin walking in my neighborhood and my cute little puppy didn’t know how to walk on a leash. We were the perfect match. We both learned how to do something totally foreign to us. That first 15-20 minute mile (heavy panting, asthma attacks and all) turned into a light jog and eventually a 5k a day! No lie, I loved being out with my dog, listening to music and taking in the scenery so much, I began running 3 miles at least 4 times a day. Because it felt good!! I competed against myself using various apps to improve my time and built a very strong bond with my dog, Tate. I had more energy in the morning and I damn near could run up the stairs to the ballroom in my four inch heels! My smile rate increased dramatically!

I felt so good about myself and, by default, I dropped major pounds. Below: me and Tate after a 5k and when I made The List 2013 — again!

Next was my diet. This was a major battle in my household because my husband and I see food very differently. He believed in the fad diets; no carbs, light seasoning, just chicken and lettuce. I believe in a lifestyle change because although he may see results faster than I do, my results last longer. I can’t stick to not having a piece of bread ever again and neither could he! I could substitute ground beef for turkey, use whole grain everything and reduce my portion sizes. THIS WORKED TOO! I don’t want to go in detail about this because I am no nutritionist but EAT LESS + DO MORE. Simple right? Kind of…but not really! It takes major commitment to not eat that second serving then go outside and jog a mile or two! But what helped me, again, was changing the reason WHY I ate less and moved more! To increase my smile rate when I walked up the stairs and to not have to think, “Did the camera add more than 10 ponds?!” J In short, I visited the dreadful scale less and based my goals on how it made me feel and ended up losing 30lbs! No, this was not in 30 days, it took a full lifestyle change but I was not looking for a get rich quick scheme, I was looking for a new lease on life with an improved smile rate!

So, let’s bring this back to where I started this story. Although I was so happy and started to do my happy dance, it hit me. One week before my wedding day and I did not reach my goal weight. It was like I forgot everything I told myself over this whole journey because instant depression took over! I had to read my own goals I set for myself (I write EVERYTHING down) and remind myself I was doing this for the smiles. I loved the way I look in pictures. When I jogged, I was able to find time for me to think and be free from internet, emails and texts! I had more energy and was generally less annoyed!

Ladies, write down the things you want to change to increase your smile rate. Comment below if you like and declare it to the world! Start slow, it’s about a lifestyle change not a two week fad diet. When you are feeling down because you had a bad week (you know, the everyday is take out week) remind yourself as I did trying on my wedding dress completed for the first time, FORGET the goal weight and REMEMBER the smile rate!

Here some sneak peek at my wedding dress with my amazing husband. I will show you all the pictures when I tell you about my quest for the wedding dress! Amazing story about a true family effort to make my dreams come true and never underestimating anyone!

Until next week,

Ashley J.


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