By KRS Edstrom

Dear KRS,
I am 5’5 1/2” and aiming for 105 pounds. I have not yet been able to reach that. I am currently 115 pounds. Is this a realistic goal that can be safely accomplished?
Aiming for 105 Pounds

Dear Aiming,
I get many letters from people wondering about their ideal weight. These letters are often painful to read because so much seems to be riding on attaining a specific weight. In setting a magical number it is almost as if, in reaching that number, we believe our entire world will change.

This belief, nurtured by social ideology and pressure, promises that the number on the scale represents not only an attainment of physical perfection, but also something more, something deeper. We believe that with this magical number will be delivered a panacea, including popularity, a sense of worth, self-knowledge, peace of mind and eternal well-being. If I am the right weight, everything will be okay; I will be complete.

Please examine all the factors attached to your concern about being a certain number on the scale, the “right weight.”  Besides looking physically different, what else does it mean if you reach this magical number? What does it mean if you don’t? 

How have we come to see distorted images of ourselves when looking in the mirror?  Why can’t we trust what we see and what feels right? Why do we give so much credence to a number on the scale? This is a social issue to which we are victims, but remember that individuals collectively create social issues so it is on an individual level that change must initiate to reverse this distorted view.

Now that I have gotten all that off my chest, I will relent to your question, which will actually further demonstrate my point. The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company has a height and weight table that gives a somewhat generous guideline.

For a woman who is 5’5” to 5’6” the weight range is 117-160 pounds!  Granted, that covers small to large frames, but that is still a 43 pound range!  Which of these 43 pounds is the “magic number”? Which will deliver happiness to women of this height? For you, apparently none of those 43 will do the trick. You have selected another number which may be the ideal weight for you. Just be sure to tune in more to your inner voice and the feel of your body, and less to the magical numbers and external social “shoulds.” 


Dear KRS,
I am always stressed and depressed because of my father. Whatever I do is never good enough and I can’t deal with him anymore. I am 18 years old and he acts like I am 12. He talks to me like he knows everything and I know nothing.

I am included in a book that recognizes the best students in the United States but he still thinks I am an idiot because I failed one of my finals (although I still have an 85 average). I just can’t take it anymore.
Not Good Enough for Dad

Dear Good Enough,
Parents often have a hard time letting go of their babies. They knew you when you were helpless and needed them for everything, and it is hard for them to shift that emotional picture.

Conflicts between parent and child are common in the teen years and is part of the normal separation process. Unfortunately, the process can be hurtful with unkind words being said along the way.
Be confident that you are growing up into a wonderful, talented person and that your father really does love you. Try to treat him with respect during the process, but you might also want to try talking with him as well.

Ask him out to lunch (just the two of you) or a walk where you have privacy and can talk. Do it when neither of you are angry about a recent anger-provoking topic.

Keep your tone relaxed and calm no matter what, as you express yourself. Rather than criticize him, be open about the hurt you are feeling. Be vulnerable and perhaps he will be as well.
Good luck and hang in there

KRS Edstrom, M.S., is an author, lecturer and columnist. She offers private sessions (by phone or in person) and seminars on meditation, stress, pain, weight loss. Her books and audios offer solutions for healthful, conscious living. For free soothing guided meditations and more information, visit Call (323) 851-8623 or email:


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