Here’s what I’ve learned so far about losing weight: It is achievable, it feels wonderful, and it is an admirable accomplishment. It truly is.
It solves nothing, however. Losing weight will not solve your problems. It will not put money in the bank, it will not make you a better communicator, and it will not cure boredom or loneliness. It will not make you more interesting than you already are, it will not make you a “better” person, and it certainly will not make you any younger.
Losing weight doesn’t make you more popular. It doesn’t make you an expert of any kind, and while it seems as though all eyes are on you for a while, you are no more worthy of attention than you were before your weight loss. It makes some things easier, like climbing the stairs and shopping for jeans, but it won’t make everything easier. For example, it won’t make grocery shopping easy or fun, ever.
What happens, though, is this: You fall into bed tired, because at some point during your day you decided to exercise. You exercised strong, and you were honest about it. You didn’t skimp or do it half-way. Being tired at bedtime is a blessing because you used to struggle to fall asleep. Losing weight and doing the work to keep it off makes you legitimately tired. It also makes you honest. And being honest with yourself is a catalyst for honesty in other areas of your life.
You are hydrated and nourished. You have consumed plenty of water and healthy food during the day, and your body is thanking you for properly taking care of it with sustained energy levels and better looking skin. Losing weight makes you feel and look better. You look better, it’s true, but remember: it doesn’t make you any prettier on the inside. Ugly is as ugly does. When crap goes in, crap comes out.
Generally speaking, you laugh more now because you are a happy person. Endorphin’s race through your system. Laughter, when naturally high, turns into more meaningful exchanges with people, and a truer sense of well-being. Being genuinely interested in life and other people will help you find your way to peace, and finding your way to peace is what your life is all about. Losing weight makes you a happier person, naturally. You just can’t help it.
You are friendlier, and you are not so quick to judge. You know now that before the weight loss, you kept certain feelings to yourself – resentment, anger, jealousy, helplessness. And by “keeping feelings to yourself” what you really mean to say is that you ate them. You stuffed those feelings right down your throat. But that’s not something you do anymore. For example you’ve stopped snapping at the people who love you. You’ve stopped blaming your mom and frequenting the drive-through. You’ve stopped playing the victim card. Losing weight makes you friendlier toward yourself and others. You treat yourself and others better when you feel healthy.
You’re not so quick to spend your money on meaningless treats. When you stop filling your stomach, you stop filling your shopping cart. You don’t need anything new to make you feel good. You really don’t. Losing weight helps you stay away from the fleeting, “quick fix” happiness that buying something new usually brings. These days, you rarely seek external, material things for gratification. Losing weight will not put money in the bank, but it can certainly help you keep it there.
Losing weight solves nothing. It doesn’t give you more time, it doesn’t make you more talented, and it doesn’t make you smarter. It doesn’t make you a better parent, it doesn’t make you a better friend, and it doesn’t stimulate your intellect. Your weight loss is indeed a part of who you are, your history, but it’s not the only part. In life, it’s important to work on every part of yourself. Your job is to hone the gifts you’ve been given. That’s what living a good life is all about. You will always have issues to deal with so don’t expect everything to be perfect after you lose the weight. Life isn’t perfect, and it never will be. However, when your health becomes priority one, and you do the work to get the weight off permanently, many of your private issues (the stuff that clogs your personal progress and blocks your success, all those negative thoughts and the relentless self sabotage), diminish substantially or disappear completely. It really is as simple as that.
When you turn the corner, and lose weight for good, your new lifestyle simply will not tolerate any more bullshit.
You can read more about my personal weight loss journey in these 3 posts: