Will Being Thin REALLY Make You Happy?
I wrote this article because I am constantly reminded of how mental the whole weight loss process really is. Perhaps this will help you discover why weight loss has been a long-time struggle for you.
I get e-mails all the time (especially from teens and twenty somethings) who say "If I could just lose weight I know I'll be happier." However the reality is, this statement is only true if you want to lose weight for the right reasons.
For example, if you are one of those people who are so concerned about what other people think of you, or you're constantly comparing yourself to others, then your issue is more with self esteem than it is weight.
You may think it's the weight because we live in such a weight conscious world where everyone is obsessed with being thin. But in reality, if you lost the weight, your low self esteem would help you find something else that's making you unhappy.
You'll never truly be happy until you learn to love yourself in spite of what others say about you.
I hear people say all the time, "My boyfriend wants me to lose weight." or "My friends think I'm too fat." So if other people's comments are your motivating factor for weight loss, then losing weight is not going to solve your problem.
The bigger problem is that you have low self esteem, and your happiness is dependent upon what other people think of your body. So while you believe it's just the weight, you may discover it's much deeper than that.
Here's another example...
Are you an emotional eater? Do you use food for comfort? If that's the case, you need to find out why you do this.
The weight gain is only a symptom. It's not the root of the problem. And if you don't solve it, you'll never lose the weight because what every has upset you is what's causing you to keep eating when you're depressed.
Here's a perfect example. I was watching Oprah the other day and a woman had gastric bypass surgery because she just knew that being skinny would make her a happier person.
After the surgery, she looked great, but still found herself severely depressed. So instead of eating for comfort, she started binge drinking (She couldn't eat because her stomach had been reduced to the size of a walnut from the surgery).
Because she had not solved the root of the issue, her pain was simply transferred into another addictive habit. Turns out, her real issue was that she never felt loved as a child and wanted attention. So she went to food for comfort. So of course, gastric bypass surgery did not solve the real issue.
You cannot use surgery or weight loss to bypass the pain. So before you embark on your weight loss journey, ask yourself if this is really about weight or something deeper.
And if you are an emotional eater, discover why you do it? You are sad about something which is causing you to overeat. People often assume they got fat and then they became depressed because of the weight gain, when in reality the depression was there from the beginning.
Eating-Emotionally.com is a fantastic site that covers the top of emotional eating. It offers sound advice and excellent guidance on how to battle this addictive pattern.
Treat The Cause, Not The Symptom
I want to keep drilling this point home. If you're depressed and use food for comfort, the weight gain is ONLY a symptom of the real problem. It's not the reason you're sad.
So don't be fooled into thinking that becoming thin is some quick fix for eternal happiness if there are other issues going on in your life.
Until you solve the problem from the inside out, you'll see it manifest in other ways of your life. If it's not overeating, then it could be other addictive behaviors.
Now, that being said. I'm not in any way saying that everyone who wants to lose weight is doing it for the wrong reasons.
But those of you who want to be thin because of what other people say about you need to take a long look at your motivation for the weight loss. And if you are an emotional eater, you need to address the issue that's causing you to overeat (depression, childhood trauma, low self esteem, etc.)
Because if you're not addressing the real problem, it will be a never-ending battle with food or whatever coping mechanism you are using to deal with your sadness.
A young girl once e-mailed me because she couldn't get motivated to lose weight. She said she ate all the time because she was sad, and wanted to desperately lose weight.
After a few e-mail exchanges, I soon learned the source of her depression was that her parents had just gotten a divorce, and she went to food for comfort. So the root of the problem wasn't the fact that she needed to lose weight.
Her solution was to find a healthy way to deal with her parent's divorce. The weight gain was only a symptom of her real problem, which was sadness and depression over her family's situation.
If these situations sound familiar, talk to a friend, family or counselor so they can help you get to the heart of the matter. Because once you understand the source of the problem, losing weight may become easier than you ever thought.
AttackDepression.com is one of the best sites I've found on treating depression. It doesn't bombard you with ads for medication. It offers proven-success techniques you can practice right in your own home.