Body Image

Why Losing Weight Doesn’t Always = HAPPY

October 11, 2020

Ryann Nicole

Hi, I’m Ryann.

Your Not-So-Average Food Freedom Therapist & Virtual Coach. As a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Certified Nutritionist with a BA in Psychology, and a MA in Professional Counseling, yes I do a little of the "so how does that make you feel".

But my ultimate goal is to provide you with the resources you need, in an easy-to-understand way, on healing your disordered relationship with food and your body. 

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I truly admire the women who were able to see through the idea that losing weight equals happiness from the very beginning. I was not one of these people. Like so many others, I got sucked into the idea that I would be happier if I were smaller, and it got me good. For 13 years after that, I believed if I lost weight, if I lost x amount of pounds, if I could get to x weight, THEN all my problems would be solved, and I would finally be happy. Well, I was so wrong.

Here is the thing, losing weight might take away some of the problems causing you to be unhappy. However, it does not mean it will take away all your problems. When I lost weight, I just turned in all my old problems for new problems. This is because our desire for weight loss is driven purely by this idea that if we were thinner, then we would be worthy of XZY, and thennn we'd be happy. Do you see the difference? Therefore, if you are losing weight because you think losing weight will make you more worthy, that is where things get messy, and here is why:

01. Losing weight is not getting to the root of the problem 

There is a deeper reason why you are not happy. I mean, let's get real right off the bat. Something is going on internally that is making you feel miserable. You might not know exactly what that is, causing you to connect it to your weight. I know because that is exactly what I did. When you tie happiness to an external measure, it will never get you to where you want to go. You will constantly strive for something, only to reach it and feel the same as before. 

02. You are missing out on life to lose weight/maintain size

Whether it is skipping dinner parties, saying no to the cake at graduation, or avoiding going to brunch with your friends, you are missing out on these memories because of your desire to lose/maintain weight. We think missing out on these things will not affect us because they help us get closer to our goals; however, missing them impacts us more than we might think. We cannot hit rewind on our life, and once those moments pass, we cannot go back to relive them. 

03. Your worth and happiness are tied to external measures rather than internal 

By having your worth tied to external measures, you will constantly have external measures dictating your feelings about yourself. Rather than allowing yourself to determine how you feel about yourself, other people and things are now in control. By having others control how you feel about yourself, you will try to grip tighter onto other things you feel you can control – like food. And, well, that filters you right into a toxic loop of misery. I know because I used to be the QUEEN of this toxic loop. 

04. You're putting yourself in the “never enough” cycle  

The problem with weight dictating your worth is that your weight will never be low enough, your legs will never be skinny enough, and your size will never be small enough. When you get to the size you think will make you happy and you're not, you think it must be because you didn't go far enough. And it never ends. I read a quote the other day, and I cannot remember who said it, but it went along the lines of

“You know when you look at an old photo and think ‘how did I hate my body back then?’ thats your proof that it has never been about your body.”

Many of us who have had an eating disorder can relate to finally getting to that goal weight, that dream weight, that weight that we have had in our heads for years, and thinking, “this is it? Why am I still so miserable? This number was supposed to finally make me happy!” 

Here is the thing, it is so much more than our bodies and a number on a scale. Happiness comes from within. And if you limit your happiness to external measures, you will always be chasing it like a dog chasing its tail. 

If you are struggling with this, the best place to start is by asking yourself two things: 

  1. If I never got to that weight, could I still be happy?
  2. How can I bring more balance to my life? 

Choose to let go of the number, let go of the vision, and let go of the idea that when you reach X, you will finally be happy. Happiness comes from balance – mind, body, and soul. The happiest version of you will be the most balanced version of you. 

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