When we decide to lose weight, we usually have a list of all reasons why we want to slim down. Sometimes we write out this list to provide motivation along the way.
Here are some of my reasons
♥ to have more confidence
♥ to improve my self esteem
♥ to be free from the issues I have with food
♥ to feel more sexually attractive
♥ to be less critical of myself
♥ to be happier and more content
Well, I have some bad news – weight loss alone can never bring these sorts of results. And when weight loss doesn’t bring these things, we feel cheated, disappointed usually as we approach our goal.
The only direct and immediate benefit of losing weight is that you’ll be healthier and a smaller size. Reaching your goal weight does not mean that you will love what you see in the mirror, that you will feel proud of what you have accomplished or that you will be free from the misery of self doubt, insecurity and life’s frustrations.
This is a harsh truth but makes so much sense. The rewards I expected when I reached competition weight never materialised and I felt cheated. What was the point of all that discipline and effort when the only tangible outcome was that I didn’t have any clothes that fitted me? I still felt I was carrying too much fat, I had ugly loose skin, I felt less sexually attractive because I had no breasts or curves, and my muscles were smaller than everyone else’s. I so wanted to be happy, proud and content when I reached my goal to stand on stage in a bikini but I never got the payoff I expected. Is it little wonder that it took months for me to recover from a destructive post comp starve/binge cycle?
Following a healthy nutrition and exercise program can help deliver some of the rewards you are after – a sense of accomplishment, confidence to be more physically active, an improvement in general physical well being which may increase your happiness – but being thin [or muscular and shredded] will not make any substantial difference to the life you are living right now.
The only way to get the benefits I listed as my ‘reasons’ is to work on my issues one day at a time. I can learn how to stop bingeing (or wanting to binge), learn that “it’s just food”, learn how to like what I see in the mirror every day, learn that people cherish and appreciate me no matter what I look like and learn how to turn off the harsh criticising voice in my head.
Losing weight is a fantastic goal. It will make you healthy. It won’t, by itself, increase your happiness or improve your life. Don’t expect it to, and you won’t be disappointed.