Why losing 15 kilos didn’t bring me the happiness I was dreaming of
Weight loss may not bring a happy life, what your body can do matters more than looks, and my experience may help you understand the challenge.
A woman’s appearance is very important because it can bring her a good job, a good man, many opportunities, and, overall, a good and happy life. It is an idea I grew up with as a girl because it was an idea you could hear about everywhere: from your mother, from her friends, from men, from television. I thought I must look good and, above all else, be slim. Slim was supposed to be the key to success for every living and breathing woman on the face of the Earth!
I was 27 years old when I decided to follow a diet and a drastic workout that was supposed to turn me into this fit and, ultimately, happier person. I had a good job, a home, friends and a supportive family, but I was single and ready for a long-term commitment. I thought I would have more chances to find a man to like me if I were to lose weight because the first impression matters the most and until a man would understand how cool I am, I thought he must be drawn by my small and fit allure.
Of course, it is important to stop comparing yourself with others but it is easier to follow a predictable and well-presented path and I made that mistake, hoping to find the same promised happiness.
I joined a hardcore fitness program and for a whole year I would train 5 days a week and eat precisely what my instructor suggested to me. I didn’t drink any alcohol and I didn’t eat any sweets for an entire year. I was determined to become slim and to do everything for my objective. I wasn’t aware how my new lifestyle would impact me because I was sure my success depended only on my motivation and determination to keep up with the program and not give in to temptations.
I was feeling guilty if I missed a workout, I would skip dates with my friends if they went to places without my kind of food, and I would preach to everyone willing to listen about my new lifestyle and its benefits. I became strict, judgemental towards anyone who didn’t have a healthy lifestyle and disconnected from my emotions and the way my body was feeling.
When I finally reached my objective of being 15 kilos lighter, the happiness I expected to pop wasn’t there. On the contrary! I was slim and unhappy in my body. With all the hard work that I was doing, at the end of it all, I rediscovered myself overexercised and full of restrictions. I was focusing on a number on the scale, not on my own happiness and how I felt in my body. But not all was lost!
Right after that year I gained the weight back in only 3 months because I was so tired that I didn’t want to set my foot in the gym anymore. I also started to eat normally, including alcohol and sweets and I discovered that I can transform my body and my mind in ways that go beyond the physical appearance.
This period in my life brought a very important lesson to me: it shifted my focus from how my body looks to what my body can do. Today I am proud of the strength I built, of the good habits that I developed towards eating, and truth be told I never felt better in my body even if it weighs more than I expected.
Happiness doesn’t lie in the number on a scale! Happiness lies in the relationship you build with your mind and body, it comes from reflection and acceptance, and from making day-to-day choices that keep you healthy, lively, and balanced.
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