I’m a firm believer that with any weight loss program or decision to eat a little healthier, the number on the scale should not be the deciding factor between personal success and failure. Like many out there, I’ve read a ton of books on lifestyles, dieting, women’s bodies, and more recently, happiness and personal success. My proposition to those trying to lose weight or get healthier, is to start measuring your achievements in not just numbers and “non-scale victories”, but more importantly – in levels of happiness.
Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” all started with her on a bus, asking what she wanted from life, and her answer was probably the same as the rest of us- we want to be happy. So, what does she do? She dedicates and entire year to consciously being happier, and doing more of what brings her joy. Now sure, not all of us have an entire year to devote to a happiness project, some may not even have a moment in every day. When most of us sign up for the new gym membership or log onto Connect for the first time, bliss isn’t exactly the first emotion we feel. But if you’re willing to make the effort to join a Weight Watchers meeting, or food prep on Sunday, learning to assign a little time here and there towards building upon your happiness, might not be the worst idea.
One of my all time favorite weight loss books is Geneen Roth’s “Women Food and God” because it taught me that being truly in tune with my body would lead to treating it better and not needing to fill it with crap (in both the physical and emotional sense). It was completely revolutionary to my mindset and has stuck with me for over ten years. Roth’s ideas taught me the importance of being self-aware and understanding my body and it’s been my belief that loving yourself and being happy within your skin begins with understanding it. Once we better apprehend and listen to our bodies, we become more respectful of them and the amazing things that they do.
I had a thought over the weekend that’s lingered with me since. I was sitting on the patio of my beautiful little home, with my fiancé whom I love, after a week of exceptionally hard work, celebrating his recent job offer, preparing for a day of whale watching, and toasting to turning 26 years old (in a few days from then) – when it dawned on me. Why did I need all of this to come together to feel this much delight? Could I have felt this level of satisfaction at 200lbs? (Ridiculous) answer that immediately went through my head- no. Why not? (Ridiculous) answer that followed- because I was overweight and unhappy with my body.
The thing is, my body itself hasn’t changed. It’s still rockin’ out, developing as any young adult would. My scars are still there, my hair still looks about the same, I still have that area of my chin I can’t feel. My body grants me access to the world and allows me to get up in the morning. It enables me to see my surroundings, allows me to feel, and encourages me to touch. My body is the same body from 200lbs to 135lbs- I’m just living in this mindset I couldn’t allow myself to discover before. These days, I’m all about that happiness.
So why wait. Why waste your life living in “I don’t deserve to be ridiculously happy because I’m not comfortable at this weight” when your body is there, it’s breathing and living every minute. And you’re there. You’re sitting on the patio, celebrating birthdays, feeling the sun on your skin. Why wait to live a happier life when every opportunity to be happy is right there in front of you.
My invitation to you, if you’re reading this and are trying to lose weight (or not even), is to worry a little less about the scale, and focus a little more on feeling good in your life. Work on being happier exactly where you are at this moment, and not when you reach a size zero (because only size zero people deserve to be happy right?).
You are you whether you’re 300lbs or 120lbs- and the sooner you discover that you can be happy at both, the more amazing this journey will be.