Does Weighing Less Actually Lead to More Happiness?

If I make more money then I’ll be less stressed.

If I lose 10 pounds then I’ll be more desirable.

If I find a relationship then I’ll be happy.

If I stick to my diet then I’m good.

If/Then is a dangerous game. In the past, my personal version of the game was ‘if I lose weight, then I’ll be happy/I’ll be good enough’. This is a pretty popular version of If/Then so let’s tackle this beast head on.

Let me first start by saying there is absolutely nothing wrong with have aesthetic goals.  I certainly have them!  Where’s my big ol’ booty and coconut shoulders?! The problem arises when we start putting our self-worth into our appearance. That’s where things get tricky, but here’s how I won.

If I lose weight, then I’ll be happy/I’ll be good enough.  For me, this meant being good enough to get more clients (aka looking the part) and happy about making more money, good enough to start dating and happy that people find me attractive, good enough to finally like myself and happy that I no longer berate myself because of my looks.  If I could just lose weight, THEN everything would come together and my life would be perfect.

So I did it.  I lost weight, I stuck to my diet and I exercised every day which in my mind meant I was “good”, but it still wasn’t good enough. I didn’t like myself more, in fact my negative self-talk got worse as I put even more pressure on myself to lose more weight. I didn’t get more clients and dating was beyond frustrating. Despite losing weight, which was supposed to fix all my problems remember, I still had zero self-confidence.  I still wasn’t happy with what I looked like so how could I possibly feel OK? I was supposed to feel great! But I didn’t and I actually ended up gaining all the weight back.

I spent about 12 years doing this shit.  I was focusing solely on what my body looked like. After reaching my goal of losing weight and seeing that absolutely nothing had gotten better like I thought it would, I thought there had to be another way.  There had to be a way where I could have the body I wanted and the life to go with it.

I found a mindset program and began really turning inward and started focusing on what was happening on the inside as opposed to the outside.  I started showing myself a lot of self-compassion. I began being OK with where I was knowing that I still wanted to make changes but those changes had to start in my mind. I started focusing on what my body could do as opposed to what it did or didn’t look like. Then, and this is the honest to God truth, I started getting more clients and making more money, I started going out and socializing more, made more friends and started dating someone seriously for the first time in years. All at a higher weight-my highest ever, actually. This was a HUGE wake up call for me.  I FINALLY realized that the number on the scale meant absolutely nothing.

I also began practicing (and still do practice!) putting a huge focus on life outside of my body.  I focused on being a better trainer, a better friend, a better sister, on being a more positive person, being more grateful and taking personal responsibility for my life and the turnaround was seriously unbelievable.  I credit this work 100% with turning my life around.  I’m even holding on to about a 20 lb weight loss that happened almost effortlessly since I really started focusing on my mindset.  Am I a happier person because I weight less?  No, I’m just a happy person in general because I did the work.  My weight is just what it is.  It’s just a number.  It doesn’t really mean all that much to me.

When I was playing If/Then I was treating myself like crap and was talking down to myself constantly.  I think I told myself that I hated my body almost every day.  Seriously.  How sad is that? When I look back, my body fucking rocked.  Was I super lean?  No.  But I could deadlift 250lbs, I could do a few chin-ups, I could run a half marathon with no training (NOT recommended), I taught like 10 classes a week and trained over 30 clients…what could my body NOT do?!

I do still think about my physique at times and think I’d like to be leaner or wish I had more muscle or whatever, but those are fleeting thoughts.  I know that if I really want to achieve either of those things I’ll have to buckle down and get to work.  Wishing and whining and berating myself won’t get me to my goal.

Lastly, let me tell you this: It’s a full-time job to have a lean physique that you’re constantly obsessing over and it’s exhausting. How about just being a few pounds away from your goal but being happy? Those 3, 5, 10 pounds will not make a difference in your overall happiness and they will not change your life for the better.  That stuff starts on the inside.

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