It goes against logic, we always think we would be so happy if we could just lose 10kg, or be a size (insert your number here), or look good in jeans. Recent research suggests otherwise however, studying overweight/obese individuals after substantial weight loss following a range of diet and exercise regimes, and finding their baseline levels of happiness or depression didn’t improve when they reached their goal. But how could this be? How could they not be any happier?
It appears that with long term dieting, that the constant requirement to deprive themselves, saying no to “bad” foods, forcing themselves to exercise, all of which require a lot of willpower to be exerted over a long period of time. They might become more secluded, avoiding social events where they would be tempted, or people who might judge them on their dieting attempts. All of these factors can be a drain, and so rather than being happy once they reach their goal weight, they feel is exhausted and worried about regaining the weight again.
So is there any way to avoid all the pitfalls of weight loss, so that you can actually be happy once you are at your goal weight?
The good news is that those people who view changes they make as being part of a complete lifestyle change, where they are choosing healthy delicious whole foods for their health benefits and these foods are viewed as a positive (not torture), being active because they enjoy it and it makes them feel good and improves energy levels, and that have a good balance between having treats in small quantities when they feel like it- that doesn’t result in bone crushing guilt- and therefore don’t feel deprived. The result of making changes to healthier foods that are naturally lower in calories, increasing movement during the week so that more calories are burned, and not getting the urge to binge since they aren’t feeling deprived to start with- well, it’s weight loss, without having to count calories and monitor the scales obsessively. And it’s fine if it’s not super fast weight loss, because you are enjoying the process so you are quite happy to stick with it long term.
So if you want to be slimmer, and happier, think about all the ways you can change your life to focus on getting healthy, avoid fad diets, and start enjoying your life now!