Is it Weight Loss or Happiness that Counts? Some of us Need Both.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Last year was my first real Spark year. The first year I particpated anyway. I lost quite a bit of weight (55 lbs), and was very happy with that. Joined a gym, worked out regularly, and ate according to my plan. This year, I seem to have been unable to get any traction, and even put on some pounds. Then, recently I posted a blog entry that was a little critical and cynical about the Happiness research that is so prevalent in modern psychology. I got a lot of feedback to that article, and almost all of it I might call pro-happiness. People weren't in agreement with my grouchy critique. Tonight, I read someone's blog entry about how she had been with the Spark for a long time and the path for her has not been a straight line. However, now, she is working on her own happiness level, and feels like she's making some success of it. She is actually reaching a point of happiness and success in her own life through use of gratitude and some of the other points expressed by the happiness writers. Well, I say more power to her. The flood of responses I received to my blog as well as her honest and open portrayal of her own life has led me to reconsider. And this is what I have concluded. I have lost a net of about 40 lbs. I'm still kind of happy with that. Maybe my goal for coming months should not be more weight loss, but for doing the things that will bring more joy into my life. I'd like to maintain the loss I do have, and gradually get back to walking for fitness, but perhaps it's time to start practicing some of the very things I was criticising, and just work on an developing an improved countenance, to use an old word. Maybe then, and only then, would I get back to some new weight loss goals. Thank you, Spark friends.
Member Comments About This Blog Post
I agree with Woubbie....Balance & Harmony is the thing to aim for, not necessarily happiness....before you can be happy, you really must learn to Love yourself...the real you....look in the mirror & say out loud, "I Love you" (insert your name!) The more you do it the more it works, positive thinking is a good way to turn things around, if you are always beating yourself up, and berating yourself for not doing the things you 'think' you should be doing, you'll never get anywhere....just more unhappy...
Do some research on loving yourself, it really does work....love the comments on giving you things to think about from the friends below...
By the way, you have done well, but have you ever researched eating low-fructose?
Fructose is the half of the sugar molecule that keeps you addicted to sugar....I started with Sweet Poison:The Quit Plan, by David Gillespie....it can actually border on Paleo eating in some ways, but also Google Dr Gary Taubs....and also Dr Lustig, link here :-
Sweet Poison says it in language we can relate to....it made sense to me, & I lost 19 kilos over 13 months with that way of eating....plus, it's not a diet, it's a new way of eating for life....start your walking again, even if it's just around the block, but make that for life too.....increase 1 - 5 mins per week, soon you'll be walking so much further than you ever thought you would...these are just a few suggestions...hope some work for you, but really, try the fructose one...
Love & Light
1496 days ago
Comment edited on: 5/19/2013 4:01:55 AM
Followed a link from a Spark email to this article.
1498 days ago
Comment edited on: 5/16/2013 4:16:37 PM
This might interest you.
1499 days ago
Improving your health gives you more options and more time to do things that make you happy.
Let's take you, as an example. You said on your home page, very early on, that hiking makes you happy. Losing weight gives you a better chance at (a) being able to walk at all, (b) being able to walk longer or more frequently, (c) being more pain free while you are walking, and (d) doing yourself less long-term harm by walking.
There are no guarantees, however. This is life. You can do everything right, right from the start, and be struck down attending a marathon race (for "example").
I know, in my case, the weight loss has allowed me to exercise more, be healthier, and enjoy many things to a greater extent. However, it has NOT, net, improved my ability to walk better along any of the dimensions, I outline, above. Perhaps, after I have spinal surgery things will improve further. I don't know. That's the way the cookie of life may crumble.
All I know, is that for approximately the last two years, I've given myself the best chance for health, walking and fun, and that, all by itself, pleases me.
P.S. And, oh BTW, I'm a PhD in cognitive (research) psych, and I think most of the research on happiness ain't worth a fig, but, then, I'm particularly fond of figs.
1499 days ago
We all are at different levels in this journey and I think you've found your niche
1499 days ago
I'm not quite sure why you would think weight loss and happiness would be mutually exclusive.
Do you still have a "diet" and "deprivation" mentality about weight loss? When you make an effort to lose weight do you experience a lot of cravings or hunger? Do you resent the fact that some rare people are able to eat pizza and cake and soda without putting on weight and getting sick?
Do you imagine that you'll FINALLY be happy when you've FINALLY lost the weight? Have you taken into account the weight of your mental and emotional baggage as well?
Have you ever WORKED at being happy in the way you've worked at losing weight or getting more fit? Do you even know what makes you truly happy?
My take? I've found the way of eating that satisfies my cells and makes me feel satiated. It also fends off most cravings. I make darn sure that I only eat the allowable foods that also satisfy my taste buds and mood. Sure, I've deleted a whole bunch of foods from my menu, but they no longer sing the addictive siren song that they once did. And I've added bunches of new foods that I never used to eat, or at least not often. I'm certain that I'm eating healthier than I ever have before.
I've been fat and thin. The people who love me loved me whether I was fat OR thin. The other ones don't matter.
I still believe that "happiness" is a fleeting thing and it can be disrupted in a split second by any number of things. "Contentment", on the other hand, is a much more stable state. It too can be disrupted, but is much more resilient than happiness.
When people wish to be happy all the time it's the same as wishing it were Christmas every day. That level of emotion is simply not sustainable for long periods of time. The whole idea is rather juvenile.
People associate contentment with compromise or "settling for less", and think that it's a negative association. Yes, contentment probably does involve a fair dose of acceptance. But accepting one's limitations is a hallmark of emotional maturity.
As to my own weight loss? I've found that I am so pleased (and content) with my improvements in energy and general well-being that any weight I lose going forward is more like a pleasant side effect than a true effort. (Please note, I am in absolutely NO hurry to get to any goal weight. As long as I'm trending in the right direction and feeling great life is good!)
1499 days ago
Comment edited on: 5/15/2013 11:15:57 AM
Whatever melts your butter. But me, I'd wonder if I were looking for an 'opt' out from my goals. I wrote a blog yesterday, and the person that commented thought happiness was paramount, and our own goals and aspirations, and that it didn't matter how we treat others and what we do, as long as we do want we want, then there would be happiness. What a crock. This is a society, based on social. Happiness is cool, but like what sense of conscious conscience? You know where you're at, but don't let some of these bozos lead you. Me personally, I don't care if a sociopath or psychopath are actualized and happy....Happy is not all there is to consider LOL
1499 days ago
1499 days ago
Happiness and healthiness can be such a balancing act. I guess my only 2 cents is that I think too many people just give up on the healthy side and convince themselves that they can be happy. Eventually that catches up with folks that go that route.
But you've accomplished a lot on the healthy side -- you need to recognize that -- and now work on the happy part.
1499 days ago
I think we need to be happy with our own bodies before we can make changes in our lives. Happiness is important. I wish I could follow my own advise....
1500 days ago
Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.
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