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What Losing Weight Will Change - And What It Won't

Friday, July 26, 2013

When I was 268 pounds, I thought all I needed was to lose weight. My life would be perfect then - I would be skinny and happy. What more did a person need?

But being 100+ pounds lighter, I realize that there are things that losing weight can change and things it can't.

Losing Weight CAN Change:

1. Your weight. Duh.

2. Your health. If you are overweight or obese like I was, losing weight can get you out of the redline zone for health problems (but...).

3. Your size. Another no brainer. I went from being a 18/20 (probably larger) to a size 10.

Losing Weight Will NOT Change:

1. Your happiness. Don't get me wrong - I am VERY happy to have lost this weight. But I wasn't a depressed, miserable person when I was 268 pounds and then when I lost the weight, suddenly I was happy all the time. Furthermore, I still have days as 162 pounds where I am sad, or lonely, or gloomy, or grumpy.

2. Your relationship status. I was single when I was 268 pounds - and I'm still single. Both times, I wasn't looking or desiring a relationship. Since I've still got life to live, maybe that will change in the next few years, but losing weight didn't land a man in my lap.

3. Your health. Some health problems are weight-related - and others aren't. Losing weight can alleviate or get rid of certain problems, but genetics (goodie goodie!) also plays a huge role. For instance, I have psoriasis; while weight loss has made it maybe a little better, I will always have psoriasis, no matter how much the scale says. (Yeah, a silly example, but it's true!)

4. Your eating habits. Once upon a time, I lost 25+ pounds on Weight Watchers. And then I fell off the wagon and went back to my old eating habits, which had me at the wonderful weight of 268 pounds. The problem was, when I lost the weight, I never integrated the eating habits and skills on WW into my life, so I resorted to my old, nasty habits. Losing weight in an of itself doesn't change how you want to eat - you need to relearn how to eat.

5. Your job. My job hasn't changed in the time I've lost weight. Some days are really, super stressful. And other days aren't. Now, sometimes I've heard that head hunters choose job candidates on weight, so in that case, maybe losing weight will help you get a job. But losing weight isn't going to suddenly change your job into something wonderful if you found it mundane or enjoyable if you found it frustrating.

6. Your body image. I think actually being heavy helped me learn one lesson that has been invaluable to me as a lighter girl: love your body for what it is. Even with me being 100+ pounds lighter, I know I have flabby arms, a jiggly belly, a toothy grin, and stretch marks. And I accept those parts about me. I am not losing weight to look like Heidi Klum or Jennifer Aniston - I am losing weight to be healthy and live a great life. If I am a size 2 when that happens or a size 10, it doesn't matter. If I have amazing legs and arms that can benchpress my weight or if I just do my 3X exercise sessions at the gym, it doesn't matter. I didn't get this healthy body image miraculously when I starting losing weight.

Losing weight in and of itself is a PHYSICAL, EXTERNAL change. And that's really ALL it can change. It can't make life better. It won't get you a boyfriend. It won't impart the skills necessary to keep you at a healthy weight, and it won't automatically make that miserable job into the Dream Job.

I think it really comes down to WHY are you losing weight. Are you losing weight because you think you are ugly at the size you are - or do you want a healthy life? Are you losing weight because you want to look like a celebrity - or do you have a health condition you want to improve? Are you losing weight because of the EXTERNAL change ("My body is ugly") or the INTERNAL change ("I want to be healthy, inside and out")?

The act of losing weight can't make life better, but the skills you learn leading to a healthy life CAN. Learning to make better food choices will help you lose weight - and KEEP it off. Learning that YOU ARE AMAZING can make you happier. Learning that your body is BEAUTIFUL just the way it is makes you more content with the body you've been given (and there are always going to be parts of our bodies that society says are "ugly" that we are stuck with). Realizing you deserve a better job, a better significant other, a better outlook on life is part of choosing a healthy lifestyle, and it CAN make life better in ways that simply "losing weight" cannot.

There is no miracle weight-loss pill, and I'm glad. I'd much rather be healthy inside and out than take a pill to wake up to a miraculously skinny body - a body I was unhappy with because of its so-called "flaws", a body I had no idea how to care for because I never learned proper eating habits.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    For me losing weight is about being the best I can be. I feel like I have a lot more to give to myself and by not taking care of my health I am not giving myself what I deserve. I deserve to be happy, healthy, to be able to wear whatever I like and want to wear, I deserve to go up a flight of stairs without feeling like I just ran a marathon (ok, maybe not that bad haha) I deserve to look at the mirror and know that I've done everything I can to take care of my temple. I know I can do more and I don't want to look back and think, why didn't I?

    Great Blog as always! Love your blogs :) emoticon
    1760 days ago
    You hit the nail on the head. Excellent post. emoticon
    1760 days ago
  • COCHESE321
    You are so right about some things that just won't change. When I started Medifast, I was taking BP meds. I lost 10% of my body weight and my BP went UP. I am pretty much resigned to always taking meds for this.

    I have lost almost 120 lbs. My feet are still atrocious - I still have flat feet, bunions, plantar faciitis, loose tendons. My back is worse that when I was 300 lbs. But then, I am much more active now. It isn't that hard on your back when you just lie on the couch all the time. I still have scoliosis. My skin suit doesn't fit all that well anymore.

    But I wouldn't go back to that body for anything. I will just keep on keeping on and take what I get.
    1761 days ago
  • KML410
    Great blog, thanks for sharing emoticon
    1761 days ago
    I love your blogs and it's great sharing this journey with you!

    At some point I decided weight loss probably wasn't going to happen, but I still wanted to be healthier. Since then I've been working on my nutrition and fitness with that in mine. The weight has come off and I hit my original goal, but I have not returned to my earlier lifestyle. I've learned a lot and I still have a lot to learn. No matter what the "experts" say this week, I know there's no magic involved.
    1762 days ago
    emoticon blog!! emoticon
    1762 days ago
  • TIGER_LILY_613
    Loved it. Losing weight can change certain things, but at the end of the day, it's always who we are on the inside that counts :)

    Great. great blog.

    1762 days ago
    This might just be the best blog that you have written (that I have seen)! Thank you so much for verbalizing some very important things that we all need to realize while we are on our journeys. Better to learn them in the process than after the fact.

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1763 days ago
    Always a great blog! emoticon
    1763 days ago
    Even though I've made an amazing change on the outside, I am still fighting a lot of the inner demons - mainly self-esteem. I am not a model - I never was , so I'm generally ok with my external appearance. But I feel very unworthy in the world. Still trying to solve that problem & learn to cope without emotional eating.
    1763 days ago
  • TINYRN2011
    Awesome blog as usual!
    1763 days ago
    1763 days ago
    Well said. That's why I am into boot camp so seriously, because I read that with losing loads of weight can come hanging flesh. Boot camp is a full body workout for an hour every day or alternate day (depends which package you pay for) and I have to admit that it is helping my body tone up as I lose the weight.
    You really have done so incredibly well to have lost such a huge amount of weight....well done.
    1763 days ago
    1763 days ago
    emoticon well said!

    emoticon on your success
    1763 days ago
    Great blog!

    I would say that I am losing weight for internal and external reasons. Who doesn't want to look good, am I right?

    Losing weight for me has meant so much. After going through cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety, I really learned a lot about myself. Mostly, I learned to celebrate the positives and never to see things as black and white. I've learned to encourage myself and to be kind to myself when I make mistakes. This weight loss journey has been part of that for me. I've been successfully working to improve a number of areas in my life since I've felt more content with who I am and what I've accomplished. I think I agree that it is really important to have that starting place where you are accepting of yourself. Starting out mad at yourself and disgusted with your body will just lead you to be so tired of all the negative self talk....highly unmotivating.
    1763 days ago
  • PATTYR81
    1763 days ago
    Such a great post! I am sharing with my TSFL facebook group. :)
    1763 days ago
  • CHERYLA2012
    It's all far more intertwined than any of us ever really considered before we undertook this journey!
    1763 days ago
    You are one target with your post...Congrats on your continued success.
    1763 days ago
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