Think losing 5kg will make you happier? Think again.
This may be the biggest #ICallBluff ever in the fitness and health industry. Billions of dollars are spent each year for weight loss - food products, gym memberships, programs, ebooks, supplements, etc etc etc. They rely on your desperation to drop those kilos - 5kg, 10kg, 15kg, 30kg, 50kg…
Despite their advertisements of a magical happy land you reach when you're skinny. Research actually shows you may just end up being miserable. Say what??
You knew it already, if you think about it. You're used to having your favourite foods, enjoying delicious meals, choosing what you want from the menus at restaurants, basically - the freedom of choice. Then you're convinced that skinny equals a happier life. Because the billboards, the magazines, the newspapers, fashion, the marketing teams of major corporations, and even fitness and health companies, tell you that your life will be so wonderful when you lose weight.
Before I lose you, this is not an "overweight/obese can be healthy too" post. I don't believe being overweight/obese is a healthy place for someones body as it puts the body under a lot of stress and is linked as a risk factor to practically all chronic diseases. That aside, when you go on a diet, you're going to feel restricted. You're going to want to rebel. You're hungry!
Being hungry and feeling restricted, then starting to work out and feeling sore and sorry in places you didn't even know existed. Now that's a miserable combination when combined with the usual stresses of daily life!
Research at the University College London examined almost 2000 overweight and obese adults, aged 50 and over. Those who had lost weight were 78% more likely to have symptoms of depression than those who hadn’t. Despite being healthier, reducing their risk of chronic disease, and losing weight - their happiness levels didn't improve.
100%, without a doubt, no questions asked, being at a healthy weight for your body by eating well and staying active is incredibly powerful for your health and will make you feel great from endorphins, extra energy and yep, even the thrill of fitting into smaller clothes (or at least your own more comfortably). But that's where it ends. If you believe your entire life will be amazing just because you've lost a few kilos (or lots!) you've been misguided. Professor Cary Cooper of Organisational Psychology and Health at Lancaster University says "Everything stays the same. The other things in life that troubled them are still there and that makes them depressed."
I've been there - I gained 10kg in one year, felt horrible, then fed up - I dieted. But stress and uni got to me, and I lost that 10kg and more. I was so unbelievably miserable. I never went out, I hardly ate outside of home, I used "no money" as an excuse all the time for not going out for a meal. Eating became my life - I had scheduled times when I ate. I ate so slowly to get my portion to last longer. I cried. A lot. I needed to sleep. A lot. It was a really horrible time. I looked the way I wanted to look, fit into the clothes I wanted to fit into, and looking into the mirror, I felt great. At least, I thought I was meant to feel great. But I wasn't happy. I wasn't slim enough. I had solid steel "willpower" and easily said no to so many foods and never drank my calories. If I didn't end up changing my entire living situation, it would've been a really bad ending to the story. Instead, I took a different route. Instead of continuing to diet and being completely miserable (though at the time, I would never admit to it being a 'diet' as such). I changed up my lifestyle. And that's the difference.
If you have a horrible job, losing weight isn't going to fix that. If your home situation isn't pleasant, losing weight isn't going to fix that. If you wish you could be more, do more, and live more of a life you dream of, losing weight is not going to fix it! Losing weight simply means you lose weight. Yes some aspects of your life may change and you may feel amazing because you've finally achieved what you wanted to achieve, but losing weight solely as a method to be happier is a disaster waiting to happen.
The bottom line
Dieting doesn't work long-term and will probably make you miserable. Create a total lifestyle change: workout, eat well, take time to rest and enjoy life, don't be so hard on yourself, be grateful, challenge yourself, get enough sleep, do what you love, and be around people that support and love you for you. Lose weight for your health and work on being happy in your everyday life. Don't lose weight as an attempt to be happier in your every day life and forget that health and happiness is so much more than the size of your clothes and the number on the scale. It won't work.