I read a story on the Stir about a woman who had weight loss surgery and lost 180 pounds. She was “bitterly disappointed” after her weight loss because her life didn’t magically become better. She said, “I was skinny, but my life wasn’t suddenly and magically perfect — and that completely astonished me.”
I am sorry that she was disappointed with her lack of happiness and perfection in her weight loss, but her experience can help you understand that losing weight isn’t a magic bullet to a perfect life.
Expecting a perfect life after you lose weight is common. This woman isn’t the first person to assume that a large amount of weight will solve life’s problems.
I had that expectation before I lost weight, but I quickly learned as I was dropping 10 pounds here and 20 pounds there that my overall life wasn’t changing. Just my appearance and my health.
Even though I looked tons better than before, I was still the same person inside with the same problems and same feelings.
Weight loss does not make your financial problems disappear, does not make you suddenly become happy with your appearance, and it definitely does not fix relational or emotional problems you may have been dealing with before you lost weight.
All weight loss really does it change your outer appearance and in most cases, improve your health.
The people who are sad that losing weight did not fix their life are usually the same people who:
1) Did not deal with the emotional aspects of their weight either before or during their weight loss experience.
2) Had unrealistic expectations of what their life would be like after they reached their goal weight.
People who acknowledge their emotional ties to food and work hard to deal with expectations are the ones who are most pleased when they lose weight.
Because those people understand the mind connection they have to food. And as they lose weight they gain a better understanding of their emotional relationship to food and realize that losing weight is not going to change their lives completely.
I’ve put together a few suggestions for you to think about when you are in the process of losing weight to ensure you are pleased and satisfied with yourself and your life once you reach your goal weight.
1. Focus On More Than Pounds Lost
Everyone wants to drop pounds when losing weight, but don’t just focus on those pounds. Focus on your life, focus on your emotional well being, and focus on developing the relationships you have.
2. Don’t Expect Everyone to Be Happy for You
Your relationships with people will shift as you lose weight. Sometimes they shift in a negative way. People may be happy for your success or they may not. It doesn’t matter. You need to be happy for yourself and not worry about other people.
3. Be Prepared for Change
You will change in a lot of ways as you lose weight. Your priorities may change, you may struggle in areas where you hadn’t struggled before, and you will look different. Losing weight doesn’t fix your struggles. In fact, sometimes new ones come to the forefront.
4. Keep a Journal
Keep an emotions journal that enables you to look back and discover what situations made you overeat, what foods triggered intense cravings, and how you handled each situation. Losing weight will not fix your desire to eat when you are not hungry and you must learn from past mistakes and triumphs.
5. Face Reality
Your life will be basically the same after you lose weight. You will probably still live in the same place, have the same financial challenges, and be married to the same person.
I know we all want weight loss to solve life’s problems, but sadly it does not. As the saying goes, “Life goes on.” Let’s add this to that phrase. “Life goes on after weight loss.” Have realistic expectations of what your life will be like after weight loss and you will not be disappointed.