I felt hungry before I went to bed last night. My stomach definitely feels flatter this morning. Could today be the day that I hit my goal weight? I stumble out of bed, hit the potty, and take off my pajamas. I zero the scale for a third time, and I step on with anticipation. OMG. I did it. I hit my goal weight. Everything is right with the world. Does this situation sound at all familiar?
I sit down with my morning coffee and reflect. Today is the day my life is about to go from good to great. I pour my second cup of coffee and hear the kids run downstairs. And it begins…my life as I know it on repeat. Don’t get me wrong, I feel blessed to have the life that I do. And, I am generally happy. But today my life is supposed to change and sometime soon I will start feeling pure bliss.
There is a very common thought going around. When I reach my goal weight, anything that troubled me will go away. When we reach our goal and this doesn’t happen- we are shocked and disappointed. So, we have a decision to make. Do we accept that our goal weight has no power over our true happiness? Or, do we decide that losing an additional 5 pounds is definitely the answer.
Let’s first consider the latter thought of losing more weight. We know our protocol to lose weight and this is something that we can control. The key word is control. It requires us to pursue a goal rather than evaluate our thoughts. Evaluating our thoughts which trigger our emotions can be simply exhausting. Not to mention, this type of work is very time consuming and is not a quick fix.
When I ask my clients to rate their happiness when they were at their lowest weight, many times they tell me that they were miserable. Most of the time, they followed a scripted diet that was a huge commitment. They can remember missing the cake at their daughters first birthday party. Skipping the champagne toast at their sisters wedding. Even choosing to forgo dinner out for their birthday because the calories couldn’t be estimated accurately in My Fitness Pal. They question if their efforts were even worth it given there is no additional happiness.
What prompted us to lose weight in the first place? This is truly the question. Once we can answer this, we can begin working on our convincing thoughts that weight loss cures all. If weight loss is pursued because of a health issue, then this conversation may not be relevant. But for those of us in pursuit of losing some vanity pounds, we have some mental work to do.
It is not about the number. I will save you some time if you can trust me on this. The first step is to dig deep and identify what is making you unhappy. If we can directly work on our thoughts that are driving negative emotions, then we can stop buffering food and alcohol. If negative emotions are not buffered, then excess food and alcohol will not be necessary, and we will actually lose weight.
Many times, once this cognitive behavioral therapy is instituted, individuals often decide that they don’t even need to lose weight. Their pursuit of weight loss was a way to feel in control of their life. Once they dealt with the actual negative emotions, they didn’t feel the need to control anything. This can create huge amounts of headspace. People notice that they crave new hobbies, new relationships, they have a better mood, and they feel more fulfilled.
This might be a lot to take in. Beliefs on losing weight debunked. I encourage you to take some time and decide if any of these ideas may apply to you. I also want to congratulate you for being open-minded and considering this self-analysis. Because when a number can’t control our true happiness, then there is no reason that you cannot experience pure bliss no matter where you are today.