I'm not sure if anybody else had people say things like this to them, but I constantly had people tell me "losing weight isn't going to solve your problems" and "just because you'll be skinnier doesn't mean you'll be happier...you'll just be a hungry unhappy person." I'm not going to lie, better health was not my number one reason to lose weight. I wanted to look good because I felt that looking better would make me happier. Probably a shallow reason, but I'm sure it's not uncommon. In an ideal world, I should have been able to love myself unconditionally no matter what size I am, but I was unhappy with my reflection in the mirror and this was truly depressing for me.
Well those naysayers were wrong! I am 100% happier! Everything in my life has improved for the better. I am proud of how I look, and because of this, I actually enjoy putting myself together (doing my hair, makeup, dressing up). I've been more confident, and I've made several new friends in the last few months. I had never been a social butterfly, but all of a sudden I am one. For once, I enjoy being active and I have energy. I don't sit around all morning trying to force myself to get off the couch to go to Walmart, I wake up at 5:30am with no alarm and can't wait to get started on the day. I've learned how to cook, I've developed new tastes, I've learned loads about nutrition. With new energy and confidence and a zest for life, I'm interested in new things. I suddenly have a strong desire to play golf which is totally random, but I have signed up for a beginners clinic. I have learned to love my body. Not just how it looks, but I've learned its patterns, what effects it, how to take care of it, and how to take pride in it. My wonderful boyfriend has been deployed in Iraq since I was at my highest weight, so I haven't experienced "skinny sex" yet, but I know that'll be amazing too, haha.
My world is just better. I'm healthier, happier, stronger, more energetic, I look better, I'm more confident, and I feel like I'm experiencing life for the first time. Before, I was just existing, trudging through my days. Now, I'm living. I wake up every morning with enthusiasm and energy.
Anyways, sorry for this excessively joyful post. I ate breakfast this morning with one of those friends who told me "losing weight won't solve your problems" all those months ago. She kept picking at my (delicious) egg white, broccoli, and turkey omelet going on and on about how I must hate starving myself. It reminded me how far I've come, and how glad I am that I committed myself to getting here.
05-01-2010, 01:15 PM
I agree with this, especially when I look at overall happiness. For me it is more about having more energy to tackle the day, play with my kids, getting stuff done, etc. All of that contributes to a greater feeling of satisfaction/happiness each day.
05-01-2010, 01:47 PM
I totally agree with this, getting thin can improve soooo many more aspects of you life than you think it will, well done, you are an inspiration :)
05-01-2010, 01:59 PM
OMG! Wow, I can't believe he hasn't been home since you started losing. Boy will he be in for a shock! AWESOME!
05-01-2010, 02:34 PM
Haha, thanks guys, I'm glad you all feel the same :) I want to shout it from the rooftops, everyone deserves to feel this great. It took me so long to get started on weight loss because I just thought it would be hard, tedious, and I'd ultimately fail. I know a lot of people feel like this so they never get started and they're missing out!
And crcossel, he left exactly 7 months ago today. I won't see him until July (I'm planning on being about 135 by then). I've hinted that I've been "getting healthier," but I don't think he realizes what a change it is, lol. Actually what kicked me in the pants to lose the weight was overhearing two soldiers talking and one said "wives and girlfriends either get skinny or fat from worrying during deployments...we all know which way most of them go." I didn't want to be one of the girlfriends that got fat, and I knew I was headed that way. So I got skinny instead!
05-01-2010, 02:39 PM
Your post made me tear up a little, haha. Your happiness sounds amazing. I hope I get there...some day.
05-01-2010, 02:44 PM
Wow! I so feel you on this one! Sure we all have down days and even ugly days but overall I am a MUCH happier person! I go out in public now! I want to get up and DO something now! Visit friends and family I haven't seen in years, etc. Losing weight had definitely made me a happier person. I'd never go back, not for a million donuts!
Edit: I was just thinking about your post a little more and how EXCITING about your husband! He's going to be so OMG when he sees you! I'm excited for you! You'll have to make a post about it because that's just too cool and I have to know how he reacts!
05-01-2010, 02:49 PM
My bf isnt going to iraq but he is in the (Canadian) navy.. i cant wait for him to go i will be sad but then i can focus on me he will only be gone 4 months this time..... I know how military wives and gfs have this stigma at least here in Canada they do... overweight in pjs with kids running havoc.. THAT will NOT be me!!!!!!!!! Congrats To you! i cant wait to be where you are!!!
05-01-2010, 02:51 PM
Your post is uplifting :) I have started taking more pride in myself as well but it's a process. That is going to be great for your boyfriend to see you after all these months, what a surprise! He may have to do a double take and make sure he's not looking at the wrong girl LOL. Do you know when he is coming home?
Good for you! You deserve to be proud :)
05-01-2010, 03:23 PM
I can TOTALLY relate to your post :)
I feel alive again. I want to go out. I want to try new things. I'm not scared anymore because I feel so much more empowered!
I'm not at goal yet but the fact I've come this far by myself through eating healthy and exercising has really made me feel great about myself. I've gone through yo-yo dieting throughout the years mainly controlled by my mother. :D
05-01-2010, 03:37 PM
Megan, I'm so glad to hear you have discovered this for yourself! It's such a wonderful feeling. I think people who say it won't make you happy are making excuses, in most cases.
05-01-2010, 03:50 PM
Edit: I was just thinking about your post a little more and how EXCITING about your husband! He's going to be so OMG when he sees you! I'm excited for you! You'll have to make a post about it because that's just too cool and I have to know how he reacts!
You know, you might want to rethink about surprising him or downplaying how big of a change this is. I can think of three major pitfalls:
1) Anyone gone for a year and desperately homesick is looking forward to the familiar, not the new--in fact, abruptly discovering how much stuff happened while you were gone, how much was happening and you were oblivious, how much you weren't a part of, can be sort of dismaying, even if you like the changes.
You are in college, correct? How would you feel if you went home at Christmas and discovered that while you were gone your parents sold the old, little house you grew up in and bought a fabulous new place with a pool and a tennis court etc etc? You'd love the new house, and be excited, but part of you would also be thrown off balance by this huge change you didn't see coming.
2) Exercise and eating patterns are a way of life, and while you know how yours have changed, they will be all new to him. I mean, you have new priorities now--exercise time matters, and needs to be scheduled around, however comfortable bed is. If he's eating junk in front of the TV and offers it to you, you're going to say no a lot of the time. If he wants to BBQ ribs, you're going to ask if he can make chicken, too.
It'd be weird if he came back a different religion, right? This is that fundamental of a change, and even if you totally supported that decision, it would take some getting used to. It would be something you'd want to know in advance, not something you'd want dropped on you.
3) People planning surprises often build these elaborate daydreams about the day of the big "reveal", and if it doesn't go according to script, it's easy to get upset or be disappointed. I've done this tons: I surprise my husband with a gift I think he will LOVE and he likes it, but isn't "wowed" like I expected. Then I get my feelings hurt, which is stupid.
Returning soldiers, especially, often have odd reactions to things--the transition home is huge and complicated and emotional and basically makes their responses unpredictable. If he doesn't react the way you expect, and you get your feelings hurt . . .that's no way to start off a reunion.
05-01-2010, 04:03 PM
Schmead, I definitely agree with you on all points! I didn't mean for it to sound like he has no idea what a change I've made. Really, he just doesn't know that I have lost "X" lbs. But he has seen pictures along the journey and the weight loss is pretty obvious (at least I hope, lol).
He's also a fitness buff, himself, and he's really excited about us getting to work out together. We talk about our gym routines, how we're getting all our protein in, progress on fitness goals, etc. Before he left, he finally convinced me to go running with him, LOL, it was a joke! I ran for about 30 seconds, not even out of the apartment complex, and I was bent over huffing and puffing. Now I might leave him in the dust, lol. So really, me getting healthy has added a whole new level that we can connect on. He's excited about this.
So yes, I'm expecting a period of him needing to get used to the new Megan when he gets home. And I have considered everything you listed for the same reasons. When he initially noticed that I had lost weight, he went through a brief period of wondering why I was losing weight right after he left, as if I was trying to attract other guys. That was a fair concern, but I explained to him that I was using the deployment as a time to focus on improving myself. It has been a good challenge, almost like a project, to pass the time while he's gone. An opportunity to develop habits for myself without distractions. He understands this now, and now we're just excited for him to come home so we can live life as a fit and healthy couple :)
Buuut, I still think he'll be a bit surprised when he sees how much I've lost in person, and I have no idea how he'll react.
05-01-2010, 04:04 PM
I think that people say things like "losing weight isn't going to solve your problems" and "just because you'll be skinnier doesn't mean you'll be happier...you'll just be a hungry unhappy person," is in response to the "old days" when we were told the opposite "You can't be happy unless you're thin (and rich)."
It was a terrible message for those of us who struggled with our weight, and weren't being successful, because we were told (and we believed) that if we couldn't get the weight off, we were doomed to be unhappy forever. In fact, we deserved to be unhappy (and there was something wrong with us if we weren't).
For me, it's been the reverse journey. Rather than losing weight leading to self-worth participation in a full, active life: Choosing self-respect, happiness and participating in life is leading to weight loss.
Positive energy creates positive energy, and I'm not sure it matters where you start, as long as you start. Losing weight can help you feel happier and help you get more out of life and love yourself more. But loving yourself can help you lose weight and get more out of life, and Participating in life can help you lose weight and love yourself.
Positive changes feed other positive changes. Some of us just start with different changes. I think that's why it's more important to start with whatever you can.
What doesn't work very well though (in my opinion) is believing that you're only worthy of love, happiness and all good things, if you're perfect. If only a certain number will satisfy you, and you pin all your hopes and dreams on that number, and you don't think you're worthy of good things until you can claim that number, you may have difficulty claiming happiness even if you are able to achieve the number.
There's no doubt that my weight loss has brought me good things. But good things in my life have also brought me to the weight loss. When I was miserable, and felt unworthy it, the effort always seemed so pointless because I could never reach the weight that I imagined I'd be happy at.
The "losing weight won't make you happy" messages aren't any more productive or accurate (or inaccurate for that matter) than the "you won't be worthy of happiness until you lose the weight" messages.
Learning to write our own messages is the key.
05-01-2010, 05:03 PM
I'm still excited for you :(
05-01-2010, 05:26 PM
woot woot!!! I'm excited for you too! i agree 100% The more weight i lose the happier i feel. LOL like you i'm excited for the "Skinny sex" HAHAHA = awesome.
05-02-2010, 11:21 AM
There are many reasons people are overweight or obese. Your attitude is fabulous and definitely a joy to read and hear about, but there are those of us who use food as a coping mechanism. In that way, losing all the weight doesn't mean the means of coping have found a healthier alternative.
I have gained and lost 100+ pounds 3 times in my life. Each time there was great happiness in all that weight loss brought. I was even able to keep the weight off for 7 years at a time, but when a tragedy happened and all the stress that went with it overwhelmed me, I found myself turning to food for comfort, even though I knew what the result of it would be. I kept deluding myself into thinking that I would be able to stop the behaviour the next day. Well, long story short, those days buildt up upon each other until I was obese again.
I don't mean to rain on your parade, that is not my intention, but merely suggesting why people say that weight loss doesn't solve one's problems. I would say that rather that weight loss isn't an automatic protection from gaining it back, especially when life does one of it's hard edge turns.
I agree about how good it feels! It's exhilerating to find clothes that fit and feel good on, it is fabulous to be about to move around with ease and there is no comparison to the new found energy level. If one's excess weight came from just eating too much in general, then diligence in portion control can keep one at goal. If one's weight gain came from lack of coping skills or other issues, just losing the weight won't cure them. That's when it is important to work through the issues involved or seeking help in learning how to deal with it all.
05-02-2010, 11:42 AM
Lavendarannn, I completely agree that weight issues are the result of far deeper issues than just "eating too much" 99% of the time. And that being said, I understand what people mean by "losing weight won't solve your problems." In fact, I have preached the same thing before. In some cases, I'll still preach it. I don't believe that getting down to X pounds is going to automatically turn an unhappy person into a happy one. Fitting into a size 2 won't solve your emotional, mental, financial, or social problems.
However, in MY experience, what the original post is about, is the weight loss journey was the first time that I faced my internal issues and reflected on them and consciously made the decision to say "yes, I have some baggage, but I can still be a healthy happy person in spite of it." And this was an unintentional result. When I started losing weight, it was for fairly shallow reasons. I had simplified my weight problem, convincing myself that I just liked food too much. By simplifying the problem, I also simplified the results. I was fat because I liked food too much, if I lost weight, I'd be pretty, and thus happy. Of course the whole situation was much more complex than that. Over the weight loss journey, I've learned volumes about myself. I have confronted and begun the healing process with some of my emotional issues. Issues that I used to cover up with eating a whole cake in the middle of the night by myself.
So no, becoming skinny does not guarantee happiness. But personally, for my own journey, the process of weight loss was a healing one that had many unexpected benefits.
And I dug this up from a post a few weeks ago. This is personally the root of MY reason for weight issues. And of course, these issues manifested themselves in a lack of self control when it comes to food, a desire for food to deal with emotional issues, and just an excessive unhealthy enjoyment of food.
My mother is a severe alcoholic. When I was young, she was able to keep herself together with a job and a car, and we would move around to various low cost housing or live with different men. I was always very aware of her addiction though, I'd find the bottles and it caused my parents' divorce. I was alone for most of my childhood, I'm an only child, and she would work late so after school I was home by myself. I never really had the opportunity to practice eating healthy or exercising. I was a smart kid, I knew which foods were good for me and which ones were not, but nobody ever helped me practice healthy habits. There was one entire summer vacation where I sat at home inside alone every single day. A 9 year old kid, at home during summer, watching daytime TV by herself. That's pretty pitiful. I fed myself the only way I knew how, I knew how to make macaroni and cheese, we could afford it, so I ate a lot of it. Over time, I found comfort and entertainment in food. I was bored and unstimulated and probably depressed, food provided an outlet. I was happy and comfortable when I was eating.
As I got older, and went off to boarding school at 15 (like I said, I was a smart kid), I was yet again on my own having to make my own decisions. I could go out to restaurants, eat any food in the dining hall, buy my own candy, it was great. About this time, since she no longer had to be responsible for me, my mom fell apart. Lost her car, lost her job, and floated around to various men.
During college, I drank like a normal college kid does, and everyone warned me that I had the alcoholic gene and I should be careful. I understood this, but alcohol never really did it for me. Sure, I've gotten drunk and had fun a few times, and I don't mind a beer in the right situation, but I have never felt a desire to turn to alcohol for comfort. Because food was my comfort. If I was sad, I would eat. If I was stressed, anxious, happy, bored, relaxed...I would eat. Food is my addiction. I do have an addictive personality, but food was my drug of choice where my mother chose alcohol.
The last I have heard about my mother was she was in jail for awhile and is now living at a homeless shelter. She just couldn't kick her addiction, and it will most certainly kill her. I am proud that I have gotten control of my addiction. I know I'll always struggle with it, and I'll always have to understand that food is a balancing act for me. Healthy and nutritious food that I can enjoy versus food that I'm devouring to find some comfort.
Whew, sorry for the long post. This has become kind of a reflective thread for me, lol. I don't normally talk about myself so much, haha!
05-02-2010, 01:00 PM
Mkendrick, it sounds like you have done a fantastic job not only just freeing yourself of extra weight but also freeing yourself of so much emotional baggage. You should be very proud of yourself. Keep it up! Hold on to those lessons you learned, girl. I'm so glad that this experience has been so positive for you!
05-02-2010, 02:24 PM
I hear ya on that! How long did it take for you to lose the weight? were you on any specific diet plan? I'm new here by the way so excuse all the questions
05-02-2010, 04:19 PM
luckyinlife83, first of all, welcome to 3FC and I'm sure you'll find answers to questions you didn't even know you had on here...I certainly have! I got serious about weight loss for the first time in my life (after wanting to lose weight since I was aware of fat people/thin people) in November. So I guess it has taken me about 6 months to lose the weight that I've lost. It's a respectable feat that I am proud of, but not record breaking weight loss speed or anything, lol.
I wasn't really on a specific diet plan. For the first 35lbs or so, I was mentally adding up calories and trying to stay under 1500cal/day. It wasn't exact at all though, I didn't measure, didn't restrict foods, and I didn't record or anything. I wasn't even exercising. But I was actively practicing new healthy habits such as portion control, resisting my old favorites (sweets and fast food) or enjoying my old favorites in strict moderation. I was experimenting with new cooking techniques and new foods. Eating more vegetables instead of pastas and breads. I eventually plateaued at around 150 for about a month. I started exercising and now exercise quite a bit; I think it's silly that it took me so long to get started, but oh well. I also had to start calorie counting for real so I signed up for caloriecount.com and started planning my meals. I'm still not very obsessive about calorie counting, I only measure some things and I'm not too exact about it, I don't obsess about counting calories for everything that goes in my mouth, but I do account for 95% of it.
Basically, I approached the whole thing with a relaxed sort of attitude that I knew I could maintain. I also am very serious about letting myself indulge and enjoy the things that I like. I am eating a chocolate bar this very moment, in fact, lol.
05-02-2010, 06:50 PM
Sounds like you are strong and smart enough to handle any issues that may come up over your weight loss with your guy...congratulations!
05-02-2010, 06:58 PM
Dang. Dude your post really touched home. I read the entire thing from start to finish, and I relate to you. Both of my parents are alcoholics, but my mom is also mentally ill. My upbringing was creepily similar to yours. Except my rents split up and I had to move in with my dad in high school, and he had no idea how to feel a teenager so he bought whatever I wanted (mac and cheese, ice cream, hot pockets for days, soda), so I gained like, 80 pounds in 3 years.
I wish I'd stopped gaining where you did, but I dunno. I just didn't know when to stop. I changed completely, I used to be shy but spunky and bubbly and weird. I liked talking to people and going out. I became a shy, timid recluse when I gained all that weight. The only thing that is bringing the old me back is weight loss. The more I lose, the more I feel my old carefree self coming back. The more I lose, the more I deal with my past, or rather the easier it is to deal with it. Because when I felt like...worthless, it was hard dealing with stuff that upset me I guess.
Thanks for posting this, and congrats. You're boyfriend is seriously going to pounce on you.
05-03-2010, 12:20 AM
Sometimes that's how it goes - we want to lose weight initially for reasons that are all about the surface, but unexpectedly, as we lose, it becomes about so much more. Ideally it wouldn't require being thin first to become more social, energetic, and open to new experiences, but sometimes things in life kind of happen backwards. We can go after a goal for the wrong reasons, and achieve it, only to find that we got so much more out of it than we had even imagined initially.
05-03-2010, 12:24 AM
Reading this made me really happy. I've been having some motivation issues of late and I keep wondering if suddenly reaching a new number on the scale can really make me happy. And like most things, just hearing one person say that it did, in fact, make them happier as well as healthier, is enough reassurance for me. Thanks so much for that, and keep up the fantastic work! You are looking so great and really are such an inspiration :)
06-08-2010, 02:56 AM
I totally agree with you! Let's face it. Society often curse the overweights. I am not saying that people who have extra pounds don't look good. I just think that losing weight makes one more acceptable to society while achieving that inner satisfaction and confidence.
06-08-2010, 08:01 PM
I agree with your post as well.
Congratulations on a job well done. There are 2 times to enjoy childhood- your own and that with children. The second time is under your control unlike the first.:hug:
06-08-2010, 08:14 PM
yay! good for you! :)
06-09-2010, 12:23 AM
:hug: You have accomplished so much! You have dealt with alot of issues and changed yourself for the better. Great Job!
06-09-2010, 12:40 AM
I don't have much to add, shocking I know, but I wanted to pop in and officially say congratulations! It's been a pleausure reading your posts through this journey.
06-09-2010, 12:03 PM
Congratulations! I so glad you are brimming with happiness from your accomplishment. It is a wonderful thing to be eating better and being more active. And looking and feeling fit is really fun. I think all of us are trying to make our lives better by taking care of our health and bodies. And we can gain happiness by being healthier.
For me, I am thrilled with my weight loss, but I am very confused about living in a new body. This will take some getting used to. I wish I could articulate what I am feeling, but I feel like I'm living in a foreign country. It's not bad, just different.
Also, I'm 40 and I really notice how my body has changed in the last 20 years. I am at high school weight now, but I have cellulite in places I've never had before. I have it on my arms, belly, and back. It's weird to see. And I have a lot less muscle too. So, I need to focus on strength training and taking calcium for my bones.