3 Tough Lessons Learned After Losing 140 Pounds
Physically losing weight wasn’t all that hard for me.
Yeah, it took discipline, commitment, and hours upfront to learn about proper exercise and nutrition strategies, but once things got rolling — they stayed rolling.
Like everyone else I had hiccups and “weight loss stalls” from time to time, but my weight dropped off pretty consistently.
What I’ve really struggled were some of the mental components of losing weight.
Most people (including myself) assume that all of their problems and worries will disappear once they lose the excess weight they’ve been carrying around.
While losing weight is definitely a life-changing experience, It doesn’t guarantee ultimate happiness and satisfaction.
After losing over 140 in the past few years, I’ve learned a few tough but necessary lessons about losing weight…
These lessons aren’t inherently bad, but it’s important that you become aware of them so that you don’t get false expectations about what losing weight will do for you.
(warning: this post is more serious in nature and won’t include the “zingers” and fart joke humor I typically include to distract people from my subpar writing)
The 3 Lessons Learned After Losing Weight
1. You’ll Still Have a Fat Kid Mindset
Yah, you’ll be physically healthier, but you will probably continue to have “fat kid tendencies.”
You see, we have strong psychological and social connections with food.
Some of these connections are good as they promote culture, love, and fellowship with one another.
On the other hand, some of our connections with food can be bad and result in uncontrollable cravings, overeating, or more severe eating disorders. (aka “fat kid tendencies”)
Unfortunately, losing weight alone won’t fix these psychological problems for the majority of people. There will always be underlying mental issues that cause them to struggle with overeating.
It’s true that “eating too much” is the reason people gain weight. However, overeating is usually serving as a catalyst to much larger mental struggles.
My advice is to simply become aware of this from the beginning.
I neglected the mental and psychological reasoning behind my weight and because of this, I struggled with staying lean and being happy once I lost it.
It has taken me much longer to developed a genuinely good relationship with my mind and body (and I am still working on it to this day!).
Before starting your weight loss journey, be sure to focus on both the physical and mental aspects of your unwanted weight.
This will undoubtedly improve your ability to maintain a healthy body once you lose the excess fat you have.
2. You Might Not be Satisfied With Your Results
I’m sure you have a role model with the “ideal” physique you want to achieve.
For me, it was the physique athlete Steve Cook
While our facial characteristics are identical (joking), He obviously has a body structure and muscle development that’s much more suited for competing than my own.
When I first reached my goal weight, I was disappointed with my results.
I had loose skin, a wider bone structure, and less muscle development than my fitness role model.
It took time for me to accept and understand that everyone has different genetics and physical shapes.
Setting a goal to look exactly like someone else is never a good idea, and will likely result in disappointment.
Instead, focus on creating the best version of yourself. This will provide motivation that is lasting and realistic.
Maybe you aren’t destined to have rock hard abs or the “perfect” booty — who cares!
You can still strive to live a healthier life and build a body to be proud of.
I know it’s cliche, but looks aren’t as important as most of us think. Plus, leaning down for aesthetic purposes alone is not sustainable in the long-run. Intrinsic motivation is far more powerful for long-term weight loss success.
3. You’ll Still Be You
People approach losing weight as this magical thing that will completely change their lives.
They fall for the “If/Then” fallacy.
“IF I lose weight, THEN I will be more productive”
“IF I can fit into size X clothing, THEN people will like me more”
This doesn’t just apply to weight loss either — we frequently delay making changes in hopes that our future selves will do it for us.
“IF I get that job, THEN I’ll be happy.”
“IF I get a degree, THEN I will be able to follow my passion.”
“IF I save now for retirement, THEN I can start living later in life”
Why wait for some future event? Who’s to say you can’t be happy NOW?
You’ll probably find that simply weighing less doesn’t change much, if anything in regards to happiness and fulfillment.
If you put all your time and effort into a future promise of happiness, I can guarantee that you’ll be dissatisfied with the outcome.
Here is my suggestion: Don’t treat your weight loss as a destination, learn to respect the fact that fitness is a lifelong journey.
By doing this, you can simultaneously work to improve your happiness while losing weight.
Also, don’t focus on weight loss alone. Work to fix the mental blockers holding you back from happiness in the first place (these are things that go deeper than displeasure with your weight).
I hope this post wasn’t too much of a downer :(.
Know this — the number of positive outcomes that come along with losing weight is more than worth the commitment!
However, it’s important to be realistic and understand that losing weight won’t fix EVERYTHING in your life.
Living a healthy life can help you work towards achieving happiness and acceptance, but it won’t be the “end-all-be-all”.
Originally published at www.envisionbeingthin.com on June 23, 2016.