I hear that a lot. All the time. Every day. I must be so happy now that I’ve accomplished my weight loss goal. “Of course” is how I respond. Of course, I am happy that I set a goal, worked hard and achieved that goal. I set my sights on something I wanted and I worked hard to get it. So if you are asking if I am happy about that, then yes, I am happy about that. I am proud of myself. I have a faith in myself that I never had before. A realization that I can achieve my goals if I apply myself and work hard. An understanding of my own strength and power. A knowledge that I am capable.
But I don’t think that is the happy that everyone is asking about. They want to know if I am happy now with my life. If losing weight has somehow made my life better. They wonder, if magically, my life has somehow transformed into endless rainbows and sunshine. I think they wonder if my life is better now. They wonder if I am now living the fantasy life that I’ve only ever allowed myself to think about when I was alone, in the dark, ready to close my eyes and drift off to sleep.
The answer is no. And this is not a pessimistic, down in the dumps, why me, no. But more of a ‘did I really think my life would be better if my body was different?’
Does anyone think that? Ha, OF COURSE we do!
“I’ll be happy when I lose the last 5 pounds” Or the last 10, or 20 or 50 or 300. It doesn’t matter what the number is. What matters is that we think that somehow losing weight will give us the things we’ve only ever dreamed about. It will not. Life does not magically transform because you look different. At the end of my weight loss journey I had a meltdown and cried to a friend “I thought that everything was going to be different now, but it’s still the same. I am still the same.”
The truth was, even though my body was different, my mind was still a little stuck. Stuck remembering that feeling of helplessness and unhappiness. As I write this, after maintaining my goal weight for many months, I realize now that losing weight was the easy part. Changing my diet = easy. Exercise routine = easy. Transforming my mind = HARD. Discovering self worth = HARDER.
I look in the mirror everyday and I like what I see. But liking who I see is different. Harder. The person I’m looking at doesn’t have a better life. She has a healthier life, but better? Not really. Happy? Sometimes. But, not because I lost weight. But because I discovered that I am capable. And maybe I won’t ever have that fantasy life that I’ve dreamed about, but I can close my eyes at night and know that I have the power to achieve the goals that I set for myself.
My weight loss journey has ended. But the journey of the mind is ongoing. The journey to happiness is a process that takes twists and turns and unexpected detours just when you think you’re headed down the right path. But I like that I can walk that path with a little more ease, knowing that I’m slowly discovering all that I’m truly capable of and worth.