(Welcome to my Weight Loss Tips Series! I lost 115 pounds through diet and exercise and have kept it off for seven years. Now I'd like to share my vast weight loss expertise with you! My articles are for anyone with a lot of weight to lose, or for someone just looking to shed a few pesky pounds. Enjoy!)
Everybody knows that losing weight you need or want to lose can make things a little bit easier - you can wear those jeans you couldn't wear last year, you have an easier time shopping for clothes, physical activities aren't quite as difficult, you don't have to worry so much about your health.
But does weight loss, major or minor, solve all of our problems?
Of course not!
The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to 1.) focus on losing weight through diet, exercise and patience, and 2.) practice becoming who you want to be, heavy or not.
Did getting married solve all your problems? Did landing a good job solve them? Did having kids? Did buying a new car? NO! So why should anyone believe that another major life transition would work miracles?
A recent article on MSNBC.com entitled "Lost Pounds Lead to Burst Fantasy" explores the weight loss experiences of several women who discovered that what they expected out of weight loss and what they ultimately got were sometimes very different things.
The piece highlights a 36-year-old woman named Jen Larsen who used to weigh 316 pounds, and now enjoys a weight of 140, after having bariatric surgery. But of her weight loss she says, â€œIt hasn't solved all my problems or made me a better person, just a littler one. I think fat people are sold a fantasy, and then get no support in the reality, because weâ€™re simply supposed to be grateful that weâ€™re no longer fat,â€ Larsen says.
This statement really bothered me. As someone who knows what it feels like to find happiness through weight loss, and to also discover that weight loss isn't a cure-all, I was really bothered by Jen Larsen's assertion that her "fantasy" about weight loss is someone else's fault.
Sure, shows like "The Biggest Loser" and other media that touts the benefits of exercise, weight loss, or major physical changes often casts weight loss success stories in a happy light, showing people looking thinner, happier, finding love, finding a job that fulfills them, etc.
But I refuse to believe that "society" is telling fat people they just need to get skinny to get happy. That is bull. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that fixing one problem doesn't solve all the problems. If Jen Larsen didn't realize that when she set out to lose over 150 pounds, that's her own responsibility, not the media's or Hollywood's. Frankly, being morbidly obese is usually an emotional issue, not a physical one. At the risk of sounding like an arm-chair psychologist, perhaps Ms. Larsen's propensity to blame others for what she is herself responsible for is part of the emotional issue that contributed to her massive weight gain in the first place.
Another woman in the MSNBC article who lost a lot of weight said she still had a difficult relationship with food after she lost weight. â€œI eat when Iâ€™m bored, when Iâ€™m sad, and thatâ€™s not something that went away with being less heavy."
That's right. Because many people's relationship with food is an emotional one. Not a weight-related or physical one. Losing pounds doesn't mean you lose or alter your entire personality.
This is my long-winded way of saying, if you are planning or hoping to lose weight, have lost weight, or are losing weight - GET REAL ABOUT IT.
It will not solve your problems, it will not change who you are, it will not make you fall in love, and you already know that deep down.
If you have emotional issues, go to therapy, talk to a mentor, find some way to deal with and get real about what's going on in your heart and your head.
Ask yourself, how did I get this heavy to begin with? The answer is always emotional.
Check out some of my other Best Tips for Lasting Weight Loss! And good luck!