If you define yourself as “someone who needs to lose weight,” when that problem is solved, who are you?
~ Catherine L. Taylor
In my work as a weight loss and life coach, I encounter many clients (mostly women) who believe in the “happily ever after” myth of weight loss. They are certain that once they lose all their weight, they will find the man of their dreams and/or all their other life problems will be solved.
In fact, they’re certain that being thinner will give them the confidence and self-esteem to have anything their heart desires. They also tend to believe that food and weight will no longer be something they need to think about. They will eat whatever they want and it just won’t be a problem. Unfortunately, fairy tales are just that…fairy tales.
Losing weight and looking better can certainly boost your confidence. Unfortunately, once the initial excitement of it wears off, you’re still left with you – with many of the same self-limiting beliefs, fears, and insecurities that you had before you lost the weight.
If you have a fear of rejection or intimacy, fear of being seen, or a core belief of defectiveness or not being good enough, this will not change just because you’ve lost weight. If you tend to be shy, introverted, or socially awkward, you’re not going to magically turn into an outgoing social butterfly now that you’re thin.
If you lose all the weight but don’t feel good in your own skin, is that success? That’s why I stress you have to work on your inner self right along with your outer self, because otherwise you really haven’t gained much.
You need to do the inner work to release the beliefs and fears that caused you to gain or hold onto the weight. Otherwise, you’ll quickly regain the weight due to your own internal discomfort and cognitive dissonance.
Losing weight often creates a whole new set of problems to deal with. I receive letters from women all the time telling me how they’ve lost up to 100 lbs. but nothing has changed inside of them; they still feel fat and they still hate themselves. Or now they’ve found other things about themselves to hate, like loose sagging skin, or the fact that losing weight has made them look older, or left them feeling very exposed and vulnerable. Or they complain about how friends and family treat them differently.
Happiness is a state of mind that isn’t dependent on what you look like or what’s happening in your outer world. If you didn’t know who you were before you lost weight, what makes you think you will know after? Getting to know yourself is an inside job; it has nothing to do with the appearance of your body.
If you’ve identified yourself as a “fat person,” then losing that identity can be very threatening and disorienting. It takes time to let go of that identify and find out who your real self is. You’re more than a body, your true self or spirit is eternal and unchanging; it’s been with you through fat and thin, happy and sad, and all the stages in between.
If you think you will no longer have to think about food and weight once you hit your goal weight, you will be sadly disillusioned. Weight loss is the easy part; maintenance takes real skill and dedication. It’s what happens after you’ve reached your goal, and too often, people think they’re now on Easy Street. Unfortunately, Easy Street leads right back to where you came from – being overweight.
I don’t mean to be a downer, but life will always be a struggle. Why? Because all humans struggle with life. Happily ever after only occurs in fairy tales. Life is a journey with its ups and downs, triumphs and sorrows. You don’t get one without the other. Being thin won’t spare you from the essential pain of life.
Weight is managed, never cured. Weight management is based on your daily attitudes, beliefs, and choices. It never ends. It’s a day to day journey and all that is required is to show up and participate fully. When you can accept that, you’ve moved through the biggest hurdle: choosing reality over fantasy. And reality is better than any fairy tale – it’s real – and it’s yours to shape as you wish.
Are you ready to make your fantasy real?
Contact me for a free consultation!
This woman’s story perfectly illustrates why weight loss is not the cure all for a happy life!
In my first post, Before, 3 years ago, I said “I’m not to After yet, but I’m closer to After than to Before.”
I now weigh 117 – 120 pounds (depending on the day), and standing at 5-foot 6-inches, that measurement means that After is very, very here. But, before you congratulate me, dear readers…if I have any…and dear friends and family who I know follow this blog… I have to come clean with you: I don’t feel like I’m at After. I’m terrified of being at After. And, I don’t like that After is here.
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