About Fogdog's Weight Loss

Don't Focus on the Goal...

If you've followed this blog you know that I've struggled for many years with improving my health. I've finally reached a point where I've managed to maintain a small amount of success. Now it's time to take the next step, but I believe it requires a new way of thinking.

Instead of trying to get healthy, why not shift focus toward learning how to build healthy habits instead. Follow me as I try to teach myself how to Engineer healthy habits that will allow me to take my health to the next level. Let's see where this experiment goes!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Will You be Happy After Losing Weight?

“I will truly be happy once I lose all this weight!” Have you ever said that to yourself? I have, and I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who have as well. The question is, is it really true? If you are unhappy right now what makes you think that will change just because your weight is different? The answer has to do with how our minds visualize our new, thinner selves.

When you think of being thin, what do you see? Do you see the same you now only in smaller clothes? Hell no! I bet there isn’t a soul on this planet that thinks that way when they visualize themselves being thin. What you see is a better you. You see yourself being successful at work, at love, and at life. You see a confident person taking charge of their life. You see an adventurer scaling mountains and kayaking through rapids. You see the perfect you.

The problem is this; losing weight does not turn you into the perfect person. Now granted it does improve your self esteem and your confidence, but if you are not happy right now, you may not be any happier when you are thin. In fact, I believe this is one big reason why some people lose a LOT of weight only to gain it back shortly after. Have you ever met someone who lost more than 50 pounds and then gained it all back? Have you ever wondered how in the hell they could do that? Did you think they must be nuts for allowing it to happen? Have you ever vowed that if you ever lose the weight, you will NEVER let it come back? Do you think they ever really intended for that to happen?  My guess is no, they did not intend to gain all the weight back.  Something else must have contributed to it, and that something else must have had a really strong influence in that person's life.

Well maybe the underlying issue wasn’t the weight; maybe they were just unhappy to begin with. I believe many of these people were overweight because they were unhappy, not unhappy because they were overweight. When the weight came off the unhappiness remained. That perfect self they envisioned didn’t appear, and as a result, they ended up gaining it right back because they didn't get to the root of the problem.

In fact, losing the weight could even be the source of additional unhappiness in your life:
  • Do you have friends or relatives that share the same habits as you? What if they don’t lose weight too? Will they harbor resentment toward you? Will you harbor resentment toward them? What if it’s your spouse? Will you still feel the same way about them if you change and they don’t?
  • How about your job? It’s cool to get all those compliments, but what else comes with it? Will other co-workers start to see you as a threat? Will the relationships at work change just because you weigh less? Will your boss expect more of you now that you’ve accomplished something tough?
  • How about maintaining your weight; do you think that might stress you out? Chances are if you were once severely overweight, you will most likely never be able to eat like someone that was born with a higher metabolism. Is it fair that some of your healthy friends can eat like pigs once in a while and not gain anything, but you can’t because it would instantly add 5 pounds to your weight? What will happen if you do gain 5 pounds; how will that make you feel?

Now let me say, I am not trying to argue that you shouldn’t lose weight because it might make you unhappy.  The point I'm trying to make is that the same issues you had before may still be there and new issues may also arise (it's called LIFE!)

You need to take a look at yourself and determine if  you are unhappy right now because you are overweight, or is being overweight one of the results of you being unhappy. Take some time to really think about it, the answer might not be as obvious as you think.

If you discover that you are unhappy, then take steps to fix the unhappiness while you lose the weight. Don’t put off one in favor of the other, you can work on improving your happiness and work on losing weight at the same time. Use you success in one to build confidence in the other.

Think about what your new life really will be like when you lose the weight. Think about you current relationships; how will they change? Think about what you really will look like; will your style change or just your shirt size? What new activities do you think you might try? What old habits will remain no matter what you do? Try to get a true picture of what you will be like instead of a mythical vision of the perfect you.

Losing a lot of weight is a big change and can have a huge impact on your quality of life. With that in mind, however, don’t just assume that a positive change in one part of your life will automatically bleed into other parts of your life and make you perfect. Accomplishing your goal of losing weight is great way to start becoming a better you, but it is only one part of the equation. Think about those other parts and deal with the problems now. If you don’t, you might not like the new, thinner you.

Will you be happy after you lose the weight?


  1. Hey :o)
    You bring up some excellent points!
    I will be happier when i lose weight. I'm happy now, but what will make me happier is the ability to live each day with more energy and gusto from living a healthy life. Because i'll be able to do regular stuff that i can't do now. More confidence and quality of life can't help but improve your happiness.

  2. Great points. I am happy for the most part. I have issues that need worked on and things I need to improve on. My journey is not just of weight loss, but of also of striving to better myself everyday. I've lost the weight before, and gained it back when I became pregnant with my second. I know exactly what you mean by how your relationships with others changes once you lose the weight. I found out that true friends support you, big or small, down whatever road you choose as long as it makes you happy. Friends like that are hard to find. I did learn a lot about how strong I am.

  3. An excellent and unique post. In my case, I started feeling better and more energetic as soon as I started this thing on New Years Day because I began feeding my body more of what it wants and needs rather than constantly filling it with junk. So in that way, it has brought me some happiness before I've even achieved my goals. But I also tend to be a stress eater, and you are right, the things that cause the stress won't be fixed by losing weight.

  4. I really liked this post... I've often examined myself to try and figure out JUST what is my problem. You see, I've always been a pretty happy person and very positive and upbeat. As I deal with my weight and try to become more healthy I realize that that in itself may be part of the problem. You see if I were unhappy with myself and depressed about my size maybe I'd be more successful in doing something about it. If I worried about what other people thought or said maybe I'd have more motivation to succeed in my weight loss journey... I dont know the answer but I do appreciate your post...