Is there a correlation between weight loss and happiness? At the risk of becoming too philosophic for some, I am going to address this question.
My answer is yes and no. Having a goal and reaching it brings a sense of accomplishment, more confidence, better health and satisfaction, which can result in short term or an increase in happiness. Being more productive in general raises one’s morale. However, unless one is truly at peace with themselves, then true happiness can be elusive. If you think you will be happy everyday once you reach a weight loss mark, then you are mistaken.
In 2013 and 2014, I competed at physique competitions in Culver City, California and Venice, California. For these competitions, I reached my short-term weight loss goals, and I placed first in my age class in one of the competitions. This triumph brought me happiness as I accomplished my goal, learned, and grew as a person through the process.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
However, this happiness was short lived. Weight loss and reaching your weight loss goal is only one aspect of happiness and well-being. How you feel “inside” is of paramount importance to one’s long term happiness, not an external look or weight.
According to a recent survey for “So Fabulous”, a plus-size clothing line from the U.K.-based retailer Littlewoods.com, “[t]here are tons of reasons why you might want to shrink that number on the scale—to get in better shape to boost your overall health, or even to feel fabulous on your wedding day. But if happiness is your goal, know this: losing weight won’t necessarily make you happier.”
The survey asked 2,000 women about their current size, happiness, and body confidence. They found that 49 percent of those whose weight had fluctuated in the past few years were happiest at a size 16 (roughly a size 12 to 14 in the U.S.). Plus, 52 percent of size 6 women (size 2-4 in the U.S.) would prefer to be curvier, while women sized 6 to 10 in the U.K. were more critical of their bodies than women who wore larger sizes. (Womenshealthmag.com)
Happiness is a state of being. Reaching goals only brings a state of temporary happiness, but then what? That happiness slowly dissipates and you need to have another goal, purpose and/or passion to pursue. An external achievement of some goal will not sustain happiness for long.
For example, when one receives a gift that they wanted or buys a new car, this brings them a sense of “happiness”, however this “happiness” slowly dissipates over time. One should enjoy the weight loss journey and love oneself throughout the process and at all times in life.
True happiness is derived from one’s work, passions, good health, overcoming fears and surmounting barriers. It is having goals and aspirations and constantly striving for them. It is inspiring, motivating, helping others and making the world a better place. And last, it is having great relationships with friends, family and people of the world.
One philosopher defined it well, “Happiness, you could say, is the overcoming of not unknowable obstacles, towards a known goal.” (L. Ron Hubbard)
The recipe for a happy and fulfilling life includes keeping your integrity, finding peace within and being authentic. Find your passion, work hard, strive for your goals, create relationships, confront your insecurities and fears, overcome barriers and help others.
As the Dalai Lama once said, “True happiness comes from having a sense of inner peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved by cultivating altruism, love and compassion, and by eliminating anger, selfishness and greed.”