Why Losing Weight Won’t Make You Happy

‘Fit’ may be something the health service advises us to be but fit has become aspirational for many more reasons than just our physical well-being. 

Remember the 1990s when ’fit’ became a way to describe someone attractive?

Human beings are designed to be fit as a result of hunting and gathering and living the wild lives we were supposed to live. Except we have evolved. Now, putting food on the table means going out to work or, more recently for many of us, staying in to work. Our creativity and logic and labour are poured into working to achieve the success we need to keep us safe and secure. It’s a very different world from the one humankind first entered but the goal is the same, only the method has changed. Although our way of living often makes it more difficult to stay fit, it is no less necessary. Not only for our health but also because ‘fit’ is still very much seen as a sign of strength, self-confidence and pride. This is further perpetuated by advertising because ‘fit’ is a big business.

Diet culture feeds on insecurities promising quick fixes and weight-loss trends that promise not only to make you slim but make you happy. The fitness industry operates in a similar way by implying that you are not living up to your full potential and that the world will see you differently if you are visibly strong. More recently the wellness industry has crept in. Initially a movement born from the concept of self-love and holistic health, wellness marketing nonetheless made a great deal of money from both its good and not so good intentions.

We speak to you of course as a brand which does preach the rewards of healthy living and keeping fit. What we won’t do though, unlike the uglier side of the wellness world, is tell you that it will make you happy. Here’s the secret - happiness comes first. 

We’ve seen too many people try to lose weight because they believe it is the root of their problems. Or else they believe if they can present themselves to the outside world as they wish to be seen they might start to believe this. We're sorry to tell you that in our experience this never works. Not only does the weight loss rarely stick but even if it does most people find themselves feeling the same on the inside as they did before.

This is because the belief that if you look good you’ll feel good is a myth. In truth, it’s the exact reverse. First, you must love yourself, flaws and all. Because if it’s not how you look that’s making you unhappy then it will only be something else. Like those who replace one addiction with another, the root of the problem is never as simple. Usually, it comes down to self-acceptance.

Only, that’s often an even tougher goal. Hence, it’s about the work you put in. There are many methods we have found useful in getting to a place of accepting and loving yourself. We are a big advocate of journaling, of mindfulness and of spending time with yourself. Mostly, it’s about creating habits. If you’ve formed a habit of looking at yourself in the mirror and focusing on what you don’t like, then try to focus on what it is you do like. Start by being kinder to yourself and also to others because one of the best ways to feel your place in the world is deserved is to make a positive impact.

It’s not easy and inner transformation is an ongoing process. Yet, it is essential because losing weight will never bring you the fullness that truly respecting and loving yourself will.

So what does it mean to be fit? 

Let us tell you what fit is not. Fit is not hungry. Fit is not running on a treadmill because you are trying to escape who you are. Fit is not Slim Fast microwave meals or protein shakes. 

Fit is a service you provide to yourself out of love. It’s picking up those weights because a superhero rages within. It’s running to chase those endorphins. It’s feeling full. It’s preparing a home-cooked meal packed full of nutrition because your body is the temple that hosts you.

This is why the work you do on the inside must be prioritised before the work you do on the outside. Because, although it may not feel like it, the person you most want approval from is yourself, and getting that will only mean something when you consider your own approval worth having.

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