rachael_estapaIt’s not insane to believe that once you lose weight, life gets better.

For years, I’ve heard stories from those who have shed pounds, recharged their lives, never felt better, and speak so confidently that once the weight was gone, they became the person they were meant to be: a thin and happy one. I do not doubt their happiness when they share their story but I also don’t believe that by losing weight, they have some superior knowledge about happiness that us heavier folk don’t.

How do I know this? Because I’ve been fat and I’ve been thinner. And I’ve been at my happiest, heavier.

7 Comments to
My Weight Loss Journey: I’m Happier & Heavier

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  1. I’ve walked a similar road, and found pretty much the same thing. Spending every day obsessing about calories and exercise is not a life. Life expanded so much for me when I started putting my energies into new friendships and learning new skills. I’m a little heavier now, but so much happier, overall. I still want to work a little on getting my weight closer to the “healthy” zone, but the bathroom scale no longer controls my life.

  2. It’s called a lifestyle change – stop eating the crap – sugar, processed junk, fast food, massive amounts of breads and then get out and exercise any way that makes you happy and you don’t have to count calories. Make a lifestyle change and don’t think of it as temporary – food should not be needed to make you happy. And if you tell me your doing this and still keeping up that much weight I’ll call bologna and it maybe best for you to see a nutritionist (not a calorie counter). It’s you who is obsessing over this and the reason others are able to be successful and you can’t. You will not be super thin but you will be at a much healthier weight than you are.

    • Then explain me. I have Celiac disease and a separate allergy (think anaphylaxis) to wheat itself, so I absolutely cannot eat bread or fast foods, nor most processed food. My food can’t have even been made on the same equipment with gluten-containing grains or I will become very sick, forget “cheating”. Her journey could easily be my journey, I spent my early 20′s constantly on Weight Watchers and miserable. No matter how thin I got I never magically felt better, and eventually all the weight came back on and then some. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism but even after treatment the weight didn’t come back off. I exercise DAILY. The bulk of my meals are vegetables, with portion sizes of meat/fish and dairy, one or two apples/pears/tangerines daily, and occasional rice or quinoa. Heck I eat homemade Kimchi for breakfast. Sugar and I don’t get along, I tend toward reactive hypoglycemia so low GI foods are my friends and I essentially eat a “diabetic diet” with modifications for my allergy. Once a week I might have some maple syrup or honey. If I want “bread” I have to mix several kinds of rice/sorghum flours and root starches to bake it from scratch and hope *this time* it doesn’t come out like a brick. I’ve scrapped more loaves than I’ve eaten, baking palatable yeast bread without wheat/gluten is difficult, even with my proficient cooking skills. I absolutely HAVE to eat right, with the nutrient absorption issues that come with Celiac, I can’t afford to eat junk even if I can find any that’s safe. Yet, here I am hovering around 200 lbs (I’m supposed to be 170 by my height/frame). I started CrossFit a while back to ramp up my exercise, but all that happened was a 10 lb gain of muscle and fluid. The fat never budged. After perplexing two doctors and several trainers at the CrossFit gym, I finally decided that the number on the scale was arbitrary and useless for me. My health was otherwise fine (great cholesterol and bp #’s) and would continue to be as long as I avoid gluten in my diet and stay active, so I learned to accept my body for what it is. I only get one body. Dieting and making myself miserable was not doing it any favors, all that stress accelerates the aging process and invites illness. I was never more sick than when I was thin. Stop perpetuating the myth that people with weight issues are all lazy junk food eaters. It’s BS and it’s insulting to those of us who try very hard to keep healthy, weight is so much more complex than you make it out to be. Please educate yourself before spouting off old tired diet-industry rhetoric.

    • Your comment is so full of media brain washing and prejudice I can barely stand it. I’ve worked with registered dietitian/certified diabetes educators for six year. Registered dietitian is the word you’re looking for here.

      But, let me tell you, that “don’t eat this or that and add fiber and cut out bread” and all that is the most generic advice and sadly it doesn’t work for everyone. The body is a much more complicated thing than you realize. I have one dietitian who weighs in at a whopping 103 lbs and is 5’7″ and she cannot put on weight to save her life. She hasn’t had time to exercise in the passed three years due to giving birth to twins. That’s not a media friendly story, because usually the story is about how a woman gives birth to twins and can’t lose all her pregnancy weight, not the other way around! She was always thin, but it’s getting worse.

      Secondly, there is new research concerning the microbes in the stomach showing that some people have more efficiant microbes than others. What does that mean? It means that they digest high fiber just like they would a simple carbohydrate. How many times do we see people doing everything they can and nothing changes for them. I’ve seen veggans who need to lose a good 50-60 pounds.

      In the end, I think you missed the key point of this article: thin doesn’t make you happy. Being thin is just like getting married, at the end of the story the prince and princess do not live in the castle and live happily ever after. You get lapband surgery only to discover the vast amounts of skin that remain still keep you from wearing that bikini you always dreamed of. Or you have become so obsessed with weight you end up causing your kids to have an eating disorder. The world looks upon you with judgmental eyes and you hate yourself after years of bullying. That doesn’t go away. Maybe it manifests in addiction later such as drugs, alcohol, or even sex. Also, people who have always been heavy still see themselves as “the fat kid” even once the weight is gone, due to the emotional significance our society puts on being over weight.

      The key here is first you have love yourself for yourself. Then work on losing weight but do it for your health and not as some idea that “if I wave this magic wand and become skinny all my dreams will come true.” You completely missed that point. This story is about the emotional stability a person needs to be a functioning human being, and why judging based on weight is just as bad as judging on skin color.

  3. Weight loss does not make you feel happy, but makes you enjoy good health and a better life.
    Losing weight gives you the stuff that has been achieved happiness.
    We can not deny that the person who is overweight can not do many things like running and playing and swimming etc.

    • Fit can equal fat; it’s true, as hard as that might be to understand. As the author, I’ve been both thinner and heavier — today, heavier, I’m in better shape than I was thinner. I run 20+ miles a week; yoga 3x a week and more.

      My story was to show that happiness is learned through taking a hard look at what you’re doing in your life and if it’s not bringing you much joy or pleasure, to scrap it and change it up.

      For me, it was ditching dieting and focusing on sustainable wellness — and I’m happy AND healthy.

  4. This article made me think about all those people that think that fat people can’t be happy. We, fat people, can travel, get the job of our dreams, feel love and joy, achieve things, enjoy life, get married, have kids, dance, swimm, laugh, have fun and many other things. I have personally been a happy person and I have never quit on the idea of being skinny someday, but in the mean time I have fun.

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