For so many years, I equated achieving my ideal weight with achieving happiness. I believed they were synonymous. If I could just reach my perfect weight, hold on to it and never let it go, than I would finally be content. It was an endless struggle, because each time I went on a new crazy diet or excessively exercised to the point of where I wanted my weight to be, it was impossible to stay there. It never occurred to me that 1. perhaps my ideal weight was not what was natural for my own body and/or 2. perhaps this path to happiness was a completely delusional way of thinking.
So this battle and quest for happiness through weight continued. It was always the “next” thing that would lead me to happiness. Eliminating processed, refined foods. When that didn’t work, it was eating only fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Next it was the detoxification diet: eat clean, eat unhealthy, and repeat the cycle. After that it was to do more yoga and meditate more. Run farther. Run faster. Diet pills. A holistic Ayurveda cleanse. Even hypnosis. Surely SOMETHING would allow me to lose the weight once and for all and I’d be “cured” and happy again. More attempts at the detox diet; this would be my final ticket out of my misery. A $400, 2 week, monitored diet with shakes, colon cleansing pills, food elimination… Wrong. Wrong. And wrong.
Where did all of the struggle to find happiness at my ideal weight lead me? It didn’t lead me anywhere. Instead, it left me feeling hopeless, frustrated, angry, depressed, and still wanting to lose the 30 pounds I’d gained and lost repeatedly over the years. It was only when I finally stopped believing in the myth that the number on the scale determined my happiness that I surrendered the battle that I would never win. When I finally listened to the voice inside me that said, “there has GOT to be another way”…that’s when I began to pursue a different path to happiness. A path lined with love, self-acceptance, and a gentle compassion towards myself. To learn to love and accept my body in the moment-no matter what weight I was, that’s when things started to change. I allowed myself to be softer and more gentle in my approach to my weight; I stopped weighing myself, I bought clothes that fit me at my current size, and I refrained from believing those thoughts that dictate anything relating weight to happiness.
Of course, there are days when I go down that track of “If only I weighed this much, then…” then what? I would be happy? I already know now that my happiness comes from other things in my life. From hiking in the mountains, going to a restorative yoga class, or cooking a delicious, healthy meal for myself. Contentment stems from being in the moment and taking the time to nourish my mind, body, and soul. I know now that thinking we will be happy once we lose those last 5, 10, 15 pounds….just isn’t true. So, don’t “weight”! Live your life now, in this moment, with the body you have-no matter what size or weight you are.