I’m kidding… about ending it there. NOT about the title. That is no joke. Losing weight truly will not make you happy—or even happier—in life.
No, I’m not a medical or mental health professional. No, I’m not discussing any potential benefits to your body’s functionality. I speak purely from experience as someone who spent over a decade of my life desperate to either lose weight or maintain a very low weight. So great was my desperation that I developed an eating disorder that nearly ruined me. You can read about that battle and my recovery here.
But friends, this message is not about eating disorders. This is for ANYONE who thinks weight loss equals more happiness.
Spoiler alert. It doesn’t.
The reality of my weight loss journey
Wayyyy back in high school when I started my first diet, I believed losing a few pounds would somehow make me a better version of myself. How? Well, in the back of my mind, I was certain being skinny would make me less shy… more confident… less introverted… more extroverted… less awkward… more normal… less average… more popular…
Not only did I think these changes would result, I equated all of it with happiness. Does any of this resonate with you?
So, I lost weight. Even more than the few pounds I initially set out to lose. I was skinny. But, do you think it brought me the resulting happiness I expected?
The answer is NO. In so many ways, it brought me the complete opposite.
In high school and college, I became hyper focused on my weight. I was more anxious. More private. More critical. More nervous at social events with food. More desperate to look perfect, or what I saw as the perfect ideal.
Eventually, in my 20s, I developed a full-blown eating disorder—which most certainly did not bring me happiness. It was the most miserable period of my life.
You can read my thoughts on how disordered eating can become an eating disorder here.
How I felt at my skinniest weight
While I generally avoid talk of sizes because that is fuel for comparison and can be triggering, I am going to mention a size to emphasize my point here.
At my skinniest weight, I fit into a size 00. Basically the smallest size possible.
Do you want to know what I remember about being that size?
I remember feeling paranoid that my pants wouldn’t fit the next day. I remember silently screaming at the patches of cellulite still visible on my thighs no matter how much weight I lost. I remember still not feeling 100% comfortable in a bathing suit. And I remember all the time I wasted thinking about food, avoiding food, fixating on whatever I had to do to stay that skinny.
Notice I said nothing about being happy. Because I wasn’t.
Feelings about weight
Today, I don’t know my exact weight. I haven’t known for years. It’s not that I don’t think I could handle it. I simply don’t care to know because it doesn’t matter. Whatever that number is, it doesn’t dictate my happiness.
If I had to guess, it’s possible I weigh more than I have in my entire life. And guess what? I’m happy. Do I have days of insecurity? Oh yes. I’m human! Do I let those days affect my happiness? Not anymore.
My happiness is rooted in the truth of who I know I am. What does weight have to do with that?
Who I am
Now, you might be asking, “What is this truth of who you know you are?” Great question!
I am unconditionally loved by the creator of the universe. God designed me with a unique personality, gifts, and a story to share with the world. Living that purpose brings me joy every single day!
If I let my joy and happiness depend on how I feel about my physical appearance on a day-to-day basis, that doesn’t leave me with unshakable confidence. Right?! I mean, who on this earth can say they like what they see in the mirror every single day?
Instead, I trust God as the source of my happiness, knowing that He is unwavering. His love doesn’t change. He has overcome the cares of this world. And my eternity in heaven is secure.
That’s a steady foundation for happiness. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my happiness to feel like a roller coaster. I want to count on it every single day. There’s strength in steadyness.
As Nehemiah 8:10 proclaims, “…the joy of the Lord is my strength.”
Final thoughts on weight and weight loss
God did not define the ideal body in the Bible. He did, however, talk a lot about idols. And here’s the reality: ANYTHING that consumes you and takes your focus off God is an idol. Fixating on weight or weight loss can easily fall into that category. I let that happen to me once, and I won’t let it happen again.
If you’re reading this today, and you don’t have a relationship with God, there is application for you, too. Believing that a smaller body is the key to happiness will only disappoint you. It will not bring you the happier life it seems to promise. Do not let the pursuit of weight loss consume you to the point that you miss out on the true joys of life.
Again, I am not a medical professional. I’m not here to tell you that weight loss is good, bad, or otherwise. If you take one thing away from this post, it simply goes back to the title:
Losing weight will not make you happy. It won’t solve all of your problems.
If that is what you’re truly seeking, a skinnier body ain’t it.