What if happiness was your starting point?

I’ve talked a lot about happiness recently, on social media and in my blog posts. And my webinar on The Science Behind Happiness is later this morning.

Why all the fuss?

A quick review of survey data shows that only about one third of people in the United States report being happy.

With so much control over our personal happiness – 40 percent – it’s discouraging that so few people seem to experience it.

But why do I care?

In my work, I frequently encounter people who think losing weight or fitting into a smaller size will make them happy. The problem is that they pursue weight loss from a place of not being happy. And often from a place of not liking their body, or of actively disliking or hating their body.

I like how my coach, Brooke Castillo, talks about it. She says the best way to pursue anything is from a place of happiness. That we follow our dreams of starting a business, finding a new job or losing weight because we are happy. Not in order to be happy.

Surveys show about one third of people in the US report being happy. But if we control 40% of our personal happiness, why do so few people experience it?
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

If you want to lose weight, consider coming from a place of happiness. How would that change the journey, and the outcome? Here’s what I notice with clients…

  1. When they don’t look to outside things to make them happy, changing their eating and drinking habits is much easier. And it’s more permanent.
  2. When they like their body, their desire is to treat it well. They intentionally develop habits that will bring about their ideal weight.
  3. When they appreciate their body, they don’t wait until they lose weight to look good. They dress nicely for the body they have now, which promotes feeling better, which encourages better habits. It’s an upward spiral.

People tell me they’re afraid that if they’re kind to their body, if they accept their body, they’ll end up settling for being overweight. Not true. That would be apathy.

Two years ago, a client of mine was frustrated that her clothes were tight so she decided to buy a few items, one size up. She wanted to feel her best in order to present well at several upcoming business functions. That act of self-care made a huge difference in how she felt in the moment, and in how she felt about her body. Over the next several months she took off 20lbs and has kept it off for over a year.

The way to reach your ideal weight – and stay there – is to come from a place of already being happy, of liking yourself and your body. It’s because you like it that you want it to be better. It’s because you like yourself that you believe you are worthy of self-care and making yourself a priority.

Doesn’t that sound so much better than beating your body into submission, or white-knuckling your way through one diet after another?

I think so, too.

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