Losing weight is hard. Gaining it is easy. Conversely, losing weight is hard. Gaining it back is emotionally ripping.
But, if you can lose weight and keep it off in the long-term, the primary psychological benefits of losing weight and keeping it off for a year or more begin to affect you emotionally. One of the primary reasons for this is that our bodies are biologically driven to seek food.
This is thanks largely to the fact that the people we evolved from were in a constant state of starvation. Evolution hasn’t caught up to the technology and food abundance we have, and we haven’t taken a step back to look at how we can work with evolution.
Food as a Crutch
Losing weight requires changes in habits and behaviors. Keeping that weight off in the long run requires addressing underlying, and engrained, predispositions to eat, or attitudes about food. Addressing these areas of our psyche allows us to change our attitudes about things like food, exercise, and weight control.
The impactful benefit of losing weight for the long-term is that keeping it off requires us to change our ideas about food. Food is something we consume because we need to survive, and it’s a social lubricant. We eat for a variety of reasons which can include hunger, changes of emotional states, experiencing food feelings, and social obligations as we experience at big family gatherings.
In these instances, food is a crutch along with being a social lubricant. Luckily, long-term weight management and loss becomes one of those teachable moments in life where we learn to put food in its proper place and lose our dependence on its ever-presence and over abundance.
A boost in confidence comes with a coinciding boost in self-esteem. Strictly speaking, you may have the technical knowledge in things like public speaking and driving. However, speaking emotionally, without self-confidence will you have the ability to step up to a podium in front of thousands of people?
Confidence, particularly in yourself, is a requirement to high functioning inside of social structures. Those who lack confidence are more likely to fall victim to bullying, online trolls, and general disregard. Self-confidence is what allows you to speak up, no matter your body type, and say, “I am here. I am worthy.”
It is possible to have high self-confidence and positive body image and be obese. Many models and amazing people do. However, lasting weight loss is generally felt as an accomplishment where an inability to manage our weight or lose extra pounds is often felt as a failure.
Even though being unable to lose weight should never be seen as a failure on your part, that doesn’t change the emotional sting that comes with it. So, it’s reasonable to infer that loss of weight should be seen as an accomplishment no matter the case. Any accomplishment is accompanied by a boost in self-confidence.
Change of perspective
This is a hard benefit to explain properly, and it can only be achieved well enough to have an impact by someone who is speaking from experience.
“My progress is about so much more than a number; my worth is something that can’t be counted. My beauty can’t be written down as a measurement… the difference in how I feel is what matters to me.”
Experiencing weight loss allows us to change the perspective up. What Natalie is talking about here is that she no longer counts her pounds as she loses them, nor does she watch the scale. Once you lose weight, and are able to keep it off, you lose that need to focus on every pound, every inch, and every belt hole you lose in the process (McCain, N. (2018, July 22). I don’t count the pounds I’ve lost, I count the moments I’ve gained. Retrieved from Popsugar Fitness: https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Emotional-Benefits-Losing-Weight-44950724).
Losing weight and keeping it off creates lasting gratitude for your ability to do things you were not previously able to do, the confidence to use your voice and be seen, and the perspective to gain an understanding of what’s going to matter to you.