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Often people believe that if they lose those few extra kilograms that it will lead to them feeling happier with themselves and their lives. A recent study shows that this isn’t necessarily the case. The study, published in PLOS ONE (2014: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0104552), included data from 1,979 overweight or obese adults who were involved in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. All participants were regarded as free from any long-standing or serious illness or depression.

The study was carried out over a four-year period and participants were separated into three different groups; weight loss, minimal weight change and weight gain. The researchers followed up with the groups to see if there had been any change in well-being or mood.

Healthy Harry Says: 

Interestingly, the participants who had an increase in their depressed moods were from the weight loss group. The proportion with low well-being also stemmed from the weight loss group. This went to show that focusing solely on losing weight to gain happiness and well-being, actually is a disservice to the person. Some tips to promote quality of life that don’t involve looking at the scales are;

  • Act as if you are already there – Start acting and believing that you are already where you want to be. You already are that person, living in your ideal body, at your ideal body weight, and start doing the things that lean, fit people do. This helps you to get focussed on the present moment, and stops the mindset trap that you can’t be happy right now!
  • Educate yourself on all aspects of healthy living, not just what relates to losing weight. For example; track gains in strength, use before and after photos, take measurements. When you hit little milestones, celebrate them. Tell your friends and family of your achievements. Get some well-deserved positive feedback!
  • Stop the negative self-talk and start to be and feel thankful – Instead of looking at yourself and feeling unhappy with those few extra kilos or the cellulite that has appeared on your thighs, look at the things you should be grateful for. Stop the negative self-talk and start being thankful for the fact that you have your health, you have two, strong, capable legs that you use every day.

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