Is there a connection between happiness and weight loss?
In pursuit of a slim body, people focus on lifestyle changes, food preferences, and effective exercises so that gradually they turn into a fat burning machine. They are stubborn in their desire to grow slender. But being concentrated on these weight loss rituals, they completely forget about one really crucial aspect of life – happiness. This is a mental feature of dieting that is just as important! Let’s find out why.
While working on your diet plan, you may come across a dilemma – when does a person become happy, after the weight has been lost or in the process of losing it? Do you see the connection between happiness and weight loss here? There is a certain sense of how a person will feel after the weight starts to decline. They get excited thinking about their thin mirror reflection and that works as a motivation to lose weight. The desire to look a certain way, to see a certain number on the scale and fit in the clothes as before, play an important role for a positive sense of self. At the same time, there is something more in losing weight than just eating and exercise.
A happy diet
Scientific studies show a close linkage between health and happiness. They provide a lot of evidence that health is a constant variable of our self-perception of happiness. So are we happy during dieting? An American physician and writer Dr. Andrew Weil claims that happiness, one of the strongest human emotions, can maintain the health of the body, mind, and spirit. In this regard, it is getting clear that the connection of happiness and weight loss is not as much a result as a process! That is, a happy harmonious inner state will result in health harmonization and therefore an amazing weight loss outcome.
Where to start?
A group of researchers studying happiness claim that happiness comes in two ways: either in the present moment as a feeling of calm well-being, or focused on future possibilities as a sense of excitement. It is more likely that there is a connection of the first type of happiness and weight loss. It is better to show it by contradiction: a connection between chronic stress and gaining weight.
Despite the fact that some people under stress eat less, many people start gaining weight when they are exposed to strong emotions because they eat to calm them down. If this works one way, could it work another? If the hormones released during stress cause people to overeat, is it possible to use happiness and similar feelings as a weight loss catalyst? Being happy and still finding motivation to lose weight can be challenging!
The truth is that most people believe that a slim body will change their life, that they will be more successful and attractive. But the expectation of future happiness might lead to a “mental trap”. Diet can become almost superstitious behavior, far from being the happiness diet. That is why it is crucial to be happy right away, in the process of getting slimmer and wait for an amazing weight loss result.
3 Steps for a happy diet
Here are 3 steps to help you turn a boring weight loss routine into a happy diet:
STEP 1. Develop habits that contribute to your success.
The best way to develop any habit is to repeat an action many times. Over time it becomes automatic, effortless and very helpful. Use this practice to develop positive habits that can “make” you feel good today. Think about helpful habits of your happy diet you can work out this week, for example:
- Lose weight with water: 2 glasses of water 15-20 minutes before meal can calm down your appetite, as a result you will eat less;
- Food preferences: cut your usual portion of pasta in half and add vegetables, eat more fresh salads and fruit;
- Reduce stress: go to bed an hour earlier than you usually do and take a good book with you;
- Exercise to lose weight: choose exercises you like and do them in small portions throughout the day;
- Fight temptations: never go to the supermarket without a healthy grocery list!
Use this weight loss inspiration list to start developing positive habits.
STEP 2. Use the “contamination effect” in your favor.
Have you noticed that during the Olympic Games you have a “racing itch”? Or when you watch a new season of a reality TV show about losing weight you became more active and eat better? There is a scientific explanation for that behavior called ‘catching the goal’. It was proven that the goal can be activated in your subconscious mind. As a result, a person feels inspired and starts behaving in a different way reflexively.
In social terms, we tend to unconsciously “pick up” the goals pursued by people around us. Your online community, for example. Who are all those people on Facebook? Your environment, context information that you listen to or read can lead to activation of unconscious goals and behavior. That is why if you are looking for a strong motivation to lose weight with less effort, you should concentrate on people with similar goals, who recommend exercises to lose weight because they tried them and they worked. Never stop chasing your weight loss inspiration and you won’t even notice how your life has changed.
STEP 3. Look for activities that raise your endorphin level.
What activity makes you feel good? Reading, cycling, walking your dog? It does not matter what it is, this is the effect that matters. Such activity creates biochemicals in the body that reduce stress and maintain weight loss. They are endorphins, also known as “the hormones of happiness.” Indeed, they are essential for a happy diet, moreover, they suppress appetite. Thus, practice the activity that brings you happiness as well as try some new, exciting activities that can bring you joy.
So, there is no need to wait and hope that you become happy once you get slimmer. You can be happy right now regardless of how old you are or how much you weigh. Remember, happiness and weight loss come together and the happy diet is much more efficient than the similar with a sad face.