I Finally Lost All The Weight I Wanted To — But I Didn’t Feel Any Happier

Trying to lose weight is exhausting and completely all-consuming. The weight goal was all I really thought about. All of this focus on body size made me miss out on actually living my life. The most ironic thing, though, was that even when I finally reached that ultimate number on the scale, I was still totally dissatisfied.

  1. There’s ridiculous societal pressure to conform to beauty standards. I wasn’t born with the desire to look a certain way. I mean, think of babies! They’re super body positive. They let it all hang out and they couldn’t judge their bodies if they wanted to. This crap is taught to us. I read in Jes Baker’s book Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls that 81% of 10-year-old girls are afraid of being fat — more afraid than they are of cancer, war, or losing both of their parents. That’s totally heartbreaking, but I also completely get it.
  2. I was looking to finally feel “good enough.” I hadn’t felt comfortable in my skin for as long as I could remember. It didn’t really matter what weight I was; no amount of manipulating my body fixed the hate I had inside. I thought that finally getting to a certain size would mean that I’d feel worthwhile, like I belonged on this earth, but it didn’t. Nothing was ever enough.
  3. Contentment can’t be found in a number on the scale. The problem with looking for fulfillment outside of myself was that the chase made contentment elusive. I could chase and chase, but it’d be just out of reach. The lovely Henry Thoreau said, “Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you; but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.” I was chasing that butterfly of weight loss while happiness was waiting to sit on my shoulder all along.
  4. When I finally got to my goal weight, I wanted to lose more. The irony was that all I focused on for months and years was to get to a certain goal weight. I finally hit that target and there was no celebration. There wasn’t a sudden rush of self-love. Rather, I set my sights on the next goal weight. I was off and running again. It wasn’t until a dear friend said to me, “But, when will the weight loss ever be enough? What weight is ‘enough’?” that I realized there was a problem. There was never going to be a point in chasing weight loss where enough was enough.
  5. I mistakenly believed losing weight would fix all of my self-hate. Despite getting to that point where I was my “ideal” weight, all of the self-hatred remained. I still felt unlovable, unworthy, ugly, and gross. All I could see were my imperfections. You see, this is how diet culture keeps us on the hook. The more I hate myself, the more money they make. Self-hate is wildly profitable because it means I’ll buy more products and services to try to fix what I perceive to be broken.
  6. I masked disordered eating by calling it “getting healthy.” Diet culture is scary. You see, we’ve mostly stopped using the word “diet.” We learned that diets don’t work in the long-term. Instead, they’re being called healthy lifestyles, “clean eating,” cleanse, or a fix. It’s the same BS but a different mask.
  7. I thought I could stay the same size forever. I learned the hard way from body positive author Lauren Marie Fleming that “statistics show over 45 million Americans will go on a diet at some point each year. All but five percent of them will gain the weight back in a year, and all but three percent of them will gain the weight back plus some extra in three years.” I’ve since gained a whole lot of weight and it’s likely that my setpoint is now higher as a direct result of dieting.
  8. I thought I couldn’t find a lover until I looked a certain way. One of the saddest parts of riding the diet train was how it affected my love life. I never felt like “enough” for a lover. I always felt like something was wildly wrong with me. This went deeper than body image, it almost felt like my spirit was broken. I wanted so badly to look a certain way. It was awful because even when I did finally look that way, body dysmorphia ruined any chance at enjoying it.
  9. I was constantly worried about what others thought of me. It’s really an exhausting thing to be incessantly worrying about what everyone else thinks. I wanted to give a disclaimer to anyone I dated or was around that my body was in progress. I suppose I did do this by talking about how gross and fat I was whenever I had the chance. I really lived in the chains of obsession about others opinions, even when I hit my goal.
  10. All of the obsessing and hating eventually led me to body positivity. Looking back, there was so much damn pain in holding onto a diet and workout regiment. My life was so small because all I ever thought about was shaping my body into what I perceived as “good enough.” Eventually, this thinking totally suffocated me and I couldn’t take it anymore. I found my way to body positivity which has utterly saved my life. It’s helped me to build a genuine sense of self-love and trust that is not based on a number on the scale. Actually, I’ve thrown out all of my scales. I’ve stopped restricting and I’ve let go. I’ve never been freer.
  11. I’ve now learned that the only way to truly heal is through completely letting go. I’ve ascribed to the “health at every size” way of being now. Rather than being laser-focused on just my physical body, I pay attention to my mental, emotional, and spiritual health. I see myself as a whole person who deserves love and care, no matter my size. I’m a whole lot heavier than when I hit that “goal weight,” but now my worth comes from within. I know that I’m lovable, desirable, and so worthy. I stick my middle finger up to the diet culture that stole my happiness from me.
Ginelle has been writing professionally for more than six years and has a bachelor’s degree in digital marketing & design. Her writing has appeared on Birdie, Thought Catalog, Tiny Buddha and more. You can follow her on Instagram @ginelletesta, via her Facebook page, or through her website at ginelletesta.com.