Originally published on SunTimes.com.
You could go through a lot of tweets with hastag #ImHappyBecause and not find any that say “because I lost weight.”
That’s not surprising, given the buzz right now surrounding a new study from Great Britain that shows going on a diet isn’t the key to happiness so many think it is.
The study was published last week in the scientific journal Plos One. Researchers looked at data from close to 2,000 overweight people. Weight loss did bring about necessary health benefits such as lower blood pressure or improved diabetes numbers. But those who’d lost the most (more than 5 percent of their original body weight), also were more likely to say they were more depressed than before they’d lost the weight.
There could be a number of factors for this, the researchers say, according to a story on nymag.com. They could have been depressed beforehand, which might have made them eat less and thus lose weight. Or, keeping the weight off meant following rigid habits, and that isn’t easy on a permanent basis. Or maybe they had unrealistic expectations to begin with. If you are in debt and have a car that keeps breaking down, a smaller waistline won’t change those problems.
“Find a purpose with it,” Powell said. They have spent so much time on this one goal that often consumes their lives that when it’s over they are at kind of at a loss if they haven’t figured out something to do next.
For a long time he has been recommending they find a way to pay it forward. (On the current edition of ABC’s “Extreme Weight Loss,” you’ll notice during the last weigh-in segment, the contestants can give the person of their choice a one-week stay at the weight loss center the show uses.)
If you do that, the emphasis switches from yourself and your weight loss to someone or something else. You’re not left after reaching the weight goal and thinking, is that all there is?
So, if you’re on a weight-loss journey, figure out what your next goal is going to be. It could make you not only a thinner person, but also a happier one, too.
“Extreme Weight Loss” airs at 7 p.m. Tuesdays on ABC-Channel 7.
– Sue Ontiveros