Thursday, April 11, 2013

Will "being thin" make you happy?

{Smoky Mountain Hike, Photo taken by Craig Borchers}
Why do people all over the world feel the need to lose weight, to be skinny, and to diet?  I think it ultimately comes down to one thing.  I think it is because everybody wants to be happy.

For a long time, we have been told that achieving “thinness” will make us happy.  But will it?

I promise you, being thin will NOT make you happy.  For that matter, being thin will NOT make you healthy, accepted, popular, rich, famous, a good person, or a saint either.

To be healthy, you have to eat nourishing food, exercise moderately, minimize stress, get plenty of sleep, and realize that a lot of things are out of your control.  Just because you are doing everything you can to be healthy, doesn’t mean than you will not have to accept healthy problems tomorrow or down the road.

To be accepted, you must first realize that “you are enough”.  You only have to please the Lord.  You do not have to earn respect or dignity - you received inherent value from God when you were conceived.  If other people do not accept you, that is their problem.  How others treat you say more about them than it does about you.

To be wealthy, you have to be responsible with your money.  It has nothing to do with how you look.  It has everything to do with not trying to look a certain way.  If you are too concerned with your appearance, you spend too much money on cars you can’t afford, too big of house payments, and ridiculous name brand clothing...just to keep up with the Jones'.

{St. Thomas Aquinas}
And to be a saint, you have to stay in the heart of the Church.  I do believe that St. Thomas Aquinas was a rather large person.  I highly doubt that he was concerned with dieting.  I also highly doubt he was gluttonous, since he is canonized.  His weight had nothing to do with the state of his soul.

I have never heard anyone say, “Gee, I am so glad I spent all that time and energy trying to be thin.”  Being thin will NOT make you happy.

Some people attribute gaining confidence with losing weight.  If you do experience a boost in your self-esteem because of weight loss, it will only be temporary.  The affirmation you receive (praise, compliments, etc.) from losing weight is from the world, and the world is fickle.  If you look for affirmation from the world, you will be in a never-ending, losing battle.  There will always be more weight to lose, there will always be skinnier jeans and smaller sizes, and there will always be someone thinner than you.

Losing weight doesn’t mean you will be happy.  I think, if you gain more self-confidence, you will be happier with yourself no matter what size you are.

So, how do you improve your self-confidence?

For starters, accept the way you look now, even with all your imperfections.  Separate your self-worth from your appearance.  Get rid of the “should do’s” and the expectations.  Remember that you are enough.  Realize that you can have peace and happiness without worrying about your weight.

So the next time you find yourself fighting with the scale and wanting to lose weight, remember that a smaller number will not make you happy.

Challenge of the Day:  Throw away your bathroom scale.  Your scale is not the boss of you.  Your scale does not determine your value or whether or not you are good enough.  So, if it doesn’t matter what your scale says, then why not throw it away?  Think you just have to know?  If you just have to know what that number says, then you are still equating your self-worth with that number.  Knowing what the number says eases some kind of anxiety about having to look a certain way or be a certain weight.  Having certain expectations concerning weight or appearance will only lead to unhappiness.  Want to be happy? - throw the scale away.

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