When I was in my mid-twenties I went on a diet. Not my first diet, of course (I'd love to meet a female in the developed world who has managed to make it into their twenties without ever going on a diet).
You see, I'd gained weight in college, then lost it after collecting my diploma by counting calories and starting to exercise. A few years later I lost a bit more weight just by eating a little less and continuing to exercise. I still didn't think I was thin enough, though, so I went on another diet to achieve what I thought was definitely going to be my final and perfect weight.
Spoiler alert: It wasn't.
I ended up about 45 pounds below my highest weight, and it still wasn't enough.
Despite the fact that friends and random guests at the inn where I worked complimented me on my figure, I felt like crap. And I thought you'd like to see exactly what I thought I'd have when I achieved my goal weight vs. what I got, so I made you a chart:
Getting to my goal weight was not all it was cracked up to be. And guess what? I gained back some of the weight I lost, but with the added pounds came clarity and sanity. I stopped having binge eating episodes because I stopped putting such tight controls on what I was eating. I got to a place where I really and truly like my body. I started focusing on more than my weight.
In other words: Weight loss does not equal automatic happiness, sunshine, or unicorns. The stuff I thought I'd get by achieving a certain weight had nothing to do with the number on the scale, it had to do with my thoughts and attitudes about myself.
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