‘Losing weight will bring a temporary form of happiness. It’s like getting a shiny new car, soon the novelty wears off and you’re still you.’
I read this on Twitter today, courtesy of @thinnerisms, and it made me think about something known as ‘arrival fallacy’. In his book ‘Happier’, Tal Ben-Shahar discusses arrival fallacy as holding the belief that when you arrive at a certain destination, or get what you’ve always wished for, you’ll be happy. Mine was always, ‘When I weigh 11st, I will be happy.”
Many of my friends talk to me about being ‘happy when…’ Happy when they get a new job, happy when they meet a new man, happy when they fit into size 10 jeans, happy when…nobody ever talks about being happy right now, in this moment.
The arrival fallacy thoughts make me smile – I call it the Cinderella story. I have spoken to successful losers who imagined that their life would be perfect when they reached their goal weight. The same problems and worries still exist though…there is no fairytale ending…you have to love your life as it is, regardless of your weight – it’s only a bloody number after all – or else that number being right won’t make the blindest bit of difference.
Gretchen Rubin is a thought-leader in the field of happiness. She has written about the arrival fallacy and says, “The arrival fallacy is a fallacy because arriving rarely makes you as happy as you expect.
Why? Because usually by the time you’ve arrived at your destination, you’re expecting to reach it, so it has already been incorporated into your happiness. You quickly become adjusted to the new state of affairs. And of course, arriving at one goal usually reveals a new goal. There’s another hill to climb.
In fact, working toward a goal can be a more powerful source of happiness than hitting it – which can sometimes be a letdown. It’s important, therefore, to look for happiness in the present, in the atmosphere of growth afforded by making gradual progress toward a goal.”
So we need to work on being happy now. And do you know what happens to your weight when you feel happy now? It tends to stabilise and you find that happiness leads to a reduction in those emotional eating and binging episodes, so the stabilisation turns into weight loss. Enjoy the good things in life right now. How do you know that what you are working towards will bring you the happiness you expect…especially in light of the research that tells us that it won’t?
The fun part is the journey. Begin to enjoy life as it is.
Rubin says, “…the arrival fallacy doesn’t mean that pursuing goals isn’t a route to happiness. To the contrary. The goal is necessary, just as is the process toward the goal. Nietzche explained it: “The end of a melody is not its goal; but nonetheless, if the melody had not reached its end it would not have reached its goal either. A parable.”
Makes you think a little!
But how the heck can you start to feel happy when there doesn’t seem to be anything to feel happy about?
I have written about Martin Seligman before – Seligman is known as the godfather of positive psychology. His ‘Three Blessings’ exercise was something that really helped me start looking at the positive side of life. Quite simply, at the end of each day you write down three things that made you happy today…and why they made you happy, and why you believe they happened. This simple exercise has had a profoundly positive effect amongst depression and anxiety sufferers.
For me, I became glass half full rather than half empty!
It was hard at first to notice anything positive. I really had to dig deep, and I remember writing about a field full of sunflowers making me happy because the yellow colour made me smile…and that it had happened because I had my eyes open and I was paying attention…along with nature making them grow. Another was seeing an old man on a mobility scooter pootling along the road with his dog on a lead going for a walk…it made me happy because he was out in the fresh air rather than letting his lack of mobility keep him at home…and I noticed it because I was letting my mobility stop me from living my life.
So I managed to find positive things. And as I began the process of writing them down, I found that I started to find more than three…I often had a list of positive things. I started looking on the bright side of life! For a pessimistic madam like me, it was quite a shock. Those people with whom I used to have negative conversations with really began to annoy me…why could they not just be happy?! It changed me…three little blessings each day changed me…and I attribute a big part of my current weight loss success to developing a positive and healthy mind.
I also read today about writing down some positive affirmations – hence the blog title – to get you focussing on what is good here and now…I am happy because…
Might be worth a try?
Today has been good. I slept well in my new fresh bed sheets last night! I saw the horses, and went to a horsey shop…and yes, I pretended that I was riding and sat on a few saddles…okay, about seven saddles in total…maybe eight! I felt right at home and know that I am getting to stage of being in the right frame of mind to ride. I obviously want to lose more weight so that the horse is okay, but I want to feel comfortable too…and bulging fat saddle bags won’t help – and I reckon that I will feel comfortable way before I am at my fighting weight! I bought my Welshie a new rug as his bum cheeks are hanging out of his current one – he looks like something off ‘Booze Britain’ We stocked up on treats for them too, and I bought my niece a pony magazine and my nephew a tractor as I was babysitting tonight. The babysitting went well – we had lots of cuddles and stories and I had a chat with my niece. A kid at school – one of her supposed friends – has been calling her chubby, when she is anything but. So we had a good chat and I told her that if I thought she had a problem that I would talk to her about it, as I wouldn’t want her to be like me – we have talked about healthy eating and my weight quite a lot…she asks lots of questions and I try and be honest. She told me that I already help her loads, and she knows I love her, and that she would talk to me about anything. She then went on to tell me about how she chooses her lunch at school…and that she always has fruit, veggies and salad. Bless her. It’s such a fine balance when encouraging children to eat well. I don’t want her to develop food issues! We talked about how she needs to stay strong for the horses and for her tennis lessons, and that if she didn’t eat enough healthy food, that she wouldn’t have the energy for it all…and I told her a good few times how perfect and beautiful she was just as she is! She seemed absolutely fine, but it’s a situation to keep an eye on I think…bloody horrid kids…they have no idea of the impact a few words can have. It’s my first weigh in tomorrow since before Christmas…I am looking forward to seeing what the results are like. Just as I was getting there with the balance of gym work and eating, Christmas arrived – along with my holiday – to bugger it up. I am prepared for it to take another few weeks before things settle down again…but it would nice if it all went well regardless!
Breakfast: Banana porridge (5 syns).Lunch: Smoked salmon scrambled eggs with wilted spinach and tomatoes…and a bowl of soup (2 x HEB).Dinner: Tandoori chicken, roast potatoes, stuffed mushrooms, roasted peppers and onions (HEA and 2 syns)…no picture of dinner as it wouldn’t upload!
My food has been good today. Brekkie was back to the pre Christmas days of porridge to kickstart my days. Lunch was bit of a mish-mash. I spotted the new Covent Garden ‘Skinny’ soups and picked up the tomato Laird lentils one – half a carton is a HEB – and thought that I would try it. It was delicious. I was going to have my scrambled eggs on toast…but had the soup instead as my HEBs. It was really filling and it was another lesson about how much food you can actually eat if you make the right choices. Dinner was good too. Just the Asda tandoori chicken, with my roast potatoes, roast onions, roast red peppers, and mushrooms stuffed with sweet chilli Philadelphia. No snacks tonight as I was late back from babysitting and full after dinner.
Exercise: Nothing much…does pretend horse riding count?!
Thank you for reading,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx