Are you overweight? If your life never quite satisfies you – if you don’t feel you’re as confident, productive, motivated, or enthused as you could be, try kick-starting the changes you want to make by beginning with your body.
Seven years ago, I was shy, chubby, lacking in confidence, and struggling to think beyond my immediate future: going to Cambridge University. I’d been fatter than my classmates since the age of nine or ten. Finally losing that extra thirty or so pounds I’d been carrying around has had a tremendous impact on my life over the past seven years.
Benefits of Losing Weight
The following are seven benefits of losing weight I have experienced:
1. Learning to enjoy food
I was a really picky eater as a kid and in my teens. I’d sulk in the treehouse in the garden if my parents tried to make me eat vegetables, and refused anything suspiciously “healthy” on matter of principle – diet sodas, fruit salad instead of ice-cream, anything which didn’t come with chips…
When I finally decided to lose weight, and went on a diet, I had to find new foods which I liked – things which were filling without being fattening. I also started thinking about nutrition: more fruit and veg, more whole grains, less sugar and fat. Nowadays, I’ll try pretty much anything, and some of my favourite foods (crispbreads with cottage cheese, vegetable stir fries, raw carrot sticks) are ones that I’d never have touched a few years ago.
2. Being confident in a group
Whenever I had to be part of a new group I found myself checking if I was the fattest person there. If I was, I would be convinced that everyone else was hyper-aware of this too, and that they were silently despising me.
Chances are that they couldn’t have cared less about my size. But it was only after losing weight that I became confident enough to take the lead in situations where I had to work with strangers. I joined societies at university and set up my own creative writing group. At work, I’ve delivered presentations and training to clients; a few years ago, I’d have been nervous about how I looked, but now I love being in front of an audience.
3. Dressing well and having confidence in my appearance
Throughout my teens, I lived in jogging bottoms and oversized t-shirts, varied with the occasional disastrous purchase in an attempt to follow the latest trends and fit in. (One top, in particular, led to another girl loudly pointing out my “spare tire”.) I thought that hiding under baggy clothes would conceal me, but if anything it made me look shapeless and lumpy.
Once I’d started losing weight, I bought my first ever pair of jeans. I tried some fitted t-shirts. Hardly the height of teenage fashion, but my clothes were finally comfortable and flattering.
4. Enjoying regular exercise
“Exercise” used to be a dirty word. I hated every humiliating moment of games lessons at school (the changing rooms, the fitness tests, falling over every single hurdle…) I couldn’t understand why some friends wanted to play sport or go jogging after school.
Once exercise was no longer compulsory, though, I began to find forms of activity which I enjoyed. Cycling, swimming, and walking all featured prominently. It wasn’t until I went to university that I nervously crept into the little college gym and tried out the rowing machines, but from then, I was hooked…
5. Knowing that “I can do it”
As a teenager, I had ambitious plans and projects but never saw them through. I spent a couple of years writing a science-fiction novel (in retrospect, it was too short and rather too influenced by whatever I’d been watching on TV…) I wanted to be “a writer” but spent considerably more time reading about writing than doing it. I started learning Latin, computer programming, and a host of other things but gave up after a week or two. I began to label myself as someone who “never finishes anything”.
But when I successfully lost two stone, it made me realize that I was capable of sticking to something and that I could make complete changes in my life. At university, I took a self-development course which helped me to think about my goals and what I wanted out of life. Once I graduated, I moved to London – something I’d not dreamt of doing a few years before.
6. Realizing the value of writing things down
When I was losing weight, I wrote down all my meals and snacks and tracked the calories I’d eaten. I’d never before realized how seeing things in black and white helps keep you accountable.
At university, I kept on top of my academic work by planning out what I had to do at the start of the week and ticking off pieces of work as they were completed. This kept me considerably better organized – and far less stressed – than many of my peers. I also realized the value of journaling; writing down how I was feeling helped me work through difficult patches and curbed the urge to use chocolate as a magic cure-all!
7. Sharing what I’ve learned
Finally, my success in losing weight gave me the confidence to help others – especially when I was able to lose a few pounds whilst a student, and then a few more working full-time.
I follow quite a few health and weight-loss blogs avidly and am an active member on several forums. It’s always a great feeling when I’m able to give someone a tip or piece of advice that worked for me – especially when they reply to let me know how much it helped.
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13 thoughts on “7 Benefits of Losing Weight”
A very inspiring article Ali that shows that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to!
Thanks for the guest article. I think it’s great advice to suggest people who want to change start with their body – in fact I remember Steve Pavlina saying the same thing in one of his articles.
Personally, I have always come under the “tall and lanky” category so this is not a post I could have written. However, my dad (who is a little “larger”) keeps warning me that he was once like me, so I guess I need to watch out :)
We should really all take a self development course. I think to live a healthy active life it is very important to find an excercise you love, because if you don’t love it you won’t do it. Great tips!
Brilliant article… i am in desperate need to loose a quite a lot of weight myself… have subscribed to the office diet blogs… but you mentioned that there are quite a few that you follow… would love to get links to them with your opinion on what each one is good for…
I believe that #3 is especially important benefit. Dressing well and having confidence in one’s self is one of the best ways to draw attention to yourself. Everywhere I go, you can see people who are confident in themselves in how they present themselves. People that are successful and confident present themselves well.
I have a planner but lately I haven’t been writing things down as much. What I need to do is go back to the basics…early mornings, clothes ironed and ready the night before so that I have time for that morning run.
What does Nike say…”Just Do It!”
Enjoying regular exercise on a daily basis, for me, is refreshing and empowering. Those that get their quality activity in can affirm how much of a difference it makes in their daily routines. I agree with writing notes about your eating, or even exercise, keeping such logs will surprise you because of all the junk you consume, or because of all the progress you made. It nice to review your growth and discipline. Thanks for the tips!
All of these are great tips, if you are still having trouble losing weight, make sure you don’t have sleep apnea, it slows down you metabolism, making it difficult to lose weight.
My aunt has been struggling with her weight for a little while. I have been speaking with her the potential need for a weight management professional to help her. I didn’t realize that losing weight can actually help people buy clothes that look good on them as well as being able to keep up with the current trends. Thanks for sharing!
My wife and I made a resolution this year to lose some weight and get healthier. In the article it says that one of the benefits we can get from losing weight is that we will start to enjoy exercise more. I think this would be great for our weight loss goals since neither of us really love to work out. How long would you say it takes to start loving exercise once started on a weight loss plan?
I really like the benefit you mentioned on weight loss, that it helps boost confidence in the person. My friend recently lost 50 pounds and it’s been awesome to see the changes she’s made physically but also emotionally, and the way she feels about herself. A healthy lifestyle brings so many benefits to you not only outwardly, but internally as well.
I like your recommendation to write down everything you eat when trying any kind of weight loss. This is something that I have never tried to do but that I think makes a lot of sense. By being able to see what it is that you are doing you’re able to know what you need to improve. If you have the strength to not get down on yourself when you have a bad day this would be a great way of being able to motivate yourself to move forward.
What worked for me was doing a sport I actually really loved when I was younger, soccer. I never liked going to the gym but playing soccer was always fun. Once I started meal prepping and playing soccer multiple times a week I started feeling fitter. You don’t have to go to the gym to workout.