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If you’re happy and you know it, lose some weight

I’ve lost weight this week even though I haven’t really been trying to (any more than I ever am). Weight loss used to be my biggest hobby, and now it’s something I do when I get around to it, like the laundry. It’s still on my mind, but sometimes the pounds pile up rather high before I can knock them off again, leading me to a life of weight maintenance instead of weight loss. My loss happened despite eating pizza two out of the last three days too. Go figure.

I’ve been trying to figure out what exactly I did so I can keep on doing it. All I can guess is that I’ve kept my self happily distracted the past week with work, TV, Internet surfing, and socializing. The socializing included pizza and cake though, so I don’t know how that figures in. I’ve felt happier and bouncier ever since the sun returned to Indiana. The secret to weight loss might be happiness. I know people tend to believe weight loss leads to happiness, but I think it’s the other way around. I do best losing weight when I’m feeling good and the other areas of my life are in balance. (And when I’m eating lots of pizza, evidently.)

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31 Comments

Kyle • April 19, 2010 at 2:31 pm

I spent the last six months of last year trying to lose weight after my accident. No matter what I did I didn’t lose even a pound. So my resolution was to accept my body at the weight it was at and just be grateful to be alive. I stopped worrying about it. I have been losing weight steadily ever since, without trying. Eating normal food.

Glad that strategy seems to be working for your as well!

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Amy • April 19, 2010 at 2:55 pm

I was just reading somewhere that most people start to lose weight when they are in happy times (i.e. newly in love, etc.) and I really think there’s something to that.

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Rebecca in SoCal • April 19, 2010 at 2:59 pm

I know that on “The Biggest Loser” they often talk about stress making it hard to lose weight; apparently the inverse is true! And doesn’t that make you happy!?

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Dawn • April 19, 2010 at 3:01 pm

I totally agree it seems when I’m feeling happier the weight seems to come off easier. I do think stress and anxiety factor into weight lose/gain.

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Debbi S. • April 19, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Ugh! Is that why I’m gaining weight? I lost about 100 lbs. and am now about 20 lbs. over my low and I SOOOOO want to lose it. It makes me so mad that I know HOW to do it, I just keep wanting to eat. I still have over 60 lbs. to get to MY goal weight, not “theirs”. Not to sound manic depressive or anything but I have NOT been happy. At all. A big struggle, I never thought of it being why I can’t seem to get back into it. I don’t want it to be an excuse either. I am however glad of your success. Maybe you could write a book about the new pizza diet? I might like to try that one.

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Lynn • April 19, 2010 at 3:33 pm

I agree. When I’m happy and feeling connected with people, I just don’t do the emotional eating. I eat less on vacation, too. Eating a reasonable amount of pizza and being happy is better for me than secret binging and the daily grind. I keep trying to figure out ways to put more happiness in my regular life and still do what I need to do.

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Rebecca • April 19, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Everything in life is smoother and easier when things are in balance and one is happy. Chicken or egg? I don’t know.

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victoria • April 19, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Hey, thanks again for your blog. It means a lot to me and makes me think. I bought that book “Savor” about mindful eating. I’m meditating every day and trying to learn the techniques of acceptance and detachment.

I find, however, that eating slowly and tasting every flavor, thinking about every texture, and trying to bew aware of the whole bodily experience of eating, does not stop me from eating sweets to excess. But then I haven’t read the book yet and obviously don’t have all the tools I need.

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Tara • April 19, 2010 at 4:28 pm

I agree 100% with you on being happy leading to weight loss and not the other way around.

It’s like how I used to think I was unhappy because I was fat, but I realized that I was fat because I was unhappy.

I’m glad you’re feeling better and I’m really glad you shared that pizza is the key to weight loss. I’ll test your theory tomorrow and get back to you!

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Fitcetera • April 19, 2010 at 8:42 pm

I agree with you. I do much better starting from happy.
With the spring weather here and my happier mood, I feel like I can conquer this weight loss thing once and for all.

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Leslie Limon • April 19, 2010 at 11:04 pm

I wish that the Happiness theory was true! I’m a pretty happy person, living a pretty happy life, so why am I not a size 2? :D

I recently discovered your blog and find your story to be a true inspiration. Keep up the excellent work!

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AndrewENZ • April 19, 2010 at 11:42 pm

I think it’s a virtuous cycle. :)

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Hal • April 20, 2010 at 1:29 am

It’s very true for me. The happier I am, the easier it is to lose. I think it’s a bullshit tolerance issue. I can only put up with so much crap before something has to give. If I’m tolerating hunger pains, everything else needs to be going pretty well. If it’s not, I’m going to try to fix the things I’m in control of, and usually that means I eat.

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Miz • April 20, 2010 at 5:38 am

were I in yer lovely successful smart beautiful funny snarky shoes Id make this my mantra:

I FEEL HAPPIER AND BOUNCIER

and Id seize that sh*t and hold on tight and prettymuchSCREAM it in my head on the days I feel…less so.

xo xo

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Nina • April 20, 2010 at 8:25 am

Haha, opposite for me.. weight loss leads to happiness.

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MB • April 20, 2010 at 8:52 am

It looks like you stumbled on the magic bullet of weight loss … pizza! WOOHOO! Who knew?

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Zentient • April 20, 2010 at 11:10 am

Happy seems to denote a state of mine when things are going well. How do I lose weight when life circumstances suck? A better working term for me is centered. Living life out of center, an unshakable part of me that can deal with difficulties and not get tossed around by them. There’s so little we can control when you think about it; we can make choices but the outcome is always out of our hands. I just had a difficult conversation where I had to complain to a bureaucrat, and I and a child near and dear to me may come out the losers. It’s one of those times when overeating seems logical, the way to right things. I get treated badly and humiliated, I eat to ease the anxiety, the world is back in balance. But if I’m living out of center, I choose to play out the situation, know that I don’t always get things to come out the way I want, I do the best I can, I choose how to respond to life. Nothing is out of balance, it just is. I don’t have to engage in disordered eating when uncomfortable feelings arise, because I will always from time to time have uncomfortable feelings. Some days it seems like that’s all I have.But from center I know, like everything else, these feelings come and go.

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Karrilee • April 20, 2010 at 11:23 am

I just finished reading your book Half-Assed, and was so happy to find that your blog is still here… and you are still posting! Yay!

I loved the book and the honesty and humor… the realness of your life story and the inspiration (yeah, I know!) to keep on keepin’ on!

I finally had that defining moment of WANTING change, and being READY to do the work for change… I started eating healthier, and exercising more – pre-planning meals and workouts alike… I lost 75 pounds and would love to lose that last 25 or 30… I have been trying to literally work my butt off for a YEAR… yeah – so I was so excited to read your real life honest account and was a bit sad to find one sentence about #$&*(@ plateaus?! That’s okay – it’s good to log on here and see that you are still pressing through and losing… I will press on and break through as well! What are my choices? To go back to my old lifestyle? No way!

Thanks for keepin’ it real…
~Karrilee~

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Heather • April 20, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Congrats on the loss! Good to hear you’ve been on an upwards spiral of happiness. I’m not sure if you’ve mentioned it lately, but hows the headaches? Does this mean they are gone?

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Roxy • April 20, 2010 at 1:11 pm

I couldn’t agree more. I honestly believe that when you’re happy and got stuff going on in your life is when it’s the easiest to lose weight.

It’s like what married friends say to their consummate single friends like me… when you least expect it, it will happen.

I think that’s kinda true with weight loss too!

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Rob • April 20, 2010 at 2:35 pm

No doubt about it… its the whole chicken or egg thing.

But I would say that I do my best work when happy!

Thanks!!

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scone • April 20, 2010 at 6:46 pm

It makes sense. Happiness implies happy biochemistry in the brain and the endocrine system, along with less stress to the adrenals and thyroid. And the endocrine system has a huge effect on weight. Also, even if you’re eating pizza, you probably aren’t stress eating, which piles on the calories over time.

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Kendra • April 20, 2010 at 7:05 pm

I think that you hit on a really good point. Happiness probably does cause weight loss. I’ve noticed that one major difference between my past and very quickly failed attempts to lose weight and this time which is so far successful is how generally happy I am. It’s becoming a cycle too, the more progress I make, the happier I am and it’s all motivation to keep going. When I was depressed I just couldn’t do it.

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lg • April 21, 2010 at 10:24 am

I agree with you and there was a story on one of the network news sites about a woman who lost several hundred pounds because she became happier (found friends on the internet) and without trying lost weight because she stopped gorging. When I am stressed or worried I eat for comfort and distraction. But now I don’t wait for stress to resolve because there will always be some (I admit my stress is not much except to me, to others it must seem petty) instead I start excercising more (I do the minimum excercise usually) and usually it helps with the stress, eating and weight gain.

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Karen • April 21, 2010 at 2:53 pm

I totally agree with this. When I dropped 90 lbs back in 2004, I was in an extremely happy time of my life. I was in college, having fun, I met the guy I would marry, and the world was my oyster. I’ve been significantly LESS happy (work/career-related unhappiness) since 2006 and my weight has fluctuated up and down so now on my GOOD weeks, I maintain, and on my BAD weeks, I gain. I’m all but convinced that I won’t successfully lose the weight I have left until I’m a “healthy weight” until I find a new job and career path. Granted, this may just be an excuse to slack off with exercise, eat what I want and throw myself daily pity parties, but I AM sincerely unfulfilled in my current job and I yearn (yes, yearn) for something new and different where I will be something more than someone’s “assistant.” (Btw: I am working towards two masters degrees and I am planning to segue into something new, hopefully very soon, but for the time being I sit here unhappy, getting fatter and fatter).

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363nomore • April 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Hi there:)

I just wanted to say I love your blog and am here to support you! I love the fact you lost weight and had pizza:) ha ha! That made me happy.

One of the cool things I have come across was Geneene Roth’s new book, Women, Food, and God. I wasn’t going to read it because of the God part, but my friend kicked me in the patoot and said “Oh forcryingoutloud read the damn thing, you might learn something.” And so I did.

I laughed and cried through the entire book.

Just wanted to share.

I will be back to read and be inspired for sure.

Take care.

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RNegade • April 22, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Hmmm. A touchy subject. For me it is about sleep and lack thereof. I’ve had chronic insomnia for over 10 years, and when I can string together a few 5 hour/night of sleep, I lose weight quite easily. Unfortunately, that situation is very rare, and I mostly live on 3 hrs sleep per night, sometimes less. Yes. I said that: 3 hrs per night. People act like sleeplessness is a choice I’ve made, that if I just tried hard enough, or got centered enough, or tried melatonin (or X, Y or Z) or WHATEVER, then I could sleep more. Grrrr… There is no cure, no magic formula, no “just do this…and voila, sleep!” Oh yeah, sleeping pills work about as well, long term, as diet pills. Also, people assume that insomnia is caused by depression. Again, in my case and many others: nope. Not depressed. Okay, rant over. Guess this post struck a nerve.

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Quix • April 23, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Congrats on the loss (how often do you get to say that, heh). It always feels nice to lose without much effort, it makes all those days off pounding my head against the wall trying to get the scale to go down feel like they have something against which to be balanced… :)

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Deanna - The Unnatural Mother • April 23, 2010 at 11:11 pm

Well said, I agree 100%

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Alex • April 24, 2010 at 11:18 pm

“I’m in the macaroni military” couldn’t view the video but read the BIO!!

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Natasha • April 26, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Wow, this has really hit home for me. Happiness is definitely the key to my weight loss (and a good night sleep). You have also inspired me to start to blog about my own weight loss challenges. (I’m not that good with this type of technical stuff). Thanks for doing this!!

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog JenFul.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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