life: super powers not included

The Most Important Thing You’ll Learn Today*

Girl Laughingphoto by mare.bowe

There’s something I’ve been meaning to talk about here. Andrea’s post the other day reminded me again and, well, now is as good a time as any. Here’s the crazy revelation, my gift to you:

Skinny will not make you happy.

Absolutely crazy, right?

Growing up I was always thin, an awkward bean pole with big glasses (it was the ’80s!) and metal braces (it was the ’90s!). Ten years later, I still weigh what I did in high school and sometimes wear clothes from then because, hey, why not? My point is, I’ve always been thin.

Does that make me happier than someone who weighs more? Someone who struggles with her weight?

Absolutely not. I’m thankful I don’t gain weight easily—mainly because if I weighed any more my knees would hurt worse. But there’s nothing about my size that makes the sun shine any brighter, the roses smell sweeter, or my sleep any more restful (unfortunately).

And I mean this:

I’d rather weight more and have the ability to run, bike, dance—heck, walk—than be thin and couchbound with burning feet. I’d rather a glass of wine go to my waist than cause my feet to pulse with pain.

I know it’s easy to think, “If I could just lose the last 10 or 20 or 50 pounds, my life would be perfect.” Here’s the harsh reality: It won’t. It might be the same. Or you could lose your job, go into debt, and end up worse off than you were before you could fit into your skinny jeans.

Of course, I’m not downplaying the frustration that comes from wanting to lose weight when you can’t. I know it’s a real struggle.

But don’t think for one minute your happiness hangs on your scale’s reading. Thin doesn’t equal happy. Not now. Not ever.

The end.

*unless you learn the lotto numbers a day early.

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27 comments

1 Debbie B. { 11.04.10 at 8:04 am }

Such a great post. It’s true … losing or gaining weight alone will not make you happy. It’s important to be healthy …. body and mind …. and that is NOT reduced to a scale number or pants size.

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Tracey Reply:

I love how you put that–not to reduce yourself to a scale number or pant size. Exactly what I’m talking about.

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2 Joanna Sutter (Fitness & Spice) { 11.04.10 at 8:16 am }

Amen! I believe!!

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3 Amy @ Second City Randomness { 11.04.10 at 8:35 am }

I also loved that post she did. I feel like a lot of people expect some life changing event as soon as they hit that magic number. I spent way too many years going after that “magic number” that never happened (probably for the best- I think I would have been ridiculously underweight had I actually acheived it). Once I let go of that, and decided to exercise and eat right for other reasons, I gained a much more positive outlook.

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4 Wei-Wei { 11.04.10 at 8:39 am }

True that. Amen. :D

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5 Andrea Mitchell { 11.04.10 at 9:43 am }

Thank you so much, Tracey! It’s really beautiful and refreshing to hear you say those honest words- that you’d truly rather be heavier if that meant you could move freely without pain, without all the hell that your knees and your burning feet give you. I think that too- in terms of emotional/mental freedom. It’s probably why I believe that some people should be slightly heavier- because being and staying thin should not be the end all be all to your existence, and it certainly should not take up so much mental energy.
Thanks for a great post!

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Tracey Reply:

No, thanks for your post and for being so honest and open on your blog. I agree, being thin shouldn’t consume your thoughts or life. There’s a lot of life out there–live it whether you’re at your goal weight or not!

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6 Alex @ IEatAsphalt { 11.04.10 at 9:46 am }

Amen sister. Personally, I think there is more pressure when you are naturally thin to stay that way. Also, child birth? Not going to be fun.

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7 Nichole { 11.04.10 at 10:58 am }

Love this. So important to keep reiterating. I am still so sorry you are going through pain. Hang in there.

Thanks for the uplifting post!

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8 charlotte { 11.04.10 at 12:46 pm }

I think you so right that losing weight will not magically fix a person’s life – in fact, when I was at my thinnest I was also at my UNhappiest. Go figure. So much stress is losing the weight and then trying to figure out how to stay down there and then freaking because you can’t… I so envy you for always having been the same weight. Mine’s been up and down (mostly because of pregnancies but still) for about 15 years now. Exhausting!

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Tracey Reply:

Yes, that’s a big disclaimer: I’ve never been pregnant. All bets are off then.

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9 Ameena { 11.04.10 at 1:25 pm }

So true Tracey! Thin does not = happy and I know this firsthand. So why do I still keep trying to lose that extra 2 pounds?? Because I’m stupid, that’s why.

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10 Becca { 11.04.10 at 4:29 pm }

I disagree. While I wouldn’t ever compare it with your situation, being obese – knowing you should change but finding it so hard to do so does hang a shadow over every area of life. To dislike what you see in the mirror, to feel like an idiot for not just “eating less and moving more”, to have shop assistants say “um, yeah – I don’t think we do that in your size”.

I don’t expect perfect – I’m just aiming for better.

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Becca Reply:

Sorry – didn’t click “notify”! :)

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Tracey Reply:

And I do think there’s a difference between being obese and having some weight you’d like to drop. Especially people who need to lose weight for their health. If being thinner makes your knees hurt less or reduces your risk for diabetes, that’s a pretty good reason. Still, I’ve heard from a lot of people who were obese, got bariatric surgery, and were surprised that life suddenly wasn’t 100 percent rosy.

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11 Shanna, Like Banana { 11.04.10 at 4:41 pm }

Isn’t it interesting how hearing someone’s story put in a different way, makes you get it? It’s not just that thin does not equal happy. It’s that you miss out on opportunities that you’d otherwise enjoy.

I need to remind myself of this when I’m feeling pudgy or whatnot because I’m still healthy and can go for a hike or drown my sorrows in vino…

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12 Ashley Craft (Taste for Healthy) { 11.04.10 at 5:47 pm }

This is so true! Thank you for the reminder! :)

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13 Maura { 11.04.10 at 6:17 pm }

I couldn’t. agree. more.

After losing 30 pounds, I still found myself drowning my sorrows in tequila and still unable to look in the mirror and feel “pretty.” I didn’t know I had a sh*tload of a emotional weight to lose.

Thin does not equal happy. Self love does. Thanks for your comment on HTP today. I feel like I just got 100 virtual hugs or something.

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Tracey Reply:

I loved your HTP. Thanks for sharing it. By far my favorite.

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14 Diane Fit to the Finish { 11.04.10 at 7:32 pm }

Losing weight didn’t change my life or make me happier. It did help me rediscover some of my self confidence that I had lost for years. Great post!

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15 Michele @ Healthy Cultivations { 11.04.10 at 9:51 pm }

You’re so right that losing weight doesn’t make you happier. What makes you happier are the changes on the inside. The outside changes are just perks.

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Tracey Reply:

Well said!

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16 MizFit { 11.05.10 at 5:31 am }

great and true post.
none of it will huh? SKINNY PUBLISHED FAMOUS RICH ETCTEC
until we are inside.

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17 Thetreadmilldiaries { 11.05.10 at 6:43 am }

You’re right. Being skinny or weighing x lbs won’t make you happy. But losing weight in order to become a healthier you can absolutely contribute to a better, happier way of living. It comes down to quality of life. And sometimes there’s a balance that needs to be struck with your weight to be the best, happiest you. But it’s not the only factor or the magic bullet for happiness.

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18 Misy Miller { 11.05.10 at 2:04 pm }

Amen, sister friend!

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19 Simply Life { 11.07.10 at 6:59 pm }

I’m glad I’m not the only one who still has clothes from high school :)

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20 laura { 11.08.10 at 12:26 am }

Thank-you for posting this, so very true.

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