In Pursuit of Happiness

As anyone who has read my 'About Me' page knows I spent a significant portion of my early 20's morbidly obese. Yes, technically I fell into that category with a BMI of 30.5 (it's now 20.5!). This photo is terrible but I believe it's one of two pictures taken of me at my heaviest - I avoided the camera almost as much as the scale. Heaviest

Being overweight obviously came with a lot of negative side effects.

I hated being ignored.

I hated being winded from just walking to class when I was a student. One of my 'ah ha' moments came I realized I made a habit of going to the bathroom before class just to catch my breath before walking into the classroom.

I hated being self-conscious 24/7. Pulling my shirt down, hiking my pants up, feeling like if I ate out in public people would judge me for clearly eating too much.

I hated making the same resolution every year that this would be the year. I would lose weight. I would go to the beach every weekend in the summer and not have to wear a cover up the entire time. I could walk around the mall without judging myself against every thin woman who walked by. I could stop using food as a way to cope with my emotions and feel full and satisfied from healthy foods. My life would be so much better when I lost weight!

Then - this happened.

It took two years but I finally reached goals I never even thought imaginable. I went from a size 16 in women to a size 16 in kids (hey, buying jeans from the Old Navy kids department is significantly cheaper!).

It felt amazing! Everyone would comment on how great I looked, friends wanted to know how I lost it all (eat less, move more) and I felt really, really happy.

For a while.

The problem about making your  happiness contingent on some future event is (1) that event may never happen and (2) if it does you may find the happiness wears off after a while and then what?

I'm at the 'then what' phase.

I spent years being able to blame my unhappiness, stress, anxiety and self-esteem issues on my obesity. Now, I have virtually every element one would consider necessary to be happy (health, a home, a job, wonderful friends and family...) yet I find myself struggling with obtaining a relatively permanent level of happiness.

I'm so goal oriented and organized that I've decided to start studying happiness, practicing it, and hopefully experiencing it on a more regular basis.

It's all very existential.