I stopped focusing on weight loss while exercising and I’m happier for it

Updated on:27 November 2019, 13:46pm IST
Are you exercising just to lose weight? If you said yes, then perhaps it’s time to shift your focus to the happiness-inducing properties of working out instead.
Sonakshi Kohli
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Exercise releases endorphins
Exercise = Happy hormones. GIF courtesy: Giphy

It was a vicious cycle and I was stuck. Exercise, stop getting results after a certain point, and quit it out of bitterness. I would soon feel guilty, overindulge, and get depressed and anxious. Then, I would get back to working out again to lose the gained weight and start hating it, yet again, for a lack of results beyond a point.

Basically, I was in a love-hate relationship with exercise.

And I broke it when I realised…

That I had to stop over expecting from my workouts
Now this may make me sound like someone who simply chose to give up, but there is science to support the relevance of this realisation.

Several studies, including the one conducted at the City University of New York (CUNY), have found that exercise alone isn’t enough for weight loss and that your diet has a larger role to play.

The effectiveness of exercise is particularly decreased if you’ve hit a fitness plateau. This means that while eating healthy and working out could lead to some initial weight loss, the results may stop or slow down after a certain point as the body gets used to it.

So basically, after every few months, you’ve got to further cut down your calorie intake and up your workout game. Too much pressure, isn’t it?

That leaving workouts wasn’t an option either
After a point of time, I realised I was running to the gym only to shed the extra weight I had gained while binging in guilt and depression due to lack of results. But what if I could simply eliminate the depression, junk-food cravings, and anxiety and get out of the rut?

There’s enough scientific evidence about exercise releasing endorphins (happy hormones) and boosting mood, apart from promoting healthy and conscious eating patterns.

However, it took me a while to actually understand the gravity of this situation. Working out made me feel good, regardless of whether I lost weight or not. Not doing so made me feel horrible–not just out of guilt, but also due to lack of blood circulation and endorphin production in the body.

That when you can’t change the game, change your goals
Results weren’t in my hands, but my happiness and strength were. With every run, I could feel my muscles growing stronger. Hence, from burning calories and fat, my goal shifted to feeling happy and strong. Because you know what? Exercise really isn’t a use and throw means of losing weight just to look aesthetically appealing!

Exercise makes you happy
Focus on strength while exercising and not calories burnt. GIF courtesy: Giphy

That consistency pays off
Till what extent will you keep cutting calories and increasing your workout intensity, huh? Eventually, your body will start getting fatigued. The workouts, which were once meant to refresh you will only leave you exhausted—at least that’s what happened in my case.

But, going easy on myself and my workouts not only eased off this pressure, but the consistency paid off gradually. Maybe, the results were as slow as losing only a kilogram in a month, but I was happier. And that’s what really matters.

Sonakshi Kohli Sonakshi Kohli

Twenty kilos down and struggling to maintain the weight loss by preaching healthy eating, while eating unhealthy every now and then.