There is a ton of information about the benefits of exercise and weight loss. It is undeniable that having an active lifestyle and striving to consume ethically farmed nutrient dense food is a paramount step towards achieving a healthy lifestyle. I have however noticed that a lot of information about this topic is centred almost entirely around the physical benefits of being healthy. Very little information is shared about the mental and emotional impacts of undertaking a lifestyle transformation journey. More so the information that is shared tends to highlight only positives and rarely explores the complex feelings that come with undertaking such a drastic change. I have personally experienced a lot of benefits of overhauling my lifestyle. I am happier, I have more energy, my mind is clearer, I enjoy food more, I sleep better, I have less anxiety, I am stronger, I am so much more confident, etc. I cannot stress enough how great this journey has been overall. Even so, it has come with some unexpected hiccups and road blocks that I was completely unaware of. The issues that I have faced and continue to face as I evolve reveal to just how complicated the human experience is, and how little information is given about the emotional toll of any change. It also shows how quick we are to place life experiences into either good or bad categories, rather than accepting moral ambiguities. So even though becoming healthier is an objectively good thing to do, it can have significant negative impacts on your mental and emotional well being. Below details the five main emotional side effects I have or am currently experiencing whilst I endeavour to better myself.
It has been about 1.5 years since I managed to successfully drop about 17kgs and completely alter my relationship to food and my overall health and lifestyle. I started this journey because I felt I had to. I was deeply disgusted with my entire life at the time. I was sad, unmotivated, depressed, afraid, insecure and overweight. Post graduation, I filled my days with meaningless work and most of my nights with alcohol and/fast food. I was essentially numbing myself to life and at intervals having panic attacks about potentially getting cancer due to my unhealthy lifestyle. I did not recognise myself when I stood in front the mirror. I hated how heavy I felt when I moved and how quickly breathless I became when I attempted most physical activities. I did not like myself and I felt truly hopeless for the first time in my life. This post details the key stages marking my descent into this state and what finally prompted me to change it.