What Have You Gained by Losing?

Why is it that I always tended to focus on all the things I was giving up when I tried to diet? I would complain to anyone who would listen about the fact that my current diet didn’t allow me to eat chocolate  or chips. I would show them my little notebook full of forbidden food lists. Or, if I was dieting on my own, I’d talk about how good I had done by saying “no” to the bowl full of Hershey kisses at the party.

All I could focus on was what food I thought I could never have again.

I had it 100% backwards. Instead of focusing on what I perceived as missing – I should have been focusing on all the things I would gain when I was at a healthier weight. But through 10 years of dieting, I focused on the losses. That’s something that was different for me the last time I tried to lose weight. I focused on all the things I was gaining.

Here’s some things I gained or improved by losing:

Increased self-respect

Control over my choices

Better wardrobe

More energy

Improved health


Ability to do physical activities I never thought possible – like ride a bike

As you travel your own journey – I wonder if you ever tend to focus on all the things you have given up and lose sight of the wonderful benefits to being healthier and more fit? If you do, I’d encourage you to sit down when you have a minute and make a written list of all the wonderful things you are gaining or want to gain on your journey.

Do you ever focus on the perceived losses or do you keep your eye on the gains?  Diane

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About Diane Carbonell

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  1. Great post as usual Diane. I remember how dieting used to be a pain. I always tell people to try buying a new healthy food they never ate before every time they do groceries. I do that, and I find that the bad food disappears without me focusing on not having them.

    When I started exploring new kinds of beans, new grains like quinoa, lentil, healthier home made desserts, new veggies, etc, I never thought of what I should not eat anymore. And I can safely say, in my new journey I gained a little more wisdom. Or rather a lot. My mind works better.
    Mbini recently posted…Apartment Designs and RevampsMy Profile

  2. I found my confidence and my voice.
    Miz recently posted…New Two Fit Chicks &amp a MicrophoneMy Profile

  3. I’ve been reading your posts for about two weeks now. So inspiring. I was the perfect weight my whole life (up until 10 years ago when I started gaining) – and also very athletic. I’m now needing to lose 60kg (120lbs!!)

    Don’t even ask me how it got that bad, but it did. Thyroid, eating, no exercising, all of the above.

    But today, I walked around the grocery store, and whereas even up until yesterday I would have bought myself a treat, or splurged on some ridiculous cheesy, garlicky bread (which I would have scarfed alone at home before anyone else would have seen it) today I walked around and kept saying NO. I walked out with just the essentials, and all good healthy choices. I walked out with a smile on my face, and felt proud of myself. Right now I’m pointedly ignorning the siren call of the last two chocolate chip muffins in the cupboard. I don’t need food for comfort anymore. I prefer feeling good.
    Ness at Drovers Run recently posted…From one Epic saga to another!My Profile

  4. Sabrina, free weights instructor, always talks to us about working now so we are able to get on and off the toilet (by ourselves) at age 80.

    One of the biggest factors for me (now) is living pain FREE. My weight caused a lot of pain – lower back, shoulders, neck, knees. Everything was hard. Everything hurt – all the time. It feels wonderful NOT to hurt every day.
    vickie recently posted…Out of the mouths of babesMy Profile

  5. OMG yes. I am not optimistic by nature. So I need to remind myself to think about the gains. Some days that is harder than others.
    Karen@WaistingTime recently posted…Today’s Lucky NumberMy Profile

  6. I think it’s easier to think about all of the things we’re missing at the beginning of the journey. Once we start seeing results, it’s much easier to think about the benefits! I see the benefits more often now!
    Alissa recently posted…Finally Friday!My Profile

  7. Yesterday morning, when I walked into our den wearing a dress I had not been able to wear for over two years, my husband looked at me and just said, “wow!” Even though I’m doing this for me, that “gain” was far more satisfying than anything I feel I might have given up.
    SBBLWB recently posted…Farmers Market BountyMy Profile

  8. Control!!!!!
    emergefit recently posted…Wainero Getting Screwed By Taking The Easy Way Out…My Profile

  9. Sometimes i whine about what i can’t/don’t eat. Lately, however, i’ve been going in the produce section of the grocery store and ooohing and ahhing at all the beautiful fruits and veggies. Now that is a complete turn around for me.
    suzanne recently posted…Who is thisMy Profile

  10. I have been reading a lot about this…. focus on how lucky you are to be eating healthy food & having a body that lets you move & get healthier every day. I think people are used to focusing on how much they have to give up instead on focusing on the larger picture of what they will gain, as you said Diane. Always a lifelong process! :-)
    Jody – Fit at 52 recently posted…Calling all Glutes – That is Your Booty-Butt-Buns!My Profile

  11. I just love fitting into these tiny clothes. This weekend, I climbed a cliff that I couldn’t have climbed with 50 more pounds on me, and without all that hateful stuff I do at the gym. I needed my muscles, and my arms worked as much as my legs. Bouldering! Not for me, too scary. And then I walked around in a sports bra and water shorts, and swam. My mind is still blown that I can do that, and people don’t even look at me (unless they’re staring at the boobs). I’m still annoyed from time to time about the things I can’t eat, but I just need to reframe my thinking, I can eat it all, just not often, nor too much.
    julie recently posted…My head is spinningMy Profile

  12. For the most part this time around I think I have been able to focus on what I’m gaining. I still have my bad moments though. Just yesterday I became fixated for awhile on cake, and the fact that I couldn’t have any. Luckily I was able to break the fixation eventually. Those bad moments reminded me why losing weight has been so hard in the past. Thinking about what I’m gaining is so much better than thinking about what I can’t have.
    Desert Agave recently posted…Saved by a RunMy Profile

  13. My gains seem to be different. 1. Learning what does not work for my body ( a surprisingly long list with that)
    2.New abilities and mobility
    3. Alternative choices
    4.Possibilities and potential
    Diane recently posted…Short quick trip to frustrationMy Profile

  14. It’s amazing to me really. As I focus on the gains, they just keep growing and growing and I find a renewed sense of myself. It has been building a motivation that isn’t based on the scale. It’s has given me the resolve that I will succeed this time!
    Jules – Big Girl Bombshell recently posted…Garden Lesson- What I take for grantedMy Profile

  15. I used to complain so much about what I could and couldn’t eat. But as I experimented with food I realized although I would really love a chocolate bar RIGHT NOW it would make me sick (literally) and I can enjoy a sweet in other ways. So I focus on all the good stuff I make instead. And all the wonderful things I can do now that i couldn’t do before. But it took me a while to get here.
    Cynthia (It All Changes) recently posted…If the Crack Wrap Had a Love ChildMy Profile

  16. When I focus on the negative, I have SO MUCH difficulty in achieving success… having a positive attitude and recognizing all of our accomplishments makes all the difference.
    Sagan recently posted…The Living Healthy in the Real World Guide to Cleaning &amp Organizing- Part Nine- BudgetingMy Profile

  17. I love this post. Even now, I find myself struggling and I’ll ask myself “What’s wrong with you?” I have to remember to flip that question on its head to “What’s right with you?”

    Even though I tend to ask that question, I am a more confident person as a result of this fitness journey and I love it that I ask for what I want these days…
    ‘Drea recently posted…First Things First- Breathe and Relax Your ArmMy Profile

  18. For me it has mostly been about the gains, but I notice the loses too. I try to be philosophical about them.

  19. I think once you lose the desired weight, it’s important to focus on making fitness gains. Just “keeping it off” can feel like too much of a chore.
    Joe recently posted…My Transition to Forefoot StrikingMy Profile

  20. Exactly everything you listed, Diane. Thanks for another great post!
    Sunny recently posted…Blood Pressure UpdateMy Profile

  21. Sometimes when I have bad days I focus on all the food I’m “missing out on.” But then I snap out it, realize that there are no foods off limits to me, and love how far I’ve come in my journey. :)

  22. Self. Freedom. Confidence.
    KCLAnderson (Karen) recently posted…Resolved and Dissolved- For NowMy Profile

  23. Self-respect

  24. Gains, definitely! Of course, focusing on the positives is much easier when the scale is being nice to you….

    Things I’ve gained?
    Smaller clothes. Confidence. Collarbones.
    Christine recently posted…8 Easy Secrets of My 90-Pound Weight-Loss SuccessMy Profile

  25. For me, my biggest gain is my self respect. For all those years (decades) I was overweight, I felt like the “real me” was hidden somewhere inside. I’m beginning to feel that the real me is starting to appear. This is the person I am supposed to be, not the overweight, unhealthy, non-exercising person that took over my body. I was camera phobic for years–I’d only take the pictures and allowed my own picture to be taken only with very poor grace.. I can hold my head up these days. A huge gain.

  26. It’s can be so easy to focus on negatives and losses, and I fight myself doing this from time to time, still. But I stand so much more to gain by focusing on positive, encouraging things like my health, self confidence, and yes, the way I look in clothes! I had a rough day yesterday and a bad food night, but focusing on how far I have come and how much better I feel on plan is what is making me do better today, not by chastising myself for screwing up.

    That makes a difference in my success this time around!
    Taryl recently posted…28 week appointmentMy Profile

    will have to read all posts when I am done with the editing of over 1000 photo’s. I have sat on my butt all day and nibbled which is NOT good at all.

  28. Being fat has given me the impetus to start exercise. Which has been great for my self-esteem, body image and stress coping.

    On my good days, losing weight allows me to appreciate my body even more. How it still stays with me after all I’ve put it through, how lovely it works. In those times, I gain a curiosity about my body that I never had and am excited to see what improvements and curveballs may yet reveal themselves on this journey.

    (On my bad days, I curse myself that I ever allowed the situation to become so bad and can only see the huge amount of work left to do… but that is life!)

  29. I don’t think of it as giving up anything, but more as “delaying” it or parceling it out over time. If I think about how infrequently I can healthfully have something, it tends to elevate its importance and the absence makes me kind of sad. If I tell myself I’ll have it again “someday soon”, it gets pushed to the back of my mind. And often out of mind completely. :)
    Cammy@TippyToeDiet recently posted…Table for OneMy Profile

  30. It comes down to is the glass half full or half empty.

    I prefer to focus on the things I have gained.

    All the benefits of losing weight far out way any moment of pleasure that comes from tasting food.

  31. I think I defintely focus on the gains and feel like the main thing i’ve lost (besides frequent trips to fast-food restaurants) is some of my insecurities! I have more energy, a more positive attitude, more confidence and more dresses that fit – yay! :)
    fittingbackin recently posted…Housewarming Success- Mac &amp Cheese Recipe- Sunday VegdayMy Profile

  32. In the past I definitely focused on all the things I was giving up. I remember thinking, I could never give that up, or I don’t want to give that up. I am trying not to do that any more! You blog is so encouraging and so are your comments on my posts. Thank you!
    Shawnee recently posted…Today I ate Cheetos and Didn’t Feel GuiltyMy Profile

  33. Good post. I did awful today with my eating and I actually thought about the things that I am missing lately that I had just a month or so ago! More energy, no headaches, clearer skin, and so on…*sigh* Thanks for the good reminder!!!
    Amy recently posted…Day 2My Profile

  34. This past weekend my husband and I were at a function where a dessert table had been set up. I had eaten sparingly at the main meal, but the desserts looked fabulous! And then, as I was gazing at all of the sweets, and I don’t know how they did it, my next size smaller summer slacks, that are only about 5 pounds away from fitting, magically appeared on the table with all of the goodies. I gazed from the fudgiest most delectable dessert to those slacks that only I could see — it was a no brainer….I chose the fresh strawberries!

  35. That is such an important point, Diane! Not only do we gain all the things you mentioned, but we also get to eat all the delicious fresh and healthy food we missed out on while we were addicted to fast food and processed food. That is huge!
    Hanlie recently posted…What an interesting day&8230My Profile


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