Think weight loss will make you happy? Sometimes thats not the case.

As per my oncologists recommendations I take Yoga twice per week.  It’s a one on one session…I don’t like group yoga, but that’s a different story.  Nicole (my yoga instructor) and I were talking at the end of the work out today, yeah, it’s a work out for me.  I used to be able to press 185 pounds over my head, now I can’t hold a down ward dog for more than about 20 seconds. and weight loss/happiness came up.  We both came to the same conclusion…it’s not about the weight loss.

The wheel of happiness/life.

Nicole used to do a lot of life coaching where weight loss would be an aspect of it. Her clients would draw a spoked wheel and put different aspects of their life in it.  It would look something like this…


She then would have her clients put a dot into each respective triangle to represent where they felt they were at.  Closer to the inside (bulls eye) meant they were happier with that aspect.  Closer to the outside meant they weren’t that happy.

We are a lifestyle gym

We don’t necessarily do “life coaching” at KDR, we do “lifestyle coaching”.  KDR Fitness is a lifestyle gym.  We believe getting people to adjust their diet + fitness and providing health education = healthy lifestyle. People that are healthy tend to be happy.  The people that focus on those three points; their diet, their fitness and learning about health will tend to experience much better weight loss.


We believe that if you are healthy, you are happy and you will in turn experience better weight loss.  And if you’re not…then maybe you need to look at your priorities.  This is coming from someone who has been at the VERY high level of health and at the absolute rock bottom level of sickness.  I wouldn’t trade my health and the ability to do any physical thing I want for a million dollars.



If someone were to say, “hey, I’ll give you $1,000,000.00 in exchange for your health.”  I wouldn’t even bat an eye when saying no.

Our wheel would look like this:


The wheel of Health/happiness – I know it’s a little rough, but you get the idea.  Notice how I didn’t put WEIGHT on there.  If you focus on improving the other areas, your weight will naturally fall.  But, if you focus on just losing weight, it’s unlikely you will make a change in any of the other areas.

Health begets happiness in our opinion.  It’s rare to see someone that is truly healthy and NOT happy.  But you can find tons of people that have GI issues, aches/pains, arthritis, bloating and are miserable assholes.


Makes sense really…can you be happy if your always in pain or uncomfortable.  Some of us can, but a large percentage of us can’t.

Break it down

From a practical stand point, we see this all of the time when people come in and they say “I am unhappy because I am over weight.”  We ask them how much weight do they want to lose to be happy.  We inevitably get some kind of arbitrary number like 10 pounds or 40 pounds.  This is usually followed by “When I weighed this much was when I was the happiest.”  Often times they are neglecting/forgetting big points of that memory, such as:

  1. Age – Yes, Xenia (I had a hard time coming up with a name that we have never had in the gym) when you were 25 and you weighed 120 pounds you probably were a hell of a lot happier then you are now at 40 and weighing 200 pounds.
  2. Life situation – I can see how you might be the happiest at 20 and weighing 120 pounds WITH NO responsibilities with the ability to just peace out and do what you want at the drop of a hat would be a happier place then now, at 40, with kids a husband a mortgage payment and a career..and carrying an extra 80 pounds.
  3. Sex/self-esteem – this isn’t rocket science. When we get laid more, we tend to be a lot happier and by default that makes us feel better through enhancing our self-esteem.  I don’t think it’s about the sex (of course that plays in to it) per se, I think it’s about the attention.  As we settle into relationships we tend to often get LESS attention.  Sometimes, people will come to us saying they want to lose weight.  In reality, they want more attention from their significant other. They think that it’s because they are overweight that they aren’t getting that attention.  Bottom line – they want to get laid more.  I have a number of women over the years tell me that (after some digging and trying to get to the root of their motivation) during our initial intakes.

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The number is not what they are really saying.  What they are really saying is, I am unhappy in one of the areas (or more than one) in the spoke.  We see that confirmed, they lose the weight and are STILL unhappy!  Or, they lose the weight, and then put it back on.  Or even worse, they see success, become happier, quit the gym, and go right back to being miserable.

We have seen a LARGE amount of members come to us for weight loss goals, lose a large amount of weight, look better then 90% of the population and STILL be miserable and unhappy.


You can increase (i.e. move your dot closer to the middle) and not influence any of the other dots.  It’s only when you influence more than one dot that the others move as well.

Be honest with your self about your goals.  We think EVERYONE should be a member of our gym, but sometimes, we just can’t help someone because they aren’t really coming to us for weight loss or to be healthier.  They are coming to us because they are unhappy with an aspect of their life that is outside their health and they think losing weight is going to fix that.

Make your own “Happiness” wheel using Nicole’s model and ours.  See where you fall.  Work on the things that are towards the outside.  That doesn’t mean STOP or DON’T work on the ones you are strong at, it just means that sometimes, improving your strengths, doesn’t improve your weaknesses.


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