Striving for happiness first. To lose weight is a bonus.

I’ve been thinking about the success of our business as we are about to celebrate 4 years of helping people lose weight, keep it off and develop a healthy relationship to food. We want our dieters to be happy, lose weight and not the other way around. What we mean is that it’s important to recognize that losing weight is not going to make you happier. Okay, well it might. But we do know that from seeing hundreds of people on our weight loss program, those who are already happy but are ready to makes changes with their lifestyle and their weight have higher chances of succeeding than those dieters who feel that once they lose the weight, they will be happier.

While there is undeniable science behind our program, right from our weight loss phase all the way through to our maintenance program, I’ve known all along that we have another secret ingredient to which we owe our success that up until now, I’ve not been able to put my finger on. After listening to a TED talk today by Shawn Achor, sent to me by a dieter on the subject of happiness, I figured out just what makes us remarkably different from most other weight loss programs out there.

It’s very clear to us as a weight loss company that losing weight does not cause people to find happiness or to be happier. We know this because people lose weight all the time, and often realize that it is not a means to an end. Their relationships didn’t get easier, their negative self-talk didn’t completely go away, and their problems at work didn’t change. We tend to blame the weight, and the secret motto often becomes “when I lose the weight, things will be better”.  For some, losing the weight helps them align with how they truly see themselves, as confident, healthy, and happy. It then becomes about matching how they feel on the outside to how they feel inside. This is more of a “return to self” and the resolve they started their weight loss journey with tends to be more along the lines of “I love myself, I want to lose weight” rather than “I don’t like my myself or my body, I want to lose the weight”. Two very different weight loss journeys indeed.

There are countless benefits to losing weight and we grossly underestimate the dis-ease that is caused to the body by carrying extra adipose tissue, the impact on the physical structure of one’s body and the psychological effects that this can have on a person.

You don’t need to be the person who has attained full self-love to start the weight loss journey. It’s okay to want to get away from the dis-ease of not feeling good in your body. That in itself can serve as a powerful starting point.

Our goal is for our dieters to enjoy the process of losing weight because it means taking care of themselves, loving themselves, and nurturing their bodies. I believe that this is what we do really well. The goal is for the weight loss program to begin with happiness and to maintain this happiness for life. Of course, we know you aren’t Buddha and we know life can throw you a few curve balls. But what if you could work your way to a consistent experience of happiness? It is not about arriving at 15lbs, 30lbs or 50lbs of weight loss and then finding happiness. Yes, these milestones are important and they should be celebrated, but only as a part of the whole picture, that is, the enjoyment of what it is to be a human being living in a Vital Body and aligned in mind, body and spirit.

A few ways that we increase the levels of happiness at Vital Body:

  • We have a weight loss program that always works, so dieters get consistent, weekly results. Everything can be explained scientifically and success is attainable.
  • There is no hunger or starvation on our program, happy bodies.
  • Have you been to our clinic? It’s a beauty! It’s a positive, vibrant place to be and people love coming here.
  • Meet our team. They are all awesome people, living awesome lives. And they care about every person they interact with. It’s really very extraordinary.
  • Our coaches are SO skilled to ask the right questions, give incredible support, and help people get the results they came for. They make dieters happy!
  • As business owners, Zan and I have our eyes on the happiness of our staff all the time and we do everything we can to take good care of our people, including all the people we contract and do business with.
  • We recycle, compost, and use tree-free paper whenever we can. This makes all of us happy.
  • We pride ourselves on our customer service. We enjoy making other people happy. It’s serious business for us!

I enjoy being a happy business person and I enjoy being a happy human being. This is my message: be happy, lose weight and not the other way around. Ours is an industry (the weight loss industry that is) filled with fear. Weight loss companies are trying to motivate people with this fear, playing on peoples’ emotional and mental pain. However effective this may be at getting people in their doors, my view is that it will crumble in the end. And though we are just one clinic on the corner of Hastings and Boundary, in the lower mainland of British Columbia, we hope we can start a revolution. Take back your happiness first, losing the weight is a major bonus.

Amrita Ahuja
Clinic Director
Vital Body Weight Loss Centre