Earlier this week, I had a phone call with one of my clients. She put me on the spot with a deep, powerful question.

If you’d rather listen to this blog than read it, please click play. Otherwise, keep reading below.

She had just told me how her father, after having a heart attack, changed his diet, started working out and completely transformed his life & health. He told her that his only regret is that he didn’t make the changes decades earlier.

She asked me to think back to when I was 350+ pounds and beginning my journey to a healthier, more vibrant version of myself. She said,

“If you had a coach then, what do you wish they would have told you?”

The answer came to me quickly. I wish someone had told me something along the lines of…

“Lose the weight, for sure, but don’t make weight loss your primary focus or main pursuit. Happiness matters more. If you’re going to do the work, do the right work.

You don’t want to lose the weight and still feel like something is missing or wrong. What you really want isn’t just to be smaller. What you really want is to be happy, lighthearted, confident and fit. Pursue the big picture.”

It probably would have made me nervous. I would have insisted that weight loss itself would make me happy. Fortunately, I now have the benefit of hindsight and can see that big picture.

What I know now is that weight loss simply makes you weigh less. While that’s awesome, it increases energy and improves mood, it’s absolutely separate from happiness.

Plus, so much of my weight issue was actually an unhappiness issue, not a food issue. I was trying to distract myself, soothe myself and pursue pleasure because of a fundamental lack of happiness and joy in my life.

I wish I knew that then.

I want my life to be joyful. I want my life to be full of rich, meaningful, authentic relationships. I want to have fun. I want adventure. I want to laugh a lot and feel light at heart.

I don’t want stress about food or weight to mark any single day of my existence.

These days, my pursuit is simply feeling my best, creating joy and choosing happiness. That does have an impact on my food choices (I don’t feel joyful when I’m in a sugar coma but I also don’t feel joyful if I’m making everything about fat loss.)

I am intentional about beginning every day by asking how I can create joy and make the day amazing. I evaluate choices based on what will make me feel amazing (and what won’t.)

My priority is not the tag inside my jeans or the number on the scale. My priority is a happy, joyful, vibrant life.

I wish I lived this way years ago!