Does being thin make you miserable?

Judith Wills / 22 August 2014

Diet and wellbeing blogger, Judith Wills, questions some new research into body size and happiness.



Now, at last, I know why Posh, despite having millions in the bank, a fabulous career, gorgeous kids and Mr Beckham across the table at breakfast, not to mention elsewhere in the house or should I say houses, always looks so miserable.

It's because she's thin!

Yes, honestly – I know most of us carrying the odd few pounds or more of fat think being thin will make us feel as happy as anything, but apparently it makes us more depressed. And wait, before you shout, “Well of course it does – dieting is depressing you idiot!” - research shows that actually finishing the diet and being slim is just as likely to lead to depression and disappointment as it is to super-confidence and the life we always dreamed about, so it's not just the lack of food and miserly dieting existence while the pounds disappear that we're talking about here.

Well, all this is true if you believe the studies carried out at University College, London by researchers who followed 2,000 overweight people for 4 years and found out all the goss. I'm not one to doubt research (well I am actually, but don't tell anyone) but honestly, are they really sure that 2,000 people who lost weight were all long-faced and suicidal about it and hating their new, slim-waisted streamlined lives?

If so, the researchers must have been unlucky in who they picked for their research. Because I've known many, many slimmers over the years – quite a few of whom did, actually manage to get to their target weights and keep the weight, or at least most of it, off. And I can quite certainly say that as far as I was aware, most of them were delighted and remained delighted. NO, they weren't all screaming this delight from the rooftops or saying to everyone they met, “I'm just SO happy that I've lost weight!”

But if you asked them – which I often did, as I used to help lots of people to lose weight and would normally keep in touch with them for months or years afterwards – they would say that yes, being a reasonable weight improved their lives and their self-confidence. Only those who had had unrealistic expectations of how wonderfully different their slimmer lives would be, felt a bit let down, or, as the researchers say, disappointed.

So I hope that the rather irresponsible headlines about the university's findings haven't put anyone off trying to lose weight. I promise you, for most people it is well worth it. Even if nothing changes except you can wear some of your old favourite clothes again, and you can face looking in the mirror once more, the hidden benefits are worth so very much. Less risk of life-threatening diseases and more chance of healthy everyday life, for example.

Now that's something we all want, surely. So come on, Posh – crack a smile. Or perhaps you're just too thin to get happy. But that's another story for another week.

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