Happy Snaps

I was thinking about happiness after rediscovering a ranty pants entry from 2006:

For me happiness is sifting through the shitty bits of life and looking for the good things to latch onto. And always making sure you have something to look forward to, whether that's a weekly choccie bar, an episode of The Avengers or an island holiday. Anything will do…

… I have to work as hard at staying happy as I do at getting to the gym or making sure my guts don't explode out of my trousers. It's a habit that I had to learn. You just have to work on it, every single day.

The only thing more annoying than a smug, happy person is when the smug, happy person is yourself.

Begrudgingly I must agree with Me of 2006. My brain finds it hard to hold on to optimism and cheeriness unless I consciously work at 'em.

My personal formula for happiness:

  1. Making time for small, everyday feelgood stuff (e.g.: kickboxing, recent gardening addiction)
  2. Having an overall bigass goal to sink my teeth into. A purpose!

Without the above I get all reclusive and maudlin. I used to blame this tendency on my weight, but now I know that I can be happy or miserable at any size!

While I was back in Oz in April, I found some old photos from 2001 – the first year of lardbusting. I was amazed at how cheery I looked. But I remembered the moments the pics were taken and realised why I felt so bloody brilliant back then and why I hadn't been feeling so good these past few months. Back then I was living the formula, baby… big goals; simple pleasures.

NB: The captions on these pics say 2000 but it should be 2001. I can't find the originals now, d'oh!

In this pic I was dead pleased with myself as I was down 40 pounds and for the first time in years I'd managed to keep up with my friends on a walk to this park. All the leaves were broon and Harry the Dog was being his usual demented self.


I think I was another ten pounds down here and taking a progress photo. The dopey grin was coz I fitted into a new size 24 jumper. I was pretty freakin' determined.


And six months later, this is when I got my hair chopped off and felt rather foxy. I'd also been swimming and went to a pub, tackling two big fat girl fears. I'd finally realised that I didn't have to let my weight hold me back. That was a gobsmacking revelation. I was pretty much delirious back then!


It's now actually a month since I started this entry and I can't really remember why I started it and now it's nearly midnight (curfew fail!). Sorry this is not much of a weight loss blog in the traditional sense these days; it's more about happiness gain. I'm latching on to the good things and trying to savour them right as they're happening. Yeehah.

42 thoughts on “Happy Snaps

  1. All this is does tie into the weight loss topic. And no matter how many times I go over that happiness thing in my head, I’m always having to give myself another mental lecture! Goals and movement and progress of any kind is really the remedy to a plethora of life’s problems, no? You’re so inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing your ups and downs.

  2. Lots of people think when they lose weight their lives will be perfect and are so disappointed when it doesn’t happen. We may be happier we are thinner but we still have to deal with life’s ups and downs.

    You can see how happy you are in those pictures because you were proud of yourself and your confidence shines through.

    We have to work to be happy in our lives no matter what the scale says or how much lard we lug around.

  3. I’ve been really noticing the absence of a big goal in my life at the moment. I need to get me one of those.

  4. I’m actually going through the same thing of trying to be happy, so I can relate to these posts. I’m still not where I want to be, but that’s not what i stopping me. I’m not sure why I’m not happy… It’s tough to work, but good luck, I think I am on my way with a big goal /change coming up

  5. Someone once told me that the key to happiness is having:

    1) Someone to love;
    2) Something to look forward to; and
    3) Something to work on.

    It seems pretty much the truth to me.

  6. the habit of happiness is like anything – you can learn it, but the flip side is that you can forget and then have to go back to your principles and remeber what you know. My recipe for NOT being happy is having no big goal!

  7. Hi Shauna,

    like the post. Great photos. It’s so true that you can be sad at any weight.

    Totally agree that it’s good to have something to look forward to and a reason for being.

    By the way, if you and the Doc were to get a dog what type would you go for?


  8. I am thrilled your focused on finding your happy.

    I search for my Bliss everyday… and find it in the smallest of things…

    Good Luck.

    xoxo, Lis

  9. I continue to thrill at how publicly honest you are. This most certainly is a mind-body-spirit awareness blog. I have realized that in the long run, losing the weight has behind it all that battle and enthusiasm and Rocky rah-rah spirit. It is living with the dang person & his/her thoughts underneath the fat that enters into the realm of boredom, depression, humdrum. Our dieting expectations are filled with fun and fantasy. Then we “win” finally, but get left with just ‘me’, and no extra self to hide behind. We use that “I’m a fat invisible nobody” only so long, and then we have to redifine all the reviled parts of ourselves. Letting the ego disappear and just being-is the preferred mode of travel, but it is so dang hard to do. I think you have a beautiful spirit, but you just do the thing we all do–you think. I think that you are so whole and you just may not realize it. Sigh.

  10. What I love most about your blog is that you don’t trash the “old” Shauny. I think that’s the real secret to your success — you recognize that you were pretty amazing all the way through this process. Glad to hear that happiness is the goal now — what could be a better one?

  11. A part of a weight loss blog is to see that you keep the weight. Which often is even more difficult than to loose the weight. So yeah – it’s kind of a weight blog.

  12. Thanks for all the comments folks…

    @Willy – I love that! Really nails it.

    @LBTEPA – I hear ya buddy. Always need something to chase after πŸ™‚

    @Kathryn – Good luck finding one comrade! Although the big Japan move… that is pretty freakin huge!

    @Jen – thanks mate πŸ™‚

    @Carolyn – I toooootally agree, Just Being is hard to achieve but I’m kinda enjoying bumbling towards that.

    @Tamakitkat – It would have to be a dog from the rescue home… whichever random mutt I fell in love with first. That’s what happened with Harry πŸ™‚

  13. I’m pretty sure every emotional eater in the world could agree that weight and happiness are very much related.

    So it goes like this: You post, we learn, we post, you learn, and together, we take care of what’s inside, as well as outside.

    Still an inspiration, Shauna, many years on.

  14. I really appreciate this post. I’m feeling very similar lately- finding it hard to find the happiness. Reading your thoughts and goals and knowing I’m not the only one to feel that way is helpful!

  15. This eerily scary because I just posted about the same thing myself: how to find a balance in my small life. All laundry and no play make Jill very cranky! Those simple pleasures in life add up to a great deal.

  16. I really loved this blog post, especially after going through a bit of a grouchy, grumpy rant for the better part of the past two weeks.

    I loved Chantal’s advice too!

    I have learned that I’m insanely impacted by my environment. Being around grouchy, mopey, sad people generally infects me, so I try to be more aware of my surroundings, distance myself from people who drag me down and for those I can’t avoid, I remind myself that I don’t need to be responsible for or take on their bad mood.

  17. I really love that it’s not just about the weight loss now, it shows that you have to keep working and keep trying to push yourself further. I love that you keep putting things up to show that you are still working on your happiness and love it even more when you post up something new that you’ve tried! It gives me hope that it’s possible to be happy and proud of yourself!

  18. I think it’s great how your blog has shifted focus because it’s the next step in your journey. It’s important for people to realize that happiness doesn’t automatically come from losing weight. You should write a second book about it! πŸ™‚ P.S. Do you know what kind of dog Harry is? I have a rescue mutt that looks just like him and I have no idea what she is!

  19. This is such a timely blog entry!! A year and half ago I began my own weight loss journey (going from 245 lbs to 155 lbs), but once I hit my goal weight, I really struggled with the maintenance part of it. After a several ups and downs, I eventually got fed up and gained back about 45 lbs. Now I’m determined again to shed the weight and to run a 5k in July. Once again, I find myself almost giddy with excitement and I’ve already seen an improvement in my mood. This new positive attitude got me thinking. During a recent conversation with my Nutritionist, I realized why I struggled so much before. I am the kind of person that needs a goal or a purpose to get me motivated. My only real goal before was to lose weight. When I reached it, I didn’t have a goal anymore and sort of floundered, became unhappy, and as a result, allowed myself to start gaining again. I’m chalking all of this up to a great learning experience. This go-around I’ll have to be sure to come up with some kind of goal not related to weight loss to keep me motivated once I reach my target size. So thanks for the ramblings Shauna!!! This post of yours proves why you’re still my hero πŸ™‚

  20. I like your cute pictures. I think the magic bullets are: drink more water and stop drinking soda pop. A lot of the misery people put themselves through is unnecessary. There is no minimum daily requirement for refined sugar so less sweet stuff and more veggies is good.

  21. I think that formula for happiness is amazing. Simple is good. I also think that being happy is key to weight loss. It’s amazing to see your smile in those photos, and WOW that haircut looks great! I wish I could rock the sexy bob like that!

  22. Long time reader, new commenter here.

    I wanted to tell you that you are such an inspiration, because you blog honestly about so many of the struggles that go along with body image issues.

    The introspection and reflection can be just as enlightening as any other part of the journey. Thank you for all that you share/do!

  23. Ah Shauny, love the foxy hair in the last pic…great cut!…wish I was so brave as to cut my hair. Granted your gorgeous, so you can pretty much get away with anything.

    I find happiness in the simple things. Long walks in lovely weather, deep cleansing breaths, sunshine, doing good things for myself, a clean and organized home (very recent and not so simple…lol)…but you get my point. Heck I would think just listing to Dr. G speak would bring much joy…I know is accent puts a smile on my face, but so does yours for that matter…Oh you exotic people you πŸ˜‰

  24. So interesting. It’s funny, some of my photos of me at my happiest were when I weighed more. When I started to lose weight, there were times when I felt overburdened by social pressures and felt like I should lose more more more even though I was perfectly healthy.


  25. I’m totally with you on needing a big freaking goal to work towards (half marathon, currently) or I get distracted. I look at pictures from when I was at the beginning of project: deporkify myself and I looked so darn happy and remember feeling like I looked great even though now I think I looked positively plump. It’s all about perspective! πŸ™‚

  26. Everyone else on here has already said pretty much everything important, but I still wanted to say: Love, Love, LOVE your pics, you’re such a pretty lass!

  27. Ahhh bliss… it is Friday, the day before weigh-in here, and the usual self-doubt kicks in. So I click my lovely DG bookmark looking for sustenance – to find that in your usual inimitable style you’ve somehow landed on the same topic that’s occupying my mind this week and untangled it in a way that makes sense and leaves me grinning πŸ™‚

    I’m riding a rollercoaster between smug/happy and ranty despair these days. I’ve spent a lot of time bagging my past extra-lardy self for all her bad traits and somehow managed to forget I am still she, albeit increasingly more streamlined. I think I’ve been trying to put some distance between ‘old me’ and ‘new me’ in the misguided hope that pretending I’m someone new will stop me returning to old habits. But you’re dead right – ‘old me’ is still me. And there are enough piccies of ‘old me’ falling all over the place grinning like a fool to prove that old me wasn’t such a sad case. Really no different to how I am now. Losing the weight is not a magic potion for eternal happiness! Though realising you’ve honoured and respected yourself consistently enough and for long enough to effect a change in your health and your body has got to be worth at least a bit of a buzz πŸ™‚

  28. Just adding to the general expressions of awesomeness. I would agree that having a goal is good (I’ve not found one yet that works as well as “wedding photos”, sadly).

    Motivation is a peculiar thing; I’m still puzzling mine out.

  29. Love the last pic in particular – your haircut is so stylish!

    I sometimes have the same experience looking at old photos – but in the photos I’m much thinner than I am now. I remember how unhappy I was with my body when the photos were taken – how I was always still strying to lose a few more pounds – and I think to myself ‘What was your problem!?’ Something I need to remember when I get to goal again – to stop being such a perfectionist and actually enjoy it!

  30. I knew my eyetest was due, but until I was getting really confused about what the hell ‘goats’, well-known, bad-tempered farmyard animals had to do with weightloss and state of mind I perhaps did not realise how much I needed it.

    Right. No goats.


  31. You tell by the expression on your face how happy you are in those pics! And I agree, you can be happy or sad at any weight.

  32. Loved the pics Shauna. Reminds me that I really can finish this weight loss thing if I crack down and DO it. And be happy along the way. Thanks πŸ™‚

  33. hmmmmm. i wonder sometimes what makes us different…i was 440 in sept 2005 since then ive lost to the point im 245 and stuck…stopped ww and am now doing atkins and losing inches while some say its skin..i say yea when u lose a goal whether it is taken from you or just lost you seem sad for no reason…and then you see others who just seem to have it all together…dont mean to be a downer and lately my goal is 4 to 5 days at the gym for a min of 30 mins…….your blogs are great and so are the people who reply….oneday at a time huh

  34. As always, you’re an inspiration and I adore you to pieces. To always seeing the happiness…

  35. Shauna. Seriously. I always enjoy what you write, you frequently make me laugh out loud, and sometimes you even make me cry a little bit. Your posts are insightful and entertaining. But this: Big Goals, Simple Pleasures.

    Gawd. It’s like… bloody brilliant. It should be the title of your next book. It should be tattooed on my forehead. It should be a meditation mantra. Those are, really, words to live by.

    You look wonderful in all your photos – the crazy eyes always come across, no matter what weight.

  36. Weight and happiness are tied into together, but differently than most people are aware of. You’ll often hear someone say “I’ll be happy when I’m thin” but the reality is you must be happy first, and then thin comes along. If you are unhappy, you’ll overeat, skip exercise etc, and that certainly won’t get you thin. You also have to address your thinking about food, exercise, yourself and even other people who are thin. Your brain runs everything in your body, including your weight, so you must reprogram yourself into thin-thinking to get permanent results. I know because after years and years of yo yo dieting, I finally shed 135 lbs and kept if off for 7 years by looking at and changing my thinking…it wasn’t the food that was making me fat, it was my thinking.

  37. THANK YOU so much for your entry today. Damn, it hit the spot. Totally. Happiness is a choice. But I was so glad you said that you have to work at it, too. I, also, become reclusive and much too introspective when I allow myself to get too downbeat and don’t connect with friends.

    Thanks for sharing, lady!!! Love your blog.

  38. Such an amazing and inspirational post Shauna, I need to remember this, this is exactly what I needed to hear. A big thankyou from Australia, I only hope I can be as brave and determined as you and one day reach my goal which I’ve now realised should simply be happiness.

Comments are now closed on all Dietgirl posts. For fresh conversation please visit me at shaunareid.com.