A woman who lost 200 pounds by making simple changes shared the 2 key lessons she learned about fat loss

  • Leah Mancuso lost 200 pounds in two years by eating healthier and moving more.

  • Mancuso realized her physical, mental, and emotional health are interconnected.

  • Her lifestyle changes led to fuller experiences, more energy, and better social connections, she said.

Leah Mancuso lost 200 pounds in two years after she started moving more, and eating less fast food and more nutritious home-cooked meals.

Mancuso, a 35-year-old photographer based in Scottsdale, Arizona, struggled with her weight all her life. She told Business Insider that losing weight was educational and transformative in many ways.

Mancuso learned how intertwined physical, mental, and emotional health are. She also realized her former lifestyle wasn't actually easier.

"I thought my life was easy before, and that's why I wanted to stay that way," Mancuso said. "I was like, 'Why would I give up this easy, comfortable life?' But really what it was was just less. It was just less of everything. "

Unlike many people who regularly bounce from one fad diet to another, Mancuso said she wasn't a chronic dieter before learning how to lose weight sustainably. However, she had tried a few programs like WeightWatchers and Jenny Craig, but regained the weight because she found them unsustainable.

Mancuso is far from alone: Roughly 45 million Americans go on a diet each year and the industry is expected to be worth $33.6 billion by 2027, according to Gitnux market data.

Mancuso shared the two biggest lessons she learned from losing 200 pounds.

Leah Mancuso
Leah Mancuso before and after her weight loss journey.May Lily Photo/Tara Dunn Photography

1. Losing weight gave Mancuso 'fuller experiences'

For years, Mancuso thought that continuing her sedentary, fast-food-heavy lifestyle was the easy option. It was all she'd known, and in many ways, it was her comfort zone.

"I thought my life was easier before, that's why I continued with the unhealthy patterns I created for myself," she said.

Looking back now, Mancuso sees she had less going on in her life because her size held her back. Mancuso avoided certain restaurants, wouldn't go on rollercoasters, and avoided flying because the seats weren't big enough, she said.

"My life is so much better now, but it's not because I'm closer to society's standard of beauty," Mancuso said. "It's because I have so much more of the things that truly matter — fuller experiences, richer relationships, new opportunities, more energy, more endurance, more strength, more ability, more confidence, more joy, more life."

Mancuso feels she now has the freedom to choose what she does, rather than her body size and limited endurance making decisions for her.

2. Mental and physical health are intertwined

Previously, Mancuso hadn't thought about every aspect of health being connected.

"I neglected my physical health for a long time and made excuses to myself that it wasn't a big deal because at least I was taking care of my mental and emotional health," she said. "But it wasn't until I started putting effort into becoming physically healthy that I realized how the different areas of life feed off of each other."

Mancuso found that by developing a healthier lifestyle, she also improved her mental and emotional health.

It's well established that being active can boost mental health, but Mancuso didn't realize that by changing her lifestyle, she would also gain so much more in life through better social connections and more fulfilling opportunities.

Read the original article on Business Insider