For some folks, losing weight and keeping it off is relatively easy. For many of us, however, the process goes off course and we either don’t lose the weight or we gain it back after a short time—but not because we’re weak or uncommitted to healthy living.
More and more studies are being done to show that our self-esteem plays a critical role in achieving and maintaining weight loss goals.
The Self-Esteem Link To Weight Loss
Writing on the website of the Obesity Action Coalition, psychologist and weight loss coach Sean G. Connolly, PhD, states, “The importance of self-esteem in achieving life goals, including weight-loss, is immeasurable. It is a factor in all our human endeavors. Understanding how our self-esteem has been shaped and influenced in our lives can help us gain the essential awareness for change.”
In his article Losing Weight by Building Self-Esteem, marriage and family therapist Dr. Paul Hokemeyer states, “In my experience, issues with weight are directly connected with issues of self-esteem. The more self-esteem a person has, the better able he or she is to make healthy food and exercise choices.”
Even without delving into all the psychology, the good news is that there are actions we can take to build (or re-build) our self-esteem and believe that we deserve a healthy life as much as anyone else.
Simple Ways To Begin Building Self-Esteem
According to Dr. Hokemeyer, you can’t just “think yourself better.” You need to take concrete steps to engage in what he calls “esteem-able” acts. These include:
- Doing even one small action every day “that positively impacts the world around you.” Focus on small: holding a door for someone, letting a car out in front of you on a busy street. You’ll be amazed at the good feelings this generates.
- Every morning, write down two positive aspects of the person you want to be. If you’re feeling heavy and unattractive, Dr. Hokemeyer suggests writing, “I am fit and lovely.”
As we continue these actions, says Dr. Hokemeyer, “The weight will come off and you’ll radiate beauty from within.”
Dr. Connolly offers similar advice:
- “Give yourself the right to feel good about yourself and feel more secure: say out loud, when no one is around, “I have the right to feel good about myself.” It is important to hear yourself say these words out loud for it to be effective. You may have to say it numerous times to match the feelings to the words. The more you say the words, the sooner they will be programmed into your mind.”
With time and commitment, these practices can help you believe you are a worthwhile person who deserves to be happy and healthy, according to Dr. Connolly. “Let me reassure you that you can develop a positive self-esteem throughout time and utilize it effectively to achieve weight-loss goals.”
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