Developing one’s self-esteem is the most difficult part of losing weight and getting healthy. I know because I am still working on changing the way I see myself even though I lost my 60 pounds over 2 years ago.
It takes time to change your thinking. But the development of one’s self-image is probably the most important thing when it comes to keeping the weight off in the long run. I learned that my mind had to change as I was losing weight. I had to change the image of myself in my mind. And most importantly I had to learn to love myself and accept myself for who I am.
I quickly learned through the process of losing weight and getting healthy that as my body shrunk, my self-image grew. And sometimes when it grew, it was challenging. Because your “old” thinking wants to stop you in your tracks.
I had to learn to control my thoughts and slowly change how I saw myself. Here are some of the strategies I used to overcome some of the challenges.
Negative Thoughts Will Sabotage Your Efforts
If you are unhappy with your weight or if you have struggled with weight loss in the past then I’m sure you can relate to the fact that negative thoughts will stop any efforts of success. As I was losing weight in the beginning, I quickly realized that old negative thinking didn’t work for me anymore. Because when I had negative thinking I would sabotage my efforts.
Here’s what I mean. It is almost as if I would have this other person in my head trying to persuade me to eat something that I knew I didn’t need or wasn’t even hungry for. I would have thoughts urging me to just go ahead and do it. On the outside, I seemed to have so much control, yet in my head all I thought about was food.
It wasn’t until I changed my thinking that my weight loss efforts became easier. Here are some of the things I did to combat the negative thinking I had.
Ask, Is That True?
This simple question helped me so much. For example, I would try to convince myself that I couldn’t say no to cake if it was offered. But the truth is, yes I could. I realized that I am the person who makes decisions about what goes in my mouth. It was about me being in control. I’m in control of what I eat, rather than the food controlling me. When I started asking myself if a thought is true, I started to gain power. And in gaining power, my self-image began to change.
I also started using affirmations. An affirmation is simply a true statement. I would repeat these statements to myself daily. I would do it even if I didn’t totally believe them in the beginning. Over time, I began to realize these affirmations were true. I changed my thinking and my self-image began to change. My favorite affirmation was “Every day, In every way, I am getting better and better”. This was written by a man named Emile Coue. He believed that many mental illnesses could be healed by changing your thoughts.
When you repeat an affirmation several times a day, after a while, you begin to believe it yourself.
I Learned to Love Myself
This was really hard but it was very empowering. I learned to look deep inside. I looked at who I was and I found a very loving, kind and generous person. I realized that my body and skin is simply my shell. It isn’t who I am. I am a beautiful spirit inside.
With that said, I also knew that if I wanted to be around and on this earth longer, I had to change my body and be good to it so it would be around longer. It is as if I separated myself from my body. And through loving myself (soul) I learned to love my body and be good to it. This was key in helping me to want to eat healthily and not let negative thoughts get me off track. And so this brings me to the next part which is to be comfortable in my own skin regardless of where I was in my weight loss.
I Learned to Get Comfortable in My New Skin
In the past, I would avoid looking at myself in the mirror. I would not wear the most attractive clothes. I would often put myself in the background. I would avoid being the center of attention. I learned that I needed to learn to love my body. This body regardless of how imperfect it is, it is the only one I have. And really that sort of makes it perfect. God gave this body only to me and no one else.
So I decided to love it and treat it the way it deserved to be treated. I started to treat myself to bubble baths and wonderful smelly lotions that made me feel good. I also started to change how I dressed. I will never forget the first time I put on a pair of skinny jeans and was amazed at how great I looked and how I felt inside. I felt sexy.
I Focused On My Health
Losing weight was not just about how I looked. Actually, it was mainly about my health. Focusing on my health was an important part of me changing my self-image too. I want to live and more importantly, have a good quality of life. I want to feel good every day. So rather than thinking about the scale and the weight loss, I focused on my health and I was proud of myself for taking my life back. I realized that my quality of life was in my hands.
Stop Making Excuses
And this brings me to my last point which is to throw away all of the excuses. I had to be completely honest with myself. My being fat was ultimately and completely my fault. I am the boss of my body. I am the one who ate the food and created my own reality. It is sad but true. But once I had this incredible honesty, I learned to throw away all of the excused.
My weight gain had nothing to do with my jeans or the fact that I was poor and couldn’t afford healthy foods. I am the one who decides my health and wellness. I decided to take my life back and be healthy. I didn’t have all the knowledge and tools, but I made the effort to find what I needed.
I found that when I stopped making excuses and focused on the development of self-esteem I got the most amazing power and losing weight was much less challenging. If I can change my thinking, you can too.