Published on February 4, 2021
There are so many reasons why you decide to lose weight, but when and why you do decide depends on your mind, not your body. After all, “decide” is a mental function, is it not? . . . and the start (and the continuation) of a dietary/lifestyle change is a mental process. There are a few factors that might trigger such a decision, and one of them is self-image.
We each have a dual image: the face we present to the world and our own internal idea of how we appear. Though we dress and groom ourselves in an effort to be seen as attractive by others, we are far less influenced by others than we are by our satisfaction, or dissatisfaction, with ourselves.
For example, you might have an outfit on that, for whatever reason, you just don’t feel “quite right” in; yet, when you get to work or to a social gathering, you might receive several compliments. Or, you might be wearing a favorite outfit that fits perfectly, that you think looks wonderful, and that makes you feel great, and no one notices! Or, you might be rushed for time one morning, and you can’t get your hair to do what you want so you quickly pull it back or on top of your head with clips and hope that no one sees you looking so awful; then, voila!, three people comment that they like what you’ve done with your hair! Go figure!
There is the same disconnect when it comes to your weight.
If you look good in your mind’s eye, you don’t feel fat even if those in your circles are noticing your steady weight gain. On the other hand, if you see yourself as overweight, no amount of reassurance from those around you is going to make you feel less fat.
People decide to go on a diet, therefore, in response to their own internal self-image. Yes, we know all the personal physical and emotional benefits associated with being slim and fit, but some benefits do take others into account (we’ll be more attractive to our spouse; we’ll be noticed when it comes time for promotion; our kids will be so proud of us), but the really big payoff for losing weight and getting in shape is what it does for us personally. It makes us feel great about ourselves. It is a visual of our future selves that spurs us toward our goal. Losing that vision, concluding that you won’t feel that much better about yourself, are the reasons you give up and fall back (yet again) into the relative comfort of settling for just “okay.”
If we don’t have really high self-esteem or belief in ourselves, we don’t treat ourselves the way we should: Basically, we treat ourselves the way we feel about ourselves.
Changing your thinking and beliefs about your self-image will create a strong, positive foundation for you as you work towards your weight goals. If you make that change at the foundational level and focus on improving your self-esteem and self-image, then you will take better care of yourself and treat yourself as the special person you are.