CalorieKing.com.au Print Out
Self-Esteem: Your Weight-Loss Maker or Breaker?
Self-esteem affects all areas of your life. What you do, how you do it, how you treat yourself and others and how much you enjoy life are all affected by your level of self-esteem. If you have low esteem you’re unlikely to be as motivated to take care of yourself physically, or achieve your goals, as someone with higher self-esteem; and that means weight control will be more difficult for you.
The benefits of good self-esteem don’t stop at your waistline though; improving your self-esteem affects your whole life and the lives of those around you for the better.
Did you know you can lose weight online, and access the CalorieKing.com.au Program (13 weeks of practical information on all aspects of weight control)? Learn more
Test your self-esteem
Before you read this article, try this three-step evaluation to determine the state of your self-esteem.
1. What sort of person are you? The first thoughts that come to mind in response to this question will give you insight into whether you have high or low self-esteem.
If your first thoughts run along these lines: “I’m not really good at anything, I’m not very smart, I’m such a negative person, I’m unattractive…” you probably have low self-esteem.
If your first thoughts run along these lines: “I really like myself, I’m competent, I measure up reasonably well when it comes to most things in life” your self-esteem is fairly high.
2. Put this analysis to a further test by answering these questions:
The higher your self-esteem, the more likely you are to answer “Yes, I deserve to be happy, and yes I feel competent in most situations, and yes I have the guts and common sense to manage life’s basic challenges.” If you have low or iffy self-esteem you're more likely to respond to these questions in the negative.
3. Which of these traits would you expect to see on a “report card” of yourself? You’re likely to have a mixture of responses, but the balance will give some indication of the level of your self-esteem.
What is self-esteem?
High self-esteem is not just about feeling good or being confident
Self-esteem is a hard concept to pin down, but basically it has to do with the way you perceive and experience yourself and your life. It comes through in the attitudes, beliefs, and opinions you have about yourself and affects all aspects of your life including what you think, how you act and feel, and how you interact with other people.
If you have good self-esteem, you believe in yourself and have confidence in your ability to think and make good decisions. You also value yourself and know that you are valuable to others. This shows in the way you take care of yourself and those around you.
If you have low self-esteem, you tend to doubt yourself and your ability to achieve things. You focus on all your negative characteristics, while ignoring or invalidating your positive characteristics. This thinking often comes across in destructive behaviour toward yourself and others.
What self-esteem is not
People often confuse high self-esteem with happiness or outgoing confidence. But high self-esteem is not just about “feeling good” or being a loud, outspoken person.
Lots of things make us feel good for a while, but most of them are external to ourselves and they pass. The euphoria from a drug, or a compliment, or falling in love, for example, is not the same as the consistent affirmation that comes with high self-esteem.
Plenty of people think they’re heaven’s gift to humankind and others tend to equate this thinking with "high" self-esteem. But high self-esteem is not just ego-driven; it’s demonstrated in positive thoughts and actions towards others as well. Anyone who is egocentric, conceited, boastful, bullying, or takes advantage of or harms others, really exhibits traits of low self-esteem, or pseudo self-esteem, rather than high self-esteem.
Weight control made (more) difficult
Poor self-esteem encourages a negative and distorted body image
Losing weight is challenging at the best of times, but with poor self-esteem it becomes even more difficult. If you don’t think you deserve to look and feel good, why bother?
Poor self-esteem encourages a negative and distorted body image, meaning you drastically undervalue your body and appearance; this in turn discourages you from taking care of yourself. And if you don’t want to take care of yourself, where is your motivation to control your weight?
If you have low self-esteem it's also likely that you don’t give yourself enough credit for achievements, focusing on what you haven’t done instead of what you have. For example, if you go for a twenty-minute walk, you tell yourself you should have gone for forty minutes. This sort of self-discouragement can be a major problem for achieving goals; who wants to keep trying when they feel they are constantly failing?
On the other hand, if you have high self-esteem, you believe that you deserve to feel and look better, you congratulate yourself for small achievements, and believe in your ability to eventually achieve your long-term goal of permanent weight loss. Taking care of yourself and your body is a natural extension of high self-esteem.
Seven steps to better self-esteem
Self-esteem isn’t something set in concrete; if you want to improve your self-esteem you can. But it also doesn’t happen overnight. Finding the skills to manage your self-esteem takes time, commitment, support, and sometimes professional assistance.
Ultimately, improving your self-esteem is about changing your frame of mind. The best way to do this is to consistently affirm yourself while acting in ways that you find praiseworthy and which support your idea of what makes a good person.
For inspiration and guidance on improving self-esteem, we’ve come up with seven helpful steps. Dig deep with these; they may seem simple, but if you truly follow them, they will have a dramatic impact on your self-esteem.
Related articles :
Last updated: July 26th, 2006
Copyright © 1996-2013. All rights reserved. CalorieKing, PO Box 3100, Nedlands WA 6009.