How to Maintain Your Self-Esteem Throughout the Weight-Loss Process

  • By Dr. Anand Thakkar
  • 16 Mar, 2016
When you decided to lose weight, your primary motivation came from your health. You knew that if you didn't seize control of your life, you risked developing diabetes or other dangerous chronic conditions. You did not want one of these illnesses to affect the rest of your life, so you picked a diet, began a workout regimen, and waited for those pounds to come off.

However, as much as you want to improve your health, you also want to look and feel more attractive. And if you don't lose as much weight as you'd like, you may feel discouraged, and your self-esteem—not to mention your opinion of your body image—could plummet.

Just because you haven't reached your ideal weight or waist size doesn't mean you can't love yourself. You could work for months or years to lose as much fat as you'd like. In the meantime, you still need to maintain your self-esteem, no matter how you look or feel.

Use the tips below to stay positive throughout the weight-loss process.

1. Outline Everything You Can Physically Do Now
Start with macro things, like running, walking, jumping, swimming, playing sports, and other more strenuous activities. If you can do any of these things, write them down. List each individual sport, including dance. Then have a look at all the amazing things your body can do.

After that, go through all the small things your body can do, such as play an instrument, write, cook, clean, nurture children, and operate a computer. Then ask yourself—do you need or want anything on those lists that they don't contain already?

You'll most likely find that you only lack things like running a marathon. You can still accomplish the basics, and those basics give you all the foundation you need to build up to a marathon. Look at your lists and realize that your body is capable of anything.

2. Make a List of Everything You Like About Your Talents and Personality
Your body represents only one facet of your being. You also have an emotional and psychological self. You have skills and talents that exist independently of your physical health. So, after you complete a list of things your body can do, make a second list of everything you like about yourself.

For example, if you like your singing voice, jot that down and outline your favorite songs to sing. Perhaps list goals you have for yourself in that area. Or maybe you like the cool way you do your makeup, or perhaps you have a mean tennis game. In any case, describe in detail why you like each talent. You'll likely feel better about yourself and your accomplishments instantly.

3. Try to See Yourself as a Whole with Your Style, Expressions, and Quirks Included
Again, your body only represents one facet of yourself. You have many other elements and parts that make you uniquely you. So don't overanalyze and break down your parts to see which parts you don't like. See yourself as a whole with your personal style, your distinct expressions, and any other quirks. Other people see you as a whole, so you should give yourself the same courtesy.

4. Hang out with People Who Say Positive Things
Negative people won't encourage you to like yourself, but positive people will. They will love you for your whole self instead of nitpicking the parts that fall short of perfection. So if you have negative friends, spend a little less time with them, and use more of your hours to surround yourself with encouragement.

5. Wear Clothes that Look and Feel Great with Your Body Shape
Just because you haven't reached your goal weight doesn't mean you have to wear gigantic clothes that don't flatter your figure. Tailor your style to let your personality shine, and make sure your clothes look great and feel comfortable. You'll feel less disheartened about your weight-loss goals if you look attractive before you achieve them.

6. Do Luxurious Things—Like Take Bubble Baths
When you pamper and serve your body, you will grow to value it more. So go out for pedicures, take bubble baths, get your hair styled, schedule a massage, etc. Give yourself the royal treatment.

7. Exercise Regularly, but Don't Do It to Lose Weight
Exercise doesn't just help you shed pounds. It also released hormones and energy throughout your body that boost your mood. You'll feel more positive mere minutes after you finish your daily workout regimen.

8. Avoid Negative Thoughts—If You Wouldn't Say It to a Friend, Do Not Say It to Yourself
You wouldn't call your friends nasty, overweight, ugly, sick, lazy, or other unhelpful words. So consider yourself a friend and don't say these things to yourself either. Emphasize the good and ignore the bad for now. With hard work, you can eliminate the bad.

Your weight-loss plan should give you a positive experience, not a negative one. If you still struggle to feel happy throughout the process, talk to your healthcare provider or weight-loss specialist. They can give you further tips to help you stay happy.
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