Weight Loss Support - a battle against poor self image...

05-13-2009, 11:21 AM
Last week I figured out that if I lose 1.5 pounds a week for the next 39 weeks, I will be at my goal weight.
That's totally doable, right? Even though I have never lost weight with such a concerted effort before.
Well as soon as I figured this out I went on a four day long binge-fest of alcohol and food and cigarettes. I seem to be sabotaging myself at any chance I get!
I don't know why, I don't enjoy being the weight I am. But I think maybe I identify myself with it. Does that make sense? It's easier for me, I think, to sit around feeling bad about myself than actually making an effort to be a bit positive.
I'm not a negative person, even though this must sound like it - I just have such a negative self-image. It's normal for me to not like myself, as I have been feeling this way for about 13 years.
Any tips on being positive about myself? I have realised I will get nowhere with weightloss unless I believe in myself. Sounds a bit wishy-washy I know, but I'm just trying to get my head around it. :dizzy:
I need to re-define my self image. I think. :^:

05-13-2009, 12:13 PM
It does make sense that you identify yourself with the weight you are. I've always been a heavy girl, and in my mind, I always will be. I am the big one in my circle of friends and I always have been. ALWAYS.

So I guess it's just really hard to think of yourself as something different. People get haircuts and makeovers and tattoos that make them look different, but losing a significant amount of weight dramatically changes the way you look.

I guess I don't have any good advice...haha... but I do agree.

05-13-2009, 12:20 PM
Thanks! I'll consider that moral support. It's nice to know that you made sense of what I was talking about :)
Maybe I'll try to figure out a way of looking at myself objectively. For the time being at least.

Peep Smith
05-13-2009, 12:48 PM
Merose, I totally understand...used to smoke (quit 8 years ago), used to drink like a fish, and binged. You are right...you are confusing your very valuable and wonderful self with food and the false sense of comfort it gives you. My best advice is to read...read about the psychology of eating and really do some soul-searching about what YOU want. YOU...yourself...what is the person you want to be?
Books that I found invaluable are "The Thin Books", "Mindful Eating", "Mindless Eating", and "Thin Tastes Better". All deal with why we eat and once you understand that, you can beat your weight. I bought all on Amazon.com and have no affliation other than they really helped me pull my head out of the sand.
And if you want to quit smoking, visit Quitnet.com...it saved my life.

05-13-2009, 02:12 PM
Thanks peep smith! good advice - I've been looking at books about cognitive therapy, changing the way I think - I've had a look at these books now and I think that they are just that!
Thanks so much for your suggestions. And yes I do want to quit!

05-13-2009, 06:39 PM
I can identify with this too, becuz I KNOW that I could have a better self-image, and that is something I have been working on changing. I also have read some books on changing your way of thinking and seeing yourself (with a psychological and Christian angle) and that is helping me as well. I still have my moments though, but they are getting better.

One time after I weighed myself and had lost several pounds, I went on a 3-day snacking binge; not a full-out binge, but just enuff to keep me off plan for those few days. SELF-SABOTAGE ... darned right, it was! Now, why did I do that? I'm still not sure, so I still must have some underlying issues that need to be addressed; I've still got some more work to do, I think ...

I know I do have issues with being called mean names as a child and adult, esp by family members that still haunt me a bit, and I'm trying to create a new image by interrupting and healing those memories with forgiveness and counteracting them with positive affirmations that I repeat to myself, but I know that this may take some time!

I also have issues around be told or made to feel that I don't matter or count; and I need to remind myself that I am worthy to be well and loved. Indeed, how does one counteract a lifetime of negative assaults on their self-esteem? I think it may take months (if not years) of consistent, positive reinforcement until we finally ... BELIEVE IT! :hug:

Lori Bell
05-13-2009, 07:04 PM
Last week I figured out that if I lose 1.5 pounds a week for the next 39 weeks, I will be at my goal weight.
That's totally doable, right? Even though I have never lost weight with such a concerted effort before.
Well as soon as I figured this out I went on a four day long binge-fest of alcohol and food and cigarettes. I seem to be sabotaging myself at any chance I get!...

heh...Hi there, I'm Lori. For years I made these awesome plans to lose weight....If I could lose 3 pounds a week forever, I might be skinny...:D I'd make charts and graphs, start weight journals...give myself time-lines and deadlines, and then proceed to binge (and smoke and drink) for another month. Then start the whole process over again.

This time was different. For some reason it finally clicked that this time it's for life. I didn't give myself a timeline, I just put my foot down and decided that any weight off in any amount of time was better than no weight off (or gaining) on a daily basis. SO...each and every day I ask for help from above, I give thanks for what I have done and I just do it. Every single little pound I have felt better. Every single pound I feel healthier, stronger, more alive. It has come off relatively fast because I work at it, but not because of a time line, because I'm committed. I felt like a million bucks at 250, I felt like 2 million bucks at 200. Each pound has made a huge difference and the better I feel the less I care about food.

05-13-2009, 07:08 PM
Sorry for the long post, i just realized... (my advice is in the last paragraph though!)
I also understand this self-sabotage... After being told i look good because i lost a bit of weight, i've "rewarded" myself with sweets and junk because "i deserve it" but i realize all that does is more harm. Binging is never the answer, but you porbably know that already! We all do, but some of us still binge, but why? I think for many people, food is connected to emotions. I know when i feel insulted or get in a fight with my mom, i instantly get craving for anything sweet, salty or fatty. It's hard, and i've found support in this forum and hope you will too! Sorry if I don't have too much support to offer as I'm not much of an example myself when it come to this but I'm working on it.
As for identifying with being bigger and unhappy, I think it's important to remember WHY we want to lose wight. Yes, we'll look better and have more self confidence but most importantly, it's for our health. So even if you'll no longer be the "big girl" (because you WILL reach your goal!), you'll be healthier, and I believe that's the most important thing. I'm sure you have so many more qualities that make you amazing and THOSE are the ones you should identify with. I know you have them and you know you have them!
Good luck!

And don't forget to look in the mirror and tell yourself you're beautiful every day. Make it a habit! Focus on what you love about yourself, your personality and your body. You deserve it!
(I know it's sappy but it works!!!)

05-13-2009, 07:08 PM
I've also battled with a very poor self-image my entire life, and a negative body image from a very young age. Most of my criticism came from my family, who would comment whenever I ate, or every time I opened the fridge (even if it was just to get a drink, they would hear the sound and say, "eating AGAIN?!") I dropped 20 lbs after high school and everybody congratulated me and told me to keep up with it, and of course they all commented when I started gaining again. In college one of my best friends really glamorized eating disorders, so that caused me to have an even more negative body image for a very, very long time, one that I have only recently started to overcome.

I think you have to focus on what is good about yourself to battle all these things. Of course it's easier to sit around feeling bad for yourself than actually doing anything about it! That's why you have to make the conscious effort to work on it. I once read on a weight loss site something that I found very empowering: everybody has the power to lose weight, you just have to want it enough. If you want it, you will commit to it. You will make the decision to take control over your life. it will be difficult, but you will want it enough to do it. And you have the power to do it now. Not next week, not two weeks from now, putting it off is just avoiding it and not wanting it enough. And if you don't want it enough, you have to ask yourself why - which I think you discovered for yourself right here.

It's funny how harsh we are on ourselves, how our self-image is distorted by what we think we look like to other people.

Everybody deserves to feel beautiful. Everybody deserves to be loved. You are more than your negative self-image, and you need to remind yourself that as often as it takes.

Joshua from eawc
05-13-2009, 07:09 PM
Take it one day at a time, or even one meal at a time. You seem to understand the big picture here (since you calculated how much weight you need to lose per week already) but sometimes thinking about the big picture isn't the best idea. When I know I have a final at the end of my semester I dont think about that final every class period. I think about the assignments, and tests prior to the final that prepare me ultimately for the final.

On to your real question, hehe. From experience I couldn't stand my self-image and its HARD to change it. It takes more effort than I thought I had. However, as the pounds were coming off everyday got better. Not perfect, sometimes not even positive, but better. When I lost 85 pounds (my first goal) I WAS skinnier. I DID look good, I had lean muscle, I was in shape. However, it took over SIX months for me to feel good about myself. Friends, strangers, and family would tell me everyday how good I looked and again I was my same old self. I just couldn't see it. If it took six months after I lost the weight to actually SEE I lost the weight in my own eyes just know what you're going through everyone goes through.

I know you can do it. If I could, you can. Now I love the way I look. I love every stretch mark on my body, I love the extra skin on my stomach and arms that wont. go. away. Mostly because the process of losing weight ultimately changed my self-image. Not only does it change the way you look, it WILL change everything inside you. I promise.

Goodluck, just don't let anything stop you from reaching your goal.

05-13-2009, 10:38 PM
I'm not a negative person, even though this must sound like it - I just have such a negative self-image. It's normal for me to not like myself, as I have been feeling this way for about 13 years.
Any tips on being positive about myself?

Some people really benefit from the positive affirmations, but what helped me the most was to stop the negative affirmations! I was really, really mean to myself for a long time. It's a hard habit to break but I really think that it's necessary. I used to just constantly barrage myself with negative thoughts, like "I'm so fat", "I'm such a screw-up", "I am ugly", etc. One day as I was going on and on like this, I felt a quiet voice in my head say, "Enough. That's enough." And I realized that I was my own worst enemy.

The other thing that helped me to boost my self image was to start taking actions that made me feel better. Not just telling myself how swell I was, but actually DOING things. Like treating myself better. Like doing thoughtful things for friends and family without expecting recognition or reward. Like cleaning house (it's amazing how much better tidy surroundings can make me feel).

For me, a positive self-image comes from accomplishments that make me feel positive. Yes, weight loss can be one of those but losing weight can also be a side-effect of feeling better about oneself. So I think they go hand in hand. I'm kind of a "glass half empty" girl, so this has been a learning process for me, but I'm getting better about not being so mean to myself.

05-13-2009, 10:45 PM
Hi there!
I can totally relate to you and how you feel. What worked for me was this: I separated my weight loss efforts and my weight with my self esteem issues. What I mean by this is I decided that I could spend NO END of time working on my self esteem, but at the end of the day, I still had to lose the weight. And I was sick of being fat, that was for sure!

It made me think about this -- does one need to address one's self esteem BEFORE going through the weight loss phase? And would losing weight actually IMPROVE my self esteem???

So I did the unthinkable. I stopped debating whether or not I believed in myself, or whether or not I wanted to make positive affirmations or whether or not I wanted to complete self-help workbooks. I stopped agonizing about WHY I was fat and WHY I didn't feel better about myself and WHAT I could do to feel better about myself and WHY I couldn't do this. I chose instead to JUST. DO. IT. I chose a diet plan and started the next day. After all, I could have low self-esteem and be overweight and eat cheetos and ice cream and MacDonald's, or I could have low self-esteem and be overweight and eat balanced controlled meals. Either way, I'd still feel crappy, right? And the only thing I had to lose was a few pounds! Because I wasn't going to solve my self-esteem issues any time soon -- it just doesn't work that way.

WELL, the weight started to come off. And I started to feel better about myself! And I kept going and going and going! Now, I am 40 lbs from goal. It has been a long road. And I still have work to do. But my self esteem is SO MUCH BETTER than it used to be. And I plan to keep on going to goal. And on to maintenance. And no, I don't believe in myself 100% all the time and I don't feel good about myself 100% of the time, but I'll tell you, I feel a WHOLE LOT BETTER about myself MOST of the time. And the other left-over stuff? I can deal with those issues WHILE on my plan. So I am truly thankful that I just started the journey and made only ONE committment -- to do this ONE thing in my life AS BEST as I could (100% effort, 100% of the time as an ideal but forgiving my slip-ups and getting right back on plan). The rest as it turned out was just a distraction...

So, my advice? Just pick a plan and start it. Do the self-exploration stuff, too, if you feel the need to do so. But just make ONLY ONE committment -- to stick to an eating plan 100% for 2 months. And see what happens! And see how much better you feel, both physically and mentally. Because I truly truly TRULY don't believe that you have to have great self-esteem before you start this journey. You just have to be stubborn.


05-13-2009, 11:25 PM
Lovely Merose, I can completely understand how you're feeling.

We can be so mean to ourselves, can't we? The things I would tell myself in my head about how terrible I was, what a failure I was, how ugly and embarrassing and stupid I was, I could never IMAGINE telling anyone else! It was all so nasty. I've had lots of mean things said to me in my life, but the meanest things I think were the ones I told myself.

One of the things that has really helped me (in addition to many months of CBT!) is jotting down lists of things I am grateful for. These are especially good when I feel absolutely terrible. Sometimes these lists are made up of really trivial stuff like jumping into bed with nice clean sheets, or avocado on toast for breakfast... but listing things (big or small) in your life that are good and positive is a habit that has really helped turn my bad thoughts around. I'm not completely cured of that negative thinking, but the progress I have made with it so far has made my life so much happier.

The next step with those lists is to try to jot down things about YOURSELF that you feel positive about. Do you have pretty eyes? Do you like the way you look in a particular dress? Do you like the way your toes look when you paint your toenails a pretty colour? Do you like that you're a hard worker, a good friend, a fast learner, a good cook? Do you make people laugh? Can you throw a good party or make a good mixtape? Here's a good one - do you like your ability to ask for help when you need it?

This exercise can be very confronting, at first I couldn't think of anything I liked...but in starting to think about yourself as a whole person and not as a number on a scale, you might find things that you really do like. I found the more I started to notice the little things around me and about myself, the more positivity grew.

Take things one day at a time, do your best to stick to a plan but try not to be so hard on yourself if you slip up...that can lead to throwing in the towel all together! I agree with Kira - you might not get everything sorted with your self esteem at the start of your weight loss journey, but in the process you will learn a lot of positive things about yourself. You CAN do this! One small goal at a time!


05-14-2009, 04:32 AM
Thanks so much for all your positive suggestions. It is nice to hear that other people go through the same thing - because it's not really something I would talk about on a day to day basis. It's fantastic to have an outlet for these type of questions.
I've just been through and read all of the responses, and I'm considering going through them again and taking notes! I feel miles more positive after reading these.
I'm going to keep my long term plan in sight, but take it day by day - and I wont just focus on the weight issue.

05-14-2009, 07:49 AM
Last week I figured out that if I lose 1.5 pounds a week for the next 39 weeks, I will be at my goal weight.
That's totally doable, right?

I admit it's sad, but unfortunately life isn't an Excel spreadsheet I've done a similar calculation on last September and by now I should be my dream weight, calculations sadly aren't valid, because they'll be stalls, times you'll loose less, I found that calculations only used to upset me about not meeting the results in the required times. Be careful!