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Don't forget to love yourself first

“The strongest factor for success is self-esteem; believing you can do it, believing you deserve it, believing you will get it.”

Diet, exercise and discipline are well known to be three key aspects of achieving the health, physique or performance skill we desire, however a majorly overlooked essential to the success of these three aspects working is self-efficacy or self-worth.

“The capacity for producing a result or effect”

Self-worth is something that is vital to consider when we decide to make positive changes; simply because if we have no value of our own worth we have set ourselves up for failure. If we don’t believe we will ever be capable of “fitting into that dress” or “reaching target weight” or “running a 10km race” then we won’t achieve it.

Interestingly, a poll in America reported that 90% overweight people did want to lose weight however 40% of these people were not willing to give up their unhealthy lifestyles because they perceived it “pointless” to eat better or start exercising as they have tried before without success.

Unfortunately with media advertising quick fixes to fat loss the majority of individuals will search for an external solution to achieve their dream body. This doesn’t only include things like liposuction and diet pills but also detoxes and drinking shakes for two meals a day. These all indeed may lead to weight loss, however it is unlikely our health will improve or that we will feel better about ourselves; and because we haven’t dealt with our behaviour of why we struggle to maintain a healthy body composition it is highly likely we will regain the fat/weight we have lost, and possibly more!

So here is a case study, it is likely most of us can relate to certain aspects.

“Ms R. a 43-year-old married woman with sons who are 7 and 9 years old, works full-time as a nurse in a hospital. She is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 212 pounds. She tearfully describes the distress and frustration that she feels about her perceived inability to lose weight. She says that she feels defeated and ashamed. Ms R. has tried many diets and diet products over the years and now feels that nothing works.

It is evident that she has a persistent desire to lose weight. It is equally evident that she is expressing her version of the must-but-cannot dilemma familiar to millions of overweight people. This dilemma is evident when genuine, intelligent people express an enduring desire to achieve an achievable goal but repeatedly undermine their own efforts to do so.

The internal struggle between the desire to be healthy and her lack of faith in herself to do what it takes is reflected in the well-documented pattern of short-term weight loss followed by relapse that is independent of all external weight loss solutions.”

This is a prime example of how without us having some self-worth and self-belief, that the effects of changing our diet, exercising more and being disciplined are limiting potential health gains hugely.

Whether we perceive ourselves as healthy or unhealthy, as attractive or unattractive, as intelligent or unintelligent we live our lives accordingly. The perception we have of our self is experienced as reality and this negative self-perception that many individuals have takes away the self-belief that we have what it takes to be healthy.

So, it is vital for us to increase our self-worth to achieve our health goals, but how?

1. Re-think the “fat loss” process as a “self-care” process. We are not only here to get a “beach body” but also to improve our long term health and how we feel about ourselves. If we have this healthy sense of self-worth, we will consistently take care of our own health thereby leading to being a healthy weight and body composition.

2. To learn about ourselves and our emotional relationships with food, through the anxieties and emotions that cause over eating.

3. To develop self-acceptance of our current self, any negative self-perceptions that were formed in our youth we can understand but appreciate we are now wiser and more compassionate.

4. To improve our sense of worthiness and self-faith that we can be healthy. It is often that people with poor body image or health surround themselves – possibly unconsciously with other individuals with poor body image or health. Thereby accepting their thoughts and unhealthy behaviours as the norm. So by learning from, but not comparing ourselves to, self-motivated and healthy individuals whom are physically and emotionally fit it is easier to understand what to do to be healthy and that it is possible.

Remember, to be healthy doesn’t mean just eating salad. Healthy is not a measure of weight. Being healthy involves our mind, spirit and heart just as much as it involves our body. Each of our version of “healthy” looks and is different. A cupcake every now and again doesn’t make us unhealthy, however sadness will.

Live life fully

Rachel x