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
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
Do you deserve to be happy?
Do you feel competent and comfortable in most situations?
Do you think you can manage life's basic challenges?
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.
High self-esteem traits
Low self-esteem traits
Involved in healthy relationships
Someone who exercises good judgment
Willing to take risks
Able to handle criticism well
Someone who takes pride in accomplishments
Caring of myself and others
Fearful, especially of failure
Unable to readily set or achieve goals
Rarely able to look people in the eye
Susceptible to eating disorders, drug abuse
Over-analytical of myself
Disrespectful of myself and others
A blame-shifter. I have trouble saying “sorry”.
Lacking in confidence
Doubtful of myself and others
Always trying to impress people
What is self-esteem?
High self-esteem is not just about feeling good or being
confidentSelf-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
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
Weight control made (more) difficult
Poor self-esteem encourages a negative and distorted
body imageLosing 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
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
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.
yourself. How do you see yourself? List your five best
qualities. Now list your five worst qualities. If it
took you a long time to come up with five good qualities,
what are you forgetting? Have you overlooked the fact
that you are a good friend, co-worker, sibling or parent?
Have you remembered your intelligence and humor, or
the way people know they can depend on you?
aspects of your self-description and repeat these to
yourself every day. When a weakness or flaw rears up,
decide if, in the grand scheme of life, it's worth
the effort to change. If it's worth changing, set some
goals and work on it. If not, stop hanging on to it
as evidence to support your low self-esteem!
- Live right. Increasing your
self-esteem is not just about thinking positive,
it’s about engaging in
the kind of behaviours that will make you proud of yourself.
This doesn’t imply that you have to climb Mt. Everest
or earn six figures to be proud of yourself. It’s
the small behaviours that matter.
Many people ignore
the fact that having good self-esteem is largely about
doing the right things in life; about being true to
your own values, taking risks, accomplishing what you
set out to accomplish, keeping promises, practicing
tolerance, and thinking of and treating other people
Live right, and then next time you tell yourself
how worthless you are, you will have concrete proof
that your self-perception is inaccurate.
- Respect yourself. You're worth
it. Respecting yourself means valuing your body, thoughts,
and feelings. All of these affect your self-esteem
in the long term. If you're exhausted, respect your
body by getting a good night’s sleep. If you have an opinion on something,
respect the value of your thoughts and don't be afraid
to share them. If you're feeling stressed out, listen
to your emotions and give yourself a break. Would you
make excessive demands of a friend who was feeling tired
and overloaded? Remember that you are valuable and worth
taking care of – don’t discount yourself
and your needs.
- Accomplish goals; acknowledge
achievements. Setting goals and achieving them is vital
to improving self-esteem. It doesn’t matter how small they are. Get started
by doing something that you have been putting off - wash
that car, call that friend, read that book, plant those
flowers. Take note of all your accomplishments, no matter
how small. This way, when you start tearing yourself
down and saying you can’t do anything, you will
have proof that you are wrong!
- Be good to yourself. Being
good to yourself means treating yourself as the valuable
person you are. It means eating wisely, exercising
often, spoiling yourself sometimes, relaxing when you
need to, and doing things you enjoy and that are important
to you. It’s helpful to
write down at the end of each day how you have treated
yourself in terms of your health, what you have done
for yourself, and how you have affirmed yourself.
- Accentuate the positive. Walk, talk, and dress in
ways that accentuate everything that is positive about
you. Avoid clothes, posture, and self-talk that emphasise
your flaws. We all have flaws, but people with healthy
self-esteem don't dwell on them.
- Recognize your talents and
abilities and use them. Find the things you have
a flair for, and do them for your own enjoyment and
satisfaction – not to impress
others. Everyone is good at something. What are your
talents? Are you using them? Do you like to paint, write,
garden, or play the guitar? Are you good at sports? Do
you enjoy the outdoors? Are you a good listener? A devoted
friend? An encourager? Remember, you don’t need
to be Michelangelo, Mozart or Mother Teresa to use
Reproduced with permission from CalorieKing.com.au. All material copyright CalorieKing.com.au