Does this sound familiar?
"I need to lose ten/twenty/fifty/one hundred pounds"
"These thighs have GOT to go!"
"I can't wait to get rid of this flab."
Imagine you lose that weight. Then what?
Many people believe that when they lose weight, their lives will improve, they will be more confident, outgoing, and relaxed. When they lose weight, things in their lives will finally fall into place!
If you can relate to this, you may unconsciously believe that by controlling the number on the scale, you can manage many aspects of your life. You may believe that you can resolve conflicts in your life by changing your body.
You can't resolve a psychological problem, fear or anxiety by changing your weight.
When weight symbolically represents the qualities you want to get rid of – such as shyness, insecurity, anxiety, etc. – losing weight becomes equivalent to losing those unacceptable “parts” of yourself.
It can be easier to focus on losing weight than think about shedding disappointments, fears, concerns, worries, and anxieties.
Food for thought:
- What are the “bad” parts of yourself that you want to get rid of?
- What do you imagine will be different if you are at a different weight?
- How will losing weight change you as a person?
For example: “I think the worst part about me is that I’m insecure. I imagine that I’ll be more confident when I lose weight. I’ll be more social and have more friends.”
Losing weight might cause you to feel more confident temporarily, but the insecurity usually shifts to something else – such as whether you're smart enough, successful enough, and so forth.
I've treated many people who lost weight and still felt bad about themselves. Whereas they once worried about the size of their stomachs, they became concerned with the size of their intellect, the level of their success, the quality of their social lives.
Address the underlying beliefs that undermine your self-esteem .
What qualities about yourself (not physical characteristics) do you think you need to get rid of? Why?
How did you come to believe those qualities are unacceptable?
When you challenge the idea that you need to change to be acceptable, you'll stop focusing on losing weight to gain a sense of self-acceptance.
Ready to KICK THE DIET HABIT?