The self-esteem effect in the weight-loss journey. 3 tips for losing weight and better self-respect

Published on May 30, 2022 by Cori Grămescu

Self-esteem refers to the way we feel about ourselves, either in a positive way, or a negative one. Of course, cognition, what we know about ourselves, plays a part in our self-image, but cognition and affect are inextricably linked, with the latter playing a subtle, but essential part in our self-image. 

Self-respect greatly influences our life and is determined by many factors, including how well we view our appearance and performance, or how satisfied we are with the relationships we build with other people. [1] Its baseline tends to be rather stable overtime, unless we focus on consciously working on ourselves. 

As a general rule, women tend to report having lower self-esteem levels than men, in general, and “The decision to lose weight was linked with poor self-esteem solely among normal-weight and overweight White women.” [2]. 

Using the right tools, the process of managing one’s physical appearance cand also boost self-esteem levels and self-confidence. It can also improve dietary habits, flexible cognitive control regarding food and exercise, and self-efficacy. 

What are the right tools to manage one’s body weight and/or physical appearance that also may help improve self-esteem? 

Start a personalized journey with the help of a certified nutritionist that is supportive, positive and doesn’t compare you with other people. 

Low self-esteem is usually perceived as a general “I’m good for nothing” thought. Most of the people who struggle to improve self-esteem feel like they usually underperform and, compared to others, fall below the average. Diet culture, with its ridiculous diet patterns and unrealistic expectations or beauty standards in social media offers the framework for low self-esteem. 

If you are unhappy with your weight status, a personalized meal plan that fits your energy requirements and is based on ingredients you like and easily accept in your daily menu will be easier to follow than a random fad diet over the internet. For improved long term results it’s crucial that the caloric restriction be moderate, and the physical activity regimen be pleasant, empowering and of moderate intensity. A personalized weight management journey focuses on creating a healthy behavioral framework for weight loss, but, most importantly, creates effective habits that will help you maintain your weight with minimal effort. 

A personalized weight management journey also creates a framework for you to continuously meet your own expectations of yourself. One can achieve this with proper guidance and support from certified nutritionists that adapt intermediate objectives in ways that are attainable, motivating, and sustainable over time. Once you develop more trust in your actions you can improve your decision process regarding food. 

Being realistic and supportive as a nutritionist is essential for perceived self-esteem levels in clients, especially in the beginning of weight management programs. Setting attainable goals is particularly important, but more important is to encourage and root for your clients’ everyday achievements. 

Determining the efficacy of a weight loss process is always a tricky business, but equally important. While comparing against a benchmark may bring some insight, the baseline should always be clients’ perceived levels of satisfaction and effort. Always aim and calibrate the coaching sessions for moderate levels of perceived effort and similar or slightly higher levels of satisfaction. A timeline that is satisfying without being exhausting is desirable to quick results that are unsustainable as effort and frustration kicks in. 

Progress should be measured in relation to your previous month. Not some sort of ideal scenario, just aim to be slightly better than last month. A 10% improvement in physical activity levels and dietary choices will completely reshape your lifestyle in less than a year, so there’s no need to rush through the process and quit ahead of time. 

Creating a framework for gradual, constant improvement that is satisfying and doesn’t exhaust you is crucial for improving your self-esteem along the journey. 

Track your progress in a positive and smart way. 

People who struggle with lower self-esteem seem to operate from a framework of constantly putting themselves down. The underlying thought is that maybe they are not good enough and seem to negatively emphasize less-than positive outcomes as negatives. 

An antidote to this chronic negativity could be to simply write down all events that are not severely negative. Have you had the chance to eat an entire bag of chips and stopped after half of it? Mention that you saved half the calories by simply stopping before finishing the bag. That’s already a huge improvement! Have you made 6000 steps? Instead of beating yourself up for not reaching the 10k level, congratulate yourself for reaching more than half of the ideal. It’s a great improvement! Write them down and whenever you feel overwhelmed by negative thoughts, seek support from your own progress. 

Also, having a supportive group of people to cheerlead for you will improve your chances for better self-esteem. Some recent studies show that people who struggle with low self-esteem also surround themselves with people who tend to put them down [3], so for a while it may be better to choose a safer, professional framework of encouragement. This may mean your registered nutritionist, your fitness coach or even joining a support group for weight management that will help you maintain a positive attitude towards your progress. 

Start making changes in your life

One of the best ways to boost self-esteem is to start making changes in your life. Most people who struggle with low self-esteem tend to consume a lot of energy worrying about the future, doubting themselves and concentrating on past events that were hurtful. 

Start by doing exactly the things you wish, from a mindset of “how to” and curiosity. Start with one or two actions that you are passionate or excited about and start doing them, cultivating the joy of doing rather than the pressure of succeeding. Changes take time and being good at something also takes time. Just focus on learning, try to have fun and put the energy in doing, rather than planning and worrying about what could go wrong. 

Self-esteem and perfectionism really go hand in hand and fighting perfectionism by doing and learning is one of the healthiest processes for improved self-esteem. 

Fitness progressions are actually an amazing training camp for learning mentality, because you have all the ingredients that will cure you of perfectionism and improve self-esteem by simply doing every day the best you can. Again, we recommend joining a professional-lead program that will include the right exercises and intensity for you, so that you make the best of the process. 

Most of the time, building self-esteem means simply showing up for yourself day after day and simply doing the best you can at that particular moment.  It’s a complex project, and for people who struggle with low self-esteem, finding pillars of self-confidence may actually improve the way they view and feel about themselves. 

Starting to feel like you have control over your life, feeling better about yourself, doing the right things for your health and wellbeing will gradually improve self-esteem. 

Taking care of yourself daily will improve feelings of self-love, worthiness, and self-respect. Having fun along the way will reduce the pressure of perfectionism and might open doors for new and exciting experiences. 

Remember, it’s a process, not a destination!

Build self-esteem and gain confidence with “continuous meet expectations protocol”. Learn to set smart objectives, learn to meet them, and expand knowledge. Improve self-esteem by showing up for yourself daily with better habits.

Connect with people you admire and copycat their behavior to start building better habits. Use a framework of continuous monitoring activities to improve self-esteem and self-worth. Low self-esteem manifests as either a victim or a rebel position, identify yours and continuously work on improving your reactions

Sources:

1.Tafarodi, R. W., & Swann, W. B., Jr. (1995). Self-liking and self-competence as dimensions of global self-esteem: Initial validation of a measure. Journal of Personality Assessment, 65(2), 322–342. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327752jpa6502_8

2. Elran-Barak, Roni. “Self-Esteem, Weight Status, and Trying to Lose Weight During Young Adulthood: The Roles of Sex and Ethnicity/Race.” Ethnicity & disease vol. 29,3 485-495. 18 Jul. 2019, doi:10.18865/ed.29.3.485

3. “The Link Between Self-Esteem and Social Relationships: A Meta-Analysis of Longitudinal Studies,” by Michelle A. Harris, PhD, The University of Texas at Austin and Ulrich Orth, PhD, University of Bern. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published online Sept. 26, 2019

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