Weight gain. It can be devastating. Millions of people struggle with weight and how to lose it. I am definitely one of those people. Anyone who knows me knows my weight is my biggest insecurity. Like many people, I am extremely self-conscious about my appearance. So self-conscious, that it has negatively impacted my life.
Since graduating college, I have gained 43 pounds, which makes my current total weight 218 pounds. I met my boyfriend once I graduated and gained my “happy weight” (or so they call it). In high school I was around an average size, never skinny. In college I was overweight, due to eating out more and drinking alcohol. Now, out of college, I have lost all self-control and am considered morbidly obese. It honestly pains me to even type that out.
As much as I would love to blame my boyfriend for my weight gain, I can’t. I did this to myself and became extremely unhealthy and lost self-discipline. I know many other people who are going through this same exact situation, so I understand that it happens in relationships. However, it doesn’t erase the mental, social, emotional, and physical pain that my weight has caused me. Here are some examples of how weight gain has impacted my life.
- When getting ready to go somewhere, with my boyfriend or friends, I will not get dressed in front of a mirror. If I have to, I will turn away from it. If I don’t, and I see myself, I will cry because of what I see.
- I dread going out with my boyfriend or meeting friends out for a drink, because I don’t fit in any of my clothes and can’t dress how I want to anymore. It’s embarrassing.
- I CONSTANTLY criticize myself and focus on how much I hate how I look and cry over it, daily.
- I am embarrassed to go to the gym because I view myself as “the fat girl who is pretending like she will ever be thin or in shape.”
- I avoid seeing and hanging out with people that I’ve known my whole life, because they have never seen me at this weight.
- This weight has held me back from things I want to do.
- I despise when someone takes my picture because the second I see it, I know I will hate what I see.
I think we can all agree that my daily thoughts about myself are extremely negative and unhealthy. But, it’s what goes through my mind, and I cannot help it because I am just so sick and tired of not feeling comfortable and happy with myself. These thoughts everyday are very draining and I have noticed that is has affected other people and exhausted them as well.
What I have come to realize, is that weight loss is more mental than physical. (At least for me it is.) These negative thoughts of mine will never assist me in reaching my goals of losing weight and becoming healthier. Here is where the big question comes in: How do we change our mindsets and start to think positively, when we are used to having very pessimistic mindsets?
1. Positive self-talk.
First thing’s first, we need to work on less self-sabotage. Life is already hard on us, so why do it to ourselves? By practicing positive self-talk, we can change our ways of thinking and come to the realization that we deserve to be happy and that we can achieve our personal goals.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others.
With social media telling us what we should look like in order to be attractive, we immediately compare. Unfortunately, it’s normal and we all do it! However, this becomes a problem when comparing ourselves to others is causing a damaged self-esteem. What we are really doing is comparing ourselves to inaccurate information. We all see what others want us to see, not the whole picture. So when you begin to compare yourself to someone else, remember, you do not have all of the information.
3. Don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake.
WE ARE HUMAN! WE MAKE MISTAKES! Do not be upset with yourself if you devour a piece of chocolate cake instead of broccoli, or miss a day at the gym. The most important thing to do when we cheat on a diet or skip a gym session is to jump right back on the wagon the next day. Take these ‘mistakes’ as learning opportunities.
4. Do things you enjoy.
All because you are on a diet or trying to make a lifestyle change, does not mean you have to miss out on girl’s night. Go out and have fun! By not doing the things you enjoy, you are punishing yourself, which will become associated with your diet and have you believing the diet is negative.
Tip: When going out with friends, Google low calorie or low carb drinks so you don’t completely go off a diet! Educate yourself on what is in your favorite drinks!
5. Surround yourself with positivity.
This is crucial! If you have a very positive mindset and have mastered building your self-esteem, DO NOT surround yourself with negative people, because they will counteract the hard work you put into yourself. This also plays into building self-esteem, because we each need to know our worth and what we deserve out of friendships/relationships. Be around those who lift you up!
I definitely struggle with this one. When I lose 2 pounds, I seem to always say, “Damn. I only lost 2 pounds this week.” (Many tears usually follow this.) This is a negative way of thinking. Instead, I should be saying, “I DID IT! I lost 2 pounds this week!” There is no reason to be upset by losing a lower number. I get it, we all focus on the big numbers, but we need to set small goals for ourselves that are achievable. When we reach these small goals, we are even closer to the bigger goals. So, celebrate the pounds lost, no matter what the number is!
Next time you are feeling down and negative about your self-image, and start having pessimistic thoughts, come read this blog post again. It will take time to change a mindset that you’ve had for a long time. Have patience. I am still working on this, myself. You can do this and remember, you are not alone.
Sincerely, Olivia ❤
Olivia has her bachelor’s degree in Human Development & Family Studies, with a minor in Psychology, and she is currently working towards a master’s degree in Social Work. Her dream job is to work with service members and their families to help them navigate through military life and daily challenges. Olivia is a proud dog mom, a die-hard Fleetwood Mac fan, loves margaritas, and is an avid reader, who loves a great murder mystery.