It is commonly thought that self-esteem increases when we lose weight. Yes, you can lose weight and you might feel better about yourself because of that.

Is your weight your barometer about how you feel about yourself?

I know there is this euphoria that can come when you lose weight. AND I know that feeling lasts only a while, because it is not based on something that is not based on who you are. Is the size of your body who you really are?

Using weight loss to feel better about yourself is based on a fleeting idea. It is based on an external process.

To really increase your self-esteem, there needs to be a connection with how you feel about yourself, which is an internal process- NOT the number on the scale.

The truth is you should have self-esteem no matter what weight you are at.

Rather than having a goal of weight loss, how about a goal of increasing self-esteem?

What is self-esteem?

The dictionary says, “it’s confidence in one’s own worth, or abilities and self-respect. And it’s a sense of self-worth.”

Self-esteem and self-worth go together. It’s confidence in your own worth and your abilities. It’s a sense of self-respect.

Self-esteem is also how we feel about ourselves and our abilities. It affects how we manage our lives, and how easily we move through our lives. When self-esteem is high, life feels good:

  • We know how to manage life.
  • We know how to talk with somebody.
  • We know how much we want to eat.
  • We know which foods are in our best interest and feel good in our bodies.

Self-esteem really is a lot of components that kind of come together into making us feel happy.

What is high self-esteem?

If you can think of self-esteem on a 1 to 10 scale. We are shooting for 8,9,10 on our scale as high self-esteem, right in the middle would be 5 and the low end of self-esteem is 3,2 or 1.

Where do you fall on that self-esteem scale?

If you are noticing, you have high self-esteem- you can ask yourself:

  • How did I get here?
  • What have I been doing to get and keep my self-esteem this high?
  • What have I done in the past to increase my self-esteem?

If you are in the midrange of self-esteem, ask yourself:

  • What is going on?
  • What got you here?
  • Do I want to increase my self-esteem?

How can you increase your self-esteem if you notice it is low?

  • First, notice what’s going on for you. How are you feeling about yourself? How lovable are you feeling? How accepting are you of yourself?
  • Second determine if you want to increase your self-esteem?
  • Third, consider what do you need to do or think or be to increase that self-esteem?

Focusing on weight loss is not the way to increase self-esteem. Although, focusing on increasing self-esteem leads you to feel more physically present which can lead to you moving your body more, eating foods that nourish and it can help you be a better intuitive eater.

Getting into action to increase self-esteem can be very helpful. Here are some strategies:

  • The first strategy is to have more positive self-talk. Notice when you’re talking negative to yourself, when you’re beating yourself up, when you’re calling yourself names, when you’re calling yourself out, when you’re saying you’re bad. Increase your positive self-talk: I am kind, I am happy, I am love, I am lovable, I am worthy, I am confident, I am successful. Those are great positive self-talk strategies; I am and put in a word that is positive.
  • The second strategy is let go of perfection. Perfection can be needing to be perfect around food, needing to eat a certain way, also let go of having to exercise in a certain way. Perfectionism can lead you to not feel good about yourself. We can never be perfect; it just doesn’t work. There’s always going to be a level of imperfection in all our lives. So, let’s acknowledge it. Let’s move beyond it. Let go of that pressure of perfection and call things good enough.
  • The third strategy is to forgive yourself. Remember, we talked about not being perfect, forgive yourself for not being perfect. Forgive yourself for the things that you do that you think are wrong. We tend to beat ourselves up over perfection. And then we’re shaming ourselves. The antidote is forgiveness. Be gentler with yourself.

In the end, determine where you’re at with your self-esteem. Determine if you have been trying to use weight loss as a way to feel better about yourself (increase your self-esteem). Utilize one of these strategies to start increasing your self-esteem. I encourage you to get into action, I encourage you to make it your goal to increase your self-esteem.

Kim McLaughlin, MA is a Psychotherapist, Speaker, Author, and Coach who specializes in working with people who suffer from binge eating and emotional eating. She is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. She is the author of the best-selling book Feed Your Soul Nourish Your Life! A Six Step System to Peace with Food and the Amazon #1 Best Selling book Discovery Your Inspiration.

You can find Kim on her podcast Feed Your Soul with Kim and you can find it on all podcast platforms.

Wondering if you are an emotional eater? Sign up for the free Am I an Emotional Eater Quiz.