“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.” ~Lucille Ball
As I sat on my bedroom floor almost in tears that night, surrounded by all the clothes I’d just tried on before a night out with my friends, the same thoughts replayed through my mind. You’re fat, you’re ugly, and you’re disgusting for letting yourself get this way.
I still cringe when I think about that, and the way I used to speak to (and about) myself. I would never think that of another person, let alone talk to them like that, yet it was second nature to say those things to myself!
I canceled on my friends that night; I was so unhappy with how I looked and felt that I couldn’t face going out and worrying what other people thought of my shape and size.
It’s ironic, isn’t it, that when we feel so low about ourselves, that’s the time when we’re most self-absorbed? We retreat into a small bubble that’s all about us/ As if the people in the bar that night would care what I looked like! They were there to have a good time with their friends, and I should have been too.
I struggled to lose weight during that time because I just couldn’t stay consistent or build new healthier habits. I’d do well for a while, but then I’d have one off moment and I’d give up, feeling like a failure. It was a vicious cycle, with my lack of consistency and results feeding my low self-esteem, and vice versa.
That night that I canceled on my friends still sticks in my mind all these years later because it was a turning point for me. This was not the life I wanted to be living.
If I could go back in time, I would tell that girl to get up off the floor and go and enjoy a great night out with her amazing friends. But that’s probably because I’m in a totally different place now and I no longer have those awful thoughts about myself.
When this change first started happening and I grew my self-esteem, with that, I found it easier to take far better care of myself, and that’s when I really started to lose weight. Everything clicked into place. These are the steps I took to get here, and I hope they’ll help you make it too:
1. Treat yourself as you would a close friend or loved one.
Take stock of your thoughts as they come into your mind. Would you say that to a loved one? If not, get rid of it or reform it. If you wouldn’t say it to a loved one at all, discard it! If you would say it in the situation but word it differently, reform it.
Try to always ask yourself: Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind?
2. Stop obsessing about yourself; start thinking about others.
It’s so easy to get into that little bubble I mentioned earlier, but you need to get out of it and take your focus away from yourself sometimes. Try doing random acts of kindness, or helping someone you know, or even volunteering. Anything that helps you to remember there is much more in the world than yourself.
3. Forgive yourself and release any guilt or anger.
We’ve all done things we’re not proud of and messed up in some way. But our mistakes don’t define us as people. A friend of mine used this analogy when we were talking about this some time ago:
Sometimes bad fruit can grow on good trees. The tree is good at its core, but it has produced something bad by mistake. But it’s also produced a lot of good fruit too!
Good fruit never grows on bad trees. If a tree is bad at its core, it can never grow good fruit.
If you’ve ever ‘produced good fruit,’ you are a good person at your core. Good people still sometimes do bad things, and ‘produce bad fruit,’ but it does not make you a bad person.
4. Learn what your body needs.
And start giving it those things! Learn about nutrition and healthy foods; find out which types of foods your body thrives on. Drink plenty of water each day to stay hydrated. Move your body—we’re not designed to sit at desks all day and then come home and sit on the sofa. Even if it’s not scheduled exercise, just getting more activity into your day, like taking the stairs, will help.
And always remember to switch off and rest. With technology the way it is now, it can be difficult to unplug and unwind, but it’s so important to your well-being. Find out how much sleep your body needs to work at it’s best, and try to get those hours in each night; it’s different for everyone, so it’s worth testing out.
5. Have more fun and connect with people.
When we get into this place of low-self esteem it can affect our daily habits and our social life. Don’t forget the things that make you happy and light you up. Keep a list of them if you need to and make sure you do them regularly.
Put yourself out there more and connect with people again. We all need human interaction and social bonds, we all need people we feel comfortable with. And it will help so much to have that group while you build your self-esteem.
These points take time to go through; you won’t suddenly become confident and love yourself overnight. But they do work in helping you build healthier thoughts of yourself and enjoying your life more again.
They help you want to take better care of yourself and, if you’re trying to lose weight and get in better shape, they will help you enormously.
Woman hiding face illustration via Shutterstock