Over 60 percent of U.S. adult women are overweight, according to 2007 estimates from the National Center for Health Statistics of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally over one-third of overweight adult women are obese. Not all, but many women find themselves overweight and unhappy about it. Feelings of shame, inadequacy, insecurity and self-loathing are common among those who struggle with their weight.
Currently, I am of no exception. Last year, due to a health problem, I had to go on a medication that caused me to gain a significant number of pounds. The question I’ve been asking myself lately is, how do I love myself overweight? How do I value and cherish myself exactly where I am? Regardless of the factors that cause anyone to become overweight, we’re then faced with the decision to either love ourselves through it or battle ourselves forever. It’s been a struggle for me to find joy, health and freedom but I’m discovering insights along my journey. My hope is that these thoughts will encourage you, too.
I’m learning that loving yourself while overweight means honoring your body and creating healthy habits for the sake of wellbeing instead strictly for weight control. It means respecting the diversity of body shapes and size (your own included) believing that a number does not dictate your worth. It’s learning to enjoy the act of moving around and becoming in tune with your body’s natural hunger and satisfaction signals. Allowing yourself to live in an unhealthy state (for not everyone who is overweight is automatically unhealthy) when you can do something about it isn’t self-love— it’s actually self-destruction.
If you’re like me and want to make some positive changes in your life, here are some tips for loving yourself on your journey towards being healthy, happy, fit and free:
Health vs. Size
Often BMI (Body Mass Index) or weight is not an accurate indicator of your health. In fact, a person with a BMI in the overweight range can be healthier overall than someone with a BMI in the normal range. Health is holistic. Visit a trustworthy physician for an overall health assessment.
Arsenal Of Affirmations
Come up with a list of positive affirmations such as “I can make positive changes in my life.” Speak these affirmations silently or aloud to yourself throughout the day. Believe true and great things for yourself.
Live Fully Now
Waiting until you think your body is fit or thin enough to wear that dress or take that trip is a waste of one valuable and precious life. Treasure and enjoy your body now, in this season, as it is.
Find a type of physical activity that you genuinely enjoy. Instead of viewing exercise as a chore, enjoy the emotional and physical benefits you get from being active. Be creative and find physical activities that you enjoy to enhance your vitality and nurture your spirit.
Keep in mind that 95% of people who lose weight on diets gain it back within one to five years. Diets aren’t only ineffective; they can often backfire and set you up for emotional or disordered eating. Not only does dieting not work, but it’s also linked to eating disorders, increased stress levels and feelings of failure and low self-esteem.
Instead of dieting, learn to master the craft of intuitive or mindful eating. Our bodies are trustworthy. Learning to listen to and obey natural signs of hunger and satisfaction rather than keeping track of calories or nutritional information can prove to be a more effective way to reach or maintain a healthy weight. Mindful or conscious eating is a process that helps you create a healthy and freedom-filled relationship with food, and your mind and body.
Image via Emily Blake