Loving Your Overweight Self

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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. 

Love Movement
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.

Ditch Diets
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.

Intuitive Eating
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.

I believe we can do it! What are you learning on your journey of loving your overweight self?

Image via Emily Blake

Allie is a writer, dreamer, and kooky surfer-girl/wannabe cowgirl who lives in North Santa Barbara County. She serves as the Founder and Director of Wonderfully Made, a non-profit dedicated to helping young women know their value and worth.

8 COMMENTS
  • emily December 25, 2013

    Such good advice, especially at this time of year when making unhealthy choices runs rampant and New Year’s resolutions are looming (and potentially setting us up for failure). I am also very good at saying “once I lose weight…” And I KNOW that’s no way to live… Thank you for the reminder, and the emphasis on health over criticism of our own bodies.

  • Megan @ Lush to Blush December 10, 2013

    I absolutely love this and although I am not overweight, I can very much relate to it all. I know that health should be the priority over size and I struggle with that a lot. I especially love that you mentioned to trust your intuition. I know many people that were always taught to clean their plate, regardless of satisfaction. I have learned to stop eating when I am no longer hungry. Eating slowly and serving smaller portions helps as well. Thanks for this inspiring piece. I shared it on my Facebook page so more people could see it!

    -Megan, LushtoBlush.com

    • Allie Marie Smith December 10, 2013

      Thanks for sharing Megan and for passing along the article for others to be encouraged by. -Allie

  • Allie Marie Smith December 10, 2013

    Hill, I am so glad you have made such great headway on your journey toward freedom and health. Thank you for sharing your story! You are not alone in your experiences and I am so glad you have such a healthy mindset now.

  • Andie December 10, 2013

    Great advice Allie! Let’s honor our bodies and their intuitive wisdom and surround ourselves with a support system that rallies for health at every size! Looking forward to your next piece.

  • Hill December 10, 2013

    I absolutely love this! Beautifully written and so true!

    Currently, I am following much of the advice that has just been given here, after several years of trial and error with it myself. I have battled eating disorders and major emotional, physical, and relational insecurities because of how I thought my body looked, and all of the reasons that you’ve listed. I’ve dieted, crash dieted, and simply stopped eating all together. Even now, I see pictures of myself from when these thoughts, feelings, and actions were at their peak, and remember exactly what I was thinking – “I feel fat,” “I am fat,” “I hope no one notices my belly pudge,” etc. And now, looking at those photos, I couldn’t have been thinner! But my mindset was completely in the wrong place. I forgot who I was- who Christ says I am!- and thought that I had to take my life and my joy into my own hands.

    After being beautifully, graciously freed from these horrific habits and life styles, I took up running, and I love it! Having a [semi] regular exercise routine has kept me from obsessing over what I eat, calorie counting, and what my clothes look like on. I also love my running because it takes me away from whatever I’m doing, whatever is distracting me, and gives me quiet time to pray.

    Keep doing what you’re doing ladies! Your wisdom and good work has not gone unnoticed!

    • Darling Magazine December 10, 2013

      So glad this could encourage you, Hill. Thanks for sharing!

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