“I know people feel better after they have lost weight, but I don’t really have that sense of accomplishment. I want to be confident and have self-esteem, but loosing all this weight seems superficial. I know it’s not because I need to do it to be healthy, but people coming up to me saying, ‘Oh my goodness you look SOOO good!’ is making me absolutely nuts. I want to be invisible or put a bag over my head or something. I know people say ‘Oh, dress up and make yourself look nice to make yourself feel better,’ but again… it doesn’t really work for me as it seems superficial. I’m freaking out about being self conscious and am even afraid to wear a tank top or shorts – more so now that I am thinner.”
Do you feel this way at times? It’s normal for Surgical Weight Loss patients to continue to struggle with self-esteem issues even after the surgery. If you are having trouble coping with your body image or feeling overwhelmed try these 9 steps below to help you liberate your self esteem:
- Weight Loss Exercise One: Self Examination
- Start by compiling a list of all those negative thoughts your have about yourself…I’m undisciplined, I can’t manage my time, I let people down, I can’t succeed, I don’t exercise enough. You will need to decide before you start this process that you won’t get discouraged….these are things that you will admit to yourself but they most certainly don’t have to control your life.
- Next, compile a second list including everything you LIKE about yourself. Keep going until this list is LONGER than the first list you compiled. You might include things such as, I am a good cook, I can make people laugh, I contribute to the soccer club, my daughter loves the way I decorate her room.
- Then, take your negatives list and turn it into your potentials list. You do this by creating a positive self-image to every negative you listed. Instead of “I can’t succeed”, write a counter belief, “I will succeed”.
- Ceremonially throw out the negatives list – you are saying goodbye forever! Burn them, trash them, destroy them….they are no longer going to be a part of your thinking about yourself.
- Now, keep your list of potentials in a prominent place. On your refrigerator door, in your daily journal, or in a picture frame on your desk. Make sure you have them in front on your every single day so that you are reading them constantly and reprogramming your daily thoughts.
- Weight Loss Exercise Two: You Can Be What You Want to Be
- Now that you have your list of potentials… run your own visualization stories so that you can see yourself in a new light. For example, if your list of potential includes “I eat just the right portions”, visualize yourself with a moderate portion on your plate, and feeling completely satisfied at the conclusion of your meal.
- Read through your list of potentials every day taking a few moments of personal quiet time to reflect strongly on your visualizations. Try starting your day first thing in the morning and finishing as the last thing at night with visualizing yourself being the person on your list, and doing the things you want to do.
- Exercise Three: Keep a Journal of Your Daily Successes
- Keep a record of all the positive changes in thoughts you have about yourself. We all have triumphs and failures. You must record and remind yourself of the positive changes because our human nature will replay the negatives – sometimes blowing them out of proportion. It’s important to nurture and celebrate the small steps you make every day.
- Exercise Four: Go Easy On Yourself – You Are Beautiful Work In Progress
- Don’t listen to the criticism…not your own nor that of others! Remember you are the designer of your self-esteem, do not hand this over to other people. You are way too important to give this away. Protect your role as creator of your own self-image and do not, take on board negative criticisms. We all make mistakes, and mistakes can be used to help us learn. Do not criticize yourself for being human and making a mistake. The only last mistake in the one from which we never learn to grow.
- Exercise Five: Forget About The Past
- The only moment you can live is the current one. You can’t live in the future and you most certainly shouldn’t live in the past….the challenge is to take charge of our thinking so that we think in the same time zone in which we live!
- Yesterday is over, today is where you live….make sure that today you do NOT replay yesterday’s failures and make your resolve to change TODAY.
- Exercise Six: Resolve to Change Today
- Just as you shouldn’t live in the past, you can’t live in the future. You can only live or change today. The oldest cliché in the world is perhaps one of the greatest truisms of all…’tomorrow NEVER comes!’
- There is no better time than now. So, no matter what excuses you may have to wait to take those healthy steps you know you should take, none of them are valid. Do it now, do it today. Resolve to make a different in your own life before you go to sleep tonight.
- Exercise Seven: Write a Plan For your Life
- This is your success plan. If you have not already done so it is time for you to create direction and purpose in your plans for yourself. Review your list of potentials and record next to each potential when you want to achieve this by.
- Exercise Eight: Carry Affirmation Cards About Yourself
- This is one of the fastest tools for your success. You are what you think. Strengthen your self-image every day by reviewing your thoughts. One of the easiest ways to do this is to carry affirmation cards in your wallet and review regularly. Affirmation cards are short bursts of words in business card that prompt and remind your self-image of your intentions. An example might be: I can achieve anything that I put my mind to. Try it; you have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain!
- Exercise Nine: Change Your Eating Habits
- Now that you have set the groundwork in place, you are now ready to change your physical habits. You are ready to add a balanced nutritious diet, healthy eating habits, regular exercise and relaxation.
- By using these nine exercises daily to change your thinking habits, you will be strengthening your self esteem and unlocking your internal power to make a change in your life. Before you can change lifelong eating habits, you must first change life long thinking habits. We are what we think. We can’t be something other than what we believe we can be!
So, do yourself a favor, liberate your self-image and then, see how much more effective your healthy living plan becomes!