AND THE POINT IS
All of this is to get to my point about weight, appearance and self-esteem. A great many people habitually disregard or devalue any signs of worth or competence around food unless – or until – it shows up in terms of how they look. This might go something like, “Okay, so I didn’t have that extra helping I wanted, but who cares, I’m still fat.” And the increased energy that evening, the improved sleep and lack of bloating, not to mention a potentially empowering sense of achievement, are never given attention and appreciation.
This means there’s a significant source of restoration for your self-esteem that’s being overlooked or discredited. If you only ever allow a sense of self-worth, self-compassion and competence to arise from improved appearance, it’s going to take much longer for you to restore your self-esteem when it has dropped. And all of that time spent hating yourself is likely to fuel the overeating… which further fuels the self-hatred.
When it comes to connecting with your motivation to control overeating, it’s considerably more effective for you to appreciate that more immediate feedback. This happens when you value any benefit you get from “being in control” at least as much as “losing weight” – and preferably considerably more. As this is a life-long issue, it’s well worth sorting out. Like it or not, you will always experience fluctuations in your self-esteem, you will continue to eat, and even overeat, from time to time and have a body that is some particular size and shape.
This is a huge subject but I hope I’ve given you some things to consider here. I may continue this conversation in another article, especially with regard to cultural influences and the ability to cope with failure. Let me know if this would be of interest. For now, I’ll leave you with a quote from Branden’s book:
“The root of our self-esteem is not our achievements but those internally generated practices that, among other things, make it possible for us to achieve… productive achievement may be an expression of high self-esteem but it is not its primary cause.” (1)
1. The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, Dr Nathaniel Branden (Bantam, 1994)