Emotions can be high for anyone experiencing lifelong struggles managing weight.
At the same time, common feelings of self-doubt or blame along with self-critical thinking can keep you feeling bad about yourself while also sapping the energy you need to better manage weight and improve your health habits.
When it comes to weight management, we know that getting support and not going it alone is crucial to helping you be successful.
But for many of my patients, and maybe you as well – this is a time when you may not be getting support from the one person you need it from the most – yourself!
At the Your Weight Matters Virtual 2021 Conference, Dr. Rachel Goldman and Dr. Paul Davidson addressed this topic in their enlightening session, Silencing Your Inner Critic in a Noisy World: Building a Healthy Self-Esteem.
Here are some of my key takeaways on this important topic – that also meld with theirs:
1 – Stop Being So Hard on Yourself
So much of the anxiety related to managing weight has to do with feeling bad about past diet failures and worrying about future ones.
At a time when you need to be clear-headed and self-aware so you can problem-solve and support your own efforts, you instead may be distracted and hard on yourself.
Now’s the time to start thinking differently by not judging yourself and instead start forgiving yourself.
Adopting the mindset where you treat yourself like you would treat a good friend can be helpful.
2 – Stop Striving for Perfection
Many of my patients are upset if they cannot follow their personalized weight management program 100%. I tell them that it is the ‘B’ student who does best managing weight.
If you give yourself a ‘B’, that usually means you’re on your game 80% of the time, leaving 20% for more discretionary decision-making (the 80-20 rule).
This ‘B’ student philosophy apples to other areas of your life; for example, you don’t expect your work life or relationships to go perfectly each and every day.
With this new attitude, attaining and maintaining long-term health is doable and can even be enjoyable.
3 – Stay True to Yourself and Your Values
Reminding yourself why you want to lose weight is helpful throughout your weight loss journey.
It’s also helpful to think about your values and the kind of life you want to live, as values give your life meaning and direction.
- Do you value being healthy?
- Do you value being able to pursue fun hobbies like bike riding, hiking, dancing or golf?
- Do you value your family and being around longer for your children and grandchildren?
If so, being kinder to yourself and treating yourself better can help you stay true to the values you hold dear and live the healthier life you desire.
I encourage you to harness the power of kindness and self-compassion to improve self-care and improve your health.
You can do this!
Robert Kushner, MD