If you’re a woman, you’ve probably been on a diet at some point in your life. Many women that I’ve spoken with and worked within my practice, as well as those I know personally, have struggled with their weight, complained about the yo-yo dieting cycle continually, and never learned to disassociate their self-worth from the number on the bathroom scales. This article is intended to help you understand why weight is not a valid measure of worth and 8 ways you can detach  body weight from your self-worth.

 It’s a roller coaster like no other. You know what I’m talking about. You feel fat, don’t like what you see in the mirror, and think to yourself, “If I can lose a few pounds, or shed some body fat I would feel great about myself.”

This is a lie and it’s time to learn how to detach your weight from your self-worth.

 Will you feel better about yourself? Will life all of a sudden become manageable and amazing? These are simply myths that women believe about weight loss and its impact on their lives and self-esteem.

Additional myths related to weight loss and your self-worth. If I lose weight, I will be…

  • loved.
  • accepted.
  • in a significant relationship.
  • in a great job.
  • respected more.
  • happier.
  • ok in every area of my life.

What these myths point out quite shockingly is just how much women have attached their sense of worth and happiness to their weight or body composition. If you are falling into this trap, then you are letting a bathroom scale have power over you.

Your weight, self-worth, and the bathroom scale.

Have you seen all the smart scales out there? They can measure your bone mass, body mass index, body fat percentage, muscle mass, bone density, as well as water weight and current weight. Amazing isn’t it? Are these personal data precise measurements? I’m not sure. But it certainly is a lot of information to absorb.

All I know is that your smart bathroom scale cannot determine your identity, worth, and ability to love yourself. The scale’s display is simply data. Bathroom scales don’t have to have power over how you feel about yourself unless you give it that power.

Do you monitor what you eat based on the bathroom scale?

Food is a love-hate relationship for many women and it can lead them to use food in harmful ways. You may avoid certain meals or desires if you’re afraid the bathroom scale will increase. If you don’t feel confident in your ability to make healthy decisions, you might deprive yourself of things you enjoy or desire because you believe doing so would make the scale go up.

 For example, how many times have you tried to lose weight and then consumed something that you weren’t supposed to eat in a few days? The guilt smacks you upside the head, at which point you go into the cookie jar as a way to assuage your feelings of guilt.

You give up. What’s the point in continuing if you’ve already failed? In actuality, you feel like less of a person because you failed, yet again, at another diet.

Attaching a weight reading to your self-worth is dangerous because diets are not sustainable.

The irony is that most people are well aware that diets don’t work. They are not sustainable over long periods and therefore, always end up backfiring and often causing more weight gain.

According to Dr. Susan Pierce Thompson, the author of Bright Line Eating, the hormone leptin is a huge contributor to increased body fat. Leptin is the signal that tells the brain when it is time to stop eating. When someone cannot recognize that signal it is usually because of leptin resistance that results from high insulin and inflammation.

Without leptin, you never feel full and therefore will keep eating which leads to higher body fat. Dr. Thompson goes on to say that leptin resistance leads to a cycle where a person pledges to diet but the brain sabotages the plan.

This leads to self-hate, which leads to shame, which leads to low self-worth.

Did you know weight fluctuates?

Bathroom scales do, in fact, rise and fall. Even the greatest bathroom scales vary. Do you feel a greater sense of self-worth when the smart scale decreases? And vice versa, when it increases, do you feel less valuable? This is a very important reason why you need to detach body weight from your self-worth. 

There are many reasons your body composition changes.

In addition, there can be many reasons people gain weight that has nothing to do with leptin resistance. Women’s bodies change throughout the life cycle. There can also be an emotional component where food is used to cope with stress, anxiety, fear, anger, etc.

 Whether it’s a hormonal imbalance or an unhealthy emotional relationship with food, the key is to learn how to have a healthy relationship with food and your body which means learning how to detach your worth from any external measurement such as digital scales.

 If you think you will be happier and love yourself more if you were a certain weight ask yourself, where did you learn that the scale gets to decide your worth and determine your happiness?

The truth is, you can reduce your body fat percentage. The underlying self-loathing and lack of fulfillment that still exist despite this are testaments to this.

Have you ever thought about creating different health goals vs just weight loss?

Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to evaluate your general health rather than a number on the bathroom scale? That’s why some of those smart scales are so useful.

The data may be used in more than one way. It is simpler to accept where you are when you broaden your goals to include healthy routines, mindsets, and behaviors.

Even with this said, it’s still about being able to find your self-worth separate from lost weight, weight maintenance, or overall health and fitness.

You are more than a number.

You’ll never get off the roller coaster if you tie your value to a bathroom scale. The scale will always have the ability to influence your mood, the quality of your day, and your general self-esteem.

Your body is always changing and needs to be able to do so freely without restriction and shame.

We’re all guilty of it. It’s natural to assess your value based on what we see in the mirror, but doing so can be harmful. Your bathroom scale is no different than any other item that you put a monetary value on your job, home, family, or bank account. External assessment of worth is inherently dangerous.

External things come and go and change all the time. We honestly cannot control anything external, even though we would like to think we can.

Therefore, the goal is to find your worth intrinsically so you can detach body weight from your self-worth and therefore, love yourself. 

What is the difference between you and anything else that’s external? If your heart and soul were open for surgery, what would you discover? Are you a nice, caring, generous, or hilarious individual?

These are examples of intrinsic qualities that are a part of you no matter what is going on in the outside world or what the bathroom scale says.

Whatever your current pants size or what your smart scale tells you, these inborn qualities apply to you. 

Here are 8 ways to detach body weight from your self-worth.

 

  1. Let go of disordered eating behaviors, such as counting calories, being obsessed with the scale, etc. Replace disordered behaviors with mindful or intuitive eating.
  2. Stop judging food as good or bad. Food is simply energy and has no moral value attached to it. This means that a salad is neither good nor bad and a hamburger is neither good nor bad as well.
  3. Love yourself. How you treat your body is a form of love. Love yourself for who you are intrinsically and not what your body looks like.
  4. Decide right now you are good enough. Guess what? You get to decide this truth. No one has the power to determine this except you.
  5. Define what healthy beauty is to you. Write it out and read your definition daily.
  6. Let go of society’s standards of what is loveable and acceptable. Society doesn’t have a clue!
  7. Stop comparing. Comparing is cancer to your heart and soul and has nothing to do with who you are.
  8. Look in the mirror, stare deep into your eyes and ask yourself, who am I deep down inside? Notice what you see. Notice it has nothing to do with the scale.

We all know that there is more than just one way to measure your worth, and the scale is not always a good indicator of overall health.

Detaching body weight from your self-worth is a process.

Be patient and get support as needed. The result of finding your worth intrinsically is self-esteem that is immovable and secure. It’s the best feeling to relinquish the control weight has over your worth and finally love yourself.

If you’ve been using it as a barometer for self-worth or letting your life be dictated by what it says on the bathroom scale, I can help change your relationship with food and exercise. Contact Lesley today for an appointment about how she can transform your relationship with food and exercise.

Lesley Goth, PsyD. is currently leading an online course helping women who feel stuck in their weight loss journey. By resolving underlying issues that hinder their progress, such as perfectionism and shame, you can finally lose weight, fall back in love with yourself and achieve your dreams and goals with more grace and ease. If you’re interested in more information about the course or would like to sign up for Lesley’s free masterclass to start you on your journey, please contact Lesley.