Does weight loss improve self-esteem? – Health & Wellness

Weight and body image influence how we feel and how valuable we perceive ourselves. But is it really decisive for self-esteem? Let’s see what the latest studies tell us about it!

Many people struggle daily with their weight because they don’t feel good about their body image, which affects their quality of life, their satisfaction, and even the value they place on themselves. It is not surprising if we consider that in our society physical appearance is prioritized and determines, in many cases, whether we are accepted or discriminated against. But does weight loss really improve self-esteem?

Of course, staying healthy and taking care of our body is very beneficial. However, we tend to think that our image is the cause of our unhappiness and that if we were to adjust to beauty standards, we would feel completely different. Have you ever considered it? Well, then we explore what is true of this statement.

Weight loss and psychological well-being

It is important to remember that body weight goes beyond a number, and it is its social and cultural implications that link it to psychological well-being. Social pressure leads overweight people to feel inadequate and defective, and this limits their psychosocial functioning. Thus, they may not only develop a bad image of themselves, but also tend to isolate themselves socially and limit their sexual-affective interactions.

Different investigations support the idea that weight loss improves self-esteem. And this is something corroborated in different studies. A systematic review carried out on the subject yields interesting results:

Weight loss is consistently associated with improved self-esteem. In most of the studies analyzed, the participants showed an increase in this self-assessment after completing a program or intervention aimed at losing weight.

Being overweight also seems to have a negative emotional impact and may be related to the appearance of depressive symptoms. Thus, losing weight seems to improve people’s mood.

Body image is highly associated with weight loss. This term refers to dissatisfaction with the body, the person’s evaluation of their appearance, preoccupation with body shape, and image avoidance. All these aspects improved when the participants lost weight; and, furthermore, it was observed that the greater the loss, the greater was that improvement.

Losing weight also seems to improve quality of life. On a subjective level, people who lost weight had a more positive perception of their own physical, social, and psychological functioning. In other words, they experienced greater well-being, they felt healthier, better able to face the day to day and less stigmatized.

The relationship of weight loss and self-esteem

In light of the previous findings and other similar ones, we can affirm that yes: weight loss improves self-esteem. Now, this is not as simple and direct a question as it seems, which demands that we go a little deeper in the analysis.

First, the previous review found the improvement in self-esteem was independent of weight loss; even gaining weight during the intervention, the participants experienced psychological benefits from having participated in it.

This can be explained by the fact that the components of these interventions (mostly cognitive-behavioural) focused on a crucial change in perspective. The programs fostered self-acceptance, helped to decouple eating behavior from emotions, and promoted a change in attitudes toward the size and shape of one’s own body. These ingredients, by themselves and in the absence of weight loss, achieve these significant changes in subjective well-being.

Beware of false self esteem

On the other hand, it is important to keep in mind that, in many cases, the apparent improvement in self-esteem that a person obtains by losing weight is not real. And it is based on the recently obtained by approval and external validation.

The idea is: “as I now receive compliments -or what for me are compliments-, as others treat me differently, accept me and recognize me, I do consider myself valuable and worthy of appreciation and consideration”.

However, and although in the short term this situation may increase the feeling of well-being, it is really dangerous. Well, this is where a considerable fear of gaining weight usually appears, and behaviors and thoughts typical of an eating disorder can begin to be triggered. And it is that losing that status that the new physical image grants would mean, for that person, losing its value.

Your appearance does not determine your worth

In conclusion, to the question of whether weight loss improves self-esteem, the answer is yes, but perhaps not for the right reasons. Being overweight should only be a physical health problem and should not condition our happiness, our ability to relate, much less the perception of value we have about ourselves.

In fact, the reality is that what really influences is the way we perceive ourselves. And it is that, although we think that we need to lose weight and fit into the aesthetic canons to have a full life, it has been found that a reduction of only 5-10% of body weight is enough to give the person that self-confidence that they lacked. and improve their psychosocial functioning.

Thus, the most relevant thing will be to work with our beliefs and perceptions, to build a solid self-esteem and not based on external recognition. If we want to lose weight, let’s do it out of love for our body, and not out of hate. Self-esteem should precede physical change, not the other way around.

Source: The Mind is Wonderful.-

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.