“I’ve struggled with my weight all my life. I remember going to Weight Watchers with my mom when I was 10 year old. That was humiliating! Ever since then, I’ve been on and off diets. I feel like such a failure,” lamented my client, a 38-year-old medical professional. Like most people who struggle with weight, he grew up with the message that he wasn’t “good enough” and that being over-fat was not acceptable.
To counter all of his negative self-talk, I encouraged Jim (not his real name) to remember that just as dogs come in differing sizes and shapes, so do people. And no one size or shape is “perfect” or able to transform him into a “better” person. I encouraged him to live on a fantasy island, where he could be “good enough” at his current weight.
I also shared these words of wisdom: “To compare is to despair.” I invited Jim to stop comparing himself to others and to simply appreciate all the wonderful things his body does for him. Easier said than done, but certainly a worthy goal.
If you, too, have struggled with being overweight for most of your life, you might also feel imperfect and inadequate. The solution is not to change your body from the outside in (by losing excess body fat) but to change yourself from the inside out. You can be a good person at any size. For help with improving your relationship with your body, you might want to read the chapter on body fat in my Sports Nutrition Guidebook.