Compare and Despair: How Losing Weight Made Me Feel Fatter

Compare and Despair

Have you ever stepped on the scale, looked down in disgust and decided it was going to be a bad day? I have definitely fallen prey to not feeling thin enough, pretty enough, cute enough, tall enough, sexy enough. If you can you relate, this article is for you. Please keep reading.

It’s hard not to make our jean size represent our self-worth. Our weight really shouldn’t dictate our happiness level. And yet, we’ve all let it.

Body image and weight have been a struggle for me for as long as I can remember. I put myself on a diet in fourth grade. Looking back that seems crazy, but apparently kids on diets is quite out of control. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 40 – 60% of elementary school girls are worried about their weight or being too fat.

Several years ago I joined Weight Watchers (again). I was having success and feeling great. I could button my pants without feeling like a stuffed sausage. I had more energy. I was getting compliments. And then I got an email….

Weight Watchers periodically sent out a newsletter that included a success story. This was a short weight loss story about one of theirCompare and Despair: How Losing Weight Made Me Feel Fatter members meant to inspire and motive. I looked at the photo, studied the statistics, read through the success tips. And then it hit me. This woman’s before weight was 165. She’d lost 30 pounds and looked fantastic. Inspiring, right? The problem was that my after weight was 165. And we were exactly the same height.

In that moment I went from feeling proud and attractive to feeling like a failure. I thought, if my after weight is the same as her before weight, I must still be fat! Did I need to lose another 30 lbs before I’d be thin enough?

This, my readers, is the problem with comparison. It always, always makes us feel worse. We compare and despair. Weight Watchers didn’t make me feel fat. I made myself feel fat. I had a choice and I (unfortunately) chose to tie my self-worth to my weight. I didn’t have to compare myself to someone else. I could have stayed focus on my own goals, my own progress, and how I was actually feeling until I let someone else set determine my worth.

Almost all women in America struggle with body image in some way. Self-acceptance is key to not only loving our bodies, but to our overall happiness. We can learn to accept our bodies imperfections and all.

Tips for body acceptance:

  1. Stop comparing yourself to others. Comparison generally makes us feel worse. Remember you are unique and on your own unique journey in life.
  2. Focus on progress, not perfection. If you are waiting to achieve a particular weight loss goal or for the “perfect body” in order to be happy, you are wasting months if not years of your life in limbo.
  3. Practice gratitude. Intentionally look for the positives and gifts your body offers. Write down one of two body or health related gratitude statements everyday and you will find your body love growing!

As for me, I now care less about what other people weigh, do, or say. I am focused on my own health goals. I work hard not to compare myself to others because as soon as I do, I lose sight of myself and what’s important to me.

 

If you struggle with anxiety, comparison, and self-acceptance, I’m accepting new clients in my San Jose area office. You can find more information here.

 

© 2106 Sharon Martin. All right reserved.

*******

This post was first published on PsychCentral.com

photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Sharon Martin, a licensed counselor and psychotherapist in the San Jose area, specializes in helping adult children of alcoholics and others who struggle with anxiety, perfectionism, and self-criticism. She has a private psychotherapy practice in Campbell, CA where she is available for in-person counseling. Sharon is also the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism.

Leave a Reply