When it comes to your health, extremes are rarely the way to go. Statistics show that nearly 70% of people following a fad diet won’t achieve their target weight — interestingly, the same percentage will end up regaining the weight that they’ve lost. The problem with many diets is that they encourage a strict mentality that leads to failure. Unfortunately, self-loathing isn’t the way to lose weight and get healthier. Acceptance and self-love can go a lot farther than criticism. Here are 5 ways that loving yourself now can lead to a healthier you later on:
1. You’ll be less likely to give up.
Have you ever heard the idiom “breaking a diet”? With restrictive eating patterns come restrictive mindsets, and the idea that you can eat something “bad” and “break” a diet. Many people feel guilt and shame for slipping up, so they give up or try to relieve these feelings by indulging more. A positive mindset allows you to take a longer view, and see minor, temporary setbacks as just that — minor, temporary, and nothing you can’t handle. Self-love lets you forgive yourself and begin again.
2. You’ll have a more reliable source of motivation.
Are you trying to lose weight because you want to improve your health? Have you internalized the message that carrying extra weight is bad, and a reason for shame? Internal motivation is stronger than external motivation — if you’re trying to lose weight for you, whether it’s for your health or just for aesthetic reasons, you’ll be much more successful than if you’re doing it to avoid the stigma of being overweight. When losing weight is driven by self-loathing, it becomes a punishment. When it’s driven by self-love, it becomes much easier and more fun.
3. You’ll be less likely to succumb to fads.
Loving yourself means working with your best interests in mind. You’ll be less likely to jump into a destructive crash diet if you’re truly operating from a place of self-love. Truly wanting to take care of yourself leads to better decisions, whether it’s choosing healthful foods that support your weight loss goals while giving your body the nutrients it needs, or finding a physical activity you love.
4. You’ll realize that you deserve to feel good.
Losing weight works when it’s done for the right reasons. When you realize you deserve to feel good, not be out of breath after climbing a flight of stairs, have less joint pain, and eat foods that make your body feel healthier, you’ll make yourself a priority. This might disrupt your usual routine or even your social circle, but you deserve to feel good physically and mentally.
5. You’ll keep the weight off.
Self-love doesn’t come hand-in-hand with weight loss. It’s a pattern that needs to be learned and practiced. If you don’t love yourself now, it’s highly unlikely you won’t when you’re thinner, either. What happens then? Many people turn to food for comfort, and end up regaining the weight they lost. If you can feel good about yourself now and understand that you deserve to feel good, you are much more likely to maintain healthy eating and behavior even after you’ve lost weight.
There’s no such thing as a “bad” food. Even if there was, weight loss has more to do with managing your mindset and behavior than anything else. Loving yourself now can open doors to greater health and self-esteem than you ever imagined, by letting you operate from a place of truly wanting the best for yourself. If you can change your thoughts and beliefs about the things you eat, you can change your entire life.