Saturday, September 09, 2006

Too much self-esteem?

I have paid a *lot* of money to Weight Watchers over the years. I don't deny that it works, but it makes me crazy with the counting and obsessing. The super-cool thing about it is they have an online-only program so you don't need to go to the meetings and hear from people who take a spoon to the grocery store so they can eat a pint (or gallon) of ice cream while they shop. I'm not a meetings kind of girl, so this online deal was perfect for me. Though apparently not perfect enough for me to solve this problem once and for all.

One of the features of Weight Watchers Online is a group of message boards. Nothing terribly special, the same kind of forums you'd find on any special-interest website. They're good for wasting time, picking up new diet and exercise tips, wallowing in some healthy schadenfreude (ie, at least I don't need to lose as much as *her*), and absorbing other peoples' insights about being overweight and the process getting healthy.

One post stuck with me - the woman had posted that maybe she had too much self-esteem because she just couldn't stick with any weight loss program. She'd look in the mirror and think that she didn't look *too* bad, even though her doctor and the number on the scale told her otherwise.

That really resonated with me. I've got healthy self-esteem, I don't call myself fat or make disparaging remarks about myself (even the 'zaftig' thing is me kidding around). It's true, I'm not happy with the way I look, but I'm not totally disgusted by it either. Which is a problem when it comes to motivation and keeping up with a healthy lifestyle. I haven't hit that "rock bottom" place where I'm totally miserable and can't function unless I do something about the problem. Unfortunately this hinders my efforts to get to a healthy weight.

And it only gets worse, as I start losing weight. At my wedding, my weight was in the 140s, which is still appallingly high for my height (damn those short genes!) but I was feeling great because I had worked hard to get there. And that's what kept me from staying on track after that - I get comfortable, think that I'm "close enough" and start to get lazy about food and exercise. This happens every time.

So how do I get around that? I like the idea of figuring out a lifestyle change, and just eating/working out that way permanently. Like Oprah says, exercising should be like brushing your teeth. You just do it every day, and it's non-negotiable. It's not about *liking it* or choosing to do it - you just do it because it's essential for your health. I never think "oh, I could skip brushing me teeth and then I'd get to work 5 min sooner" but I do that all the time with skipping breakfast or not walking to work.

Anyway, this is a topic rattling around in my head while I get myself mentally ready to start my new program. Any thoughts on this?


  1. I'm not an expert, but I think it's actually good you don't have a low self-esteem problem. Obviously you don't have a huge ego either, because you want to make some changes.

    I just don't think that hating what you see in the mirror is a good enough motivation to make major changes. You'd end up associating those changes with negative emotions ("I hate the way I look") rather than positive ones ("I look pretty good, but would like to be more toned"). I guess that comes off kind of cheesy. But anyway, I don't think you need to adjust your attitude.

  2. Thanks Suz! Yeah, I'm not unhappy about having good self-esteem, but I guess I just need to be a little more vigilant about staying on track.


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