By Heather Hamilton, PhD., LMHC, NCC, DCC | ©2022BreakThrough!
Self-Confidence and Weight Loss
Body image, weight, and self-view directly impact our confidence and self-view. Self-confidence describes how we see ourselves in terms of our traits (strengths and preferences), behaviors, worth, and our sense of the relationships we have with others. Some of us have insecurities or fears of not being seen as “enough.” Not smart enough, attractive enough, young enough…you get the idea. These kinds of fears make it difficult to have authentic, meaningful, and supportive relationships with others. These fears undermine confidence and maintain pervasive apprehension (fear of being judged). For some, low self-confidence prompts the thought:
“If you really knew me…you wouldn’t like me.”
“I’m only liked because__________.”
Unfortunately, to feel liked or loved, we may do things to secure the approval, attention, or affection of others that leave us exhausted, resentful, sad, and feeling overwhelmed or hopeless. If any of these sound familiar, you’re in the right place!
For the most part, emotions surface in response to what we think or perceive about a situation or social interaction. If we feel that we’re “less than,” that “what we do is never enough,” or that “we don’t have enough,” it’s only natural that these thoughts are going to bring forth sadness, frustration, and at times, emptiness. So how do these negative feelings impact our self-esteem and ultimately lead to weight gain? When our levels of dopamine and serotonin are depleted in response to emotional distress our brain craves foods that are high in sugar and carbs to immediately restore balance (or a sense of peace) in the brain. For a short while carbs effectively relieve our feelings of sadness or anxiety.
Overeating and Pain
Past participants in BreakThrough! groups frequently mention this experience:
“For a little while, food fills a void in me; when I feel full, I don’t feel the pain.”
In groups, it’s fairly common that members share a history of deep shame-based pain. Often, this pain stems from childhood experiences, feelings of inferiority, rejection, and for some, fears of abandonment. Frequently these negative beliefs are products of toxic conditional love, but sometimes these beliefs are further reinforced by intentional neglect, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.
The child who’s raised in an abusive home internalizes an additional message…” not only am I not enough…I don’t matter… and, what I want doesn’t matter.”
There are few beliefs more painful than “I don’t matter.” It’s not surprising that at an early age food easily becomes the “go-to” substance for comfort.
The path to recovering self-confidence and losing weight is to work through these messages and self-defeating beliefs to better understand and re-frame our sense of identity and purpose. Throughout the BreakThrough course, we are presented with the opportunity to surface and process (unconscious) self-defeating beliefs. This work is done from the perspective of our mature minds and prepares us to move forward in the process of behavioral change.
We hope you have enjoyed this article from The BreakThrough! Program.
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