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How to Ditch Weight Stigma and Reach Your Goals

Losing weight, being more physically active, and eating healthier are among the most popular New Year’s resolutions each year.

 

And, while many people start the new year with the best intentions, few people stick to their resolutions, as research indicates the vast majority of individuals abandon their resolutions by February or March.[1]

 

Failing to stick to a New Year’s resolution or not meeting a specific weight loss goal can lead to weight stigma.

 

What is Weight Stigma?

 

Weight stigma, also known as weight bias or weight-based discrimination, is discrimination or stereotyping based on an individual’s body weight.

 

It can increase dissatisfaction with one’s body, and is a known risk factor in the development of eating disorders.

 

Moreover, weight stigma is also linked to feelings of:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor body image

 

Perceptions of weight stigma may also cause decreases in physical health and life span.

 

This is due, in part, to chronic stress, which increases inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, making it even hard to lose weight or stay motivated to try and lose weight.

 

Chronic stress also increases the desire to eat high-calorie foods while reducing hormones in the body that tell you that you’ve had enough to eat.

 

Further, individuals who experience weight stigma also are known to:

  • Engage in more frequent binge eating
  • Be at an increased risk for eating disorder symptoms

4 Tips to Deal with Weight Stigma

 

#1 Surround Yourself with Positive People

 

The power of positive thinking can’t be emphasized enough. You attract what you think, say, and do. This also extends to the company you keep.

 

The more positive people with whom you associate, the more uplifted, motivated, and encouraged, you will feel, making it that much easier to reach your goals.

 

By seeking out like-minded people who can support your healthy lifestyle and new habits you’re creating an environment in which you can thrive. This can include family, friends, significant others, gym buddies, or online health and fitness communities.

 

#2 Reassess Your Goals

 

During your transformation challenge, it’s important to understand that health and weight loss may not be the same thing.

 

Losing weight is one way to improve your health, but it isn’t the only way. Moreover, it’s imperative you don’t become fixated on the number of the scale.

 

There are a number of other ways to assess whether you’re making progress during your weight loss journey, such as:

  • How your clothes fit
  • Are your numbers going up in the gym
  • How your energy levels are during the day

 

It may also be helpful to shift your mindset from “losing weight” to “improving health.” Then you can create mini-milestones to tackle each week/month, track your progress, and boost motivation.

 

These mini-milestones focused around overall health, and not just weight loss, include:

  • Eating more fruits and veggies
  • Reducing stress
  • Meditating
  • Engaging in new forms of physical activity (yoga, hiking, etc.)
  • Getting more sleep each day

 

This last point is especially important as sleep impacts all facets of life, including mental and physical health. Still, many individuals have trouble getting enough quality sleep each night.

 

If you find yourself in this predicament, it can be helpful to:

  • Establish a bedtime ritual
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed
  • Limit exposure to sources of stress (news, social media, work emails, etc.)
  • Stretch
  • Meditate
  • Journal
  • Drink herbal tea like chamomile or peppermint tea
  • Read
  • Listen to relaxing music or a guided meditation
  • Breathing drills
  • Meditation

 

You can also try using a nighttime relaxation aid like Beauty Dream or Recharge PM to help quiet a hyperactive mind and promote feelings of calm, relaxation.

 

Beauty Dream or Recharge PM use natural, non-habit forming ingredients like valerian root, 5-htp, and L-Theanine to promote relaxation and help alleviate feelings of stress, which can help you achieve deep restorative sleep.

 

#3 Realize You Are More Than a Number on a Scale

 

Before you even sign up for a transformation challenge, it’s vital to understand that you are an amazing individual. One who is worthy of attention, care, and love.

 

Your self worth is not defined by a number on a scale or the size of your dress.

 

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to be satisfied with your current physique or performance in the gym. However, you do need to understand and appreciate your value as a human being, regardless of what the bathroom scale shows.

 

#4 Be Introspective

 

It’s important to take stock of your priorities and how you view yourself (and others) in order to reach your goals.

 

Do you place your value on what your bodyweight is? Do you value how well your clothes fit? Do you judge others on how they carry themselves or look?

 

Once you can identify where you may be jumping to conclusions and/or having prejudices (against yourself or others), you can begin to understand, take stock, and let go, thereby clearing the way for you to attack your fitness goals head-on without fear of judgement from yourself or external forces.

 

References

  1. Why 80 Percent of New Year's Resolutions Fail. https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/2015-12-29/why-80-percent-of-new-years-resolutions-fail. 2015.