Does it matter what you look like?

An obese human male.I recently came across this article – The Best Way to Gain Confidence – where the author (Steve Hill)  briefly describes his attempt and success at gaining self confidence and overcoming low self esteem. He outlined his problem thus:-

I had a speech impediment, commonly referred to as a stutter or stammer. I was desperate, for some unknown reason, to be liked and was basically paranoid about what other people thought of me. I had a bald patch on my head and I am also quite short in height in comparison to the average male. I was also over-weight.

Steve goes into detail about his efforts to lose weight and overcome his stutter. He somewhat breezes over his paranoia and negative thinking…

I had to learn how to become a far more care-free person and to accept that not everyone will like me. I had to become a positive thinker and to ignore the negative voices in my head.

…not exactly explaining how he achieved this!

But what fascinated me was his dealing with his lack of height and his bald patch:-

I unfortunately had to accept my lack of height and also the fact that I would have a bald patch on my head for the rest of my life as there was nothing that I could do to change them.

There was nothing I could do to change them. So Steve learnt to accept and live with aspects of his appearance he felt he could do nothing about. But felt it necessary to address his weight problem – something he felt he could do something about – to achieve his self confidence and self esteem.

Firstly, as someone who is happily overweight, let me stress one point. If you chose on health and wellbeing grounds to lose weight, or adapt a healthier lifestyle that will affect your weight, then I’m right behind you. My concern is that so many people allow their self esteem to be tied in with their weight and feel they have to lose weight to feel good about themselves.

But is it necessary to look good to feel good. And just because you can do something – such as lose weight – do you have to do so? Are you making a lifestyle choice, or surrendering to an unhelpful belief?

Unfortunately, taking on the belief that  thin and slim is good, and fat bad, is integral to most Western societies. The word diet brings up 153,000,000 results on Google. Many undertake diets so they can “look good”, in the belief – like Steve – that it will help them feel good about themselves.

We also use food as a way of making us feel good in the short term. We comfort eat. As well as being surrounded by images of thin, “beautiful” people, we are constantly bombarded with images of great tasting food. When our self esteem is low, we do what we can to cheer ourselves up. At times like that its the sugars and fatty foods that we have learnt to enjoy.

Most weeks in our national papers there are adverts encouraging men to address their “bald patch” – usually featuring retired sportsmen.  One assumes the reason women in particular wear “high heels” is to make themselves look taller. Cosmetic surgery is now more mainstream – we can all be “nipped and tucked” if the money is available.

The essence of healthy self esteem is learning to like yourself “warts and all”. Why should excess body fat be an impediment to liking yourself anymore than a speech impediment, or a lack of hair.

I’m not saying go forth and eat with abandon. But if your underlying belief is that you have to lose weight to feel good about yourself, you may think of challenging this first.

Pictures from Wikipedia and by abbynormy on flickr
Melissa November 24, 2008 at 10:32 pm

I have to say that I have not been successful at losing weight all of the times that I tried it for vanity. When I decided to change what I ate to help me with stomach ailments and arthritis I was able to stick to a healthier way of eating and just happened to lose 11 pounds in the process. I’m not sure how much more weight I’ll lose, and quite frankly I don’ t much care. All I want is to feel good and be happy 🙂

Melissas last blog post..77 Days Gluten, Dairy & Diet Coke Free…mostly

Anteek November 24, 2008 at 10:53 pm

Right On David! Great Post! I would say No it does not matter what you look like. Thankfully a lot of people can see past the skin deep level of appearances and see the inner level of beauty. That is why a pretty face like mine can get close to 2 500 friends on Twitter.
Anteek
http://twitter.com/anteek

Anteeks last blog post..Visualizing Facebook from outer space

bruce November 24, 2008 at 11:24 pm

I agree that losing weight to feel better about yourself isthe easiest way to YoYo diet. A lose and gain cycle that is actually harmful. The best state of health is trim and in good physical condition cardiovascularly. Next best is to be overweight and in good physical condition. If you want to improve your health, get in better shape. Don’t diet to feel beter. I have a diet program called Recipe to Look Better Naked. I started with that name as a joke because so many of my patients wanted to look better for some special evernt in their life, not for health reasons.
I agree, change your thinking first. Decide why you want to be more trim and carry less fat and have at least 10 reasons.
Thanks David for such insightful articles.

bruces last blog post..Weight Loss – The First Decision

David November 24, 2008 at 11:51 pm

Bruce – I’d like to think I’m in good cardio condition even though I carry a few extra pounds! But I do watch what I eat, mainly to ensure things don’t get worse rather than to “get trim”. However, my vanity makes me say that the photo at the top isn’t of me, but from Wikipedia!
Anteek – your beautiful photo doesn’t show up here!
Melissa – Thats indirectly a great way to lose weight, adjust your diet for other health reasons rather than being obsessed with looking slim.

Vincent November 25, 2008 at 12:14 am

Being conscious and choosing what you eat in order to being healthy is the right way. Go ahead and have the burgers but don’t overdo it in a regular basis.

Cheers
Vincent
Personal Development Blogger

Vincents last blog post..Product Review: Get Applause Now!

Anteek November 25, 2008 at 1:49 am

Sorry David. I did not want to scare anybody, but if you insist here is my photo. Now tell me why a face like mine, that only a mother could love, would still manage to make friends and hopefully influence people?
Anteek

Anteeks last blog post..Approaching Cloudsizing

creativeherb November 27, 2008 at 7:38 pm

Genetic disorders aside, I think certain outward negative traits can be traced back to other personality or habitual issues. Take it as a symptom of another underlying problem and then seek to resolve it. I think improvement of the self for any reason is good, as long as you seek to balance it out as well. Dieting for image purposes may be bad. But if that can be a catalyst to begin the process, then slowly change the reasoning to having a healthy lifestyle, why not?

creativeherbs last blog post..5 Easy Steps to Rebrand your Blog

RT Wolf November 28, 2008 at 5:17 pm

I think everybody is worthy of love and liking regardless of how they look. Would the person this entry is about judge those he knows and loves as too overweight to be loved? As the blog author said, he’s overweight (happily), is he unworthy of love or care or friends?

Also, excersize does, among other things, raise self-esteem, mood, can prevent and help cure depression, improve your body-image, help you to realize that statistically speaking, almost everyone (except for a very small percentage of the population) could stand to lose some weight to be in their ideal range. Additionally, studies show that almost everyone says that they could stand to lose some weight, regardless of their current weight/health status. So, you’re not alone. If you start excersizing you’ll start to feel better and it can help improve your self-confidence.

Alternatively, you could face your worst nightmare. This is not a step to be taken lightly, and you might want to consult a therapist with your issue first. Someone, somewhere placed a lot of emphasis on looks as super important to your survival and to your worthiness of love and you might wnat to root that out so you can live free. I might wonder if the person was made fun of as a child for either his weight or something else. I was made fun of as a child, but not for weight, almost everyone was, and one of the things that helped me was to say what I was afraid of hearing. So, in this case it might be, “No one will ever love me or care about me cause I’m fat and ugly.” and recognize that a) it’s not true, because I’m sure you have friends right now, and if you don’t, it has nothing to do with your self-judgement that you are fat or ugly, it has to do with your belief that friends only care what you look like on the outside. b) you’ll realize that you survived and you can handle it.

Kim Potter November 30, 2008 at 5:12 pm

When I seen that picture it looked like my husband and its not. I love the way he looks I wish he would eat better but What can I do I love him anyway. So its not the way you look its the way you treat your family.

Kim Potters last blog post..Fortune!

website design December 4, 2008 at 12:35 am

It does matter what you look like. But some people have bad taste. Work on good taste first.

Dwacon December 6, 2008 at 10:06 am

Maybe one can get an A for effort?

I was complaining to a girl at the gym that I was struggling to lose the gut.. .but she was saying she liked how defined I look.

So… it’s all subjective, eh?

Dwacons last blog post..If this were Jazz, we’d call it "Pearl Bailout"

Baby Slings March 9, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Beauty definitely comes from within. You need to have the self esteem and confidence to carry yourself well. If you think well of yourself (minus the vanity) others will too no matter how you look.

DennisCovet January 4, 2010 at 7:48 am

In the end, all you need is a healthy lifestyle, which not only helps you lose weight, but also helps you escape from various diseases, like cancer or others. As long as you pursue a good diet plan your physical appearance will improve, and let’s not forget the importance of working out. Armed with these weapons, you can't go wrong.

DennisCovet January 4, 2010 at 1:48 pm

In the end, all you need is a healthy lifestyle, which not only helps you lose weight, but also helps you escape from various diseases, like cancer or others. As long as you pursue a good diet plan your physical appearance will improve, and let’s not forget the importance of working out. Armed with these weapons, you can't go wrong.

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