Last week, I got my annual survey from the National Weight Control Registry. As a brief recap, the National Weight Control Registry is a national database of thousands of people who have lost a significant amount of weight and maintained that weight loss for at least a year (more about it here).
It was an enlightening process to answer these questions and be reminded of exactly why I’ve regained weight after maintaining successfully for the first couple of years. My answers to questions about how often I track, how often I weigh in and how often I eat “sometimes” food show that I’ve slipped from prior consistency with good, healthy habits. When I forced myself to honestly answer these questions, I had to confront the reality that I’m responsible for these extra 30 pounds, not some mysterious outside force. It was a wake up call for sure.
Other than checking in with my weight and my habits, this survey included several questions about self image. It was interesting to answer these now and realize how much stronger my sense of self is now than it was before I lost weight. Importantly, even though I’m not pleased with my weight regain, it hasn’t shaken my self-image as much as being obese did before I lost weight.
My weight doesn’t affect how I feel in terms of competence, attractiveness, anxiety or value now as much as it did before. If I’m honest, even when I’d first reached my goal weight, I still felt a lot like my sense of self was tied to my weight. It turns out a HUGE success of maintenance is that I’ve managed to disconnect my sense of value from the number on the scale. I feel really good about that. It’s been a gradual, but steady change, and I’m so grateful for it. I need to do some thinking about exactly how that happened, so that I can be sure to reinforce those thought processes.
Do you let your weight affect your sense of self-worth? How do you shift that?