As a clinical psychologist and eating disorder specialist, the issue of whether it is appropriate, desirable or healthy to support an obese client’s desire to lose weight is oftentimes in question. Whether treating my anorexic, bulimic OR obese clients at A New Beginning, the concept of achieving a healthy body-image, self-love and unconditional acceptance of your current self, regardless of size (or any aspect of appearance for that matter), is a fundamental goal, and is key to a complete recovery process.
Yet many obese – and morbidly obese – clients seek as part of their healthy therapeutic process, the ability to successfully lose the weight that was gained as a result of unhealthy emotional and behavioral processes. For them, weight loss is a reclaiming of their real self, a self which represents – and physically supports – their whole and healthy spirit.
Weight loss, in this scenario, is not a function of self-rejection or hatred, but is actually an act of self-love.
So, when contemplating weight loss, ask yourself the following questions…
Is your desire for weight loss driven by self-love, or self-hate?
Are you able to fully accept yourself now, or only when you lose weight in the future?
Do you think weight loss will make you a better person, more worthwhile or valuable to others?
Do you embrace yourself equally, at all sizes?
Can you be patient and gentle with yourself as you learn how to approach food – and your body – in a more positive, healthy and mindful manner?
Weight loss CAN be a healthy extension of self-care when it is motivated by positive, loving intent. Conversely, it can fuel a self-deprivating, destructive cycle when your acceptance and love of yourself is rigidly contingent upon weight loss “success.”
So, dig deep within your emotional self, explore honestly what you see, work on unconditional acceptance, and move forward with your healthy weight loss program when it is driven by positive factors, such as self-care, self-support and a healthy, loving intent.