20 Dec Self-esteem, social anxiety and weight

Hi. I’m 30 years old, or rather a little less than 30. My height is 1.62m and my weight is 85kg. Although I don’t really remember myself ever being thin, when I look at my old pictures, I feel angry that I didn’t feel beautiful enough back then, that I was afraid that I’d never be accepted or liked by the opposite sex. For the record, I just had an extra 5 kilos during my entire adolescence, and I was actually beautiful!

As the years went by, I tried to find my own balance. I convinced myself that everyone around me had to accept me for my personality, my brains, for the person I really was and not the way I looked. I fell into a trap, however. Believing that, I was the one who had to first love myself, and that I still had to take care of my health. That’s how I ended up weighing almost 100kg. Takeaway, sweets… lots of sweets (they’re still a major problem), a chaotic eating schedule, binge eating etc. All this is what brought me to that weight. With a false sense of self-esteem, I was trying to convince everyone that I was happy with myself, when in reality I didn’t really like me, although I still tried to maintain a vibrant social life. This all happened around the time I was a college student.

Jumping forward in the next stage of my life, I tried to focus on work and professional success. One day, however, I woke up and realized that I had spent the best years of my life being overweight!

At this point, I made another mistake and completely changed my diet, thinking that I didn’t need flavour in my life anymore. I used to eat a yoghurt and 2 bagels all day. I lost about 10-12 kilos and I felt great. I managed to weight 69-70 kilos for a while, I felt beautiful at last. The problem was that my diet was pretty bad… There were days that I’d just eat a slice of chocolate cake, just because I couldn’t imagine not eating something sweet.

Today, and for the last 2 years, I’m 15 kilos up again and I don’t know how to get rid of them. I cook almost every day, and I’ve significantly reduced junk food. I still have a soft spot for chocolate and sweets though. Also, my husband keeps bringing snacks and soda drinks (which I never bought when I was on my own), so I often give in to temptation.

Despite that, I actually feel good about myself lately, as weird as it sounds with so much extra weight. I’ve got a lot of self-confidence, I found my own style and I like my general appearance. I know, however, that I need to lose some weight, especially for the sake of my health, since we’re trying to have a baby, and I can’t imagine how I’ll look with the pregnancy kilos added on top of my weight.

Thank you for your time!

Thank you for sharing your story.

Let’s start with the basics. According to your weight and height, your Body Mass Index is 32.3kg/m2. So, it’s true that you should lose some weight, especially since you’re trying to have a baby. The fact that you know that is really good, because it’s the first step towards weight-loss.

Psychology

It’s nice to see people being happy with their body. Self-confidence isn’t weight-specific, and it’s a really important step towards losing weight. Very often, if we don’t feel comfortable with our body, we are led to bad dietary habits in order to drown out the negative emotions. So, it’s good that you feel the way you do and that you generally seem to have overcome your own psychological ups and downs.

Before we continue, however, I have to tell you that I don’t think you wasted the best years of your life being overweight. The fact that you’re still 30 and that you’re trying to have a baby means that the best years of your life are coming up! Don’t focus on the past, the best years of your life are right ahead of you, and I’m going to give you some advice on how to achieve your wanted weight, in order to enjoy them even more!

Dietary habits

Snacks

Try asking your husband to help you by not bringing so many snacks at home. He doesn’t have to stop, just reduce the amount so that there’s not a surplus for you to eat. Also, ask him to put the snacks that he does bring somewhere where they’re not immediately accessible and visible.

If you feel the need to have a snack in between means, go for a lightr option. A low-fat yoghurt, a jelly, a cereal bar, a fruit, 8-10 nuts or a slice of bread with a slice of turkey.

As far as soda drinks go, try to limit their consumption and go for low-calorie versions.

Cooking

It’s good that you’re cooking every day, because it allows you to reduce takeaway food.

As far as cooking goes, there are some things you can do to reduce the energy content of your food:

1) Try reducing the amount of oil and butter you use. You can measure oil in tablespoons instead of pouring it from the bottle.

2)  Use light and low-fat products

3) Compare the energy content of the products you buy at the super market, by looking at the nutritional content labels.

4) Remove the skin from poultry and cut off the visible fat from red meat.

General Advice

Bulk up your plate by making sure half of it contains salad. This will reduce the size of the more fattening food portions, while still helping you feel full. You can further reduce your portion sizes to lose weight faster.

Also, remember, that any weight-loss diet that you follow should be stopped once you are pregnant. From that point on, you should follow your doctor’s advice on what to eat.

I hope this was all helpful. Thank you once again for sharing your story with us!

Konstantinos Chardavellas