Advertisement

What is the link between a lack of self-esteem and obesity?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
For some of you, overeating is about the petrifying fear that you don't deserve to be thin. How do I know this? Not through studies, or research—but through real-life living, through my patients, through eavesdropping on a cavalcade of doughnut addicts. Here, I have to step out of the safety zone of hard science into an area that's typically not studied by the white-coat-and-goggles set, because the mental, emotional, and deep psychological issues involved with obesity are simply very difficult to "prove" in a Western sense.

So let's start here: Many people—women especially—lack the self-esteem for weight control. (In fact, the most common reason that a woman doesn't take care of her own health is because she puts others' needs before her own.) But let's dive deeper: What is self-esteem? Let us assume our general sense of self-worth comes from two forces: overcoming obstacles and accomplishing some kind of goal. In the case of maintaining a healthy body weight, what happens if you don't overcome an obstacle (the box of Ding Dongs) and don't accomplish something (your goal weight by your high school reunions)? Yep, your self-esteem plummets faster than ratings for summer reruns. To resurrect it, you need to find ways to overcome and accomplish—without making the very standards by which you measure your life unrealistic weights, measurements, and stricter-than-boot-camp eating habits. This entails finding what I call soul-level satisfaction.
YOU: On A Diet Revised Edition: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management

More About this Book

YOU: On A Diet Revised Edition: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management

For the first time in our history, scientists are uncovering astounding medical evidence about dieting -- and why so many of us struggle with our weight and the size of our waists. Now researchers...

Continue Learning about Psychology of Weight Loss

Is Social Media Making You Fat?
Is Social Media Making You Fat?
It’s hard to scroll past a perfectly photographed cake or mac and cheese dish on Facebook or Instagram—but you might want to. Food porn, defined as a...
Read More
Why can diets cause guilt and shame?
Dr. Ramani Durvasula, PhDDr. Ramani Durvasula, PhD
Because they set us up to fail - diets don't work.  They are based on unrealistic expectations, unna...
More Answers
Why is it important to enjoy food in order to lose weight?
Dr. Ramani Durvasula, PhDDr. Ramani Durvasula, PhD
Deprivation = failure.  If we keep depriving ourselves, over time we lose our ability to say "no."  ...
More Answers
Besides Social Networks, Are There Other Technologies That Can Improve Health Outcomes?
Besides Social Networks, Are There Other Technologies That Can Improve Health Outcomes?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.