Is Self-Worth Dependent On Your Size And Shape?

When we lose twenty pounds…we may be losing the twenty best pounds we have! We may be losing the pounds that contain our genius, our humanity, our love and honesty. ~ Woody Allen

Wow! I saw this thought-provoking quote by Woody Allen today. Messages the weight industry use to promote their weight loss strategy can be very harmful. Too often advertising talks about what we will gain when the dieter loses weight. Typical gains that are suggested include our health, energy levels, confidence, self-respect, a new career, romance with a new partner and so on. It’s rare to hear what one may have lost in the journey to lose weight.

The first thing you lose on a diet is your sense of humour. ~ Author unknown.

Currently in Australia, the upcoming season of The Biggest Loser is being advertised with the theme “Love Yourself” (see video below). The message they appear to be promoting is that if people lose weight they will find romance, gain confidence and be lovable. I really believe this to be an insidiously, destructive message. In my last post I talked about advertising that promoted shaming people in order to make them try and lose weight. Effectively, The Biggest Loser advertising is promoting shame as a weight loss tool and the effects of this message can be damaging and far reaching.

I’ve been on a diet for two weeks and all I’ve lost is 14 days. ~ Totie Fields.

This type of advertising also has the potential to cause further pain to the individual, when the goal weight they are striving for is not reached or maintained. For the vast majority of people who go on diets, the likely scenario is they will not maintain the goal weight. Diets have proven themselves to be ineffective. So what happens after a person regains the lost weight? Anyone who’s ever been a yoyo dieter and had beliefs about their self-worth being based on their size, may recognize the cycle of further emotional pain as a result of their apparent ‘failure’ to maintain their weight. Self-loathing and despair occur as a result of diets that promise miracles but don’t actually work.

Dieting is wishful shrinking. ~ Author unknown.

Self-respect and a person’s capacity to love and be loved are not conditional on one’s size and shape. Confidence is not dependent on one’s size and shape. The expectation that you need to wait to lose weight in order to have these is false. It is irresponsible for weight loss advertising to perpetuate these destructive thought patterns.

Self-respect cannot be hunted. It cannot be purchased. It is never for sale. It cannot be fabricated out of public relations. It comes to us when we are alone, in quite moments, in quiet places, when we suddenly realize that, knowing the good, we have done it; knowing the beautiful, we have served it; knowing the truth we have spoken it. ~ Whitney Griswold.

What do you think of Woody Allen’s quote? Do you believe self-worth is dependent on size? Please feel free to share your thoughts….

About Suzanne

has written 37 post in this blog.

Suzanne is the owner of Food, Mood and Attitude. Suzanne is passionate about sharing healthy messages about how we relate to food and our bodies. Life is too short too worry about big bums and diets that don't work.

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Suzanne is the owner of Food, Mood and Attitude. Suzanne is passionate about sharing healthy messages about how we relate to food and our bodies. Life is too short too worry about big bums and diets that don't work.

8 thoughts on “Is Self-Worth Dependent On Your Size And Shape?”

  1. Being overweight myself I want, need to lose the weight for the betterment of myself. I have health issues, I don’t like looking in the mirror, etc. But I have been happily married for the last 28 years so I don’t believe that weight has anything to do with love or romance. Thanks for your thought provoking writing.
    Shawn recently posted..Dating ExcursionsMy Profile

    1. Thanks for your post Shawn! I’m sure some people would feel better about themselves just knowing that love and romance are not dependent on weight. The message that ‘you’ll find love once you’ve lost weight’ seems to be promoted by the weight loss industry to entice people into programs. Advertisers may view it as smart advertising but it’s not smart in terms of one’s emotional wellbeing!

  2. Wow, another fantastic blog, I love it!!!!

    Exercise embedded in our lifestyle practice for health reasons is fantastic, but the self image of “I’m only lovable if I’m thin” is incredibly dangerous and shaming. I have struggled with these ideas all my life that I can remember, and as a teenager and young adult was anorexic because I strived to be loved. It’s interesting because now after many destructive relationships I feel like I’ve given up on romantic love and I’ve packed on the weight!!! Even consciously knowing these processes, it is incredibly hard to change… media like the above is really not helping!!!

    Lots of love
    Vanessa Bushell recently posted..Unconscious Relationships: The Patterns That Bind UsMy Profile

    1. Thanks again Nessie! That’s the problem with those insidious, harmful messages. They seem to weave their way into the psyche and are hard to get rid of! Thanks for openly sharing. So many people struggle with weight and body image issues and the media reinforces the negative messages. It’s typical media advertising. Find the emotional hook and exploit it….

  3. Great Post Suzanne!
    It’s so true, shame is used constantly in fitness/weight loss advertising. PT’s unfortunately, are not trained in the Pyschological reasons for people gaining weight in the first place I have always felt that there needs to be some sort of training in this area to be able to understand the client and help them properly. Find out what caused them to get this way in the first place – not just treating the symptom of obesity by exhausting their bodies with over the top exercises (like the biggest loser is famous for!)
    No amount of exercise and PT sessions can help someone that is battling demons that they don’t know how to face.

    1. Thanks Carlee! Unfortunately the role psychology plays in weight and health issues isn’t addressed very well at all. A diet won’t fix someone who is overeating as a result of emotional issues. My belief is that a lot of weight loss strategies can also lead to emotional problems, such as poor body image. Yoyo dieting can definately lead to detrimental emotional and physical health issues. I think the over the top exercises that the Biggest Loser promotes would freak a lot of people out! It doesn’t exactly make exercise look appealing or sustainable!

    1. Definately, Madonna! It’s really awful to see advertisers thinks it’s appropriate to imply that people are unlovable or unworthy as a result of their size. It obviously draws in viewers though….

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