I had recently gained ten or so pounds. I realize that that is not a life-changing or physically detrimental amount and that it is not an equivalent comparison to people who would like to lose some serious pounds. But it has certainly opened my eyes to some new aspects of body image and the difficulty of losing weight (I’ve never dieted or tried to lose weight before).

What first caught my attention was when I found myself saying, “Yuck” about my image in the mirror. Next to the mirror I keep a little reminder card: Love myself. Yuck didn’t exactly fit with loving myself. At that moment, a light bulb lit up in my mind: Can I love myself with these extra pounds? That would be unconditional love, the true sense of the phrase. I knew then and there that that is what I had to do before those pounds would drop off. I knew then and there that those pounds were added onto my stomach – yes, of course, because I was exercising less and eating more – but really they were there as a learning opportunity to help me become aware of loving myself, no matter what I looked like; to feel my worthiness regardless of my physical appearance. I also realized I had gained these pounds because I was not loving myself and feeling worthy at this particular time of my life (that’s another article!). If this was the case, then I knew that loving myself and feeling worthy was the key to those pounds staying off, as well. Invaluable insights for the mere cost of ten pounds.

Now, the question is how to love myself and feel worthy when I have a stomach ache because my jeans are too tight; when I look down and continually see a balloon-shaped belly (small, but a balloon nonetheless); when I feel awful that I have obliterated my previous work-out results?

Perhaps the answer is to begin by focusing on other aspects of myself that I do feel worthy about. In other words, rather than focus on what I don’t like, focus on what I do like. So I do this for a few days and it doesn’t come easy. I, almost continuously, have to remind myself to, ‘Find the good! Find the good!’ I start with what I can see: My hair looks good; I like the shape of my lips and color of my eyes. I continue listing several other physical attributes that I feel good about. Then, without intentionally meaning to do so, I go deeper – beyond the mere physical. I start appreciating my intelligence and all I have accomplished in my life. Then, to the mental/emotional level. I appreciate – love, even – the process of how I was disgusted with my body but now am finding the value in realizing my weight gain’s tie to my self-worth.

Not only do I begin to feel worthy and love my whole self, extra pounds and all, but I get a stronger sense of who I really am, or maybe I should say, who I am not. Fat can come and go (the same for looks and brains), but I understand that my true self is not only this body. I do not want to limit my love of myself to what I look like. My true self is much grander and is linked to All That Is. I realize that in negatively focusing and berating myself for my extra ten pounds (or however much might be the case for you), I’m missing the big picture of my true, grand self. I still desire to lose this added weight, but the difference is that my weight or my dress size, are not determining the worth I feel for myself. I see the bigger, wonderful picture of who I really am.

Interestingly, as I focus on loving myself unconditionally, I begin to exercise more and eat healthier. I can’t say that I am deliberately trying to exercise or eat better. It just sort of becomes something I want to do. Could it be that when you feel good about yourself unconditionally, you naturally do things that make you feel even better? I think so.

If you find yourself battling with your weight - or any other physical attribute - perhaps now is the time to expand and stop limiting your definition of who you are. Feel good about yourself, as is. And then enjoy the pounds melting away without struggle.

Author's Bio: 

Karen Eller has been researching and applying methods for personal growth for over 15 years. She is a Reiki Master and has her Master’s degree in Sociology, as well. She writes a blog about how to be joyful (keystojoy.wordpress.com). She is currently writing a book about transcending the ego.