Confidence and Weight – Related?

Self confidence is a trait that most of us aspire to possess. Some people just seem to have “it” no matter what their circumstances, appearance, or socioeconomic situation. Growing up, I had a lot of self confidence. I was just sure I could conquer the world, and rushed ahead of myself trying to get things done! But like so many other things in my life, as my appearance changed, my confidence changed too.

It was almost a directly proportional relationship. Weight up = Self confidence down

I knew it was happening. I could almost feel myself stumbling around trying to find the “Old Diane.” It made me mad both at myself for gaining weight, and for not being able to seem to find my self confidence among the folds of fat. It was swallowed up.

There was a time where John and I had to go to an office party for his job. I begged and pleaded not to go, but it was one of those events where spouses really were expected to attend. And even after John told me I didn’t have to go, I knew that I needed to support him. So, after spending a couple of fruitless hours at the mall trying to find a size 28 dress that wasn’t totally awful, I gave up and made a “fancy jumper.”  On the appointed day, the babysitter arrived on time, and we left for the party. It was held in the ballroom of a hotel, and the event was really well done.

I felt so out of place. Kinda like those commercials where the couple is going to a party and the husband tells the wife, “It’s casual dress.” Yet when they get to the party the hostess answers the door in a cocktail gown. That’s how I felt in my “fancy jumper” among all the cocktailed dressed women. I just wanted to go sit in the bathroom for the whole evening.

Once we made the obglitarory rounds, I took up a post standing at the very back of the room. A classic wallflower. My sweet husband stood by me, trying to get me to join in, but I was adamant that I wasn’t moving. When we finally got to leave, I was so stressed I made John swing through Wendy’s and get me a large Frosty. I finished it off even before we got all the way home.

I don’t share this store to elicit sympathy, because I realize that the choices I made were mine alone. I share this story to encourage you to hold your head up high no matter what your weight, and no matter how you feel about your appearance.

Sometimes, working on your self confidence is as important as working on your food choices. The two really can work together as best friends. It was harder for me to lose weight with such low self esteem. If I had managed to appreciate myself for the good qualities I possessed perhaps the weight loss would have been easier.

What are your thoughts on self confidence and weight loss success?   Diane

61 thoughts on “Confidence and Weight – Related?

  1. Deniz says:

    Hi Diane

    Thanks once again for a very insightful post. You used the phrase ‘directly proportional relationship’ and that’s just how it appears to me too.

    I have a similar story. I used to be a fairly confident person when I was young but life’s knocks and my weight changed all that. My remembered and hated ‘event’ was a wedding in 2002. I managed to squeeze myself next to a potted plant to hide my fat as much as I could from the slim young things all around me. I hated how I looked, what I was wearing and the obligation which forced me to attend. I ‘er, needed the bathroom’ when it came time for photos to be taken.

    Fast forward to my best friend’s wedding in 2007, just a few short weeks after I’d taken the plunge and began to shed my self-created fat-suit. I’d probably dropped a dress size or so but I was still very large – far bigger than any other guest. But, even that small weight loss allowed me to stand up and give a reading at her wedding. Improvement? You bet!

    On a few more months and my husband commented that I was coming out of my shell and he could see a more confident me emerging. Now I can see it for myself. Having lost nearly five and a half stone makes such a huge difference to my life, my health and my mental state.

    As you say, we all need to learn to ‘see’ the truly good parts of ourselves and this might help us with our weight loss journeys. It is very hard to raise one’s confidence when one’s self esteem is at rock bottom – but not impossible.
    .-= Deniz´s last blog ..I’m losing it =-.

  2. vickie says:

    One of the personal trainers/instructors that I knew in the very beginning (she didn’t ‘work me’ rather she gave me encouragement and information) said several years later that she remembered seeing me at a kindergarten event – wearing a HUGE jumper (yes, I had made it) and WHITE, WHITE tennis shoes.

    I remembered that day and that outfit.

    I had very few ‘dress clothes’. I was a SEVERE apple in those days – so finding something to go around my middle was a problem. And I could not wear any shoes other than tennis – because of feet/back/knee problems (because of my weight). I knew that outfit was not great – but it was the best that I could do (I lived in ratty sweats and ratty over alls and ratty pj’s).

    And I suppose that outfit helped her to understand – because she just happened to be the one that I called – to say I am in a real mess, don’t know where to start, and need ideas for how to exercise (with the bad back, knees, feet). If I hadn’t been wearing the huge jumper and the White, white tennis shoes (I think they were brand new – it was my only means of ‘dressing up’) she might not have even remembered me when I called later.
    .-= vickie´s last blog ..I’m a lumberjack and my back is still okay =-.

    • Diane says:

      @Deniz – I so appreciate you sharing your story. It’s almost like you were describing a blossom open.

      @Vickie – I can so relate to the white tennis shoes being your “dress up” accessory. Mine were that, and huge earrings.

  3. Michelle says:

    Diane,

    I had the ultimate of breakdowns today–thank to you :)! I was reading through your blog and I got up from my chair, went into a co-workers office and said ‘I am done dieting!’

    I am done depriving myself. I am done hating food. I am done with it all.

    I am scared out of my mind. I have let the food/binger bully me into thinking that I don’t have what it takes without points, calories, scale numbers validating my existance.

    I have lost my self-confidence with my body after gaining 25lbs post-breakup with a man who said ‘I have a problem with your weight’ and ‘My biggest fear is that you’ll gain the 125lbs that you’ve lost back’

    To the woman…To the MICHELLE who is down…I give you a hand..cause honey you’re gonna make it.

    Thank you Diane for being so honest. For reaching out to me and giving me the strength to not be sad, afraid and wallowing.

    Michelle

  4. Amy H. says:

    I’m getting closer to appreciating myself and my body, but I’m not quite there yet. Slowly, this weight in my mind is lifting as I get more comfortable with who I am. It’s a slow process, and blogging is helping tremendously – it’s stories like yours that are helping me feel whole again.
    .-= Amy H.´s last blog ..Quiche for Dinner =-.

    • Diane says:

      @Michelle – I hope so much that you can see how wonderful you are, and how doing all this hard weight loss/emotional work is making you a stronger person. I see it!

      @MizFit – Your comment is right on, as always.

      @Amy H. – Thanks Amy. I like how you correlated the weight in your mind to your physical weight. They really are innerconnected.

  5. Cindy says:

    Diane, this is so true! When I lost weight in 2000 it was like layers being peeled off to reveal the me who had been trying to hide from a hostile world. I have regained some through injury/meds and the resulting depression from gaining but I’m able to be active again and going back down and see the same thing happening again. The hard part is learning to deal with emotions without stuffing them down. My husband is not happy that I am taking this weight off and that’s an emotional struggle that I must overcome to keep it off. I turned 60 in July and that’s been a catalyst for change, too!

    I have not posted before but have been reading your blog for awhile now.

    • Diane says:

      Cindy, Thanks so much for the first comment! Your description of the weight coming off being like revealing new layers is wonderful. I hope that your husband will come around to appreciate all the hard work you are doing. Happy belated birthday!

  6. Lola says:

    I think you have to get to the point where you love yourself, at whatever weight…and are willing to make the right choices for your body to be healthy. Its key. And, just because you love yourself and love the body that has carried you around all these years, doesn’t mean you are loving being fat or have fat acceptance or whatever.

    I love myself NOW. Sure, I’m going to love myself more when I look extra sexy and cute ;o), but RIGHT NOW, I love my body and appreciate the fact that it gave me my kids. It is the body God gave me….and the only one I’ll ever have. So I can either work to make it the best body ever – and feed it the best fuel and give it the best exercise….or I can sit and complain and do nothing…..

    As always, you are spot on. :o)
    .-= Lola´s last blog ..Nerves =-.

  7. Liesl says:

    I just blogged about this recently. I have lost nearly 20 kgs. I look different, but not that much different. I still have 30 to go. However, I realised this past weekend that I have started putting on makeup again – stopped after my son was born, and no it had nothing to do with being too busy, I just didn’t feel pretty – and I am now smiling for photos instead of hiding away and trying not to get my picture taken. This weekend was spent with my sister in law and her family and was the first time in years that I felt pretty. I can’t wait for her to email the photos to me!!!

    Thanks ALWAYS for a wonderful blog Diane. You truly are inspirational in more ways than 1.
    .-= Liesl´s last blog ..figuring it out =-.

    • Diane says:

      @Lola – That’s so wonderful that you are able to appreciate and yes, LOVE yourself right where you are. It just makes everything else easier, I think.

      @Liesl – This comment makes me so happy for you. I can just hear the happiness and satisfaction in what you wrote! Keep up the great work!

  8. Gigi says:

    I could not agree with you more!! Getting ourselves to the positive place we need to be when feeling our lowest (with plenty of help from others and their comments) is a tough job but a necessary one. Good post!
    .-= Gigi´s last blog ..Still a Little Steamed =-.

    • Diane says:

      @Gigi – Thanks. You are 100% right – it’s not always easy to get to that positive point, and relying on others to help us is essential!

      @Janet – Me too with the unflattering clothes. It’s probably good there aren’t more before pictures of me, because my clothes were BAD.

  9. Lori says:

    I can directly link my self-confidence to my weight, and also to how I feel about my job too. If I “feel” like I look okay, than I have my confidence in myself. I’m such a people pleaser, and care what other people think, and being overweight is something that others look down on. So, that makes me even more self-conscious. I lost about 50 lbs about 4 years ago, and my self-confidence went through the roof. I wasn’t beating myself up, and liked the way I looked. When I started gaining it back, I didn’t have confidence in myself any more.
    .-= Lori´s last blog ..Bits and Pieces =-.

  10. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    I remember an office party that I attended after I had gained a lot of weight and none of my clothes fit anymore. I ended up buying a not very flattering outfit. I felt so out of place and uncomfortable all night . The event was held in an amazing venue (the economy was good and money seemed to be no object), but I couldn’t enjoy myself…

    I agree, we all should focus on appreciating us for who we are on the inside. With more self-confidence, everything is easier.
    .-= Andrea@WellnessNotes´s last blog ..More Veggie Love =-.

  11. Leah says:

    “It was harder for me to lose weight with such low self esteem” … I wonder if that was my stumbling block in my past attempts at weight loss. This time I had to go through a time of learning to love myself first as I was. Geneen Roth (a writer on the topic of weight loss) once wrote that the first step in losing weight is learning to love yourself if you never lost another pound. That was very, very hard for me.

    I won’t go on and on, but suffice it to say I totally agree with you. In the past when my weight was low and I’m felt in control of things I also felt much better about myself. It is still true this time around, but this time I learned to love myself first and then I just keep feeling better and better that I’m making progress towards a healthier me.

    So many good thoughts in this post!!
    .-= Leah´s last blog ..Dove Promises =-.

    • Diane says:

      @Lori – That is so true, about our feelings about how we look making a difference in our attitudes and whether or not we are self-confident. You will get your confidence back!

      @Andrea – It is easier with self-confidence. No matter what our weight. I hate events like the one you described!

      @Leah – Geneen Roth has a good point, although as we all know, a difficult one to embrace. I’m so glad you are able to appreciate all you have to offer, even before you reach your goal weight.

  12. Losing Waist! says:

    My thoughts are… AGREE!

    The higher my weight got, the more I isolated myself. I am a socially competent person, but the weight thing was something I just could not push past.

    As I lose weight I feel more confident, and also proud. It is HARD to lose weight and the pride knowing I am doing so gives me a new sort of confidence!
    .-= Losing Waist!´s last blog ..I just pushed past the night eating monster. =-.

  13. Tina says:

    I’m usually a very confident person but my weight does affect how I carry myself and the confidence I feel walking into a room. It would help if they made nicer clothes for larger people that’s for sure.

    More than anything, I feel confident when I feel healthy and when I feel like I’m doing everything in my power to stay that way.

    • Diane says:

      @Losing Waist – Great point about the pride you feel in your accomplishments pushing your self-confidence even further in a positive direction!

      @Tina – Nicer clothes would be wonderful. I will never understand why designers don’t really consider every woman – no matter the size.

      @Ace – you are welcome!

  14. Laura Jane says:

    I couldn’t agree more! I know that for me confidence has so much to do with my weight loss/health. First of all, feeling confident about my weight and appearance (even if it’s not exactly what I want to be) helps me so much in having the motivation and upbeat attitude that is essential for weight loss. It’s funny, because you might think that being dissatisfied with your current weight would be the thing you need to motivate you to lose weight, but that’s really not so. To keep your motivation, you actually need to feel more satisfied. Also, I think more important than my confidence in my appearance, is my confidence in my own ability to make healthy choices and to make time for exercise. When I’m doubting whether or not I will actually succeed at making good choices or exercise, right there is my excuse. But when I feel confident, that, yes, I will succeed. I will avoid most sweets and eat mostly healthier foods. I will exercise. I will lose weight. Well, that is so much motivation right there.
    .-= Laura Jane´s last blog ..Finally!!! =-.

  15. Teresa says:

    First I’d like to say thanks for the inspiration you give on my posts.

    I find that as I lose the weight, my confidence is getting stronger. But on those days that I look in the mirror and feel fat, you know the fat girl thinking, I seem to want to hide in the corner as you descibed. A lot of it is a mental thing, and some is just plain discussed in the way I looked, and knowing it was all my choice, not anyone elses. These days, even though my scale doesn’t move much, I feel good about myself, because I know I’m trying hard to change it.
    .-= Teresa´s last blog ..Just trying to figure a few things out =-.

    • Diane says:

      @Laura Jane – So true that being dissatisfied with your current weight not being enough to motivate you! That was me 100%. Great comment!

      @Teresa – I think it sounds like you are really moving in the right direction. Knowing you are working towards reaching your goals gives you confidence! Excellent!

  16. Apple-chan says:

    Even though I’m not the super-shy person I was as a child, I realize I am still not self-confident. Some of it definitely relates to my weight. I may make a spectacle of myself from time to time rather than always being a wallflower, but that doesn’t mean I’m confident; it’s almost like a distracting show to put on to prevent others from realize just how NOT confident I really am. I would love to feel more confident about my abilities and my appearance. To feel reasonably sure that I am a decent person who deserves respect and should treat herself that way too.
    .-= Apple-chan´s last blog ..75 Reasons to Lose 75 Pounds =-.

  17. Hadley says:

    This post is just so spot on. (Well, all of yours are.) As weight goes up, self esteem goes down.

    However, one thing I’ve found is that I think I’m probably more confident now than I was on the way up at this weight. I think it’s probably a combination of number and direction.
    .-= Hadley´s last blog ..Tuesday Weigh In (with Bonus Pictures!) =-.

    • Diane says:

      @Apple-Chan – you are a decent person, and you do deserve respect. I think that you have already taken some really good steps towards now believing that yourself. After all you have 75 reasons to lose weight!

      @Dr. J – Absolutely true. Every time I lost a pound I felt my confidence level increase – not just after all the weight was gone.

      @Hadley – That’s so great that you are feeling better about yourself now. Keep going strong!

  18. Keeven says:

    I have very low self confidence since I was a child. Whatever I do I need to seek comfort or approval from someone. I was shy and I hate going to social parties,etc. Maybe its because I’m stuck in a FAT suit. I was afraid what people might talk or think of me. Its very sad actually. But the day you are free from fat, that’s the day you free yourself as well. Trust me!
    .-= Keeven´s last blog ..Walking… a game now ??? =-.

  19. Robin says:

    I couldn’t agree more, that is my main focus right now because I know it’s holding me back. I have to find a way to have confidence right now because how else am I ever going to feel better?
    .-= Robin´s last blog ..Getting Myself Back =-.

    • Diane says:

      @SeaShore – Me too, and I wish I could get those opportunities back. It is a shame.

      @Keeven – Wonderful insights. Shedding the fat suit does let out some of the personality that it was hiding.

      @Robin – Great point on self-confidence being so important to focus on. Sometimes once that is in place, the weight will come off even easier.

  20. H.K. says:

    Confidence & weight loss what a concept! They do go hand in hand. I realize that I need to have self-confidence now and feel good about myself NOW rather than when I get to my weight loss goal. Thanks for the reminder that I need to work on my self confidence NOW!
    .-= H.K.´s last blog .. =-.

  21. Jac says:

    My husband (who has been very supportive of me in all that I do) made a comment one time that pushed me over the edge. It was what inspired my weight loss journey. He said to me “The girl I fell in love with was so confident, where did that go? You gained the weight and lost yourself.” He followed it by two nights sleeping on the couch and lots of explaining about what he meant. But that really pointed out to me that not only do I have no confidence, but other people realize it too. I’m hoping that as the pounds come off, some of it comes back!

    Thank you so much for sharing your story.
    .-= Jac´s last blog ..It’s not just about the scale… =-.

  22. Kathy says:

    “Sometimes, working on your self confidence is as important as working on your food choices.” — How true, Diane! And I liked what Dr. J. said, too. I hate to see people’s self-worth and self-confidence become so tied up with body image. However, since self-confidence has a lot to do with feeling like you have some mastery over your world or your circumstances, obviously if you are trying to lose weight and are succeeding, then it will be a source of self-confidence.
    .-= Kathy´s last blog ..A bare-bones lesson on calcium =-.

    • Diane says:

      @H.K. – You are welcome for the reminder, and I think that for me, just remembering that really helped me get through the tough times.

      @Jac – It will come back, because it hasn’t gone away. I was still confident somewhere under all my fat, but I had just lost it for a bit. Your husband sounds like a caring person – even if he did make a comment that he maybe shouldn’t have!! (My hubby would have had to sleep on the couch for longer than two nights!)

      @Kathy – You are so right about it being sad that our self-confidence is so often tied with our appearance.

  23. Taryl says:

    My experiences in this area definitely mirror yours – I’ve always had an outgoing, friendly personality, but the higher my weight went the lower my self esteem and confidence plunged, even when I hid it well. It used to bother me that I couldn’t be that girl I used to be, that something as transient as appearance was affecting me emotionally, until I realized that I couldn’t reach out to others if I hated my body and was divorced from my emotions and issues.

    Weight loss for me, even just a few pounds, has given me so much confidence back mainly because I am succeeding in an area where I failed myself for so long before. My life, which was previously so out of control in some regards, is now something I have learned to handle and KNOW I can change for myself.

    I am not a better or stronger or more lovable person now that I am on my journey down the scale, but I AM loving myself and my family a whole lot more with these decisions, and I think that accounts for a great deal of the ‘change’ I am undergoing. Weight loss may be externally shrinking, but it is the internal growth that is making the biggest difference in my life, long term.

    As always, great and thought-provoking blog, Diane!
    .-= Taryl´s last blog ..Weight loss is hardly ever linear! =-.

    • Diane says:

      @Taryl – I’m so glad that you are having success, and are confident that you can change. I think it’s wonderful that you are changing for you, and that your family is benefitting from the change. Thanks for the great comment!

  24. NewMe says:

    An excellent post, as usual. Thank you!

    Personally, I believe that my relatively good self-confidence started to drop as my health problems increased. Unfortunately, losing weight, though helpful, could not stop the progression of my hereditary health issues. Of course, at the same time, my weight started going up and yes, I felt less pretty and made less and less of an effort to dress flatteringly. After only losing a few pounds, though, my self-image has improved remarkably. It hasn’t take much for me to start feeling better about myself.
    .-= NewMe´s last blog ..More Reflexions on the Scale =-.

  25. Hanlie says:

    Confidence is what makes people see past our weight. I have been told that my presence matches my size. It’s nice to hear, but to be honest, I don’t always feel it.

    Nice post!
    .-= Hanlie´s last blog ..Spring is here! =-.

    • Diane says:

      @NewMe – I’m sorry to hear about your health issues. I think it is wonderful that you are feeling better about yourself with just a little bit of weight loss. That makes me think that your confidence was just simmering under the surface, ready to come out.

      @Hanlie – You seem very self confident in your blog, so I’m not surprised you get that type of comment a lot. Thanks for coming by!

  26. Lainie says:

    This post breaks my heart. As usual, I can relate. When I was overweight, I can recall feeling the exact same way. Sometimes I still struggle with my image…though I’m not overweight anymore, I have a rough time feeling good about myself in social situations. Not sure why? I think it just stems back to when I really didn’t like myself.
    .-= Lainie´s last blog ..Mock Taco Bell =-.

    • Diane says:

      @Virginia – Nice to meet you too!

      @Lainie – I think it does stem from the past, because I still feel it sometimes too. One time I heard someone describe me as, “You know John’s wife – she’s tall and thin.” I had to stop and think, “me?” Seriously, I did.

  27. MamaBearJune says:

    It is definitely closely connected. My self-confidence has definitely increased since losing the weight. But I think the main source of self-confidence is your upbringing. My parents gave me a loving, supportive network that carried me through everything I’ve ever been through. Even when I was heavy, I knew I was “worthy” and that God loved me. He doesn’t look at my shape. Just like my earthly parents.
    .-= MamaBearJune´s last blog ..Another app’t =-.

  28. Alissa says:

    Well said. I think the two are directly related also. As I lose weight, the more self confidence I gain. When I gain weight, I seem to lose confidence in myself.
    .-= Alissa´s last blog ..Update =-.

  29. South Beach Steve says:

    While I have always been confident externally, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t feelings of embarrassment internally. I hated being overweight. I hated not being able to fit in airplane seats well. I hated being unhealthy. Outwardly though, most people would have never picked up on it. The interesting thing is that now that I am getting very close to my goal, my inner feelings are more in line with those exhibited externally.
    .-= South Beach Steve´s last blog ..Work after Work =-.

    • Diane says:

      @MamaBearJune – That’s wonderful that you had such loving parents who supported you through everything. I hope you always treasure that gift they gave you. And obviously your faith has carried you through as well – I know mine has!

      @Alissa – I agree with you. Thanks for the comment.

      @Steve – Good point about the internal feelings now aligning more with the external. Thanks!

  30. Biz says:

    I whole heartedly agree that confidence and weight are related.

    When the father of my daughter rejected us, I just piled on the weight so I wouldn’t be hurt by anyone! By the time 1999 rolled around, I was determined not to be fat in 2000! I went from 210 pounds in April 1999 to 135 pounds by March of 2000 – just in time for my bithday!

    Two months later I met my husband, and I knew I could be loved because I loved myself!

    Great post Diane! 😀
    .-= Biz´s last blog ..First Day of the Month Giveaway and (almost) One Year Blogiversary! =-.

    • Diane says:

      @MackAttack – It’s just a step by step process, at least it was for me. I’m going to email you!

      @Biz – Oh my goodness, you have been through a lot. I’m so impressed with what you have accomplished. And so glad that you met your husband, who obviously loves you for you!

      @Sagan – Obstacles can definitely be overcome more easily when we feel better about ourselves!

  31. Tammy says:

    I’m weird. I’m self-confident about every aspect of my life….except where the weight plays a big role. I’m looking forward to the day when the weight is no longer an issue. 🙂
    .-= Tammy´s last blog ..Settling In =-.

  32. Sarah says:

    I worry about this a lot. I definitely see my self-confidence starting to climb out of the hole it’s been in forever, but I also fear that it’s so tied to my weight loss that even the slightest plateau or gain will send it spiraling back down. Hopefully my feelings will mellow a bit as I get used to actually having confidence in myself, and hopefully I’ll even start believing in myself instead of believing in only my thinner self.
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Week 19: -2.8 =-.

    • Diane says:

      @Tammy – You are not weird at all. I think it’s great that you have a lot of self-confidence in yourself. The weight loss will just get you even further along!!

      @Sarah – I think they will mellow a bit – at least they did for me. Great point about believing in you – rather than just a thinner you!! You can do it!

  33. Kat says:

    Wow, I can relate to this post Diane. Especially at my heaviest, I just wanted to disappear. I am working on the self confidence thing. Self acceptance is a really important facet of permanent change. Your posts always make me think. I appreciate that!

  34. Mary :: A Merry Life says:

    Totally agree with this, although I’m starting to move past it. In the past my self-confidence was completely related to my weight. Fat? No confidence. Thinner? Woo, I’m full of confidence. It sucked. It sucked not being able to feel good about myself all the time. So I’ve been working on that and now that I’m in the middle of my highest and lowest weights and I’m feeling confident. I wish weight didn’t have any control!
    .-= Mary :: A Merry Life´s last blog ..Day Of Sunshine, Walking and JackSh*t =-.

    • Diane says:

      @Kat – Self acceptance is definitely a part of change. You said that so well! Thank you for your nice words.

      @Mary – Even with the short time I’ve been reading your blog I can hear the self confidence coming through stronger and stronger!

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