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Create a new you by changing your weight identity

So you’ve decided it’s time to lose weight. Congratulations!

Your primary focus is likely to be on your body. Figuring out what you can eat to help you steadily lose weight or what physical activity you can do to enhance your weight loss plan is important. But if you truly want to create a new you, you have to change both your body and your mind, which includes understanding your weight identity and finding ways to improve it. 

What is your weight identity?

Most people have a weight identity. A story or belief that identifies or explains their weight. These beliefs can stem from your family, society, or personal experiences.  

Here are some examples:  

  • I am a food addict.
  • I am the big one. 
  • I am a failure at losing weight.
  • Losing weight is hard.
  • I can’t get rid of my baby weight.
  • I am too old to lose weight.
  • I have always been overweight.
  • Being overweight runs in my family.
  • I don’t have time to lose weight or exercise. 
  • I can’t stick to a plan.
  • I don’t like healthy food.

Does any of this sound familiar? 

Identifying the story or belief that keeps you from your weight loss goal is the first step in creating a new you! It’s important to be honest about the story you tell yourself or identify with if you want to experience a successful weight loss journey.  

Why? Because your weight loss identity affects your actions and your motivation. 

If you want to approach your weight loss with a different mindset, you need to pay attention to how you describe yourself regarding your weight.  

Do this by writing down some things you tell yourself or others about your weight loss journey or why you are at your current weight. If you can’t think of anything, re-read the list of examples above to see if they speak to your mindset. Then pay attention to your thoughts over the next few days and see what comes up. You might be surprised. 

Your weight identity isn’t necessarily true.

Whatever ‘identity’ you wrote down, you likely believe it to be true. But truth is relative.  

Here’s an example to consider: 

Growing up, you always felt like the “big one” because your siblings or friends were thin and petite. You told yourself you were big because you were taller, weighed more, and wore a bigger size. But in reality, you were an average height and weight and wore average-sized clothes. 

Beliefs or stories like these can alter how you feel about yourself, which affects your actions. A negative weight identity can lead to low self-esteem or despair, which may cause emotional eating.

Even when people reach their weight loss goals, they often regain what they’ve lost because they have not changed their weight identity. Being aware of your current weight identity is a great starting point for creating a new you and changing your story.   

Changing your mind can change your life. 

Our minds are very powerful. Changing your story and beliefs may take some time because your mind will challenge them.

If you start thinking, “Losing weight is easy,” your mind will come up with several reasons why weight loss has been hard for you in the past. One way to start making changes to your weight identity is to bypass changing your beliefs at first. You can work on that over time.  

Instead, start to visualize yourself at your goal weight. Picture in your mind what you will look like, what types of clothes you will wear, and how you will feel physically and emotionally. See yourself interacting with others. Think about what you’ll say to them, how they’ll respond, and how you carry yourself. 

Envision what you will do at your desired weight that you are not doing now.  

As you focus on this new picture of yourself, it will be easier to change your weight identity.  

Do this exercise every day and see how it starts to affect your actions and the way you see yourself. Get a clearer picture in your mind about how you want to feel, look, and interact with the important people in your life.

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