Over the last few years, I have gained a lot of weight. I am now 115Kgs. I feel bad about myself. In two years, I have had six girlfriends who I dated and really liked but at some point, they just left me. I have not had sex in one year and get scared when I think of undressing in front of a woman. When I was younger and lighter, I enjoyed sex but now, it is like torture. How do I get my self-esteem back? I want to go back to the 80kgs I was but I need to feel prepared in my mind first. Please help me.
What the readers say:
Heavier men make good lovers. The moment you develop such low self-esteem, you may soon find yourself in a really bad situation. Begin by accepting who you are and make the most of it, even as you try to work on it. Secondly, a happy life is not all about sex and dating; you can concentrate on other more productive activities as a means of killing you idle thoughts, which may drive you to depression. So accept yourself, concentrate on other things, work on it, and move on.
Joe, all is not lost. You can easily trace back where it all began. Your self-esteem is there right with you. We act and are always what is in our brains. Your mind is your first let down; it plays some tricks on you. With lots of information online, you will suffer silently because that is what you have chosen. There are so many people who are going through beyond what we think they are experiencing but they are doing much better than we think. Always remain positive about yourself. The first step to any achievement is the realisation that you can do much better than you are now. If it’s weight, then think of how you can reduce it. You could be drastically increasing your weight because of the lifestyle you are leading now. As I already said that it can easily be traced back to its beginning, you know the foods and life that is causing all these, manage them. Remember it is only you to manage your ego and esteem. Low esteem is caused by looking down upon yourself. High esteem is caused by looking at yourself highly. Manage your thinking about yourself.
[Ouma Ragumo – Sifuyo]
Weight has two aspects, the physical aspect which is visible, and the mental which is heavier than the former. I suggest you start by accepting that it is within your power to remedy the situation. Secondly don’t make the motivation of working on your weight be your sex life but rather focus on rewarding yourself with the body that you want. This to me is more of a psychological battle that you can win in your mind before hitting the gym. Therefore, make a deliberate and purposeful choice and stick to it. As they say no pain no gain.
It is important to try to understand how you got to this point before we address your weight and self-image issues. You see, our body weight is determined by many factors ranging from genetics, environment and culture among others. In other cases, our weight speaks of our relationship and interaction with food. However, at a deeper level, it can reveal our emotional state. Especially when it is sudden.
Just like alcohol and other substances, food too can be an indulgence. Consciously or unconsciously one can find solace from loneliness, unsolved anger, self-doubt, and even depression in food. In most cases, depression goes hand in hand with a change in eating habits and patterns. Something could have happened to you that triggered this. Probably some unresolved negative emotions or pent up feelings. I encourage you to take your time and reflect. Try and retrace your journey to this place in relation to your feelings.
Otherwise trying to deal with the weight issue in isolation is just dealing with the symptoms of an underlying problem. It is also okay to seek professional help along the way. I say this because you seem to clearly understand the inconveniences that this weight has brought your way. You know what to do but you lack the drive and push to correct it.
Once the real cause has been identified and addressed it will be easier for you to handle the weight problem. When you begin to lose that excess weight and the feeling of achievement sets in, it will automatically improve your self-image and esteem. Before you know it you will be way better than your former self.
Hilda Boke Mahare has a background in Counselling Psychology and loves to share her knowledge in matters of life and relationships
Joe, weight especially excess weight can really get in the way of things. It can affect your self-esteem, it will most certainly affect your sex drive, and it is a risk on your personal health and well-being. It is never a good thing but sometimes as a result of many things (lifestyle, eating habits, and others), it comes in. Now the thing about gaining weight is that it is very easy to put it on, but it is tough to lose it. Most people lack the mental stamina and commitment to go through the journey of losing weight but just as many people successfully make this journey and succeed.
The first thing to know about body fat is that you can dispense it in a positive way by converting it into a muscle as opposed to the long and difficult process of losing it. This way you will not only get back your self-esteem but will also get on to the path to good and healthy living. The other thing is that with obesity, the biggest obstacle is your mind and sometimes the mind can be weak and frail. However, with the right kind of support, you can pull through. The other thing about this is that you will need to seek the help of a weight-loss specialist and these come in the form of a dietician or nutritionist. Such a specialist will help you know the right things to eat and the right quantities. Remember that in your situation you will need physical exercise as well as a diet that will help you cut down on weight.
On the diet part, you will need to start being careful what you eat and more so avoid foods with excessive amounts of sugar, fat, salt, and starch. Also avoid to the largest extent possible snacks, junk, and processed foods. These are known to have high levels of sugar and starch which will only make your situation worse. Develop a feeding plan with your nutritionist and stick to it including the schedules they will advise. If you get into the habit of doing the right things then you will be able to deal with this and with time get back in shape.
Simon Anyona is a relationships counsellor