Woman practicing self-love while losing weight

Self-love & weight loss: how to love your body and still lose weight

7 min read


13 Feb 2024

Grab your cheat sheet

  1. What is self-love?
  2. The conflict of self-love vs weight loss
  3. Why are you trying to lose weight?
  4. Ways to love your bod
  5. You hold the key to change

This Valentine's Day, it's time to reclaim the narrative and redefine what it means to embrace your body while embarking on your weight loss journey.

We totally get it!

We live in a world saturated with social media and unrealistic beauty standards, so it's no wonder many of us struggle to embrace our bodies while wanting to lose weight. 

The tension between the two begs the question—does embracing self-love mean you can’t lose weight at the same time?

Here we’re going to challenge this notion and discuss the angle that weight loss can be approached from a place of self-love and empowerment. 

What is self-love?

Let’s check in with what self-love really means…

Self-love refers to the practice of accepting and valuing yourself unconditionally. 

Do you practice this?

It involves treating yourself with kindness, compassion, and respect. It’s also about nurturing your personal growth and wellbeing.

Self-love means taking a deep appreciation of your worth, virtues, and uniqueness with self-care and self-compassion.

Self-love doesn’t mean seeking external validation or seeking approval from others. 

It involves developing a positive and nurturing relationship with yourself where you forgive your mistakes and imperfections. 

The term also means recognising your own needs, setting boundaries and putting yourself first without feeling bad about it. 

The conflict of self-love vs weight loss

Society's fascination with quick fixes and the pursuit of an "ideal" body has often overshadowed the importance of mental and emotional well-being.

Women, in particular, face immense pressure to conform to societal ideals, often perpetuated by influencers, celebrities, and the media. 

The message that weight loss and self-love are opposing forces has been ingrained in our culture, leading many to believe that they must choose between accepting their bodies and pursuing a healthier lifestyle.

By addressing the impact of social media, scrutinizing the unattainable standards set by celebrities, and defying the notion that self-love and weight loss are opposing forces—we can pave the way for a more compassionate approach to health. 

We’re here to say that every individual is unique, and their journey towards a healthier lifestyle may look different from others. 

So, leave comparing yourself to others at the door.

Why are you trying to lose weight?

Woman walking outside

The first step in your self-love and weight loss journey is connecting with your “why”.

Your "why" serves as the driving force that not only propels you forward but sustains your commitment.

Exploring and acknowledging your reasons for wanting to lose weight can help you stay focused, motivated, and in sync with your goals.

Let’s take a little look at some things to consider when searching for your “why”.

Health and wellbeing

One of the most common reasons for wanting to lose weight is to improve your health and wellbeing.  And by that we mean improving the health of your body and your mind.

Maybe you want to reduce the risk of developing certain health conditions or maybe you want to improve your mental health while boosting your energy levels. 

Think about your particular goal—or goals—and go get’ em.

Increased confidence and self-esteem

Losing weight can be a transformative journey, and it can lead you on the path to greater self-confidence and improved self-esteem as a result.

Achieving a healthier weight may help you feel more comfortable in your own skin, increase body appreciation, and provide a rewarding sense of empowerment. 

By improving your self-image, you can make a positive shift in how you perceive yourself and interact with the world. Double win.

Better quality of life

Losing weight also has a great impact on everyday life.

Things like how mobile you are, your stamina and how able you are to interact physically with others. Whether playing with your children, participating in social events, or enjoying hobbies—weight loss can help you fully enjoy and participate in life's experiences.

Self-care and self-love

Now you know what self-love really means you can be clearer as to whether it is this reason why you would like to lose weight.

Is being kind to yourself being honest with yourself?

By taking care of your body and nourishing it with healthy habits, you send a message of love and respect to yourself. 

This path allows you to develop a positive and compassionate relationship with your body, valuing its capabilities and honoring its needs.

Does this mean that self-love and weight loss can live in harmony? We think it does.

Personal goals and achievements

Weight loss can be a tangible goal you set for yourself, reflecting your drive to accomplish something significant. 

Whether it's taking part in a marathon or fitting into a certain dress size, your desire to reach these personal milestones can serve as a powerful motivator to lose weight.

Mental and emotional wellbeing

Woman meditating

The connection between weight and mental health is well-established.

Excess weight can impact self-esteem, and contribute to feelings of depression or anxiety. 

If your weight is negatively affecting your mental health, starting a weight loss journey can provide a pathway to improved emotional balance and a sense of emotional freedom.

Sometimes taking the control back is all you need to realize you had the power all along.

Ways to love your bod

There are plenty of ways to have a really positive relationship with your body that can start today.

Let’s look at the key ones.

Reject the culture of comparison (and competitiveness)

Social media platforms often create an environment of comparison, where carefully curated images dictate what the "ideal" body should be. 

Instead of measuring your worth against these unattainable standards, focus on self-acceptance and love for your unique body.

Shift the focus to mental and emotional wellbeing

Weight loss shouldn’t solely revolve around physical appearance. 

Prioritize your mental and emotional wellbeing, recognizing that a healthy lifestyle is not just about how you look but also how you feel.

Consider weight loss as a means to enhance your quality of life.

Cultivate self-compassion and patience

Try to learn that meaningful change takes time. Be patient with yourself.

Celebrate small victories and learn from setbacks, treating yourself with kindness and understanding.

Do exercise you enjoy

Woman enjoying exercise

Move away from the mindset that regular exercise is purely a way to burn calories. 

Get involved in physical activities that make you feel alive whether it’s dancing, yoga, hiking or something else.

Do it with friends. Join a club. Get involved and open up a new part of your life where exercise is enjoyable, not just a means to an end.

Read: Our guide on how to fall back in love with exercise to inspire you on your weight loss journey.

Practice mindful eating 

Ditch restrictive diets and take a mindful eating approach to food. Listen to your body's hunger and fullness cues, eat nourishing food that makes you feel good, and savor every bite. 

Get back in touch with your body's signals.

Some people even ditch the mirror and scales and go solely on clothes fitting as a way to monitor weight loss.

While it seems unconventional, it’s actually a really smart way to flush out old habits and re-orientate yourself with how your body looks and feels as you lose weight.

If you let go of guilt and aim for a balanced and intuitive relationship with food, you can focus on making progress—your way. Eat what makes you feel good and the rest will follow.

Accept every stage

Acceptance is crucial in the pursuit of self-love and weight loss. 

Recognize that your body's shape and size may evolve throughout your journey— and that's okay. 

Embrace and love your body at every stage, celebrating its strength, resilience, and uniqueness.

The ultimate aim? To be the best version of yourself. Who can do it? Only you.

Find supportive communities and role models

Surround yourself with people who uplift and support your journey. Be it friends, family, colleagues or group members.

Seek out communities and role models that promote body positivity and self-acceptance and inspire you.

Distance yourself from toxic influences that perpetuate unrealistic beauty standards. It’s damaging to your self-image and prevents a balanced view of life and the world.

Top tip: A really great task to do is to make a list of people you respect and admire and take time to ponder whether their physical appearance is something that is important to their success and accomplishments.

And was it?

You hold the key to change

Women exercising

The beautiful and perhaps intimidating conclusion to all of this is that you hold the key to change.

It’s beautiful really, because you always held the key and maybe just needed to hear it. It may be intimidating (for some) because you are the catalyst for change, no one else. But, it’s empowering.

Don’t be scared. Amazing things happen at points of change.

And with a positive mindset, nothing can stop you.

Of course, it’s easier said than done. But knowing your worth and that you offer something to this world that no one else can is a powerful step forward in self-love, self-image and losing weight. You’ve got this.

Did you enjoy this guide?

If you’re interested in tips, tricks, and advice on healthy and positive living check out the PhenQ blogwe’re with you every step of the way.