Your personal body image can have a profound affect on your weight in a number of ways. You can become dangerously overweight or underweight if you have a poor image of yourself, so you need to learn to look at yourself realistically, with help from outside sources if need be.
When Your Image Makes You Lose Weight Excessively
If you look at yourself in the mirror and see someone who's overweight, whether you are or not, you may begin to lose weight at a dangerous pace. The healthiest way to lose weight is to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. However, your poor self-image could make you try fad diets and push yourself to the limit. You may engage in bulimic or anorexic tendencies by a combination of starving yourself, purging your food and/or overexercising. Being underweight puts you at risk for many serious health conditions.
When Your Image Makes You Gain Weight
There's another way that a poor body image can impact your weight and that's by making you gain weight. If you find yourself avoiding looking in the mirror because you think your body is unattractive and if you tell yourself that there's no point in trying to lose weight because you'll "always" be overweight, you may be in danger of not getting adequate exercise and overeating. If you're ashamed of your body, you may be less likely to go out in public to exercise and find the friends who can help encourage you to work out and stick to a diet. If you can't summon the motivation to lose weight or keep your body at a healthy weight, you might gain weight.
When Your Body Image Impacts Your Weight
The easiest way to combat the weight gain or loss you may experience due to a poor self-image is to find a doctor or someone you can trust to tell you the truth without sparing your feelings (within reason). Your body image may be skewed; anorexic people, for example, are dangerously underweight but only see an overweight person in the mirror. Being ashamed of being overweight could be less of an issue than you think; if you're only a few pounds overweight, your health may not be in danger. Friends and loved ones may even find you attractive with more voluptuous curves.
A doctor should be able to tell you if you really do need to lose weight and what you can do to lose weight in a healthy manner. If you still struggle with a poor self-image, your doctor may recommend counseling so that you can work on your self esteem and learn to embrace the positives when it comes to the way your body looks.
Your body image can make you lose or gain weight excessively. If you're too caught up in the way you look or conversely, if you can't stand to look at yourself, you probably need to step back and get a qualified outside opinion.