Because it is Valentine’s Day and I believe we are each first our own precious eternal Valentine, I find it fitting to post something about raising self-esteem.

“Self-esteem – warm personal regard from within.” Pia Mellody
Low self-esteem underlies most of our reasons for unhealthy eating, weight gain and unhappiness. Raising self-esteem is one of the greatest antidotes to achieving natural weight and more ease in flowing with life.

Self-esteem is at the heart of personal growth; the center of our psychological state; the core of our spiritual state. It’s a predominant element in our inner world that affects almost every aspect of the way we roll. Self-esteem is based on how we feel about ourself; our self-image and encompasses self-confidence and self-acceptance – our approval of who we are in general.

High self-esteem gives us true confidence, a humble awe toward ourselves, a silently empowered elegant spirit that says, “I know who I am.” With healthy self-esteem, we know that we belong and that it’s important for us to be who we are. Self-esteem gives us a radiant presence that quietly, powerfully says, “I am here.” Self-esteem makes us resilient and unstoppable.

In growing my self-esteem over 5 decades and witnessing many people raise their self-esteem along their weight loss journey, I put together this list of what I learned that it takes.

The elements of cultivating self-esteem:

• Honor your truth. Be yourself and be loyal to yourself. Eating is a great forum to practice this several times a day by eating what your body wants and precisely how much it wants.

• Ask yourself what you need. You can practice this by listening to your body for how hungry it is, what it wants to eat and what else it needs.

• Be present to your feelings and see what messages they bring. Be intimate with yourself, listening to your concerns and desires.

• Speak kindly and upliftingly to yourself with respect and dignity. Be your own best friend, providing inner wisdom and comfort.

• Speak up for yourself; be an advocate for yourself. Speak directly, not behind the scenes or beating around the bush. Take a stand. You can do it gracefully.

• Experience and acknowledge your personal power, not power over someone, but your own inner sturdy power.

• Follow your intuition. Muster the courage to do so.

• Act with integrity toward yourself and others. Honor your values and priorities.

• Let go of shame; owning your story and letting it be just fine, feeling good about yourself anyway.

• Notice your good, the good you are and good you have and praise it.

• Keep your word to yourself, following through with what you said you want to do, so you can trust yourself.

• Do something hard that scares you and be crazy proud of yourself.

• Be a good receiver, knowing you deserve every good coming your way.

• Take responsibility for yourself instead of blaming someone else for your plight and being a victim. Be a victor by finding other options and knowing there is always a way.

• Steadily work on your personal growth, developing new true empowering beliefs about yourself and your relationship to the world.

• Fall in love with yourself.

In short, be Loyal to your Royal Self.

Eating Mindfully is an ideal avenue to raise self-esteem because when we tune-in to ourselves, ask ourselves what we want, honor our truth … we feel cared for and important. This in turn, makes us want to eat mindfully because it is congruent to being treated well – something we’ve gotten used to – and the body follows.

Self-esteem is a verb that requires action in order to flourish. And, as your self-esteem goes up, your body fat will come down.