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Loving Yourself To Health - New Study Looks At Relationship Between Self-Esteem, Obesity, And Weight Loss Practices

There’s something to be said about people who love themselves in spite of their faults. Even more admirable perhaps are those who love their bodies in spite of society’s very limiting perception of the ideal physique. High self-esteem is undeniably powerful. This is particularly true of people who have weight issues…and it’s very advantageous as well, according a recent study from It appears that people who are obese but who love themselves work much harder to achieve better health than those who have poor self-esteem.

Analyzing data from their Diet & Weight Loss Test, researchers at Queendom focused on a sample of 113 obese individuals: Those with very high self-esteem and those with very low self-esteem. The differences between the two groups on traits that are conducive to better physical and mental health were significant.

(Note: Scores on the factors listed below can range from 0 to 100):



  • Score for obese group with high self-esteem: 78
  • Score for obese group with low self-esteem: 55

People who have weight issues but who also have high self-esteem are more likely to believe that they have the power to change their life and, more specifically, improve their health. They do not believe that they are a victim of their genes.


  • Score for obese group with high self-esteem: 70
  • Score for obese group with low self-esteem: 40

Obese individuals with high self-esteem have a can-do attitude. They take an active and purposeful role in their weight loss efforts (e.g. seeking out information and advice to help them lose weight).


  • Score for obese group with high self-esteem: 66
  • Score for obese group with low self-esteem: 35

The high self-esteem group have a greater likelihood of sticking to lifestyle habits (eating healthier, exercising) as prescribed by their doctors and/or trainers.


  • Score for obese group with high self-esteem: 57
  • Score for obese group with low self-esteem: 28

Those with high self-esteem have better control over their impulses and are less likely to fall victim to temptation.


  • Score for obese group with high self-esteem: 54
  • Score for obese group with low self-esteem: 28

The road to weight loss and better health is often a slow process. Years of practicing unhealthy habits can be changed overnight, which can, understandably, lead to discouragement. While this is likely to be the case for both groups in the study, those with high self-esteem are more resilient and persistent when faced with setbacks.



  • Score for obese group with high self-esteem: 53
  • Score for obese group with low self-esteem: 74

Grazing is the tendency to eat small yet frequent meals throughout the day. Obese individuals with low self-esteem have a greater tendency to eat mindlessly.


  • Score for obese group with high self-esteem: 34
  • Score for obese group with low self-esteem: 57

Those with low self-esteem are more likely to eat very large meals late in the evening, and/or snack in the middle of the night.


  • Score for obese group with high self-esteem: 25
  • Score for obese group with low self-esteem: 50

In order to push themselves to achieve their goals, obese individuals with low self-esteem will sometimes use food as an incentive which is counterproductive to their weight loss efforts.



  • Score for obese group with high self-esteem: 33
  • Score for obese group with low self-esteem: 78

For those with low self-esteem, the experience of eating is no longer enjoyable. This results in a great deal of self-deprecation which can leave a person feeling bad for days, and perhaps even result in severe recompensing behavior, like vomiting and fasting.


  • Score for obese group with high self-esteem: 42
  • Score for obese group with low self-esteem: 69

According to Queendom’s study, obese individuals with high self-esteem are less likely to be emotional eaters. They are able to recognize the difference between consuming food for sustenance and using it as a stress-reliever or to fill an emotional void.


  • Score for obese group with high self-esteem: 39
  • Score for obese group with low self-esteem: 74

Compared to the high self-esteem group, those with low self-esteem are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors associated with Binge Eating Disorder. Binge eaters consume significant quantities of food in one sitting to the point of physical discomfort, which is then followed by extreme feelings of guilt and disgust with oneself. This can lead to depression which can in turn trigger another binging episode, creating a vicious circle.

“Self-esteem and body image are often linked, but not necessarily in the way we think,” explains Dr. Jerabek, president of PsychTests, the parent company of Queendom. “People often falsely assume that if you have a weight problem, you automatically have self-esteem issues, and this isn’t the case. In our entire sample of low-esteem individuals, 43% were overweight and 23% were obese. However, 26% of the low self-esteem group was in a healthy weight range and 8% was underweight. So self-esteem problems can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, age, or body type. The point is, working to improve your self-esteem is so important, because it forms the foundation from which you make every decision. Like building a house, you have to make sure your self-esteem is rock-solid, or you will struggle to put together a life where you feel good, physically and emotionally. And as our study has revealed, having high self-esteem significantly improves your chances of living a happy and healthy life.”

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About PsychTests AIM Inc.
PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts (see The company’s research division, Plumeus Inc., is supported in part by Research and Development Tax Credit awarded by Industry Canada.

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