Is Your Self Worth Determined by the Size of Your Jeans?

Women's Blue Jeans with Pink Flower in Pocket
Self worth has nothing to do with what size you wear

Is your self-worth dependent on the size of your jeans?

Do you feel inferior because you have a bit of belly fat?

Do you think that weight loss will correct how you feel about yourself? Or how others treat you?

If so, let's talk . . .

Before we get into what I did to tweak the Atkins Diet and, thereby, shed over 100 pounds, I want to talk a little bit about self worth.

Many people believe that they are inferior to others.

You may be one of them.

You don't just feel that you might be inferior. You actually believe it's a FACT. You're inferior. Anyone who looks at you and sees those bulges and rolls of fat that you see when you look into the mirror KNOWS that it's true.

You're not worthy to be loved, accepted, and approved of – because you're fat.

Since you wear a size 18 or 20 or 24, and not a size 10 or 7 or 3, you feel guilty for not being perfect. You feel guilty for having faults.

If you could just weigh what you should weigh, if you could just bring your body up to the standard society has set, you wouldn't feel inferior any more. You wouldn't feel guilty. You'd be able to like yourself.

You'd have self worth.

You'd have control over your life. You'd be confident and feel important. Others would accept you and approve of you instead of always trying to make you feel guilty for what you are.

Woman Image Judging a Man and a Man Image Judging a Woman
How we see ourselves is rarely how
others see us.

You wouldn't have to worry about being criticized or rejected or verbally attacked because you'd finally be a member of the “in” group. If thin, you would finally have arrived at the place that you have defined as good.

You would have left the place that you have defined as bad.

Or would you?

[This is part 7 of a multi-part series on how I lost over 100 pounds tweaking the Atkins Diet. If you didn't read part 1, you can do that by clicking on the link above. At part 1, you'll also find links to all of the other posts in this series, as they become available.]

Girl on Beach in Blue Jeans Rolled Up

Low Carb Community Has Broken Itself Up Into Tribes

In 2007, I had all of these insecurities, guilt, feelings of inferiority, and illusions that I mentioned above. They were so strong that they were literally controlling my life.

I wanted to be a size 7.

Blue Flower Image with Number 7 in the Center
In 2007, I wanted to be a size 7.
I thought being a size 7 would solve all my problems.

I thought that if only I could be a size 7, then I would like myself. At size 7, I would magically stop feeling guilty about being fat. I would stop feeling inadequate for not being perfect.

Beliefs are like that.

They form our rule of attitude. Beliefs take on a life of their own when you are so preoccupied with your self that you don't see them for what they are:


Illusions, or false beliefs, always work in the dark.

Wild beliefs, like hanging your self worth on your body size, spring to life when you are not paying attention. They sneak past your personal guard when you automatically swallow what other people say because you have assigned others that station of authority. 

Someone else is better able to determine what's best for you, so you just believe anything and everything they say.

It's gospel.

Two Billy Goats Butting Heads with Each Other
Within the low-carb community, there is no unity.
One low-carb group (or diet) fights another

I saw this principle at work within the low-carb community in 2007, even though I didn't understand what I was actually seeing. People fought and attacked others who didn't agree with what their chosen diet author believed and said. 

Sometimes, people even added to what their chosen diet author said and started preaching that new religion as truth.

This is one of the main reasons why the low-carb community is in such a fractured mess today. We have broken ourselves up into tribes.

We are a House Divided Against Itself

What started out as a low carb versus low fat movement has evolved into fractions of low-carb folks grouping together and attacking other fractions of low-carb folks who believe or do something different.

Today, you can see this breaking up into tribes all over the web.

No matter what diet you choose to explore, you'll find subsets within each weight-loss community. For example, it isn't just carbohydrate restriction anymore. Now, there's:
  • organic low carb
  • whole foods only low carb
  • non-organic low carb
  • low-carb products low carb
  • Paleo or Primal low carb
  • low calorie low carb
  • high fat low carb
  • moderate fat low carb
  • low protein low carb
  • intermittent fasting low carb
  • water fasting low carb
  • alternate day fasting low carb
  • low carb cycling
  • low calorie low carb cycling
  • protein sparing modified fast (low carb by default)
  • low fat low carb (HCG)
And probably tons more. Each tribe believes that they hold the one and only truth to permanent weight loss and health.

Side Window of Car is Shattering Into Hundreds of Broken Pieces of Glass
Low Carb is not just one single diet movement anymore.
Today, there are dozens of different diets
all competing with each other.

Each tribe viciously defends its position and tries to convert others to their true low-carb religion. The whole idea of individuation that Dr. Atkins attempted to show the world through the principles of low carb living have been forgotten.

We are no longer one low-carb nation.

In 2007, there were fewer tribes because Nutritional Ketosis, Intermittent Fasting, water fasting, and other diet schemes had not yet been invented, but the confusion and contradictions within the tribes that did exist were alive and well. Egroups and forums thrived on contention.

If you were buying and using the ANA's Atkins bars and shakes, for example, and dared to share that fact in a forum or egroup, you'd be quickly attacked by those who believed that a whole foods diet was superior. Many believe a whole foods diet is the only way to do low carb. Using low-carb tortillas or bread or pasta made you inferior to those who didn't.

There was no solidarity.

Tribal membership did their best to make other tribal members feel guilty and inferior for doing what worked for them.

Foods were labeled low carb, or not, according to the belief of the tribe, rather than fact. Ingredients within low-carb products were heavily scrutinized by those who believed in avoiding particular low-carb ingredients, such as modified food starch or wheat protein, even going so far as to call certain low-carb ingredients NOT low carb.

Whether this is why so many people didn't climb the Atkins Carb Ladder, as the books instruct, I don't know. But it was a very selfish and difficult climate to try and lose weight in, especially if none of the tribes you were aware of had the miracle diet you needed to reach your target weight.

This was the situation I found myself in.

What the majority of the low-carb world believed didn't work for me.

The only way I was able to succeed at losing over 100 pounds was to scrutinize everything that was being said or proclaimed from each tribe's pulpit. I had to develop enough confidence in myself to run my own personal experiments.

I had to test what was being said and become an outlier by doing what was to my advantage.

How to Get Rid of Those Feelings of Inferiority

Before you can ditch the feelings of inferiority, you have to understand where they come from.

As long as you feel inferior to others, as long as your self worth keeps hanging out with the apathy trickster, you'll never develop the faith in yourself to do what needs to be done.

If you're afraid of failing a personal experiment because you want the fat gone right now, or you think that arriving at some pre-set destination is what low carb diets are all about, then you're going to be disappointed when you get there.

Low carb is a long-term way of eating. It is not a diet. It's a new way of living your life, forever. It's a way of recreating yourself.

Recreating yourself is not a bandage. Recreating doesn't cover up old wounds. It doesn't try to hide past injuries or pretend they don't exist.
Two Band Aids Formed Into an X
When you recreate yourself, you don't use
low carb to cover up your own wounds.

Success on low carb requires you to stop believing in fantasy. You have to give up believing in the magic taught by others.

As long as you feel guilty for not being a member of a tribe, as long as you feel you're not good enough to do this alone instead of following some low-carb guru over the cliff to destruction – and that includes ME – you'll never develop the ability to make up your mind with enough confidence and conviction that you can see this creative project through to completion.

Losing weight IS a creative project.

All beliefs – and that includes what life will be like once you drop the weight – are just illusions. They are fantasies that you, or someone you consider authoritative, told you.

Illusions are not true, but you believe that they are.

You believe it so strongly that you live by those illusions even though they are not true.

The reason why they are illusions is because you have never checked them out for yourself. If you had, you'd see the fallacy. You'd see that the magic isn't true.

You don't have to be gullible anymore. You can decide to not accept something as true just because someone from some low-carb tribe told you it was true. You can eliminate your limiting beliefs, or at least see them for what they really are:


They are just strong beliefs you have about yourself or others that you have picked up somewhere along the way and adopted as a code to live by because you believed they were true – due to who said them to you. And not because you knew they were true.

Like mom and dad.

Did your mom or dad ever say: “Why did you do that? You knew better than to do that!”

Two Little Girls Standing on a Peer that Says "No Swimming"
You Didn't.
You only did what you thought was RIGHT
at the time you did it! 
We all do that!

You were told that you messed up because you knew better than to do what you did. And since the idea came from your parents, your believed that it must be true.


Now, if you take a moment and check up on that idea, look at WHY you actually did what you did, you'll probably discover that you did it because:

At the time, you thought it was right.

It was right or proper or you could justify it in some way. You didn't do it because you are inferior. You didn't do it because you knew better. If you had known better, you wouldn't have done it, so the whole idea is a lie.

You didn't know better.

You did what you thought was right or justified.

And if you did what you thought was right, then you can dump all of the guilt, inferiority, and feelings of unworthiness you're carting around because you are definitely good enough to recreate yourself.

Ice Crystal on a Blue Background
You are unique.

There is no one else in the world who is exactly like you.

There might be a few individuals who have similar traits or similar ways of doing things, but there is no person on the face of this entire planet who is exactly like you.

And because you are unique, there are no standards for a human being to live up to.

Standards for people do not exist.

Standards are a lie.

Standards are an illusion.
They were created by someone other than you, so there is no such thing.

There is no such thing as a good or bad person.

There is just a world that is filled with people who have decided that it's their mission or life's work to make you feel bad about yourself, so they can feel better about their own self.

What you did when mama scolded you for being inferior was not wrong. There's no right or wrong, the same as there's no good or evil.

All people do what they feel is right at the time they do it.

You might not like what other people do or say, but they felt justified in saying or doing it – the same as you do – when you say or do something.

You don't have to let others lay a guilt-trip on you. Well, you can if you want to, but that will only keep you living in conflict. You are free to reject what other people say or do.

You are a Unique Work of Art

The whole idea of inferiority and feeling inferior is based on the false idea that there are standards that can be applied to people. But if no two people are exactly alike, how can standards be applied to them?

You are a unique work of art. There is nothing inferior about you.

Okay. You're fat. SO WHAT!

At the time you ate that piece of chocolate cake or donut or Grandma's special sweet potato casserole at Thanksgiving, you believed you were doing the right thing. You might have been chasing pleasure at the time or trying to run from a stressful situation, but that's okay, too.

Living your unconscious purpose at that moment doesn't make you inferior. It is just what you choose to do right then.

Making unconscious choices conscious takes a different type of work than what you've been doing in the past. That's all. There's no inferior or superior quality attached to it.

Even if you're prone to cheat on your low-carb diet, that doesn't make you inferior, either. You didn't know better, or you wouldn't have done it.

Cheating may be an unconscious habit. It may be a tendency to give into an urge without questioning or looking at the truthfulness of that urge. It might come from working on gaining pleasure or avoiding being disturbed, or even some internal conflict of interest that you are unaware of, but it's not because you're inferior.

Unconscious habits have nothing to do with inferiority or superiority. Feeling inferior is due to adopting a certain mindset, which can easily be discarded once you see the lie.

It's like a five-year old that gets it stuck in his head that 2 + 2 = 8.

He'll argue and fight with you until he's blue in the face because he thinks he knows it's true. He knows that 2 + 2 = 8. But once he discovers it's not, once he learns that 2 + 2 actually = 4, and not 8, he'll drop the whole idea and never look back. It's done.

Isn't that what you do when you find out something you thought was true, isn't?

You might have thought that low-fat diets were the way to go, but here you are experimenting with low carb instead. All the time you spent chasing after low-fat diets didn't make you inferior.

In fact, the chasing probably taught you what you needed to know, so you'd accept and embrace a low-carb way of life once it was offered to you.

Feeling inferior and believing in standards for people can be tossed in exactly the same way, but you have to first see that feeling inferior is an illusion. You have to first see that your self worth, your uniqueness, is NOT tied to the size of your jeans.

You are unique and have a vast reservoir of potential no matter what size you are. An extra bulge or two won't change that.

Part 8: What to DO When the Atkins Diet Doesn't Work for You - In this post, I begin to show you how to tweak the Atkins Diet. Includes a sample 2002 menu from the book to support my perspective.

More Useful Articles to Check Out:

7 Brutal Ways Low Carb Dieters Torture Themselves
The Danger in Setting Weight-Loss Goals
How the Myth of Willpower Affects Weight Loss
Do You Really Want to Quit Your Weight-Loss Diet?
What to Do When You Fall Off the Low-Carb Wagon


  1. Good topic Vickie. Another example that change is a mental process first. There has to be a change in ideas and lots of examination.

    1. This was a difficult lesson to learn, but I it's here to stay this time. The mind really does have to start seeing things differently and often, slower weight loss helps that to happen better than trying to use a quick fix.


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