Self-respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself. ~Abraham J. Heschel
An ad I saw a while back has remained stuck in my mind- bold lettering said 'you earn your body.' I took it to mean that you earn the condition that your body is in by the choices you make on a daily basis; what you put in your mouth and whether or not you exercise. Blunt, but we all know it's true.
Some people struggle with feeling unattractive to begin with, so they excuse themselves by saying there's no point to making an effort. This may sound unkind, but all this perspective does is give one permission to avoid taking responsibility and to feel sorry for oneself, too. The problem with this is that aside from being a self defeating choice, it's totally invalid.
Ugly is a state of being, not a set of physical characteristics. Ugly is a philosophical paradigm; being filled with hate, scorn, contempt or other destructive thoughts and feelings. It's making your decisions from this place. It shows in everything a person does, shows in their face and actions and makes them ugly. Not just emotionally and mentally ugly, but really, truly, physically ugly too. That's a lose/lose scenario if ever there was one.
So let's get back to the better, positive, empowering choices.
The good news is much if not all damage done by said bad choices can be at least improved if not eliminated by replacing the bad choices with good ones. It may take time- maybe even a very long time- but there will be payoffs all along the way. It's also going to be harder- maybe much more work- you'll have to commit to moving your body on a regular basis, going to the grocery store to buy real food, actually cooking healthy meals. Maybe changing destructive thought patterns. This is the stuff called self discipline. Remember the payoffs along the way? Better sleep, clearer thinking, more energy, getting sick less often. This will probably all start well before you begin to really look better. And you will look better, too- I promise. But you may find that though looking better is wonderful, the most amazing part is how much better you feel. All of this new-found self discipline will most likely lead to more self respect as well.
With all of this wonderful, 'warm-fuzzy' stuff going on you're bound to be ready to pay more attention to your appearance. This, of course, is where I'm going to do my 'thing.' If you're on a journey like the one described above, and combine that with expressing yourself aesthetically and choosing colors and design lines that flatter you, you'll exponentially improve your appearance. Just imagine- you're looking and feeling physically better, feeling more self respect, as well as the happiness that comes with feeling good about what your image is saying about you.
That's well worth all the work- that's a self-image worth earning.