03/18/2013 05:29 pm ET Updated May 18, 2013

How Feeling Fat Makes You Steal

Love me or hate me, but I am here to tell you the truth about something that you probably don't want to admit: Each time you worry about how fat you look, you are withdrawing from the opportunity to play on your unique talents and passions. Mental blocks, self-doubt, timidity, indecision and buried creativity as a result of feeling "weighty" are embarrassing, but very, very real.

I learned this the hard way from my own personal weight disasters and the confessions of women I mentored over the years. We are desperate to become "invisible," to hide our perceived puffiness and ill-fitting clothes with their buttons that threaten to become bullets. As a result of our self-consciousness, our meaningful participation in important discussions ceases. Client appointments get cancelled. Networking halts. Absenteeism in key meetings increases.

Guess what? If going unnoticed because of your weight is more important to you than the opportunity to be more productive, more fulfilled and more successful, then it is time for you to realize something: You are stealing. You are stealing from those that really need you -- your business, your clients, your family and yourself. Feeling fat is a luxury that is costing you a great deal.

Think about this. I am sure you would want a salary raise, that overdue promotion or a new exciting assignment. Test yourself. Would you ask your boss right away? Or would you wait until you lose some weight, fit into smarter clothes and showcase your strengths more often?

In the book No Excuses, feminist icon Gloria Feldt argues that "the most confounding problem facing women today isn't that doors aren't open, but that not enough women are walking through them." My editorial input to these words of brilliance: Women who feel fat shut these doors and hide behind them.

In fact, did you know that research shows that a woman's weight and her financial income are intrinsically connected? The heavier you are, the less you make. Take this study carried out by Daniel Cable (London Business School) and Timothy Judge (University of Florida). They proved that women who gained 25 pounds over the course of 25 years earned $389,300 less than their thinner peers. Ouch!

So, could it be that the employer's judgement of a woman's weight is to blame? Or is it that "feeling fat" can get in the way of professional success?

I leave this one to your own judgement, but one thing I am sure of is this: When you become more comfortable with yourself, you give. You don't steal. Decision-making, confidence, leadership and creativity flourish when we you are not worried about how fat you feel.

If you are smart, gifted and want to make an impact in this world, believe in yourself. Go for what you were born to do. Either change the way you feel about your body or do something to lose that excess weight for good. No more stealing. It will pay, I promise.

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