You have to love yourself before you can lose weight and keep it off without dieting.
Are you thinking, “What? How can I love myself in this body? If I love it, I’ll never have the motivation to lose weight!”
Really? When was the last time anything good happened in the world that was motivated by hate? I can assure you that hating your body has no upside. None. It hasn’t worked yet, right?
Think about this: no one is born hating their body. When you were a baby, you were a rotund little thing, weren’t you? Everyone thought you were adorable! You didn’t even think about what your body looked like during your early years. All you noticed was how amazing your body was and all the cool things you were learning to do with it.
And then people started passing judgment about you. Out loud. When my daughter was 10, my father-in-law told her she had a fat belly. It was all I could do not to throttle him! He didn’t want a fat granddaughter, and was trying to influence her with that comment. Have you had similar experiences with comments from family members?
Then we hear people say judgmental things about other people’s bodies. “Did you see how much weight Anna has gained?” or “Emily has really let herself go!” Insecure people say those things in an attempt to feel better about themselves. My mother always commented on the appearance of others, and I didn’t realize how wrong it was. I’d comment on other people’s appearance in front of my daughters without thinking about the impact it could have on them. If I could take all those words back now, I would.
From a young age, we’re subjected to the media’s feminine ideal. Hollywood stars go on insane diets to be skinny, and pictures of them in magazines are Photoshopped, creating an impossible standard of beauty. They are nipped and tucked from top to bottom. Then, because of the example they set, we hold ourselves to this unachievable standard!
It’s no surprise that some people hate themselves and their appearance. But it is so misplaced. We can change how we think about ourselves. Here are a few steps you can take to stop hating your body and start giving it the love it deserves.
1. Notice the chatter in your head and tell it to shut up.
Last week, I wrote about how managing your inner voice was a key tool for losing weight. It is actually a key to many things in life, including good self-esteem and happiness, regardless of your size. And it is the key to loving yourself. If you haven’t read that post yet, you can find it here.
Do you criticize yourself a lot? This negative thinking just makes you feel bad, which may make you want to dig into a bag of chips. It serves no purpose, other than to make you feel worse. So imagine putting those negative thoughts into a helium balloon and letting them fly up into the air. Bye Bye!
I’ve been re-reading one of the most important and best books I’ve ever read: The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. If you want to free yourself from your inner mean girl and find some inner peace, I highly recommend this book.
2. Make a list of at least 20 things you like or love about yourself.
Include things about your body. Do you have strong legs? Pretty eyes? Soft, smooth skin? What are your strengths as a person? Write them down and keep your list someplace handy, like on your smart phone. Refer to it as needed, like when you have that negative mind chatter. If you're having trouble making the list, think about what other people you care about say about you. Does your husband tell you you're beautiful? He isn’t lying. Believe in your unique beauty.
3. Thank your body for all the things it has done for you.
Has your body been carrying you around for a long time? Did you know that it takes around 8,409,600 breaths for you every year to keep you alive, and you don’t even have to ask it to do that? Same for your heart. It beats around 42,048,000 per year and an average of 115,000 times a day. Pretty freaking incredible, huh? And that’s only a tiny part of the amazing things your body does each and every minute of your life. Your body is a marvel. Be thankful for all it does for you.
4. Forgive yourself for the ways you have treated your body in the past
Have you overeaten, dieted, starved your body, over-exercised or not exercised at all? That’s all in the past, and you can’t change it. You can, however, forgive yourself and commit to start treating your body better today.
5. Stop postponing living a full life until you lose weight
Do you avoid taking certain kinds of vacations, going to reunions or parties, looking for a new job, hiking or postponing anything until you lose weight? Why are you making these decisions based upon your weight? You deserve to live a life you love right now, regardless of size, and there’s no reason why you can’t. If you incorporate more pleasure in your life, you won’t need food as your main source of pleasure.
6. Stop comparing yourself to others
There’s a saying that goes something like, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” So while you’re comparing yourself to someone else who is thinner, appears happier, has more money or whatever, you probably have no idea what kind of crap they struggle with every day. Comparisons can make you feel bad about yourself. What is the point of that? You are unique. Focus on your unique talents and being the best version of yourself and don’t compare yourself to others.
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