Three Steps To Improving Body Image
We get sooooo caught up in spending our lives hating our bodies for how they look and obsessing over allll the things we "need to do" in order to change them so we can be happy and more confident that it can often feel like we're at war with ourselves and often never really ever change much of anything. We know what we NEED to do, but we don't WANT to do it so then we beat the hell out of ourselves for not only how much we dislike our bodies but for all the things we SHOULD be doing to change it. And it never changes. Here's what I've learned: A terrible body image is often, due in large part to a terrible self image, not loving ourselves enough and not knowing our worth. Now I know you're probably thinking, "Oh shut up, you don't know me, I love myself plenty, I just need these thighs to be smaller!" But, in my experience, when you love yourself enough, it doesn't matter what size your thighs are, or what size your belly is, you can still love and appreciate your body. Likewise, if you don't love yourself, no matter how much you change the size of your thighs or your stomach or whatever, you will still struggle to love and accept your body. When we don't like ourselves, the "thing" that represents us is the thing we can see in the mirror. Our body. It's the reflection of everything we think about ourselves so it naturally becomes the punching bag, especially when it doesn't fit the image of "perfect" that we want it to -- but equally so, even if it does. See, that's something I probably wouldn't have believed a few years ago because I chased self love and happiness through my body for years. I was convinced if it just looked a certain way, or could lift a certain amount, that I'd finally be happy and love myself. But no matter how much I transformed it, how good it started to look, how much it could lift, how far it could run, it was never enough. I stood on stage in a long line up of other women, had a panel of judges tell me I was the best among them, carried out a couple different trophies and I still hated my body. Because I didn't know how to love myself. So no matter how much my body changed or how much praise I got for it, I never enjoyed it or felt satisfied because I didn't love me. And I began noticing that it wasn't just me. Other women, many with the most beautiful bodies in the world, were never satisfied and hating and criticizing theirs too. This is one of the (many) reasons we struggle to keep weight off if we do lose some when we diet. Because diets don't fix the underlying cause of the weight gain or repeated dieting attempts -- that is usually rooted in lack of self worth/not loving ourselves. So, the fix... Changing your body image requires loving yourself enough that you don't judge yourself by the size or shape of your meat suit. So start there -- with learning to love yourself. While you're doing that, stop obsessing over how it looks by beginning to focus on how it feels and how you want it to feel. This makes the battle in your head over all the things you "need to do" or "should be doing" to lose the weight or get fit (or whatever that goal is that you keep thinking will make you happy) begin to subside. Get real with yourself. All those things that you keep telling yourself you need to do or should be doing -- do you even want to do them? Given you haven't done them yet, I'm guessing ...no, you don't. So, get real with yourself about what you're actually willing to do to change the things you want to change. Read more on what I mean by that here. Stop spending your time & attention focused on the things you hate about your body and start focusing your time and attention on the things you like. I know it can be really hard to find something we like about our bodies when we spend years hating them -- believe me I know. The first time I tried this, the only thing I could find were my eyelashes... and it took me a looong time to give myself permission to even just like those. So, I know it's hard but if you try hard enough to find it, there has to be something you decide is worth appreciating. So find it focus on that while you work on self love. Changing weight and body image issues has so much less to do with the weight than we think it does. That's why we spend so many years battling it--because we're chasing the wrong demon. Email me if you need help.