Think about the first time you ‘knew’ you needed to lose weight.. or even thought about losing weight? Chances are you were pretty young. And if you weren’t the one struggling with your weight, you knew a woman you who was and still probably is.
Here’s the truth: you don’t need to lose weight to feel what you want to feel about yourself.
But, you must to take care of yourself like you matter.
Which is something I don’t see women doing very often. For many women, their needs get pushed to the bottom of the ‘to-do’ list while they are busy taking care of everyone else. After a while of neglecting themselves, they forget who they are. And they don’t like what they see when they look in the mirror.
This is usually when the typical dieting behavior kicks in. The fantasies about what life would be like if they just lost those last 10 pounds or if they were a bit more “toned” fill their minds.
They try to beat their bodies into submission via strict diets aka “healthy lifestyles” and crazy workouts.
A new way to ‘self-care’
Weight loss is highly celebrated and elevated in our culture. Comments like ‘you look good, have you lost weight?’ only further the idea that weight loss = health and that health looks a certain way–no matter what it took to get there.
Instead of following the traditional model of health that focuses solely on weight loss and fearful thoughts around food..
Move your body.
Talk to yourself like you love yourself.
…before you’ve lost the weight.
Do it from a place of compassion, love, and a desire to take care of you the way you take care of others. Not because you fear that looking a certain way will be the only way you can earn love or acceptance from others.
Do it because you know and believe you were created for a purpose and you can’t do it if you are exhausted, and are beating your body up with lifestyle choices that aren’t serving you.
Your mind needs a makeover
1. Give your thoughts a makeover. Notice the words you use to talk about yourself and your body.
What kinds of feelings or emotions do those thoughts evoke for you? If it’s negative, you gotta change that pronto.
2. Change your thoughts- first notice the thoughts you think about yourself NOW, what result is that producing for you?
Then choose new thoughts to think. Yes, you get to pick what you think about. You don’t have to be at the mercy of the mean girl living between your ears.
3. Take care of yourself NOW, not when you’ve lost the weight–what does YOUR healthy lifestyle look like?
Instead of following someone else’s plan for your healthy lifestyle, create your own. There are many ways you can move your body–find a way that works for you.
And aside from a few key nutrition habits, you don’t need to follow a meal plan or specific diet despite popular information found all over Google.
Prepare for battle
We are immersed in diet culture, there is no denying it. Depending on how steeped in it you are, you may have a hard time shutting the inner diet police down. The thoughts and feelings of inadequacy or disgust because of your weight, size, or shape will mostly likely creep back in.
Stand guard against those thoughts.
Here are some strategies you can use to wage war against the diet fueled thoughts:
- Write out the new thoughts you want to think about yourself. You can put them on post it notes around the house or in your car.
- Come up with new ways to describe yourself that have zero to do with how you look.
- Talk to yourself as if you were talking to someone you really loved.
- Remember you don’t have love the way your body looks, but you don’t have to hate it either. Practice body neutrality.
- List out what your body can do now, and what it allows you to do.
As you continue on your journey of leaving the weight obsessed world behind, you will find you’re less stressed, life feels less chaotic, and you’ll have more energy for the things that you *actually* care about.
You’ll be making choices about your body, food, eating, and exercise from a place of care rather than duty, obligation, or penance.
You won’t be eating better or exercising in order to feel good enough, you’ll be doing those things because you already know you are..
If you’re ready to make the next move in your life, and you’re not sure how to start, I’ve got you. The Mindful Eating Project is open now, click the link to fill out the application!