People ask me for tips on nutrition and exercise all the time. Of course! It’s my job! However for those who have been struggling for decades to lose weight and keep it off, the most important thing I wish they knew was that the key to really losing the weight for good, is to like yourself enough to succeed. Easier said than done after a lifetime of self-loathing and diet failures isn’t it? Weight loss truly is a healing journey and the longer you have been on the diet train, the harder it is to believe in yourself enough to succeed.
Now I personally don’t get along with meditation, mantras or positive affirmations. The truth is I could tell myself anything and I wouldn’t believe it! I need proof of success, reasons to believe in myself and facts to back it up. I know many people who swear by mantras and positive affirmations and it has worked for them so if that’s the case for you then that’s fantastic and I certainly wouldn’t discourage anyone from trying it! If you are like me however and this kind of self-healing isn’t your thing then that’s ok! You have to find your own way back to self-appreciation but here are some of the steps I took to regaining a healthy relationship with myself.
- Like yourself enough to be rooting for your success: I try not to use phrases like self-love because they make me cringe but I do think it is important to like yourself enough to succeed. Have you ever tried to really root for someone you don’t like? It is hard! Harder still when it is ourselves who we can even hate at times. At my lowest point I couldn’t stand any part of myself physically or mentally so why would I ever actually want myself to win at anything?
- Trust your body: Part of self-loathing is hating how our bodies work! It’s impossible to shake that feeling that our bodies have let us down in some way and we start to think they are broken! Truth is in many cases, they are! But they are broken from the actions we take based on our disordered thinking. The choices we make for them. Being overweight is often not a choice our bodies make for us but a choice that we make for our bodies. The day I truly started to treat my body as something worth healing, giving the right food to and giving it what IT needs to thrive was the day everything changed.
- Believe in yourself enough to succeed: It can be really hard to believe we can succeed when we have failed so many times on every diet and exercise plan ever created! So we have to begin to give ourselves little chances to succeed at something in order to regain a bit of trust and to generate some evidence that we aren’t useless and doomed to failure! Self-belief is like a muscle. If you don’t use it you lose it! It is important to create little opportunities for ourselves to succeed so that we may fall back on this evidence during the tough times! Give yourself opportunities wherever you DO feel strong in your life. What healthy habits ARE you good at? Stick to those in the beginning and the time will come where you will feel strong enough to take on another. Start small and work at it!
- Have some self-compassion: It is so easy to beat ourselves up for every little thing all the time when we are in the depths of self-loathing and despair but not being patient and forgiving with yourself is the quickest way to fail. Remember you are learning something new and beating yourself up for making a mistake is not the way forward, only the way backwards. This is the time to not allow those damaging thoughts to fester. Treat them like a person who has done your wrong! Acknowledge their presence and then decide not to give them another moment of your time.
- Watch out for negative influences: Who we surround ourselves with has a huge influence on how we see ourselves and how we feel abut ourselves. Pay close attention to how others make you feel. You have a choice over who you allow to make you feel good and bad and it is important to use that choice to surround yourself with people who don’t hold you back, confirm your negative thoughts about yourself or treat you in a way that you don’t deserve. If friends or family are constantly putting you down or making fun of you, derailing your healthy choices or belittling your struggle then try to limit your exposure. Choose not to let their negative influence impact your healthy choices and self-respect any longer.
Each one of these points is a blog in itself and there are many ways to achieve each stage. As always I love to hear from you about what you struggle with the most so please get in touch! Is there an aspect of this that you would like to hear more about?
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….and don’t forget to listen to The Full-Bodied Evolution Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify!