I think sometimes the stress and dissatisfaction with our bodies feels like a very lonely struggle. I know everyone feels it in a sense, from the leanest of people I know, to the most overweight people I know. No one is immune in some sense or at some point. But when it comes down to it, it has less to with what you body looks like and more to do with your mindset and perception of what you are capable of doing.
We are promised greater happiness, success and satisfaction with our bodies, or at least that is what we think, when we see photoshopped women and super thin celebrities as the “role models” for what our body is “suppose” to look like. We associate losing 10, 20, or 30 pounds with being fully content and joyful. Yet even when we do achieve the look we are desiring, we are often left wanting more because it is not the look we are striving for, deep down in is contentedness with who we are and what we look like.
Could it be that contentment is the cure? Not a different body. Could you just accept yourself right here, right now for what you look like and what your body does, even if you are striving for improvements? Could it be that using gratitude is the way to achieve satisfaction with your body, not losing the weight or being leaner?
Why choose gratitude over negative self talk and excuses?
Gratitude is tough, especially if we are not where we want to be. If we just loved everything single thing about our body then of course it is easy to be satisfied. When we are dissatisfied it takes a lot more effort. But are we looking in the wrong places? Excuses and negativity often take away from the solution itself. It takes owning our choices day in and day out, that result in the body we have and the body we want.
Rather than dwelling in poor choices or making excuses about why we can’t make progress we can use gratitude to make better choices in the future. We can use gratitude to focus our attention on what we do have rather than what we do not have. Can you imagine what would happen if you took every negative thought about eating, working out, and your body and made it a positive, productive thought?
Every time you start to let the negativity, shame and sadness creep into your head make a conscious effort to turn it into something that actually helps you create a solution in your present state. That is acceptance and gratitude at its finest. To appreciate even in the toughest of times. Gratitude is a decision.
Your body’s current condition does not determine your self worth.
Sometimes I have been guilty about feeling bad about my body and then in turn feeling bad about myself. Even thought deep down I know I am more than a body. I am more than a size, a number or if I fit into a certain pair of jeans. I know my body does not determine my self worth, but sometimes it is a mindset I get stuck in. It is a constant practice to remind myself that my body does not determine self worth!
The other day I talked about a concept known as the “if,then” detriment, and it is so often applied to the correlation between body shape and happiness.
If I lose weight, then I will be happy.
If I get rid of my cellulite then I can feel ok about myself.
If I can control my eating, then I am worthy.
Let’s switch this mindset.
Instead of any of this negative body talk, use healthy striving self talk.
My worth is more than my jeans size or the number on the scale.
I want to be healthy and strong for myself.
I am worthy of happiness, love and respect right this moment.
It is so hard in the moment to snap out of this mindset, when you feel depressed, anxious or upset about the way your body looks or feels. The best thing you can do is acknowledge it and use healthy striving talk that promotes of mindset of being enough. The first few, or first hundred, times you may not believe it, but after practicing this you can change shift your mindset into a more positive, powerful state.
Would I talk to others, the way I talk to myself?
Another concept I use when dealing with the dislikes of my body is thinking about why I am so hard on myself. If I could use the same love and compassion towards myself as I do for others, I would be able to accept myself the way I accept others. Other people bodies do not determine my love or appreciation for them. I do not critique other peoples bodies the way I do my own.
People who are most satisfied with their bodies are the ones who do not let their body’s “flaws” determine their worthiness but also view their health and fitness, as a journey not a destination. Again it is about the journey.
Struggles with food, mess-ups, missed workouts, months in the gym, maybe months out of the gym….it is all a part of life. Of course we can and should strive to be healthy but when we can focus more on the appreciation about what we have and what we are working toward we can be more accepting in the moment. I am where I am suppose to be. You are where you are suppose to be. We are always learning and growing and that is what is it about.
Write down 5 things you are grateful about in regards to your body. It can be internal, such as the air in your lungs or the beats of your heart. It can be shown in your ability, to be able to feed yourself, dress yourself or do an activity like run or dance or play with your children.Your body is so blessed to be able to do those things. Pretty impressive when you dig deep and think about it, right? Or it can be about your appearance, your eyes, your hair, your arms. Write it down. I doubt you will have trouble making a list. Read them often.
Write down 5 excuses you make about why you can’t change or why it feels hard. Then change those 5 statements to solutions. This is difference in talking and taking action.