When there is a disconnect between mind and body we end up missing out on pleasure, connection and joy. So often, we are told that our bodies are severely flawed and imperfect. These messages come from the media, our culture, people we encounter on a daily basis, even family. As a woman who struggled with an eating disorder for much of my life, I can easily remember all of the negative comments that were made about my body. My brain did an amazing job at quietly tucking those comments away in little corners of my brain, waiting to come out and attack my self-worth at any given moment. Unfortunately, my story is not special, in fact it is the norm. When I talk with women about their bodies most report that they remember becoming self-conscious or feeling not good enough around the 5th grade. That is 10 years old! So how do we stop this vicious cycle? Well, its not easy. This is something that the entire world has probably always struggled with. Learning to love yourself is the first step, then it’s a trickle-down effect.
We can’t expect our children to love themselves if we haven’t figured out how to love ourselves
Many of my clients will report specific body parts that they hate: “I hate my stomach”, "my boobs are saggy”, “My butt has cellulite”, etc. I will always ask if their mother has the same trouble area. Nine times out of ten the answer is yes. Then, the question becomes: which did we inherit, the flawed body part or the fucked-up body image and self- esteem? When we grow up watching our mothers diet and make negative comments about their bodies we learn that this is how we are supposed to treat our own bodies. The good news? Hating our bodies is a learned behavior. That means it can be unlearned!
Don’t wait to start living your life
I’ve thought it, you’ve thought it, we have all thought it: once I lose the weight I will be happy/start dating/ look for a new job/ be more social/ etc. This is bullshit. Losing weight will not fix our other problems. We will just be smaller with the same problems. Don’t wait for something to happen before giving yourself permission to live your life. This is it. Don’t waste it!
Realize we are not always a reliable judge on our own appearance
Ever look at a picture of yourself from a few years ago when you thought you were fat and realize you were definitely NOT fat? Me too. We are and will always be our own worst critic. This is powerful information. When you look in the mirror and your brain starts getting carried away with the negative self- talk you can remind yourself that it’s probably all a bunch of lies. Berating yourself helps nothing. It puts you in a bad mood, makes you feel bad and self-conscious. No one wants to be around that. Make a choice to focus on what you like in the mirror. Take the time to do something extra that makes you feel good. Create an intention that focuses on fun and inspiration. Those things have nothing to do with the shape of your body.