For some reason, we think that if we could just hate our bodies a little more, it will spur enough motivation for us to change it. We believe that if we could reject it more, that we’ll finally reach the weight, size or shape that eludes us. That there is a level of disdain, distrust and disgust we need to reach with ourselves before we’ll diet enough, exercise enough and have willpower enough to reach an ideal in our heads.
So many of us think this way and unconsciously accept this type of thinking as truth. But have we ever seen even a modicum of proof that it works? Of course not – but yet we act it out as though it was the only way. And we hold onto this body hate so tightly, as if we loosen our grip on it, even a little, we’ll lose total control and end up in a worse body than the one we already are living in. But this is total lie.
Here is the honest truth: There is no amount of self-rejection that will lead us to the body we want. No one has ever lost weight and kept it off with hate. You can’t shame yourself thin.
The more energy we put into rejecting ourselves, the greater our struggle will be. It’s tiring and the goal always seems so impossible to reach. As long as we direct hate at ourselves, we will continue to do the very actions that keeps us in a body we are unhappy with.
To lose weight and to change our bodies, we actually have to let go of our habit of beating them up. We have to choose love and appreciation instead. We have to accept what we look like and how much space we take up right now. We must consider this: What if I had to stay in this body as it is right now for the rest of my time on this earth? How would that change how we lived our lives? And what is holding us back from living that way right now?
The way we think about our bodies is a choice. I know it doesn’t seem like it sometimes, but feeling the way we do really is a choice. It all comes from our brains – which we are in charge of. We choose to hate our stomachs. We choose to see dimples on our thighs as repulsive. We choose to view a number on the scale as good and another as bad. We choose to put energy into feeling disgusted with ourselves.
Ask yourself, why am I choosing to think thoughts about myself that cause pain?
Why am I choosing to think thoughts that cause me to do harm (restrictive eating, bingeing, over-exercising, not exercising etc)?
Why am I choosing to think thoughts that prevent me from living the life I want to live?
How do you want to feel about your body, about yourself? Really. Think about this. If you could choose how to feel (and know that you can), what would you willingly choose to feel? I know that the answer is not hate, shame, disgust or pain.
Halting negative thinking is not easy. It takes a lot of practice and awareness. The first step is noticing where those painful thoughts creep in.
I have a little homework for you. Will you do it?
This week, just notice how your brain operates. Our brain likes to be efficient and do things it’s good at (think how we go on autopilot when brushing our teeth) – and it’s excellent at thinking painful thoughts about ourselves. Just notice where it goes. Become a witness in your own mind. Become aware of your patterns. Notice what you are thinking about your body and notice how that influences the choices you make. Write these thoughts down – and write down what was going on when they came up. Be honest and don’t hold back.
Don’t focus on changing your thoughts with this assignment – this week I just want you to notice what your brain is up to! And please, let me know if anything comes up that surprises you or if you have any questions.