“Stop hating yourself for everything you aren’t. Start loving yourself for everything that you are.” ~Unknown
Picture it: You’re out with friends having dinner, then one of them says, “I shouldn’t be eating this. I skipped the gym today.”
Another one replies, “I’m so bad. I’ve been eating out of control all week. I just can’t stop.”
And another one says, “I’m going to have to eat salad for the next couple days to make up for this.”
Does this type of conversation sound familiar to you?
It’s all too familiar to me. I used to be the leader in these conversations, until one day, in the middle of claiming myself the fattest, I actually heard the words coming out of my mouth. And then I listened to everyone else talking negatively about their bodies as if we were competing to see who is the most guilty for eating.
I get it. You want to lose weight. Heck, I want to lose weight. That’s not the problem.
The problem is how we treat ourselves when we decide we need to lose weight. If you’re anything like I used to be, you can be very nasty to yourself in the name of “motivating” yourself to lose weight.
Rather than giving you three tips on losing weight through diet and exercise—because I know you know what to do; you just don’t want to do it all the time—I’m going to share with you the three statements that are getting in your way of losing weight and loving yourself.
1. There is something wrong with me.
I always said this to myself when I could not stop reaching for sweets, even though my stomach was full or I knew I only wanted it because I was bored. There had to be something wrong with me since I didn’t have the willpower to just stop myself.
Are you wondering what’s wrong with you?
Nothing! Stop bad mouthing yourself when you are not able to work out or don’t possess enough fortitude to adhere to your restrictive diet plan.
In case you haven’t noticed, berating yourself never has and never will work to motivate you on your weight loss goals. And as the saying goes, “If you do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you already got.”
Instead of trash talking yourself to “motivate” you to lose weight, how about you take it easier on yourself?
Yes, you had a donut for breakfast instead of your wheatgrass smoothie or you didn’t get to the gym today. So what?
I now realize that when I “slip up” I can always start anew right where I am, and so can you. Because no matter how much you punish yourself, you can’t feel badly enough to change what happened in the past.
And let’s face it, it hasn’t worked so far, so what do you think is going to change if you continue to do that?
2. I need to wait until I lose the weight.
For a long time, I was waiting to buy new clothes until the scale reached a certain number. My life was on hold until I felt I deserved or earned the right to do all the things I wanted to do.
I recently chose to just accept the weight I am and I bought clothes that make me look and feel good. I was tired of shoving myself into clothes that didn’t fit or waiting to lose weight to fit back into them.
I know I was not alone in this thinking either. Friends, family members, and strangers say this to me all the time, that they are going to do something amazing but they have to lose weight first. Or they will be happy after they lose the weight.
Stop waiting! You don’t know how long it’ll take you to lose the weight, and keep it off. What if it takes you months or years? You don’t deserve to wait that long for nice things. That’s not what life is about.
Instead of waiting that long, celebrate the little wins along the way to encourage yourself to keep going. Take out the good dishes and eat on them, buy a new outfit and feel great in it now, go out on a date, LIVE!
3. They are so beautiful. I’ll never look like that.
While looking at Facebook and Instagram, it’s so easy for me to see celebrities or even strangers and wish I had the body they have.
I’m sure you find yourself comparing your body, and that’s not always a problem. The problem occurs when you start using someone else’s body as a standard for how your body should look. That’s not fair and is actually an insult to your body.
You don’t have the same physique as they do. You can’t make your body look like theirs if that’s not how your body frame is set up.
If you are comparing yourself to someone who has an hourglass figure and you have more of a pear shape, there is just no way you are going to have the shape they have. You are just setting yourself up for a huge disappointment.
My celebrity standard was Beyonce. I wanted to have the flat stomach and curves in all the right places, but after a few months, I realized I don’t have the desire or dedication to do all the work it takes to look like that. That’s part of her job, and it’s certainly not my job to look like her.
Eventually, I realized that what I really wanted was to tone up what I already had. That is more attainable. And now, I compare myself to how I was a few months ago and celebrate the small and steady progress I am making.
If you still want to compare, then start with where you are right now and compare your eating now to how it was before you started eating healthier.
Don’t go back to ten/twenty years ago and ogle and get upset because you weren’t able to stay that size. You and your body have changed. It happens. Set a new barometer and watch your progress from now until you get to where you want to be.
Berating yourself, waiting to do nice things for yourself, and comparing yourself are not what you want to do when you want to lose weight and feel better about yourself.
Focusing on what you like about yourself, treating yourself to something special every now and then, and giving up comparisons is the way to a healthier and happier you.
Woman on a scale image via Shutterstock