How to change your body image from feeling fat to fabulous

body imageMy own body image issues started when I was about 9 or 10 years old.

I remember thinking, at a distinct moment in gym class, how my shorts looked bigger than everyone else’s….which led me to noticing that my tummy was rounder than everyone else’s…which led me to believing that I was different and needed improvement.

That moment as a very young girl followed me throughout my adolescence, adulthood, pre/post-pregnancy, and beyond.

Now, thirty years later, I have mostly overcome this battle – even though I know it still creeps in when I’m not careful….and as a fat loss coach, I recognize that this issue can be a huge obstacle for many women. I have had to figure this stuff out myself, and I now know with certainty that how we view our own body is a crucial part of one’s weight loss journey – and one’s ultimate success on that journey.

The fact is that for many of us women, our body images are so fragile. And even though we may have very positive SELF-image, when it comes to our BODY it is often a very different story. We may feel very confident, happy, and proud about our relationships, career, families, success….but finding the same satisfaction with our body is rare.

It is easy to pick ourselves apart and observe each wrinkle, stretch mark, roll of fat or skin, thigh dimple, or saggy and squishy parts and declare them as our downfall and that “of course” we are on a mission to eliminate them – because we certainly won’t be satisfied until we do.

When was the last time you heard someone say that they are completely happy with what they see in the mirror or when they look down at themselves naked?? When was the last time you took a good long look at yourself and admired just exactly what you see TODAY, and declared that it is GOOD?

If you are like most women, my guess is it has been a long time since you’ve done this – if EVER.

If I asked you to go strip down and go stand in front of a mirror right now, what would your reaction be? What would you say or think about looking at your image, at a raw and random moment in time? Would you be able to be okay with what you see, or what emotions would that experience stir up for you?

This is important.

It is important because YOU are important. And what you think of yourself is important. Especially if you find that you are in an endless battle with your body, your weight, and your joy.

Personally, I always found it easy to not feel good enough. I felt like it was obvious that I wasn’t skinny and so therefore, how could I be happy with myself? If I could just be okay with how I looked – extra belly fat and all – then surely people would think that I didn’t care about my figure or my diet, or that I wasn’t “trying” hard enough. And of course, by taking a look at the features in every single magazine out there, we are constantly told that we should be on a mission to change ourselves and get rid of all that imperfect stuff that just isn’t good enough.

That was what I battled and lived with for at least 20 years – only seeing my flaws and always believing that I must be seeking something better. All of that effort into hating myself enough to stay motivated to get “better” had only created the endless cycles of weight loss and weight gain, depression, and loss of joy.

So I went on a mission to break down the walls of my body image issues and began the work of rebuilding how I looked at myself and how to change my self-talk. I did not want to continue this fight anymore – and I realized that my biggest obstacle to actually changing my body was that fact that I had never been able to love it.

  1. How can you nurture and transform something that you cannot accept and love? You can’t. And this is certainly the missing link for many women who have not been able to find success with fat / weight loss. It’s not because they haven’t found the perfect diet or even that they don’t exercise enough – it’s often that they have not crossed the threshold of letting go of their negative body image that holds them back.

Interestingly, the comment I often hear from women is, “I must stay unsatisfied with what I see because how will I stay motivated to transform myself if I just accept and become happy with all my flaws??”

My answer:

This body that you have right now is the same body that you will be living in even if you could snap your fingers and eliminate all the things you don’t like. Our bodies were not designed to be “perfect”, they were designed to provide life. Trying to avoid truly living with satisfaction and joy in this body you have right now will NOT bring you any closer to whatever your goals are.

The shift is that you must accept and acknowledge that THIS is the body you love enough to nurture and care for RIGHT NOW – the body you see in the mirror today is the same body that you will be taking on your journey through life.

Liking it for what it is now, means that you will be able to also like it when it is at its best.

It will always be yours and you are the one who will know it more intimately that anyone else ever will. Love it enough to really look at it and appreciate it – because change doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen by hating something enough.

Change happens in each moment of your life, not in some big transformation from point A to point B. You must embrace the reality of each moment and find your joy NOW – THAT is your motivation to keep going, and THAT will change your outlook to improving the QUALITY of your LIFE rather than searching for it in the number on the scale or through an assessment of your imperfections.

 

My life changed when I decided to stop the self-hate and the regret of my own image, and ended the cycle of “as soon as I reach my goal…” —- when I finally started seeing myself as perfect in this moment – not because my weight was “perfect”, but because I was doing all the things that made me feel my best and contributed to my best health and nurturing of my body the way it is right now – that was when I permanently stopped the chronic weight gain / diet cycle and was able to create sustainable, effective changes to my body and my habits. When I made the habit of seeing my body not as my downfall, but my greatest ally to living my best life, then I could move forward with joy and satisfaction – and that ALWAYS feels better than holding back with regret.

Your best body is born out of finding your true self – you own your best, true self RIGHT NOW.

It doesn’t magically appear to you one day. It’s there. Choose to expose it now by seeing it for yourself 🙂