“I’ll be happy when…” is by far, the most common mistake women and men make when trying to transform their body. I’ll love my body when it’s a smaller size, when I lose those 10, 20 or 50 pounds. I’ll stop dieting and starting listening to and honouring my body when I lose the weight. Thoughts like “I hate my thighs” and “I’m fat” and the constant criticism and judgement of your body interrupt your day.
The “I’ll be happy when…” is a lie perpetrated by the health and fitness industry.
Body hate is rampant, and it’s independent of your size, shape and fitness level. I have coached men and women who are fit and healthy, and even slim by any standard, and yet they still chase a certain number on the scale, or a certain size, or just the need to ‘lose 5 pounds’.
Most people think that by starting a diet to lose weight because you don’t like the way you look is self-care. But it’s not. It’s self-rejection. And weight loss becomes a condition of self-love. And a new ‘smaller size’ can become a prison of fear.
So does that mean you can give up ‘eat whatever you want?’ and ‘give up the gym?’
Not at all.
Learning to love and appreciate where you are not is not giving up. In fact, it’s just the opposite.
When we love something, we take care of it.
It’s not about eating a bag of potato chips and not caring. That’s not loving your body!
Ditto with the chocolate, wine, cookies, loaf of fluffy white bread, and other foods that don’t make you feel good past the moment you’re actually eating it. I’m not saying you can never have these types of foods, and I’m definitely not advocating a need to be perfect, but if you need the whole box/ bottle/ loaf then perhaps you’re missing something else in life.
It’s also not about following a strict 1200 calorie per day diet plan, following strict rules that force you to ‘push through’ and not listen to your body, counting every morsel of food that you eat, or labeling foods ‘good’ and ‘bad’.
It’s about eating so that you can start to feel good, and that means choosing foods that give you energy, mental clarity, and make you feel good physically and emotionally. It’s about enjoying your food and enjoying life. And YES! You can have it all.
Moving your body is about being strong and energetic for life. So that you can go on hikes and explore the outdoors, so that you can play with your kids or grandkids and keep up, so you can add life to your years.
Here are 4 reasons why you may want to start loving and appreciating your body NOW.
- It’ll reduce your stress. Negative self-talk and self-judgement causes stress in the body. Stress increases the cortisol in your body, which makes the body really good at hanging on to extra body fat, especially around the midsection. We cannot diet against our body’s survival mechanisms.
- Losing weight, or dropping inches does not guarantee that you’re going to love your body. Bodies change, and it is possible that your body doesn’t look exactly how you imagined it would when you lose the weight. Being a smaller size doesn’t make you immune to negative body image.
- Hating your body and feeling a strong emotional reason to get the weight off as fast as possible can lead to crash diets, over exercising, and under eating in an effort to lose weight which damages the metabolism and makes it even more challenging to maintain a health body weight.
- It’s a waste of life energy. When you look back at your life you will remember the adventures, the time spent with friends and families, the challenges you overcame and the legacy you left. You have a lot to offer the world. Imagine how free you would feel if you had a peaceful, balanced relationship with food and your body, and there was no ‘on track’ and ‘off track’.
There is a way to have it all: to focus on life and to eat foods that you love. It’s not a quick fix of ‘eat this not that’ and it may not be as sexy as the promise to drop 10 pounds this month.
But it’s worth it. And I think you’re worth it.
P.S. Want more? Discover the 4 steps our most successful clients over 40 do to lose weight naturally without dieting. Click here for more info!