We are currently one week out from moving from our home here in Alabama to our new home in Michigan. While we have done this a lot (#militarylife), it still is always very bittersweet leaving what is familiar to something new. We are moving to a beautiful house we plan to remodel, and friends that we have lived near before, so we are excited. You can follow along via my Instagram stories (@meaganrigney) to see the behind the scenes part of this move!
Anyway, I wanted to do a series on loving ourselves/our bodies AS IS, because I get this question a lot. I started the conversation on Instagram, but figured I would go more in depth for you guys. Here goes…
Part one! How to love yourself as is (not just when you get to the magical weight/size you think will make you love yourself more or make you happy:
First of all most of us have a lot of baggage from growing up and it is always best to dig into WHY you want to be a certain size or weight, or WHy you might not be where you want to be, physically.
Where does it come from?
What is your earliest memory of caring about/fixating on your weight?
Do you feel like you are not enough until your weight/size is perfect?
Do you think life will be magically better if you are a smaller size?
I’ve starved myself to a size 2 and felt terrible about myself, and also equally hated my body at a larger size than I am now. The size of our clothes says nothing about our self worth. I repeat: the size of your clothes and your weight says nothing about you! Some of us work very hard undereating and over exercising as a form of control, and others hold onto excess weight to “protect” ourselves. I can pinpoint my issues to childhood and know it was a way to control, feel more loved, and to be “perfect” so I’d get more attention. Often you can sit with a journal and ask these questions and just listen to what your intuition tells you (and then write it down.) You might be surprised what you hear.
You’ll start to notice thought patterns surrounding what you look like. Some things I’ve told myself/heard so many times that you I even recognize it as a lie, because it was ingrained in me…
“If I could just be the weight/size I was (insert occasion or age), I’ll be happier.”
“I’m not enough if I gain weight. My partner won’t love me anymore.”
“If I just worked out harder/ate better I’d be the weight/size I want.”
In my case, my weight and size is something I have easily controlled in the past, but not healthily. I’m an overachiever and can “make” myself do so much, but it doesn’t mean it is good for me mentally. It came from a low sense of self worth and anxiety and was something I could control for my anxiety. It doesn’t matter what your size/weight is, it is about our conditioning around WHY we either under/over eat and how we treat our bodies. Most of us are used to hating and punishing our bodies, but for flawed, outdated reasons. Once we can start to see the lies we have lived by, we can start to work on our thoughts.
And that brings us to how much our throughts matter.
My brain likes to pick apart and judge my body and habits hard. I think most of us are like that. We live in a culture where a woman needs to be perfect and skinny to be loved. What are the thoughts about your body that regularly run through your head? Try to write out what you say to yourself about your body. Some of the things I hear myself say to myself regularly…
Your thighs are getting really big. If you exercise more they’ll get skinnier.
You looked better (insert time), you should do that again. You are out of control.
Look how your belly rolls when you sit now. You should do a low carb diet again.
I mean, I could go on an on, and I know you can, too. I have NEVER met a woman happy with what she looked like, no matter what size they are. But it doesn’t have to continue. The first step is NOTICING the thoughts, and then next step is makig them NEUTRAL.
You will need to work diligently to stop negative thought when you notice it. I repeat the phrase. “I have a body” over and over again when I start to judge myself. I like this phrase because my brain cannot fight it, it is fact, and it is more believable than, “I am at my perfect weight.” I love affirmations, but I like to stick to neutral body thoughts before we get into positive body thoughts. You need to build CONFIDENCE that you can slow down the negative thoughts you have been telling yourself forever, and move into something that calms down your emotions.
I did this at the beach last weekend. I felt a bit heavier than I’d like in a suit that didn’t fit me well, and I could hear myself judging my body, feeling bad, and trying to find ways to “fix it.” (Restrictive dieting and punishment exercise, usually.) I just kept saying, “I have a body,” and “I am healthy and strong.” I’m not going to say I felt amazing about myself all day, in fact I felt a lot of old “not enough” feelings come through. BUT, I kept redirecting my thoughts, resisted making rash diet plans, and the next day I felt better in my skin. This isn’t about feeling amazing in your skin all of the time, it is about honoring the emotions that come up and not beating ourselves up so much. I have been working on this for a couple of years now, and I can say that I feel good in my skin about 90% of the time. This has nothing to do with what I weigh or what I look like, but how I FEEL.
Whew, this is getting long! I’ll share part two next week for your guys. And please, comment below and let me know what you think of this subject, does it resonate with you?