I work with a lot of people who want to lose weight – sometimes just a few pounds, sometimes a whole lot more. Regardless of the amount of weight you want to lose, the most difficult part is accepting the body that you have rather than feeling ashamed or offended by it.
Most of my clients are far harder on themselves than is constructive, so I try to balance that out with a more gentle approach by challenging them to first to make peace with their body and then decide if they want to make changes.
When we get to a point of thinking that we need to lose weight, we have often developed a hateful relationship with our physical body to the point of feeling disgusted with ourselves. I guarantee you, this is the biggest thing that gets in the way of weight loss.
When people sit across my desk and tell me about how they feel, the words that come out of their mouths are often harsh, and paint a vivid picture of the way that they view themselves. I ask them if they would ever describe their child or spouse in those terms and of course they say no. Then why would you be so unkind to yourself?
Dove Soap created commercial where a woman, sitting behind a screen, describes herself to a forensic artist and the artist creates a sketch from her words. Then someone who had just met the woman who posed for that sketch gives the artists a description of what that she looks like. When you compare the two sketches they are strikingly different. They did this many times, with many women and the results were similar – we are our harshest critiques.
Being at war with yourself by engaging in self-talk that is negative and harsh limits any goal that you hope to achieve.
The worst part is, once you’ve lost the weight, the negative self-talk does not go away because it’s a stubborn habit that takes deliberate focus to change.
You must first train yourself to limit the negative beliefs about your body and about your abilities, and then any goal you go after is more likely to come about. In the absence of self-bashing, the journey will be much more satisfying.
It is tough to break the cycle of negative self-talk and, even when we say negative comments in jest, it sets up a dynamic of seeing ourselves in a particular light.
So when you can catch yourself saying something negative, stop and replace it with something positive, you’ll be amazed at the changes that can take place. When you can look yourself in the eye in front of a mirror and say that you are fabulous just the way you are (and mean it), then you’re in the best possible place to make changes.