Most of us are making New Year’s resolution to be healthier this year. We want to shed twenty pounds, flatten our bellies and perfect ourselves from the outside in. It’s noble to dedicate your energy to health and wellness, but I think that the reason so many people fail to keep their resolutions is because they are using their energy in the wrong way. Instead of dedicating themselves to fitness, they are dedicating themselves to self-hatred. To nitpicking every flaw. To refusing to accept their current reality. To scorning themselves for their “mistakes” and relying on shame and fear rather than strength and love.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to lose 20 pounds. Or with making the same New Year’s resolution 5 years in a row. But, if you want to be successful, I think you need to change the way that you work towards your goal. Rather than starting from a position of disgust and hatred (“My body is disgusting”), what if you started from a position of joy and peace?” What if you said: “My body is where I have lived for __ years. It has served me well and taken me many places. Now, it’s my turn to spend a little time taking care of it as it has taken care of me.”
So what if you made self-love part of your weight loss goals this year? What if you used the scale just to weigh your body instead of your self-worth? Just imagine where your hard work could take you.
Consider these self-love (and weight loss!) tips:
Commit for the next week to just eat clean: Every time you sit down to a meal, be really mindful and feel gratitude for the food going into your body and nurturing and sustaining your body. Try to create a different relationship with food. It’s not about being perfect—nothing that you do is going to be flawless—it’s about noticing how you feel when you make these changes. Be mindful of your body and your body’s wisdom. Tune in to how your body feels after you eat. Do you feel sated? Do you feel nauseous? Do you feel energized?
Dedicate time for self care (or pampering): Go get the haircut or the manicure that you have been putting off. Or move your schedule around so that you have time to go to the yoga class you keep skipping when life’s other logistics (the kids’ schedules, your work demands, etc.) get in the way. Prioritizing our physical health and wellbeing is an important message, especially when it’s one of the first things we’re willing to sacrifice.
Consider what fat has to teach you: If you are a yo-yo dieter, or have put on weight and are simply struggling to lose it, love yourself and the weight for the purpose it is serving. Before you think me crazy, I want you to consider a question. First, get comfortable, get grounded and open your heart. Then from that place of peace (or coherence as I like to think of it) ask your extra weight, “OK, I clearly am choosing on some level to ‘hold on’ to you for the moment. But I wonder, how do you serve me?” I have spent 25 years working with men and women with a variety of different body image and eating disorders and this question never ceases to amaze me in it’s answers. For instance, let’s consider my patient, Jennifer, who medically qualifies as obese. What I almost always uncover with these individuals is that their extra weight has some connection to and with physical intimacy. Perhaps the person had been sexually assaulted or raped, and they were thin back then and imagined if they hadn’t been they wouldn’t have been victimized. Or perhaps they put on a large amount of weight because they imagine that will keep predators at bay. Sometimes people hold onto weight so they can keep a partner they aren’t attracted to uninspired toward them sexually, or to somehow push a partner they no longer want away. When you connect to the “why” of your weight and understand how it’s been serving you, it no longer has the same hold. You can bring into the light the secret shame, pain or other low frequency emotion and heal it. And almost always, the extra weight is easily lost after that.
Be mindful of (and grateful for) your ebb and flow: Most of us (women especially!) whip ourselves into an uncomfortable physical state when we enter into a state of contraction in our natural ebb and flow. Depending on how sensitive you are, bloating can be caused by changes in diet, sleep schedules, travel, medications (or medication changes), hormonal fluctuations and the changes in the moon.
This is one of those cases where stress over your weight really has a physiologic impact on gaining weight. When we’re in a lower frequency state of anxiety, fear, or anger, our cortisol levels increase (the stress hormones of the body). Increased cortisol negatively affects your insulin resistance. That in turn makes your glucose levels rise, which contributes to the development of belly fat. When you’re in those lower frequency states you’re actually creating a chemical cascade in your body that’s making you hold on to fat more.
Because we’re so hormonally driven and our hormones are fluctuating all the time, women need to be particularly mindful of how our body feels in these different states. Some, like PMS, will demand our attention through cramps and irritability, but other states do not. We may pay attention to our menstrual cycle or when we’re ovulating, but we don’t pay attention to how our body feels each week of the month. What do you notice about your body in the week after our period? How about a week later? Start to be mindful of how your body feels and use that awareness to understand the phases of your body’s ebbs and flows. Use your awareness to then find compassion and gratitude for all these different phases. Your body is working for you, adhering to the natural rhythms and cycles that will keep your energy flowing and keep you healthy.
Author: Laura Berman
Tell me, what are your best self-love tips? How do you get into a state of coherence when negative body-image rears its ugly head? Please share!
For more on how to shift your perceptions to create a better body and a better life, check out my new book, Quantum Love: How to Use Your Body’s Atomic Energy to Create the Relationship You Desire.