Y’all, today I’m going to talk to you about one of my all-time favorite topics! Why it’s so important to love your body! It’s a tough one though so I’m going to keep it super casual! After all, if you don’t feel like you’re talking to a friend right now it’ll be really hard to hear what I’m going to say.
LOVE YOUR BODY!
That’s right… I just said it… you NEED to love your body! And I mean you need to love your body like you need to breath!
Here’s why, coming at weight-loss (or any other body and health change) from a place of body loathing sets you up for failure and is likely jeopardizing your health! You’ll never keep those lbs off if you are coming from a negative place. You’ll never enjoy the fruits of your labor either! When people lose weight and don’t come from a place of body love they are almost always dissatisfied with their appearance. And worse yet many develop other unhealthy addictions! Not to mention that very often they gain all the weight back and then some! So, if you want to kick yo-yo dieting, find deeper happiness and improve your health, you’re in the right place!
Usually any modification we’re trying to make to our bodies starts with deprivation. The first thing we consider is which foods we’re no longer allowed to eat. We want them, we crave them, but they are OFF limits entirely!
We all have some period of time we can stick to it! NO sweets! NO chips! And, NO MATTER WHAT!!! But then something happens, and we lose our willpower. Maybe we’re stressed out or the weight isn’t coming off fast enough or it’s coming off so fast we can justify those Oreos! What often happens next is we feel so ashamed for our slip up that we eat the whole package. After all, we did just blow the whole thing by eating those 2 cookies. Plus, you know it’s better to eat them and get them out of the house since we’ll need to REALLY recommit on Monday!
Some of us are more than capable of sticking it out to the very end! We focus hard. Hold on, white knuckled and stick to every miniscule detail of the plan we’re following. We measure or weigh every bite of food and track everything that passes those pursed lips! We have a Bob the Builder attitude… “can we do it? YES, WE CAN!” So… tell me… how has that really worked for you? After months of deprivation what’s the first thing you do? BINGE!!! You eat all the things you’ve been longing for and then some! And if not immediately, you certainly see those foods creeping back into your diet! Why? You still want all those foods… you just weren’t eating them so that you could fix your less than ideal body!
Who likes exercise… raise your hand? Right… I just saw like 5 hands go up! Y’all, if you’re forcing yourself to exercise to lose weight, you’re going to hate it! And guess what, that’s never going to change! You’re not going to get that runner’s high; you’re not going to feel that sense of accomplishment! You’ll never look forward to your workout!
I know, you may not believe me, you’ve heard that the runner’s high comes from endorphins and that’s totally physiological! Well… if your body is filled with cortisol because you’re stressed and hate your workout, you’re going to have a very hard time feeling awesome. Interestingly you’ll also have a very difficult time losing weight since cortisol causes gain. I know you’ve seen that commercial too!
And let me ask you, how likely are you to stick to a workout if you hate it? You’re going to skip it and then feel so ashamed you’ll go eat the Oreos to comfort yourself. And, how likely do you think you are to stick to a workout you hate AFTER you hit your goal weight? Are you going to stick with it even though your increased muscle mass forces you to readjust your goal weight to a higher number? I think not!
Are you FED up with the condition of your body? You aren’t alone! In this situation most people start looking for any and all advice they can find to once and for all lose the weight or make the change. You look high and low and find millions of testimonials and suggestions about how to address your problem. And what do you do? Well, you either try the ones that sound best and promise amazing results, or you develop analysis paralysis!
Just because something worked for someone else doesn’t mean it will for you! Plus, how do you actually know it worked? Do you get to see the results a year or 5 or ten years later? I doubt it! I recently found out that oftentimes “before” and “after” pictures for weight loss adds are taken on the SAME DAY! Change up the lighting and the pose and wah-lah you have amazing results!
On the other hand, you simply have no idea where to start! There’s so much information out there it’s just overwhelming! Should you eat more fat or less? Is fruit the enemy or only juice? Should you fast for 23 hours and eat one large meal or eat 6 small ones throughout the day? And what about exercise? Is it best to do cardio, or no because it makes you crave carbs? What about strength training? Will you bulk up? Is yoga even a workout… I mean, you’re barely moving how can that count?
When you get overwhelmed either with trying all the things or none of them, you’re very unlikely to reach your goal. And when this happens, you’re likely to compound your body hatred. Not only that but you’re likely to spread it around and become even more self-loathing. After all you are a loser who can’t stick with anything and consistently fails, right? WRONG!!!
When you’re coming from a place of body loathing you are bound to fail. And worse yet, when you do, you’re likely to generalize your failure into a character flaw. You can’t take it! You will either give up or keep punishing yourself with even more diligence than before. You’ll find self-doubt seeping into every area of your life! It’ll start to impact your parenting, relationships and even your career!
How many times are you planning to go through this before you change your attitude? How much of your life are you willing to sabotage?
You aren’t a failure… you just found what doesn’t work for you. Or for anyone else, for that matter!
Love Your Body Even if You Want to Make Change
I’m here to tell you that you can love your body even if you want to make some changes! That’s right, these aren’t opposing ideas!
Somehow, we can accept this in other areas of our lives. You know, you can love your job but still wish you got paid more or didn’t have to work with that annoying person or had an office with a window. I’ll bet you love your spouse and still wish they would pick up their socks or just listen when you’ve had a bad day rather than trying to fix it! You can love your kids and want some alone time or wish they would stop throwing tantrums and pick up after themselves! And here’s the big one… you can love yourself and still want to learn new things, grow as a person or become a better cook for example!
In the same way, you can love your body and want to make a few changes or drop a few pounds!
You can see your own potential and want to achieve it! Loving your body doesn’t mean that you’re happy with extra weight that keeps you from the life and health you want. It means that you know that your body is the vessel for your soul, and you appreciate all it has and is doing for you. It also means that you train yourself to really look and take the time to admire the parts of your appearance that are amazing!
How to Love Your Body
So, right about now you might be thinking… “but Cassie, you have NO idea what a train wreck my body is”! I know because I’ve thought that about myself too! Here’s the truth though… it doesn’t matter! Whether you’re carrying an extra 20 or 300 lbs (like me), whether you have scars and stretch marks (like me), whether you have a chronic illness (also like me), there is something loveable about your body and it’s up to you to find it!
Finding a way to love your body is the gateway to success in making change and it’s often also the key to self-confidence and change in so many other areas of your life. You CAN learn to love your body!
What to do
It’s very likely that you’ve never thought about it this way. So, it’s hard to know where to start! How exactly can you shift your mindset? Start with these 3 simple exercises. They’re going to seem silly or maybe pointless but before you know it, you’ll be looking at your body in a whole new light!
I’m hoping you already keep a gratitude journal but if you don’t now’s a great time to start! Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy… you can just get out a notebook or a piece of scrap paper and write 5 things you’re grateful for every day. Now, here’s the challenge… EVERY SINGLE DAY write one thing you’re grateful for about your body or appearance. Try to change it up as often as possible. Writing “I’m grateful I can breathe” or “I’m grateful that I’m healthy” is a great place to start but this shouldn’t be the only thing that populates your journal.
Try thinking of things about your appearance or ability that you’re grateful for. Think of all the amazing things your body has done for you. Were you able to walk around on a beach last summer or on a vacation? Did your body carry new life and bring it into the world? Can you prepare your own meals or even simply go to the bathroom on your own? Well, my friend, your body is doing amazing things for you than! Be grateful!
If you’ve been around a while, you know that I firmly believe that affirmations are a complete game changer! I am so committed to them and believe so firmly in their ability to change lives that the very first piece of member content I created is a Powerful Affirmation Builder.
You NEED to be filling yourself with validation and positivity EVERY DAY and this is the BEST way to do that! I know it might seem silly at first, I really struggled when I first started, but it’s worth the effort and it only takes a few minutes!
Feeling a bit self conscious, I preferred to keep my affirmations private when I first started. I wrote them in a journal that I kept in the bathroom so I could recite them in the mirror. As time went on though I became more and more bold with it. I started thinking about the incredible example I was setting for those around me. So, if you want to set an example of body love for your kids and family and you’re ready why not add to your affirmation challenge! Keep a stack of post-its and a pen on your bathroom counter. Every day write 1 thing you love about your body or appearance and stick it to your mirror. When it’s overflowing with positivity, you’ll notice a tremendous shift in your attitude.
Don’t worry… you can start with the easy stuff… “my eyes are pretty”, “my nose is the perfect proportion for my face”. It all adds up and the more validation you see the more aware you’ll be of your beauty.
I’m challenging you to write a love letter to your body. You know, when you’re ready! Write about all the things you love about your appearance and health. Be kind, be flowery, be loving. Praise yourself for the hard work you’ve done in the past. Validate the fact that you are worthy of being loved exactly where you are right now. Write as if you’re writing to your best friend and you really need her to understand how incredibly beautiful she is. You want to inspire her and encourage her!
Use your affirmations or gratitude statements to help you along in this process. There is no wrong way to do this! The only rule is, no negativity! No, you’re beautiful BUT!
When you’re done tuck your letter away to read it when you need it or post it somewhere you’ll see it daily! You’ll know what you need to do with it. Trust your instincts!
Making change From a Place of Love
When you come from a place of love, you’ll notice that everything changes! Why? Because when you love your body you aren’t fighting against it. You’re in tune with it, in perfect harmony so… you’ll be able to give it exactly what it needs!
Rather than focusing on what you can’t have why not focus on what nourishes your body? You’ll notice that you feel better when you eat fruits and veggies and not so great when you eat junk. Since you love your body, you’ll want to take care of it. You’ll want to feel your best and you’ll know you deserve that!
The changes you make related to food will come from a place of nourishment and awareness not deprivation. So, say good-bye to shame! It’s not that you’ll never eat an Oreo again, it’s simply that you won’t be burdened by guilt for doing it! You’ll simply observe that you don’t feel as great as you’d like to when you eat like that and you’ll naturally adjust!
Before I started this journey, I asked both a yoga instructor and a personal trainer how they manage their nutrition. They both said that when you’re in tune with your body you’re able to naturally give it what it needs. You can eat anything you want; you just choose to eat the things that make you feel your best! NO diet involved! This is how you make a lifestyle change! Your new mantra will be “I don’t”, rather than “I can’t”.
Exercise is going to become a point of pride for you! You’ll no longer stress about it or fuss over it. You’ll simply move your body. And, exercise accomplishments are likely to fill your gratitude journal. You’ll be consistently impressed with how strong and capable you are! You’ll notice even the smallest changes in endurance and be motivated to accomplish more and challenge yourself.
Working out will become fun. It’ll be something you look forward to in your day. Because you know that EVERYTHING counts! Whether you’re doing some yoga, jogging a mile or just dancing around your kitchen! LOOK AT YOU GO!!!
Without even having to think about it or plan it you’ll find success. Your body will change. You’ll shed unwanted pounds and drop sizes. But more importantly you’ll discover your best health! You’ll have more energy, less headaches, be able to concentrate better and feel amazing! And, don’t even get me started about how amazing you’ll sleep!
The benefits of loving your body are countless! So, before you get on that scale, start that new fad diet or commit to an exercise regimen you despise, start working on body love!
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