• The Hopefulist

Stop hating your body

I have had a life long struggle with my body and how it looks. Anyone else? I grew up in a diet household. My mom was always on a diet trying to lose weight. We never had goodies in the house. When I was 12 my mom took me to my first weight loss group meeting. I wasn't fat by any means. Looking back now I'm pretty sure I was at that point when you put on a little weight and then shoot up in height. What I do remember is that when I first started going I continued to put weight on. It didn't really seem to bother me...at first. Then my mother said to me; "aren't you embarrassed that you put on weight every week?" No, I really hadn't been until you said that to me. Not long after that I had joined the softball team which meant I wasn't eating bowls of cereal after school plus I was more active (and probably a growth spurt) and the weight started falling off. In turn, I got a lot of praise at these meetings. This was the start of my obsession with my weight and how my body looked.

Have you struggled with your body image your whole life? Has most of your life been spent trying to make your body look different than it is? Have you spent a majority of your life worried about the shape of your body and how you look to yourself and other people? I have probably spent more time thinking about my weight than any other thing in my life. How sad is that? It's time to stop the madness. It's time to realize we are more than a number on the scale. There are so many parts to us and as Rachel Hollis just said in her health conference; "how much you weigh is the least interesting thing about you." Yes, there is so much more to each of us than how our body looks. How do we go about deprogramming ourselves? Slowly!

The first thing is to get rid of the shame. It's very rare to shame your way to weight loss. You are where you are right now and you know what...you are good enough exactly as you are. I know you don't believe me when I saw that because I have a hard time believing it myself. I have put on weight this summer. I was in such good shape this spring. I had lost weight and worked out consistently. Then I sprained my ankle and it disrupted my workout schedule. Quarantine was actually good for my health journey. I can stick to a healthy eating regimen during the week for the most part. It's the gatherings and hanging out with friends that trip me up. I have monthly book club meetings and game night gatherings and the random happy hour with a friend. This typically causes me to go off my healthy eating course which throws off my schedule for the whole week. I was at a point in my life where I would pass up on these invitations but I finally decided I wasn't going to miss out on life because I wanted to see a certain number on the scale. But I am feeling bad about myself with the extra weight. I want to get it off as quickly as possible and I know better. I know it takes time. But I'm still obsessed until I can get some weight off. My clothes are tight and I feel that tire around my belly and I don't like it. But it is what it is for now and I have to go forward with the knowledge I have and do the best I can. I have to constantly remind myself that I am more than my weight. Making yourself feel bad will likely cause you to seek out comfort in the way of food. Don't do it. Stop the madness!

There is nothing wrong with wanting to lose some weight and live a healthier lifestyle but don't make it the focal point of your life. You can start slow and make small changes that will last. This is how new habits are formed. As I mentioned, I just attended the Rise Health conference with Rachel Hollis and she says a great way to start on your health journey is to add things first instead of eliminating things. Such as, pump up that water intake. I drink more water now than I ever have and I can't imagine waking up without a big glass of water to start my day. Just a year or so ago, I wouldn't even take a sip of water until I was done my two to three coffees in the morning. Now, I drink both and yes, I go to the bathroom a lot. Yes, it is really annoying but so is gaining weight, buying new clothes and feeling drained. Water is so good for so many things. Another thing to do is to start adding healthy foods to your diet. Experiment and find vegetables that you can add to your dinners. Replace the potatoes or pasta side dishes. Make a nice salad instead of mac n cheese. Once you start eating healthier foods you will start to crave them. Believe me on this. There was a time all I ever craved was McDonalds. But now, salmon is one my favorite meals. I love a good tomato and mozzarella salad. We experimented this summer with some of the vegetable pasta's and added olive oil, shrimp and vegetables. It was way better than classic spaghetti in my opinion. So go ahead and start adding some healthy options. You will learn to like them more and more.

The other thing that can really help is to focus on what you love about your body instead of what you don't. Don't say there isn't anything. There is! Dig deep and stop taking so much for granted. Can you get up and walk across the room? Do you have two arms and two legs that move when you tell them to? Can you play with your kids, grandkids or pets? There are some people who don't have any of these abilities. I just saw two speakers recently that had no legs and no arms. Can you imagine the obstacles they face in life? You don't. So it's time to show some gratitude for what we have. Move your body. Do what you can. Start off with a short walk and increase it as you build up strength. I finally got a full body workout in yesterday for the first time since my ankle sprain. I was thought I may die. It was rough. But I'm so glad I got it done. I started my week off with my toughest workout and now the rest of the week will seem like cake compared to that one. I'm so grateful I can still do it though. It was hard...but I can still make my body do it. Don't take that for granted. Celebrate your mobility by moving! We are not meant to sit all day. Get out there and get physical! It truly makes you feel good!

These are just a few things you can do to help switch up your mindset. I know how hard it is. I still struggle with it. I'm going away in a few weeks for a beach vacation and I'm trying to get some weight off before then. I am even doing a juice cleanse next week. My first one so wish me luck. But I still have to constantly remind myself to not seek out quick fixes (and obviously I still am) and to not let my weight rule my life. It's hard to deprogram ourselves. But we must keep trying. I am better than I was before. I have come a long way in my health journey. Start small and do things that you know you can stick with.

It's taco Tuesday y'all! It's easier than ever to find a healthy option of our favorite foods. What is one thing you can do today that you would consider a healthy choice for you? Remember to lose the shame. You are you and you are good enough, right now. In fact, you are a badass. You can do whatever you set your mind to. And as always, I'm cheering you on!

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