Do you love your body or feel beautiful ALL the time??? Recently, I had the pleasure of being part of an all-female mastermind group, where each of us sat in front of the room and listed all the things that made us irresistible. Huh?? I've never been asked this before...who thinks of themselves as irresistible?? Many of the women confessed that they had difficulty with this assignment and really struggled to come up with the list. But then, one of my fellow masterminders stepped in front of the group, gave her list of irresistible traits, then boldly stated "I feel beautiful all the time". There was no conceit or arrogance in her words, she just said it confidently and factually. It wasn't "I LOOK beautiful all the time" or "I'm always the most beautiful person in the room". It was just "I feel beautiful all the time"... as if to say, "doesn't everyone???" BAM!!
DO YOU FEEL BEAUTIFUL ALL THE TIME?
I've never actually thought about it, but the answer is probably "no". I spent YEARS believing that I was only beautiful when I was thin, wearing make-up, AND dressed up. As you can imagine, those three things RARELY happened simultaneously, so I didn't feel beautiful all the time. I know I'm not alone...just ask a few of the women in your life; I'm sure that many (if not all) will say something like, "Oh my God, no! But once I lose 20 pounds, I'll be beautiful."
WHY DON'T WE FEEL BEAUTIFUL ALL THE TIME?
Many of the negative feelings that women have about ourselves are based on how we look. We feel that our weight or shape negatively impacts our lives. I'm fascinated by women who spend a lifetime "dieting" to change their bodies, but, unfortunately, nothing really changes. I recently saw statistics from a study that surveyed women over the age of 50 about eating disorders and body image concerns. Here's what the researchers found:
- 2/3 of the women felt that their weight or shape had a negative effect on their lives
- 36% of women reported spending at least half their time in the last 5 years on some kind of diet
- 41% checked their bodies daily and 40% weighed themselves a couple times a week or more
I hope you're as shocked by these numbers as I was. I thought that by the time we women get older that we've matured enough to let this stuff go and really start to enjoy our lives, but, sadly, that's not the case. For many of us, the issues about our bodies begin in childhood or adolescence and obviously continue into our golden years. Can you imagine a lifetime of not loving the body you live in? NO THANK YOU!
For years, my own dissatisfaction and unhappiness about the way my body looked kept me from living my best life. I realize that it was a MAJOR distraction from all the things I wanted to do. A prime example: I used to be so hyperfocused on my back fat, thinking "if I were 2 inches taller, these rolls would disappear" (yes, I actually believed this). If I wasn't obsessing about my back rolls, then I would be focused on how fat my arms were. Back fat, big arms, back fat, big arms, back fat... on and on. I would strategically place my body in the mirror and in pictures to minimize my "fatness". What a lot of wasted energy and effort!!
At times, I get angry at myself...angry that I squandered valuable time; time that could have been spent in fulfilling relationships or finding my true passion in life, instead of chasing one dead end after another. But then I realize that if I hadn't gone through that experience, I wouldn't be HERE, living an extraordinary life that gets better every day. It's still hard to believe that changing my thinking has completely changed my life. I'm not trying to tell you that it was easy, because it wasn't. Even when I started my fitness journey by training for Figure competitions, self-doubt and body image issues started to resurface:
can I do it?
will my back fat go away?
I don't know if I can get skinny enough, etc....
But I am grateful that, with the help of supportive friends and family, a great coach and a belief in myself, I am closer to being free from the prison of negative body image.
LOVING YOUR BODY STARTS TODAY
If you can relate to my story, then you're probably wasting A LOT of valuable time and energy on things that don't matter. As a result of changing my thinking and LOVING my self and my body, I have discovered my passion. Now that I am no longer distracted by my negative thoughts about not being thin enough, I believe that my purpose in life is to help REVOLUTIONIZE the way women view their bodies and show them what it REALLY means to be healthy and happy. I know, I know...it sounds a bit like "achieving world peace", but I think I can do it! It's definitely a big dream, but dreaming big is what I do these days.
It's time to get real with yourself. If your body image issues are causing you to sit on the sidelines and watch your life go by, here are a few things you can do to get back in the game:
1. Change your thinking. The negative voice in your head is a liar...plain and simple. Take notice of the thoughts and how they make you feel...in fact, write them down. When you see them on paper, do they still sound plausible? Probably not. If someone else (a friend or family member) were to say these same things to you, you'd be pissed. You wouldn't let them get away with it, so why should you?
2. Get up and exercise. Your body was designed to move, so move it! Exercise is NOT meant to be torture or a punishment for all the bad things you've eaten. Find something that you LOVE to do and experience the incredible feeling of getting stronger and healthier.
3. Make your health your #1 priority. The time, energy and monetary investment you make into properly fueling, resting and caring for your body will pay you back 10-fold over the course of your life. The human body is a complex machine that works best when treated well.
4. Practice gratitude. Be grateful for all the things your body CAN do. Transform thoughts like: "I hate my thighs" into "I'm grateful to have two functioning legs that can take me wherever I want to go".
5. Acknowledge the beauty. You've spent so much time talking about and obsessing over what's "wrong" with your body...now take some time to acknowledge the things that are beautiful. Take some notes on your beauty; even if it's that little mole on the back of your left knee, WRITE IT DOWN. If you can't think of anything, ask a friend, spouse or significant other...they'll probably come up with a nice, long list for you. Keep a running list and take a look at it the next time you start to hear the negativity.
When women start to love their bodies and feel beautiful ALL the time, everyone wins...our families, friends, and even strangers. Imagine the power of millions of women who are not focused on how we look, and instead, focused on how we can have a positive impact on the world. Shift your focus.