If you want to change your body at all – do it for health!
Losing weight and eating less are all negative words in the sense that they mean that something is being taken away. I think language is very important, and I don’t think our brains can totally comprehend these words. If you think of eating less – you have to therefore think of eating. If you think of losing weight, you might have the sense of something being taken away and that can feel unpleasant.
Changing words to positives and specifics have a huge impact.
Gain muscle. Run 5k. Speak kinder to myself, by repeating affirmations and mantras. These are actual, tangible goals to reach for. Rather than ambiguous concepts that leave you feeling lost and confused as to what to do.
If you want to lose weight, then you can spend a lot of mental energy planning and working towards this vague dream. But what happens when you do lose the weight? Who are you then? What do you do with yourself, and your life, afterwards? The thinking patterns involved in losing weight are like training our brain to repeatedly believe a certain mantra. When the job is done, the mantra and the brain keep on going, leaving you feeling incomplete. The goal is done, but the shameful self-talk still persists. But if you work towards health, then that is a mantra that can just keep going. We can always work towards better health, as our health needs change as we grow older.
But the ingrained track that we wear down with repeated thoughts of “must lose weight” cause us difficulty in thinking on a new path. So what to do? We gain the weight back, and then, ta da! your good old pal, the vague dream is back in action and the brain once again knows what job it has to do. It’s strangely comforting. I know, I’ve been there. Weight on, weight off.
The thoughts around losing weight can become a crutch in themselves. It’s like, life stops for this problem to be solved. And it is a problem, because losing weight has the shadow of guilt, and punishment and shame all over it. But it’s a ‘nice problem’ really, it’s one that is all consuming but we know exactly what we need to do to sort it out (or so we believe). So if life is messy on the outside, at least inside your head there is a clear world order. Solve the problem, lose weight. Straight forwards. But how many skills do we lose when we chose to go into this internal world? We give up the opportunity for radical acceptance, of ourselves, of our amazing abilities to handle this world and all that it offers us.
We forget that we are strong and capable of dealing with people, and life and events outside of our control. We feel that the only thing we’re really good at is losing weight.
So I argue, beg and plead with you; if you are not happy in your skin, if you feel that you have extra fat on your flesh, then don’t lose weight. Do anything but lose weight!
When you reach other goals, other aims, you will feel so powerful, so capable, so strong in both body and mind that your life becomes more than you could ever have dreamed of, and you will love it!
Your chubby bits and wobbly bits aren’t so much a problem, as they are a perceived or created barrier between your and your life. When you learn to live, and find joy in this life, your bits and bobs will be whatever they need to be. No one likes the feeling of not being able to do up a button on a pair of trousers! Believe me, I know. But it’s not the end of the world. If you think you need to move more, you’ll need some determination and THAT is the key skill that will translate into all areas of your life. It’s not the losing weight, it’s the doing something in your life, and with your life. Cultivate that.
So, gain muscle, climb a mountain. Eat delicious nourishing meals. Learn to love yourself. Learn to forgive yourself. Anything but wanting to lose weight. Aim for reaching real goals, see yourself be strong and able to achieve what you set out to achieve. Work toward cultivating joy, and grit. When times are good, laugh. When times are difficult, find some new skills to cope. Don’t lose weight. Don’t run into an internal world of shame. Climb out of that mindset and jump into life, even with extra belly rolls or cellulite or no muscles in your arms. It’s okay! Get into life. Get into nourishing yourself; mind, body and soul. Feed yourself kindness and happy food from happy soil. Connect with people, love your friends, accept them and do the same for yourself. Absorb yourself in books that feed your passions, delve into woodlands and gardens and walk barefoot in the grass.
You will see that your life is yours for you to live, not to run away from. You can handle it, you are completely capable!
Don’t lose weight, learn to live a nourishing life.