“You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving yourself and see what happens.” – Louise Hay
The Beginning: Self-Hating
Many of us begin our weight-loss journeys from a place of self-hatred, rather than self-love. We have often been taught to be dissatisfied with the way we look from a young age in a variety of ways. Whether we came to believe we are not enough through the lack of representation in the media, weight-loss advertisements that promise happiness if you lose those pesky pounds or negative comments made to us about our bodies, it is not uncommon for us to look at our bodies and think changing it will make our lives infinitely better. However, to feel content in our bodies it is imperative that we make a mindset shift toward self-love along with our weight-loss experiences otherwise meeting our goals may not be as fulfilling as we hoped.
Challenge: Write down three things that are not about your physical appearance that you believe weight-loss will bring you. Focus on these things over your appearance. (Note: this is not to say physical appearance does not have to be important, but when it is our only focus, we will likely find something else to be dissatisfied with once the weight is off!)
The Middle: Self-Acceptance
As acceptance begets love, we must start slowly with self-acceptance. When accepting ourselves, we must engage in self-awareness to learn what our pain points are, what we like about ourselves, what we find challenging to like about our bodies, where our insecurities come from, etc. Some of the greatest amount of growth comes from wrestling with difficult questions. When we are able to identify our challenges, we can create a space to overcome them and begin accepting ourselves as we are.
Challenge: Write down three things that you find challenging to accept about your body and work on learning to accept yourself, as you are now- not ten, twenty, or thirty pounds from now!
The End: Self-Loving
Self-love is not the exchange we receive for our weight. It may feel good upon hearing the “you look greats,” but this is relying on external stimulus to feel love for our incredible bodies. This is something we must find within ourselves for it to become a consistent part of our lives, no matter our weight or size. We have the power within ourselves to extend love, compassion, and kindness to ourselves. While weight-loss takes a lot of mental effort, changes in habits, and dedication, self-love takes double the amount of mental strength. If you are engaging in weight-loss, take a deeper look at why you want to lose weight, whether you are coming from a place of love or hate, and how you think your life will change when you have lost weight. Shift any perspective that is coming from a place of hatred for your body.
Challenge: Write three things you love about your body each day over the next week. Notice how seeking good allows us to see the good more easily.
Tips For Self-Love
- A gratitude practice focused on your body
- Being mindful of the content you are viewing
- Finding beauty in a variety of people no matter their shape or size
- Focusing on the benefits of weight-loss outside of physical appearances
- Engaging in self-care practices
Let’s commit to loving ourselves!
About the author: Amanda Gould is a MAPP distance student at Buckinghamshire New University, living near Toronto, Canada. You can typically find her running, drinking a smoothie, or figuring out new ways to live her best life!