There is nothing worse than being told to just 'love yourself' when you’re in the thick of feeling frustrated as hell because your jeans don’t fit, nothing seems to look good on you, you’re telling yourself that your arms look like sausages and wondering where things went wrong and you have to be out the door in 20 minutes and you’ve got nothing to wear and no one gets it and why is this SO FREKEN HARD WHEN YOU’RE SURE YOU’RE DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT?
I get that.
Truly. I do.
Tears. Tantrums. Feeling like the happy place of self love seems like this far-off land that you’ll never get to.
I don't actively advocate for self love. I mean, it’s amazing and of course if we could all truly believe in our bones that we love every inch of ourselves then I think the world would certainly be a much different place.
But there’s different points along the way to getting there. And even when you do get there, you'll probably still have days where you’re not that stoked with parts of your body—which is okay.
But self respect is something we can do right now and self respect is the thing that will always there when self love seems impossible.
We all have our things, our hang ups.
Sometimes living in our bodies is bloody hard. From cellulite to stretch marks, to weight gain or weight loss, even struggling to feel worthy or confident because for some reason that day we decided that everything feels and looks shit.
That’s fine! Normal.
‘Just love yourself’ isn’t exactly tangible in these times when you’re struggling.
But self respect is.
Even if you're feeling ALL the feels about your body, the truth is that in this moment, your body isn't going to change. It’s an accumulation thing, a long-term thing. So you’re left with two options:
1. Stay in a place of thinking only about the future or past, which is causing that anxiety (I used to be …/ I should be …)
2. Come back to now, the present. Accept what is, then move on and take the next best step. Eventually you have to decide to move on or not.
I think the most empowering thing with that is YOU choose that! You! That’s amazing.
Today I am giving you 7 things that you need to stop believing so that you can move into putting self respect at the forefront and accept your right here, right now body.
Stop comparing your body to other people’s genetics
If you're signing up to a workout program because you want to look like someone or you compare yourself to a friend or even a sibling you need to stop. Your genetics are completely individual to you. Isn’t that amazing?! That there is literally no one in the world that is like you?! The way your bones are, where you store body fat, the size of your feet, the length of your big toe—this is all individual to you. Even if you were to eat, sleep, workout the same as someone else you’d still look different! Honour your own genetic code.
Stop focussing on what you can't change
You cannot change your age, your changing hormones, cellulite, your bones, your shoe size—there’s no cream or treatment that can change certain body attributes. This isn’t to shame you for worrying about these things—those feelings are valid! But there is a better use of your time and possibly your money than this. By saying no to doing things because you feel shame about your body, like swimming, wearing shorts when it’s hot, not going to social occasions because you feel urgh in all your dresses, by saying no what are you saying yes to? Certainly not yourself. The oppressive systems that keep us stuck in our heads about our bodies? Probably. So let’s turn that around: when you wear the damn swim suit what are you saying yes to? YOU! You’re saying yes to YOU!
Quit putting thinness on a pedestal
This can show up in many different ways. Living in a smaller body doesn’t mean that you’re going to be happier, more confident, never battle with your mindset, that life is going to be easier. When you’re idealising thinness you’re putting your current life on hold. You're affirming to yourself that where you’re at right now is not worthy of all the things you believe will come true if your body is different. Now, this isn’t your fault. You’ve been taught this from social media, social conditioning, diet culture. But despite that you need to quit idealising thinness. It’s stopping you from living a full life RIGHT now! Look around you, notice all the different body types around you when you're next out. Notice the smiles and laughs that are coming from all different bodies. Happiness has nothing to do with thinness.
Stop comparing yourself to what your body was
Maybe there was a time in your life when your body was praised by yourself or others for the way it looked. Maybe you’re still thinking about the body you had 5, 10, 20 years ago. Can you honestly say that at that time you didn’t wish that your body was different? That you were one thousand percent satisfied then?! When I was at my leanest, I still didn’t think my body was good enough. Not strong enough, lean enough, athletic looking enough. I also had terrible energy, was stressed, didn’t laugh enough—but I was constantly told how good my body was so I thought that is what I need to hold onto. Accepting your body and how it is right now is not about loving it. It is about giving yourself the opportunity to be the most vibrant version of yourself by placing that energy you have obsessing over your body elsewhere.
Stop giving so much power to your physical appearance
You don’t owe anyone anything. When we’re so focused on our physical appearance we don’t give enough air time to our passions, hobbies, how we show up as a human, the kind of person we are, our personalities. When I think about the people that I look up to the most and who are influential to me I think about the impact they have on my life—not their body. Do you want to be congratulated on your leanness or your impact?
Do the work
The more that snarky voice hangs around and tears you down telling you that you’re not good enough, the more you give power to it and the harder it is to accept your body as it is right now. THIS is where the work needs to be done. This is it. This is the hard head and heart stuff. Where are those thoughts coming from? Dig deep into your childhood and what has conditioned you to believe these things to be true about yourself. Dig into your circumstances now—what people or environments are giving you evidence that your body isn't acceptable? What do you need to do to change those thoughts? It’s really hard to focus on the last step without doing this. Journal, get a therapist (Better Help is great and really affordable!), work with a coach, take the time to understand your stuff so that you can begin to detach from that mean inner critic. (This is also the work that no one wants to do, but when you do you learn about yourself. When you learn about yourself you become a more empowered human.)
Practice radical self acceptance
This is something I talk a lot about with my 1:1 clients. Accepting your body is less about loving every limb but taking care of the fact that you have a body. Radical acceptance is accepting your here and now body, remembering you only have one and treating it with the respect it deserves. You don’t have to be in a self love bubble, but you have to respect your body. You cannot do this, however, unless you have looked at those beliefs that you have around your body from the point above. Self respect can look like resting when you are exhausted and skipping the gym because you know that that session would have been probably more detrimental. It is having a snack when you feel hungry and not waiting until ‘snack’ time or that you don't have any calories left for the day or that you’ve just eaten so shouldn’t need more. It’s listening and honouring.
This whole process is tough, but what is the alternative? The continual exhausting cycle of diets, self loathing and exercising to burn calories?
If reading these has you nodding your head or feeling some kind of way, then DO SOMETHING.
Don’t just read this, do something.
Take one action step towards breaking down those beliefs you have about yourself so that you’re giving yourself the opportunity to be more accepting of yourself right here, right now.
Be about it.
If you want to have a training program that supports you being 'bout it, that gives a damn about you as a human, that gives you the opportunity to explore all of this while having the framework of good programming to free up brain space do you can do the head and heart work, you can get your name on the waitlist for Grit and Grace.