When you look in the mirror, what words run through your head?
Do you smile to yourself? Call yourself beautiful? Or quickly glance away in disgust?
If the latter is more your jam, you are not alone. I have spoken with hundreds of women who do the same. When it comes to facing themselves in the mirror, it is unbearable. The thought of speaking kindly about themselves and their body isn’t even on the radar.
I get it. I’ve been there.
But I have also come out of the other end – a much happier, healthier, calmer and kinder person for it, too.
And I KNOW you want to get there. You wouldn’t have read this far otherwise. But it all seems too hard doesn’t it? When we have grown up in a society conditioning us to de-value our worth, or better yet, market that we are ‘worth it’ – the ‘it’ being makeup, or clothing, or those stupid waist trainers and leggings that “make you appear 3 sizes smaller!”
The real question here is WHY. As in, why do we WANT to look three sizes smaller? Why do we WANT to train our waist to contort into a shape that isn’t natural for our given body? Why do we WANT to lose those 10 kilos?
What are we trying to prove here?
Now don’t get me wrong, I am ALL for exercise and eating well and living a healthy life because of how it FEELS. Health feels great. Living an energised, vibrant and healthy life is the ultimate goal right? We want to wake up feeling good, going about our day without illness, or panic or any level of mental or physical illness.
The real issue I am seeing though, is the ‘health’ industry pushing not so healthy ways of living. Weighing your food before you eat it is not healthy for your mind. Training every day without rest is not healthy for your body. Weighing yourself once, twice, or more a day (or week) is not healthy for your soul.
And yet we think that if we change the shape of our body, if we lose those last 5 kilos, if we LOOK a different way, then we will FEEL a different way.
Here’s a truth bomb for you my loves – the way we LOOK and the way we FEEL are not one and the same. They are TWO ENTIRELY DIFFERENT THINGS.
Take it from the girl who has had the abs, the thigh gap, lost the weight, had ALL the compliments in the world about how amazing my body was looking, and was left feeling depleted, fatigued, anxious and a total wreck.
Now I have to reiterate – for some people, strict regimented dieting, and training, does not have the same effect on them as it did on me. But this blog IS about me, and it would be wrong of me to not share it.
This week is Love Your Body Week in Australia. In light of this, I wanted to share with you my three top tips to starting to love what you see when you look in the mirror starting NOW – and not when things physically change. (Hot tip: when you start practicing self love, you will find you body relaxes and changes ANYWAY. But you aren’t left with the mental, physical and emotional exhaustion. It’s a freaking win-win!)
Say goodbye to your scales
I don’t weigh myself because I know what that number does to my mind. For some of you, maybe weighing yourself is fine and you aren’t ever attached to the number that shows up, in which case, amazing. But I know for me, I used to place a whole lot of importance on that number. I could have had the #cleanest, #fittest week of my life, but if that little number came back even a FRACTION bigger than the last time I saw it (most likely the day before) then it would send me into overdrive – I wasn’t doing enough, all my hard work was for nothing, I must have looked bigger, blah blah blah.
When I realised the scales were not helping me in any way, I decided I would never weigh myself again. And other than a few doctors visits (where I have told them not to tell me the number) I haven’t. Because I KNOW even after all the work I have done, hearing that number will never do my self worth any favours. I know my mind. And you know yours. Do what is best for it.
(You will KNOW if you are at a healthy weight range by how your clothes fit, how your body FEELS and how often you are exercising/eating well. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to know the pull of your body’s gravitational force to be able to tell if you are healthy or not.)
Start catching your inner dialogue when you look at yourself in the mirror
Next time you look at yourself in the mirror, catch out where your mind goes. What are the stories you are telling yourself about your physical appearance?
Here’s one for you – I used to HATE my legs. I thought they should have been longer, and didn’t like how muscly they were. I would look in the mirror and pinch at my thighs wishing they were smaller. Now, I know that this belief had NOTHING to do with how my legs looked (totally love them now by the way). The story I was telling myself – that my legs were too big – was actually a DEEPER issue about my self worth.
I believed I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t as skinny as some of my friends, so that meant I wasn’t attractive enough. I thought my difference made me unloveable, unlikeable – that boys wouldn’t find me attractive, that in some way the circumference of my legs was a direct correlation to my ability to succeed in life.
Notice what you say when you look in the mirror and then unpick the dialogue. Chances are it is about so much more than your physical appearance. What are your underlying stories, and are they actually true?
Acknowledge the FEELING you are seeking – and then go out and find it NOW!
Close your eyes and imagine you are physically looking however you want to right now. Perhaps you weigh your ‘goal weight’ or just look the way you have always wanted to… Now really imagine how that FEELS. What would you do differently in your life if you looked that way?
Maybe you feel more confident? Sexy? Worthy?
Whatever feelings you are seeking, realise you can feel ANY of these things RIGHT NOW. You don’t have to wait for the perfect body, or to change your looks to feel these things. These feelings come down to practices of self love and personal development – which have nothing to do with our physicality, other than nurturing and honouring and loving the bodies we are given.
When I was training my hardest, weighed my goal weight, had the abs and thigh gap, I was seeking freedom and passion and inspiration. I was sick of working a job that no longer lit me up, but rather than change that, I thought changing my body would make all the difference. It only made things worse. I was sicker and unhappier than ever before.
Really acknowledge WHY you think changing your body will change your life. Chances are there is an underlying issue you are struggling to cope with, and you are using your body as an excuse. Own up to it, and get to work angel.
I would love to hear what practices have helped you fall in love with your body? Please share them with me in the comments below, and let’s start a body-love thread of inspiration!