How to Handle Junky Self-Talk About Your Body
For years I weighed myself every morning (post-pee, pre-food, zero clothes... obviously).
I let the scale dictate how I would feel in my skin and show up in my life.
Along with daily weight checks, you might recognize some of these externally focused practices below in your own life:
* Looking to the diet book to tell you how, what, and when to eat
* Forcing yourself on a daily run despite the knee pain that popped up on Day 2 because it’s a 'quick calorie burn'
* Entering every bite of food on My Fitness Pal so you stay on track with calories and macros
* Relying on compliments/praise from others to help you feel good
* Obsessively checking nutrition labels for calories, portion sizes etc...
* Avoiding foods that are ‘bad’ or 'unhealthy'
* Overindulging in foods that are ‘good’, zero points, or 'free'
We have normalized these practices, but they are sooo harmful to maintaining a supportive body image, and serve only to pull us away from ourselves, rather than turn our attention in where regular opportunities exist to cultivate trust and wisdom in YOU ✨
I knew my morning weight checks were not helping me...
'Good' number = Confident! Sexy!
'Bad' number = Miserable and Self-conscious
So when I got serious about creating more awareness, self-compassion, and intention in my life, my daily weigh-in was one of the first things to go.
I wondered what would happen if I didn't have the scale to 'keep me in check', and you know what?
My body and I did just fine.
Most importantly, I began to tune in rather than out to see how I was feeling. This was critical in helping me create internal trust without requiring the external validation of a number on a scale or a calorie count on a package.
This may seem small, but it represented a HUGE breakthrough for me.
I was cultivating inner trust and working toward eliminating some of the ways I outsource my internal wisdom. Yes!
I was doing great for a long time - of course there are natural fluctuations, good days and bad; but I worked hard to stay connected and positive.
..... and then I went to the doctor for a check up a few weeks ago.
Prior to this visit, I was feeling strong, healthy, and fit. Confident in my skin.
I popped on the scale with a loose idea of what the number might be... and.... it was not that number.
This number threw me for a LOOP.
Even though I KNEW it was just a number, a snapshot of a moment in time, it didn't matter. I was quickly caught up in it. I left the doctor's office feeling bummed out and confused.
✨ My inner voice used to say - "You are strong, fit, and healthy Carolyn!"
✨ Now my inner voice was saying, "UGHHH. What happened to you? You better figure this out! "
In the days that followed, I reconsidered my workouts, thought about different ways I could 'get back to my normal weight', checked nutrition labels (another practice I had long given up) etc...
Essentially, I went right back to my old diet culture habits as a way to control my weight - exactly what I (continually!) work so hard to let go of.
And truly I felt kind of bad about myself. Looking in the mirror, turning to the side and holding your belly in that way we all do (you know what I mean?!), and just feeling blughhh.
Why was I so hooked by this when just minutes before the appointment I felt great??
Now I had an eagle eye for every imperfection - and not just weight related, it quickly went to wrinkles, frizzy hair, my wardrobe, the paint chipping on the kitchen cabinet etc....
It snowballed quickly and honestly it felt awful.
And then, a funny thing happened.... I slowly came back to myself.
I wrote down all the (primarily illogical, unhelpful, un-supportive, junky) thoughts I was having each day so I could better understand what was going on in my head.
I was able to get all those thoughts out of my head and look at them with a little space and perspective. This makes ALL the difference.
This was by FAR the most helpful thing I did - and almost always is when I'm struggling with something btw.
Which is also why I'm writing this to you now, in hopes that it's helpful to someone else in this same position.
Because it can be HARD AF to be a woman in today's society.
We have a lot of pressure to look, show up, and be a certain way.
We take our cues from external sources like social media, the entertainment industry, friends, 20 year old's we see in the street - and then we use the feedback to unfairly compare ourselves to and use as proof of all the ways we are lacking.
As you likely know, this feels TERRIBLE.
Luckily there is a different way forward.
In the past, this weigh in would have put me on a VERY different path.
This time around, it was definitely sticky for several days, but I was able to keep coming back to presence, calm, reality, and myself.
And that made all the difference.
In those negative body-image, hurtful self-talk moments, here are 4 Resources (aside from journaling!) to help you bring attention in rather than to out to external sources that dictate how you should perceive yourself/your body/your family/your friendships etc...
Hint! This is not just isolated to food and body image; when you're doing it in one area, you're doing it in many. Address it here and it will filter over to other areas of your life.
✨ First, read this post, The Toxicity of Diet Culture, and How You can Recognize it and Release it. It's so important for women to realize the power that diet culture has over us.
Don't Skip This.
There are tons of ideas included for how you can begin to release the pull of diet culture in your life.
Choose one to start with, and go from there.
✨ I come back to this Intuitive Eating Food Journal when I find myself getting mindless and habitual, rather than intentional around food. It's the best thing I do to get me back on solid ground with eating and checking in.
Zero judgment, just information to understand what's going on from the inside out.
✨ Check out this Intuitive Eating Quick Start Guide with a quick summary of the 10 principles of Intuitive Eating, and 3 Easy Steps to get started right now.
✨ Schedule a Complimentary Connection Call with me to learn about how you can begin to unravel the harmful pull that food, comparison, external cues, and negative body image have on your self-worth and self-image.
Important Note: No one is immune to self-criticism.
Not those who work really hard to reduce that kind of friction in their lives, celebrities, those in 'thinner' bodies, people you think have it made, people on social media, people you think are 'perfect', or people who have whatever it is that you *think* you are lacking.
If this is an ongoing struggle in your life, it is a Game Changer to have someone help you see things from a different perspective.
This work has changed my life and there is so much potential for growth and positive forward movement.
Assignment for the week!
Find a way to tune in rather than out around eating and body image this week - check out the list included HERE.
Consistent small changes add up to BIG wins - and it's not just about body-image, this work has a far-reaching positive impact on all areas of your life.
You get to choose how you view yourself, it makes all the difference.