How you see yourself:
Self-love or loath?
A mind game and a reality that so many of us battle with every day. How we see ourselves is one of the biggest influences on how we live our lives. Although I can comfortably share with you today that I am completely at peace with my body image it wasn’t always this way. Over the week I asked people to share with me what body image means to them; and I got some great responses.
Statements that stood out were being comfortable, confident, not comparing, at peace, self-love, perceptions, gratitude and worth. It was an empowering read! Each person also stated that it took some sort of journey to get to where they were and it wasn’t always positive. Knowing all too well I identified with these emotions I started thinking as to why we are up against these demons.
Could it be possible that we’ve been spell bound; pressured by social media, magazines and image expectations pretty much EVERYWHERE?! I’m sorry; but when did everyone become super models, athletes or the like? THEY HAVEN’T! Let’s stop the comparison. Could we choose to limit these forces in our lives? Absolutely! Do we get a choice on how we feel? We actually do. Imagine what your life could be like if you didn’t focus on everything you’re not? Where might you be? What could you achieve?
Someone who is doing just that is my friend Jean and today I have the pleasure of sharing her story. We have been working together now for well over a year; and I could not be more proud of where she is right now. I hope her story shows you against whatever odds you think you’re up against – you can make a change.
“Overweight, unhealthy and dreadfully unhappy is how I would have described myself when I first met Sophie, and it showed, harbouring emotionally charged, negative body image issues along with a good dose of low self-worth and you had me. Clocking in at 106kg and constantly unwell with anything from digestion issues to cold/flu. I was confused when I started my weight loss/health journey; my head was full of preconceived notions and completely unfounded information about food, exercise and weight loss which made my head spin. I can’t even tell you where most of it came from (magazines, quick weight-loss diet’s and rumours most likely) – but I believed in it, I figured starving myself and killing myself in the gym was the ONLY way.
I needed help, tackling this one by myself was hard and I didn’t know how to begin, if I’m honest I was pretty lost. Sophie and I were already friendly at this point but I was ready to open the door a bit wider to see what I could learn. She really listened to what I wanted to achieve, things that are important to me, what I enjoyed doing and eating. Never was there telling me what to do; she knew that I wanted to figure things out myself and together we created a plan (lifestyle) that incorporated training that worked for me, foods I liked and that gave me what I needed (nutritionally) to achieve that lifestyle balance I’d been chasing.
She has supported me to accomplish more than I ever thought I could. Her solid understanding of food planning and nutrition has driven me to really understand input vs output, to achieve my weight loss goals, build self-esteem and challenge my strength in training. Never afraid to be honest about my progress; being clear about my current reality and what my goals are, there is little time for unacceptable negative self-talk; and she has pushed me to acknowledge and celebrate what I have already achieved:
“To be happy with the person I am now, not at the end”
I won’t pretend it was smooth road, just like life there are peaks and troughs. I had a notoriously terrible relationship with food, I abused it like a drug; overeating, binging on “naughty foods” because of stress or boredom. I would then viciously berate myself, call myself awful things in my head for letting myself down. Sophie showed how to change the way I look at foods and that a balanced diet makes you feel satisfied, and how to incorporate “naughty foods” in moderation. I never deprive myself of anything anymore which means I no longer rely on food to deal with things like stress or boredom and I actually enjoy eating!
Now sitting at a healthy 75kg, I can guarantee you I will never go back to the person I was. With Sophie’s guidance I am living a life, MY LIFE! That changes with me as I change. Not some cookie cutter, 12 week, lose weight fast, 1200cal diet/exercise plan that might give me some results in the beginning but is boring, and will not teach me anything (other than what hungry and unsatisfied feels like) or leave me with a sustainable lifestyle. Sophie (the little bundle of happiness, health and inspiration that she is) has helped me realise that I am my own most important person and that I need to value and cherish myself. So that’s what I do; live my life for me.
My advice to anyone starting this change of life is embrace who you are now (you are already wonderful), take photos (SERIOUSLY – even if it is painful or difficult, trust me it will be worth it). Sophie can help you to be that person who loves you for you, because there is no point waiting to be something, get around yourself now!”
Thanks Jean! And ladies and gentlemen – she is still on the move for more!
Reality is; happiness and self-love isn’t about ‘loving’ every part of yourself every day. It’s defining what you want, and going after it in a constructive and positive manner. Accept that every day won’t be your best. Should that get in the way of the pursuit and love for life? No way. In a world that has become so image focused; we often feel pressured to look smaller, consume less and mirror others. This is not the world I want to live in, so I don’t. You too can join me here; where everyone is already awesome and has the ability to be the happiest and best version of yourself.
Here are just a few things to consider when adjusting your thoughts on body image.
You are already fabulous. Note to self, you don’t need to be anyone but you. Your body imagine does not define who you are. Regardless of your goals; it is necessary to believe in yourself. Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.
Define your own body image. Decide what body image means to you. Forget social media, magazines and the like; decide how it looks to you; what would make you feel comfortable, and work towards that.
Change your mindset. It's a job that’s never started that takes the longest to finish. What you aspire to is achievable IF you put in the work. Make sure you and your mindset are on the same page.
Surround yourself with people who support your journey. This one is vital. Limit negative influences in your life AND make sure you’re not one of them either. Can’t quite find the right support? Contact a professional. Whatever field, there is someone out there waiting to help you.
Take ownership of your actions. Accepting responsibility of the condition of your life will be the wisest thing you will ever do. No one else can make you happy, healthy or successful! Once you decide you have a life that is worth living to the absolute fullest; your amazing adventure begins.
Everyone needs a different system and support network. My approach may not be for you - or it might just change your life.
Only one way to find out!