How many times have you looked in the mirror and said or thought something terrible about yourself?
Called yourself fat, ugly, unattractive or something along those lines? Disparaged and insulted your lumps and jiggles or the places that just aren’t filled in the way you’d like? Closed your eyes and wished that some magical genie would appear in the bathroom and move all of your fat to the right places, or make it disappear altogether?
We’ve all been there. We have days when we look in the mirror and we don’t like what we see. When the dressing room mirror becomes the enemy. When our bodies become the enemy. Ten years ago, that was my life.
Every day was a hate-my-body day.
I never thought anything good about it. I’d berate myself into eating healthy, which usually meant I’d eat well for a few days and then end up binge eating. All of those times that I wanted to exercise but couldn’t muster up the energy? That was because I was fat and lazy. The reason my boyfriend decided to cheat on me? All this body’s fault. Nothing ever looked good on me so I stopped caring what I wore for the sake of my sanity. Every daydream I had was about fixing my body.
My hatred of my body started to really control my life.
You don’t think of it like that when you’re in. You don’t see the domino effect that those little insults have on the way you see yourself. I binged on food, a lot. Emotional eating was my thing and sometimes it was extreme. I ignored the guilt. A lot of my self-worth was tied up in my body. It made me feel like no one would ever want me. Which meant that I chose bad relationships or sought attention, any attention, from people that I shouldn’t have.
When your mind is so focused on things like that, when you’re stuck in that daily thought process of your eating habits are crap, you look like crap, you can’t find the motivation to do crap, what room does your mind have to spend on things that actually matter?
There came a time when I realized that it was abuse.
That constant tearing myself down over and over and over again to the point that I thought it was okay, wasn’t okay. Here’s what changed. I started to love myself. Loving my inner-self bled over into loving my outer self.
That sounds so simple, but it wasn’t simple and it’s not simple.
I had to face some really difficult truths about my worth as a person. I had to appraise myself and sit with what I found there. It took time to process, to dig around in my inner crap and find the good parts of who I was, so buried under insecurities and self-loathing. It was hard, but I did it. And then I clung to those little things that I loved about myself and I built on them.
I realized that I wasn’t treating my body well. And it has nothing to do with weight, it really doesn’t. It had everything to do with that voice that tore me down every time I looked in the mirror.
So I changed it and it changed me. There were fewer reasons to binge on food, there were fewer reasons to berate myself for not going outside and moving. It happened slowly and softly. Figuring myself out provided me with a ton of options to soothe myself when I was upset, and some of them were even physical activity. Win/
I continued to battle that voice.
I read books like The Body Sacred and Eat Mangoes Naked and they helped even more to shift my perspective. There were times when I still heard that voice in my head but it didn’t ruin my day anymore. If I looked in the mirror and felt “fat” I allowed myself to just move on or better yet, I’d say something nice about my body and redirect that thought to something positive.
All of my work on myself, each time I thought something negative and then turned it around, it’s paid off. Changing those negative thoughts is no longer a manual recalibration, but an automatic one. Turning that criticism or insult into something positive now happens naturally without having to mentally remind myself to do it. It’s pretty amazing.
If positive self-talk is something that you struggle with, then I tell you to keep at it. Each time you change your thoughts around, you are creating a bridge in your mind, you are connecting the truth to those lies that you tell yourself.
You are making a positive change, and eventually, it’s going to stick.