I’m going to see Jillian Michaels tonight, and I am absolutely bummed.
Or was absolutely bummed, I should say.
This morning started off with me in a bad mood over a pair of rhinestone jeans. A few months ago when I was in a particularly bad body image phase, I hung said jeans up on my dresser and promised myself that by the time Jillian rolled around, I’d be wearing them.
In my bad mood, I realized that I didn’t want to start the weekend off on a cranky foot. So I sat myself down (with a coffee) and started journalling, and I realized something.
I’m pretty good at asking powerful questions as a life coach (to my clients, I mean). I’m okay at asking them to myself, and today’s powerful question was: What would be different if I was wearing those pants?
What would really be different about my life if I was 15lbs lighter (o however many it would have taken to have them zipped up and simultaneously being able to breathe)?
I thought about it…
- I’d go to the beach
- I’d wear my new bikini
- I’d jump in the lake first out of all my friends
- I’d dress up
- I’d be able to go in my closet and wear anything
- I’d eat ice cream without worrying about whether or not I’d “earned it” or without skipping a meal to “make up or it”
- I’d sit on a patio on a nice day without feeling like I “should” be on my bike or running OR I’d go for run on a nice day because I feel like it, not because I feel compelled to
- I’d spend more time at CrossFit getting stupid strong even if it meant needing to buy bigger clothes to accommodate said strong muscles
- I’d be friendlier and less down on myself/cranky when I am around girls who are prettier/stronger/smarter/etc.-er than me
- I’d be more confident
- I’d go on vacation
- I’d go out for dinner and eat meals with people instead of worrying about it so damn much
- I’d eat three meals a day instead of attempting to skip one or replace it with snacks or smoothies or a treat
- I’d sleep in more and not feel bad about it
- I’d have lazy Sunday mornings without having to remind myself that it’s okay to not do a long run, long bike ride, or race every single weekend
- I’d go to yoga more
Then I was reminded of something I shared a few weeks ago on my facebook page.
Yoohoo Cheryl….you can do the things on that list right this very second. Your jeans might not zipper, but besides not wearing those jeans, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from doing the other things you think require you to be x number of pounds lighter.
There is absolutely nothing stopping me from stepping into that relationship with exercise where I do what I want to do without worrying about what it will do to my body or making it mean something about my worthiness or lack thereof.
I am entirely free to throw away the clothes that don’t fit me and to replace them with ones that do (thank God for Visa).
I don’t have to play out the old story about not deserving treats or meals out or needing to earn them.
All it takes to be confident and friendly is to decide to be.
When we tell ourselves that we will have that shiny, awesome life only once we have the body we think we should, we send ourselves a subconscious message that we don’t really deserve those things. A person who doesn’t feel deserving—especially from themselves—isn’t going to take very good care of themselves, which for me spells a recipe to keep on emotionally using food and exercise to meet my needs in a misguided way. When we don’t belong to ourselves and don’t have our own unconditional love, we lose.
I think of what I’ve lost to the idea that I need to fix my body before I can start to live the way I really want to live. I think of the time I’ve spent working out, stressing over meals, reading about diets and nutrition and fat loss. I think of the money I’ve spent on diet books, on programs, on food. I think of the energy I’ve lost and the power I’ve given away. I think of the experiences I’ve missed out on or held back during and I get really worked up. What I’ve come to realize has been worth it, however, because it’s pretty transformative stuff…
What my life looks like isn’t dependent upon what my body looks like. The size of my goals, dreams, and aspirations doesn’t have to be dictated by the size of my butt. The only thing the scale can tell me is something about gravity and mass that I’ve never quite understood anyways.
While stepping into this new place of worthiness isn’t easy (I can’t lie and say I dove in with both feet), staying comfortable hating myself is not an option I want to continue to choose.
When it comes down to it, I do not need to lose any weight.
Truth be told, I am healthy. I’ve had my third period in a row for the first time in a bajillion years. I’m doing something right, and as much as I might think that my belly looks chubby or dislike that my thighs rub together when I run, I’m healthier than I’ve been in a long time. Stronger too. Happier as well. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
That being said, we live in a society that tells us that we need to control our bodies and that smaller is better. That’s what I believed for a very long time, but beliefs can change–and this one is.
It might be radical to say that you like your body the way it is—and to live like you do instead of waiting for your cover model body to get here—but it’s also rad.
Instead of thinking about how you’d live differently if you had a six pack, why not think about how you’d live differently if you didn’t think you needed to change the way your body looked? What kind of food would you eat? What if your weight was like your height and you couldn’t change it–what would you eat then? How would you exercise? Who would you be?
…and then do that.
One step at a time.
For me, that means making exercising fun (this afternoon I played volleyball after CrossFit instead of going for a run), wearing a pair of jeans that feels good (thank god for jeggings) to Jillian tonight, and telling myself that I’m going to be the first one in the water when I get to the beach this weekend. For just this weekend, my intention is to act “as if” on this front and to work my way down that list of things I’d like to be different.
My thought is that the more that I treat myself as though I am deserving (because I am operating from the assumption that losing weight is an attempt to get my own love, approval, and acceptance), the less the weight will matter. And that would be a far better feeling than slipping into a pair of rhinestone jeans.
Thoughts? What would you do differently if your weight was set in stone?
What are you putting off until you’ve lost weight or perfected your body?
Have you had a similar realization?