Hey there! Thank you for joining me on my blog today. I felt called today to write about how, as women trying to live a healthy lifestyle or trying to lose weight, we often judge ourselves quite harshly based on our 'performance'. We get really hard on ourselves for having one 'bad' meal or missing a workout, which in most cases makes us completely let go of our good intentions and eat those negative feelings away. I'm sure you've experienced this yourself, and you know by now that self-judgment never makes things better.
The type of self-judgement I'm talking about here is a symptom of low self worth. Maybe you feel like you need to prove how "good" you are by sticking to your health or weight-loss plan. Maybe you feel like a failure if you miss the mark, even by just a little bit. Or maybe fear that one slight deviation is going to move you off track from your goal of being slimmer, more toned, or whatever it is you're aiming for. In each of these scenarios, you're attaching your value to something external. You're attaching your value to how good/perfect you are, how your body looks, etc. Instead of judging yourself for your adherence (or lack thereof) to your health routine, it's more useful to understand why you feelings of self-judgement arise to begin with.
Once you've gotten to the bottom of the need to be perfect on your health journey, you can release the fear and negative momentum and step into an aligned experience of wellbeing. What this aligned experience is is totally up to you. It just means that you no longer have any negative beliefs that you've inherited from society, childhood, the media etc that are running your mental and emotional programme, your relationship with food and your body and your self worth. You are back in control of your experience. You get to determine what wellness looks like for you and what actions you're going to take to get there. And you're able to recognise that, as long as you are committed on a long-term basis to your wellbeing, how well you stick to your plan isn't a reflection of your worth. The sun will rise again tomorrow and you'll have another chance to re-align with your intention for your wellbeing.
With that said, here are some practical things to watch out for and work on if this is something that you struggle with:
Perfectionism and black/white thinking, when it comes to wellbeing, is not helping you nor is it helping any other woman out there. Modern culture perpetuates the story that life is linear, that we're always going to be able to make it to the gym or that we'll always be able to make the healthy food choice. But I'm sure you know by now that that isn't the case. It's more useful to focus on how to maintain heathy lifestyle habits in the long term than it is to focus on being 'perfect' everyday. Release perfectionism by setting SMART goals for your wellbeing that fit your lifestyle and current circumstances. For more on how to set SMART goals, watch my video on how to set up a sustainable healthy lifestyle here.
2.Flip the script on negative self-talk
The second thing is to watch your inner critic (she's a real mean girl that one). In 2017 I saw a food therapist for a few months. I had been dealing with disordered eating patterns after being on a weight-loss journey for just over a year, and knew that I needed help in my relationship with food and my body. I only had a few sessions with her, but she helped me see that my negative self-talk was the reason for many of the negative feelings I was experiencing about myself. Simply by shifting the things I said to myself, from self-deprecating and punitive thoughts to compassionate and forgiving thoughts, I was able to start healing.
The thing with self talk is that it's an indicator of how we feel about ourselves on a deeper level. When my self-talk was at its most negative, my self worth was at its lowest. Listening to how you speak to yourself will tell you a lot about how the extent to which you value yourself. Every time you say something harsh about yourself, catch the negative thought and forgive your inner critic for being mean to you. Then replace that negative thought with something more loving and positive. You have to be consistent with this in order to see a real change in your thinking pattern. This is really important because your thoughts reinforce your subconcsious beliefs about yourself as well as your feelings towards yourself. It might seem wishy-washy at first, but give it enough of a chance and you will soon start to notice a deeper sense of kindness and appreciation for yourself start to grow.
3.Keep a loving-kindness journal
Every day, write in your journal 3 things that you love about yourself. You are training yourself here to start appreciating yourself instead of depreciating yourself. It's another one of those things that seems like it won't work, but you need to give it enough time. In your lovingkindness journal, you may also want to probe yourself more deeply about what feelings/fears/beliefs lay beneath your self-judgement. When you judge yourself for skipping a workout or binge-eating, what are you really afraid of? What is being triggered for you in that moment? This is the hard part of self-acceptance but its where true transformation starts. If you want to experience freedom from hating your body and using food as a coping mechanism, you are going to need to do this work. For example, you might find that you're working hard in the gym to meet a standard of beauty that actually doesn't even appeal to you. This will give you the power to *choose* for yourself how you want to look and feel and decide on sustainable action steps that you can take to reach that goal. It's about releasing the stories that don't serve you, that are standing in the way of your ability to love and appreciate yourself and to choose what fits your values and wellness vision. This is conscious wellness in action.
I hope this post shed some light on your current mentality around food and exercise as well as the level to which you value yourself. Most women in the world are affected by society's script around women's bodies. So if you're struggling with this, you're not alone. I know what you've going through because I've walked through it myself and I truly empathise with you.
If you need support in this part of your life, please book a free 30 min breakthrough (health coaching) session with me today.. You'll get the opportunity to get clear on what you're struggling with and how you would like your life and wellness journey to look, feel and be different. Most importantly, you'll get the chance to be *listened* to. You can book your session here.
Until next time, lots of love