Hello from freezing cold NYC! I am tucked away in a coffee shop in Brooklyn in three layers, a scarf, and a hot cup of coffee, and my toes are still numb.
Oh well, I’m trying to look at the winter time as being “romantic”. Let’s see how that goes…
I want to talk today about why we tend to fixate on a specific weight that we strive to be, a certain size pants that we want to fit into, or a particular way that we want our body to look.
What I’ve seen in my own life and by coaching many women through this, is that our desire to be a certain size or weight is often times coming from some sort of outside influence, a belief about what we think that number will mean for us, or from a comparison. And when we truly stop to think about it, we may not even WANT to be that size.
We have a lot of reasons why we want to be a certain size:
- We think that we’ll feel confident and sexy at that size.
- We were once that weight and we think that we HAVE to get back to that particular weight in order to feel happy and to have succeeded at weight loss.
- All of our friends are smaller than we are so we think that because we are larger, then we most certainly need to be smaller to fit in.
- Our mothers and sisters are smaller, so we think that we should be smaller too.
- We think we will be more attractive and loved at a lower weight.
One of my clients had been really caught up about losing those last ten pounds recently. Finally, I decided to dig deep with her and get to the bottom of why she really wanted to lose weight.
I asked her point blank: do you think you’re overweight? (I knew she wasn’t) And she said, without even hesitating: “no, I know that I’m not at all.” The more we talked, the more she realized that she actually likes her body. She’s just had it in her head for years that she had to lose weight, had to be smaller, had to be skinner, that she didn’t even given herself a chance to step back and ask herself:
Do I actually like my body?
We discovered that this massive pressure for her to lose weight stemmed from her comparing herself to everyone around her. Her mom was tiny, and she was about to go on vacation with her boyfriend and his family. All of the women in her boyfriend’s family were also tiny. She also just so happens to have a lot of friends who are smaller and shorter than she is, so she always feels big.
Because they were all so small, she felt like she needed to lose weight and was always beating herself up and carrying around a negative body image because she was naturally bigger than these other women. Once she realized this, she was able to work on owning her body and began looking for evidence pointing to the fact that she was totally okay (i.e. her boyfriend freakin’ loves her body).
I had a similar story for most of my life. Somewhere along the long road of my diet and weight struggle, I picked up the number 125. Weighing 125 pounds = success, love and confidence. I was once 125 pounds in high school and I remembered feeling happy and confident at that weight.
For almost 10 years, I battled my body to get it back to 125. That was the magic number, the happy number, the number when all of my worries would go away and my confidence would skyrocket.
It wasn’t until I slowed down and actually thought about why I was so fixated on this number that I realized that maybe my body didn’t want to be there. Why am I exhausting myself with trying to get back to that freakin’ number?
Today, I am not 125 pounds. I don’t think I will ever be that weight again.
But despite giving up the goal of hitting that number, my body confidence is the best it’s ever been in my life.
Instead of being obsessed with hitting a number, I let my body settle at it’s own weight – a weight that feels healthy, natural and easy. A weight where my curves are in tact and a weight that allows me to have wine, cheese, bread, and exercise a few times a week in a way that I love.
If you’re in a place where you’re trying to change your body – whether you’re trying to lose weight, be more toned, or fit into smaller jeans – I want to challenge you just to ask yourself why for a minute.
Where is this desire to change coming from? If you looked at your body in a bubble without comparing yourself to others, worrying about how you may be perceived or looking at a past version of yourself, how do you feel about your size? Is it possible that maybe you don’t need to hit that particular weight in order to feel the way you want to feel?
There’s some food for thought for you! In the comments below, let me know what you think about this. I’d LOVE to hear what’s going on for you.
P.S. The Good Life Holiday Challenge kicked off yesterday and I’m having a blast with it. There’s an on going sign up, so if you’d like to join us, here’s the link!