First off, I want to offer a warm welcome to new readers who just came over from my guest post on ManVsDebt, 3 Steps To Help You Stop Wasting Your Life. Welcome, everyone! I hope you enjoy the empowering, supportive community here at Strong Inside Out!
It’s beach time, everyone!
The weather is hot, the skimpy clothes are coming out…. and things might be a bit tighter this year than they were the last time you put them on…
…Aaaaaand you might be feeling like it’s the end of the world.
If the picture above made your heart skip a beat in a bad way, you’re not alone.
Take a breath in.
Now breathe out.
Don’t get so down on yourself; that won’t get you anywhere you want to be.
I’ve been hearing a lot lately from friends, clients, family members and readers that they’re not happy with the way they physically look.
Most of you are aware of this thought I’m about to introduce, but I want you to start believing it:
You will always be your own worst critic.
As a personal trainer in LA, I see a lot of skewed body image.
Girls who are in great shape come to me looking to lose 10 lbs, which is all fine and dandy until they tell me how fat they think they are.
“Dude, you’re a size 4 and 5’9″!” I want to yell at them.
It comes down to the fact that these people don’t see what other people see. When they look in the mirror or at pictures, they only see their faults instead of all the things that look UH-mazing.
You know how I know so much about this? I have it, too….
Old habits die hard, my friends, and I routinely have to talk myself out of the tendency to nitpick and get down on myself.
Most of us over-judge ourselves to some extent because we have come to be so critical as a society. I personally think the media has a lot to do with it, flashing images of insanely fit celebrities and models in front of us 24-7, then ripping them apart whenever a dimple shows up on the back of someone’s thigh, but let’s not get into the blame game…
What I want to cover today is the process of talking yourself out of that very heady place that tells you, “You’re fat,” or “You’re ugly,” or “If you could only lose/tone this part, you’d be so much better.”
These thoughts can spiral out of control if you let them. So let’s nip them in the bud so that you can start taking action and feeling good about YOU.
What are you thinking?
So you just looked in the mirror. What are you thinking right now?
Identify the exact thoughts you are having.
I’ll share some of my past thoughts I’ve had to address to give you an idea:
“Hey there, big thighs.”
“My tummy really hangs out in this.”
“Armpit fat, ahoy!”
“If I could just lose 10 lbs, I’d be so happy.”
That last thought is what a lot of people get stuck in, and one that I want to stop right here and now.
There is no guarantee that you will be a happier person after losing weight, so do not wait to achieve it to start being happy.
There are so many aspects of your personality and your life that don’t show up in that mirror that make you beautiful, that make you worthy.
So you don’t look like a supermodel? That’s awesome! You have so much else going for you besides just looks.
And other than that, so what if you’re not 100 lbs and 6′ tall?! About 2% of the entire world is!
When you compare your shape, your looks to others, you’re fighting a losing battle.
You don’t look like anyone else, just like you don’t think, act, or create like anyone else.
And this is a good thing. No, this is an extraordinary thing.
You are the only YOU out there. No one else can add what you have to offer to the world. That’s pretty powerful.
Now to address the former thoughts…
So you’re judging the way you look. There’s just no way around that sometimes.
Judgment can be a good thing: it helps us to see what we’re not happy with and what we want to change.
It’s when our judgment pushes us into a negative state that it becomes less helpful than harmful.
I’m going to propose that you re-focus your eye on the things you’re proud of.
Thinking about your muffin top? Look at those guns that allow you to do 10 straight push ups!
Staring at the lack-o-gap in between your thighs? Turn around and look at your amazingly perky rear view!
Stuck on the back pudge? Focus instead on your intensely beautiful eyes.
Start making it a point to notice all the great things you have going for you. We all have them.
Make an effort to train your eye away from the dwelling, negative state and onto the positive, accepting state.
From this point of positivity and peace, we can start to work on the things you’re not too keen on without coming from a desperate place that would drive you to change for all the wrong reasons. When you want to make changes from a powerful, positive place, they’ll stick.
Are you taking action?
Ok, so here’s where we need to get a little more serious.
There are some people out there (no names!) who will complain, complain, complain about themselves and the way they look, and then go back to eating processed, over-sugared junk and not working out.
As insane as it sounds, we’re all guilty of it.
You can make all the excuses in the world, but in the end, all that will do is keep you in the same place you are right now.
One of my favorite quotes is from Richard Bach:
But hey, I used to be that way, too. When I realized that I had the choice to take responsibility for the way I looked, and that I had the power to change it, it was like my entire world flipped around.
I get a lot of emails that lament, “if I could just take your advice…”
Well, let me ask you right now,
Why can’t you?
No, really. Why can’t you get up and do something?
What’s holding you back besides your own excuses, fear, or laziness?
Now, you all know how I feel about waiting to change your life. Hell, I wrote a book about it.
You may just need to catch a case of the get-up-and-do-somethings.
The moment you start taking action (that first step), I promise you’ll feel better.
Knowing that you’re DOING something about the situation that makes you unhappy will lighten the pressure you may feel from staying stagnant.
I know it did for me.
Throw away the crap in your house that’s not doing anyone any good.
Just DO. Take action to change your life and you will.
So what about you? Are you going to change your body and your life?
I wanna hear it!
In the comments below, tell me what’s amazing about you that you’re going to start focusing on (instead of your “flaws”) or what action you can start taking this week to make yourself feel good from the inside out!
photos 1 & 4 by me, photos 2 & 3 by Helga Weber