It has been found that 90% of women don’t like what they see in the mirror
Now there is nothing wrong with wanting to be slim and healthy, but it is easily to fall into the dieting and weight loss trap. We are programmed growing up that our weight will a huge impact on our happiness, health, careers, success and relationships. So, your wanting to be skinny is not your fault. Unfortunately, the world we live in now, diet culture and appearance obsession are at an all-time high. This has become our new normal and we are exposed to this from the moment we start watching tv, listening to music, reading magazines and joining social media in social media.
Wanting to look good is not something to be ashamed of, but when this starts to tip over to you making this a priority in your life this is when you need to take-action.
I hear you and I know how you are feeling
I always wanted to be skinner growing up. I rode horses competitively as a teenager and as a result had an extremely bulky upper body; something which I hated! From the age of 16 I punished myself to try and be smaller through extreme diets, skipping meals, over exercising and cutting out food groups. It became an obsession and my number one priority. Back then I believed that being skinny would mean I would be more attractive, more liked and more confident. The reality? 10 years of Anorexia and Bulimia, lies, damaged relationships, loneliness, anxiety….and I was miserable despite being skinny! But my focus on my weight was so strong I just continued on down my path of destruction.
I am not going to tell you the usual tips and tricks to stop focusing on your weight and making this a priority in your life. Things such as stop calories counting, eat what you want, focus on other things in your life…..all easy enough to say but hard to do. Why? Because I see the focus on weight loss as a symptom, something which if we spend our lives focusing on managing our symptoms to things, it will leave us exhausted and burnt out but still stuck.
What I’m going to talk about here is getting to the root of WHY you are placing so much focus on your weight. You can think of this like a pyramid with weight focus at the tip- the smallest part of the pyramid. However, what is driving this behaviour is at the base of the pyramid- the largest part. So, you can see if we leave this unaddressed, all our efforts at the tip, symptom level will be for nothing and a complete waste of our energies.
This pyramid has different levels moving up from the base to the tip:
Identity, values, beliefs, capabilities, behaviour, environment
Most people will give you advice on how to change your behaviour or environment- rather than helping you to transform your identity, values or beliefs which are holding you back- without resolving these, your behaviour will be very hard to permanently change and this is when you experience that 2 steps forward 1 step back.
So, let’s get right to the core of what is causing this weight obsession
At the core of this focus is your identity- who you are as a whole person. Who we believe we are forms the basis of everything we do.
So, to find this out you can ask a key question:
"If there was something I could say about myself which is at the root of why I’m focusing so much on my weight, what would it be? If I could begin this sentence or phrase with I….or I am
For me the answer was I am not good enough”.
Can you see that my answer started with I am, which means that this belief was so strong inside me that I had linked it to who I was, my identity!
The second part of that question is:
When I lose weight, people would pay me attention, like me and that would make me feel like I was good enough.
The third part of that question is:
"How do I know?"
I didn’t stand out when I was bigger and as I started losing weight people would comment and talk to me more.
If this feels too hard then you can simplify to:
“Who am I as a result of focusing on my weight?"
This is all a process of deep-rooted stored beliefs where you end up actually identifying with that surface behaviour- in this case weight obsession.
I was obsessed with my weight because I didn’t feel good enough… I believed that being skinnier people would pay me more attention, like me more and I would stand out.
So, the real reason I was focusing on my weight was because I didn’t feel good enough.
Whatever your reason is, this is where we need to focus. Rather than trying not to focus on weight, food and all those symptoms we have to work on resolving the deep-rooted beliefs holding us back.
There are a series of questions to ask yourself which will help guide you where to place your focus outside of weight. We need to again start right at the core of that pyramid and work our way towards the tip, symptom level.
1. Identity level
“If you could say something about yourself that would be true when you’ve let go of this weight focus, beginning it with ‘I am’, what would you say?”
“If this problem were to disappear what would become really important to you?”
“If this problem were gone, what would you believe about yourself that you don’t completely believe now?”
“What strengths or resources do you have that will help you let go of your problem?”
“What strengths or resources would you like to have that would help you let go of your problem?”
“What would you be doing that you currently aren’t? “ ”What would you like to do that you currently can’t?”
“If you didn’t have this issue any longer, what would be different in your life. Describe how you would like to be without your problem?"
Now you have answers to all of these questions. It can seem like a lot to work on, but this is a process and I want you to take your time. Have a look at what you have at the identity, values or beliefs level and focus on one of these first.
A great way to get started is with this quick 2-minute morning ritual I want you to introduce into your daily routine:
Whatever you have chosen to focus on- whether that is I am good enough, my health would become really important to me, I would believe I could do anything.
When you wake up spend 2 minutes doing this:
1. Close your eyes and centre yourself
2. Focus on breathing- in for 4 and out for 4
3. Focus on the thing you are working on and if there was somewhere in your body you felt this where would it be?
4. If this could have a shape or a colour what would it be
5. How strong 0-10?
6. What would you need to do to take it to the next level
7. Embrace this feeling with your breath knowing you can take this with you throughout your day
When you are ready you can open your eyes. Now commit to the rest of your day acting from this feeling- keep bringing your focus and attention back to that feeling whenever you need to- now you have a location and can visualise the colour and shape It has- connect back to this whenever you feeling your focus wondering.
This is a process and will take some practice- like physical training this is mental training, something which we fail to prioritise. Connecting to the feeling has a much bigger impact than trying to control with thoughts, logic or reasoning.
Give this a try and let me know how you go- something you can use with not just this but other things you would like to change.
Check out my new private FB group Women Unleashed for weekly, free therapy and coaching sessions and live Q&As, covering everything food, weight, body image, emotions and more!
Got any questions? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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