I’ve been thinking about the messages we receive and say to ourselves, with regards to weight loss and with everything else in our lives, and the attitudes with which we approach both weight loss and life. What do these messages and these attitudes have to do with our weight?
On the one hand, “losing” weight implies that we are in effect losing something that we’ll eventually want back (like a set of keys, a pet, a loved one, etc.) It is impossible to change the whole meaning of a word for one particular instance (weight, fat) and keep it for others (dog, cat, keys, phone, etc.). I have not felt right talking about losing weight because it doesn’t seem to describe the whole picture.
On the other hand, what is it that we are trying to accomplish when we say we are losing weight? Your feel best state, to look better in the mirror, to have clothes fit better, to feel more comfortable in your skin, etc. (For the purposes of this blog, I am going to call this your “feel best state”.)
In this sense, working to get to your feel best state through weight loss indicates some sort of cost to you/your life, a defeat, or a failure. I beg to differ with this implication: working to get to your best state is something to be celebrated! It is the ultimate form of self-love, self-care, and self-nurturing to help bring yourself and your body to a place where you feel great (this includes how you feel about yourself, your pride, how you feel when you look in the mirror, your energy levels and overall health).
How do you talk to yourself about your health and weight goals?
What is the story that you tell yourself to keep you motivated to keep going (or to get started)?
What if “weight loss” doesn’t sound right for you?
What I’ve been telling myself is that I’m not looking to “lose” weight, I’m looking to lose the unnecessary fat and to gain muscle, strength, flexibility, power, confidence.
Why is this fat now unnecessary? Well, I am no longer working in a high-stress high-emotions environment wherein the fat served as a type of protective barrier between me and the environment. I am working somewhere that is calm, respectful and essentially the opposite of what I dealt with for over seven years. I can let go of the things that used to serve me (like this surplus of fat), and bring in the things that will serve me (greater strength and confidence).
I keep thinking about the all too common message and affirmation, “I am enough”, and how when we say that we want to lose weight, cut calories, be in a calorie deficit, and so on, that this somehow indicates that underneath it all it means we think we’re not enough when we want to lose weight. As far as I’m concerned, no amount of affirmations of “I am enough” will get you to the gym or eating right.
If you are already enough, you are subsisting on what you need to survive and have nothing left over to change your life.
You already have the soul desire to better your life, to make a plan, set goals, to do the things you love, and to get started – it is more than enough. This is lavish, abundant, replete, full of life and desire and love. It is wonderful.
Relish in that: because you are more than enough, you are full of abundance. When you are full of abundance you can choose to let things go, you can choose what you take in, you can choose to change. You have the power!
Sure, I want to reduce my body’s fat stores, to drop the unwanted pounds that have been weighing me down. This isn’t about what I’m giving up, it’s about what I’m gaining, it is about being selective with how I use my energy, my time, my emotion. It is about cultivating more of what I want in my life, and editing what I no longer want. In this sense, I am not “losing” weight at all. I am letting what is no longer serving me go, so that I can make room to gain what I love and desire.
What might you gain by letting go of this unwanted material?
- Freedom to do the things that you love
- More energy and creativity
- Better sleep
- Better overall health
- Better skin
- Better outlook and approach to life
- The knowledge that you can do something that you set your mind and body to, to know that you didn’t give up in spite of all the setbacks, missed goals, and so on – this, for me, is priceless.
The most important factor in changing yourself, your life, is your attitude and your do-it-ness, your stick-to-it-ness. Telling yourself that you will do this, no matter what. After all, the difference between quitting and continuing is remembering why you started to do this in the first place and remembering that big goal: yourself, your feel best health.
You already have what you need: your attitude.
Now, get started – do something!