How many of us have measured our self-worth on a numerical figure such as weight, dress size, or calorie intake?
Or judged our health by the food we eat and then looked in the mirror, only to be consumed with an internal loathing for the shell we see staring back at us?
I thought so. In my time as a personal trainer and self-love coach, one thing I have come to realize is the unequivocal link between self-perceived body image and the measurement of self-worth, particularly for women and young girls.
Throughout my work I continue to ask—when does it stop? When does the self-criticism end and self-acceptance begin? When does our happiness become more important than the dress size or weight on the scale? The answer for most, is in fact, it does not. No amount of weight loss can solve the years of fighting with our bodies, unless we drag ourselves through the battlefield and delve deeper within to uncover the scars we hold and the triggers that cause them.
When we chase a dress size or a target weight, understand it is not the number but it’s the feeling we desire. It’s the internal feeling of acceptance we so desperately search for, so we work hard in hope that shedding the extra weight will create an explosion of joy, self-acceptance, and body love.
But what happens when it doesn’t work out like that? What now? The mental turmoil begins. We move the goalpost and allow a series of limiting beliefs to enter our mental space, constantly telling ourselves we are not good enough as we don’t portray society’s ideologies regarding perfection. We become so consumed in a “never enough” mindset that we begin to restrict our body of the foods it so desperately needs to function and nourish us.
The reality is, we can eat as many greens as we like and exercise each day but if we’re Vitamin L(ove) deficient, we will lack self-acceptance no matter what our external shell looks like. That feeling we so desperately want is being pushed further away the more we diet down, restrict our bodies, chase those few last pounds, and critique the beautiful body we have.
I get it—toxic limiting beliefs are hard to shift. They tell us we’re unlovable. Our naked body is unworthy because it carries imperfections and we’re a failure because we cannot stick to a simple diet. It’s no secret that limiting beliefs are a massive topic in psychology today and they compound every negative download we receive and have received throughout our lifetime.
Vitamin L(ove) comes with time. Relaxing and reconnecting back with our bodies at this moment in time is essential to gaining a newfound respect and love for our external shell and protecting our mental wealth.
Diet culture within the media interwoven with continued body shaming of women in society creates a deep shared experience of reduced self-worth that we have somehow become ashamed to talk openly about. Self-loathing has become the norm and diet culture has created a space for the continuation of body comparison and self-hate.
Chasing perfection is the thief of self-love, so my advice to women is:
It’s time to step away from the scales and reconnect with our bodies through a process of gratitude and internal work as we come to understand that happiness and self-acceptance begin within. If we understand that, we have the power to create a life filled with magic and abundance.
This is what Jameela Jamil has to say about her #iweigh movement and the culture of body shame:
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