I cringe when I hear the way most women, including many of my clients, talk about themselves. My heart breaks when my clients send me baseline photos and progress photos, not because of the way they look, but because of the words they use to describe themselves. The subject line or email will include words like ‘gross’, ‘horrifying’, ‘disgusting’ and other negative and hurtful words you can think of. Some even take it a step further and include an apology to me for ‘having to look’ at their photos. The truth is that I get it. I was once one of you.
I remember how defeating it felt to see my ‘before photos’ and then to actually email them to my coach, was even more humiliating. Even when I was in shape I included a paragraph long preamble with every reason or excuse on why I looked the way I did and I would always end it with, ‘I really don’t look this bad in person.’ I can laugh about that now but it really isn’t funny, it’s sad. Now I’m on the other side of it, being a coach and as a woman who is more confident and unapologetic about it. Of course I still have my days that I feel down or insecure, but they are fleeting. I’ve learned how to pull myself out of that self destructive mindset and now live in a place where I appreciate myself and my efforts much more.
This self-loathing mindset also has a hypocrisy side to it. Think about this...rhetorically speaking...we all want acceptance, but are we willing to accept ourselves? We want others to be OK with the way we look and with our size, but are we OK with it? We want support and respect from others, but are we giving it to ourselves? We want others to believe in us, but do we believe in ourselves? We want others to say nice things about us but are we saying nice things about ourselves?
Just like with any problem though, there is a solution. You can feel less like this hypocrite and appreciate your self infinitely more. Instead of tearing yourself down, build yourself up. Focus on the person that you are. Connect with your personal accomplishments, the difficult situations you have overcome, the lives of people you have touched, your personal strengths and connect with your morals and values that increase your self-respect. Think of how you treat the people you love. You treat them with kindness, patience and respect...treat yourself like that. Be your own best friend. Encourage, believe in and support your self. When you are feeling down, feeling bad or have treated someone unfairly instead of feeling guilty and ashamed, use that as fuel to become better. Become the person you want to be. Learn from it. Keep it positive. I often remind myself that at times I may be weak but most times I am strong. I am flawed and I’m vulnerable. I am not perfect. I am human. Most importantly, I tell myself that I am growing and evolving daily but despite that constant change, I will appreciate myself for who I am today. Unapologetically.
Our physical body will be whatever we create it to be. Yes, we can improve the function and the appearance of it. Realize though that it is just the physical part of you and not the whole you. It houses your heart, your mind and your spirit so you will want to make sure it is strong and healthy. You will want to protect your house...and everything in it. So instead of tearing it to pieces...love it, care for it and view it as more than just it’s size and shape. When you see your mind, body and spirit as one, you will be more successful with loving, being kind and accepting your self. When you view your physical frame as your house...where you live, you will take better care of it. When you do all of this, it will help build your self esteem and increase your confidence. Whether you show up to meet your friends or family, or show up for a job interview or at an event, no one is going to ask you to step on a scale or ask you what size you are. However, they will notice your confidence and how you carry yourself. They will pick up on your attitude and your energy level. When you feel good, you will look good no matter what, and no apologies will ever be necessary.
By Liza Hughes RN
Lifestyle Coach to Women
It was Liza’s personal journey of getting fit after having two children that led her to switch careers and become an internationally recognized Certified Fitness, Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach to women across the country. She understands first-hand the struggles and challenges that women, especially moms, face in the quest of a healthier way of life. Her drive and discipline propelled her over “life’s” obstacles and she has accomplished more than she ever thought possible.