The real reason you're not happy with your body
Okay, so you caught me. The title is a bit more cut and dry than my actual answer. But bare with me here, you're still going to nail down why you're caught in the body-bashing downward spiral. In case you've got ants in your pants, skip to the bold section near the bottom. But you'll want to come back up and finish reading, trust me. Today we're talking about how your values NEED to drive your goals, in health and life.
What does 'healthy' really mean these days?
I have seen so many women both on a personal and a coaching level, who express their desire to 'just get healthy.' Usually that means that they want to lose a little weight. Or maybe a lot of weight. Regardless, the word 'healthy' is more often than not used as an umbrella term for wanting to lose weight.
Some want to lose weight so they can feel better in a bikini. Some because they want to get back to their old bodies, pre-baby or pre-college or pre-whatever. Some because they truly think that losing weight will be better for their health (um, little secret: most of the time, weight loss is actually worse for our health!). Regardless of the rationale behind their desire to change their bodies, the majority of the time, that rationale is shallow.
Meaning no disrespect to anyone's wants, but 98% of the time, when I ask her, "what is feeling better in a bikini going to bring into your life?" I'm met with a blank stare. Or if that question isn't resonant, maybe this one will be: "what does being healthier really look like for you? And what is that going to change for you?" And if we dig even deeper into that answer for instance, my next question is, "Is that change going to bring you closer or further from alignment with your values?"
This is when I usually lose people. Talking about our values isn't a conversation we're used to having. Thinking about our values isn't something we do all that often. But our values are what guide our life's path; they're our most unadulterated, un-f*cked-with bits of our internal guidance system; they're representative of what's most important to us. Values are typically deeply connected to our needs. So if we start using them as our roadmap to where we spend our energy, we can make set much more authentic goals.
But the thing about values is that they're not always loud enough for us to hear. And often times when we follow 'logic' versus our intuition, we wind up subconsciously shushing our values.
So to the question, the real reason you're not happy with your body?
It's because your desire to lose weight is not coming from your values. The desire to lose weight comes from a much more shallow place; that desire comes from our society's imposed belief that thinner bodies are they only beautiful bodies. (Newsflash, we're a very small percentage of cultures that holds this belief to be true. If you want proof all you have to do is rewind a couple of centuries here in our very own United States.)
You're not happy in your body because of the belief our culture has that thinness is beautiful, and fatness is not. But YOU'RE not happy in your body because you believe this to be true, and you've forgotten all about your deeply rooted values. So first you've got to get super clear about what your values are in the first place.
My top 3 values, for example are Delight of Being, Creativity and Curiosity.
Let's tease those out a bit. It is most important to me to feel those juicy it's-good-to-be-alive vibes; you know those ones that sneak up on is in the strangest moments where your whole body feels the sensation of "oh my god, I'm happy." For me it's about making more room for those moments to sneak up on me. So right now, rather than stressing about the laundry not being put away yet, or the 8,000 emails I could be sending, I'm trying to make more space to invite that delight of being in.
I also know that if I don't have room for creativity in my life and in my work, everything seems off-balance. That's part of the reason I left my 'big girl' job. It's why I have to make sure my work isn't just spreadsheets and emailing all day. It's why I make gourmet meals on a Tuesday night, for no reason other than I needed some quiet creative time.
And you already know how important staying curious is to me. It's about more than asking the questions, and bringing in more awareness; it's about getting so consciously curious that you have no other choice but to then take action.
And that's where these values kick in. If I set a new goal for myself- let's say it's about taking better care of myself (cough cough, it is!)- declaring a goal like, "I'm going to eat healthier," is fine, but you've got to get curious about whether or not it's going to honor your values to do so. So for me, delight of being is my #1. Will eating healthier (eating in a way that makes me feel my best, so that I can feel more present) honor that value? Yes- BUT only if it's in a way that isn't going to feel like extra work or obsession. If it takes away from my delight of being, then it's not for me. Does that mean I'm going to eat pizza and cake for the rest of eternity? No. What it means is that I've got the ability to asses whether or not eating X is going to make me feel that delight of being, or if it's going to make me feel tired, or anxious or obsessive. And that choice, based on my deepest values- that's empowering.
So my challenge for you is to start thinking about your values.
Get super clear on what's most important to you in all of everything. And then what's 2nd most important. And 3rd most important, and so on. Once you have a crystal clear set of values, making choices that honor them is going to feel a lot less like work.
Circling back around to the original question -I know I know, I do a lot of circling- Why don't you feel happy with your body?
Because you're following someone else's belief's about beauty and life and worthiness, rather than your own set of values.
If you want some help getting clear it's simple, promise. But I created a cheatsheet for you in the Vault to help you fast track the process.
pssst- if you need the vault password, go here.