I recently recieved the following question from a reader:
"I was wondering about losing weight and being okay with your body image. I want to lose weight because I gained weight after my kids were born. But I obviously want to have a healthy body image as well. I was wondering how to make both possible because I tend to binge eat."
Here is my tough love answer:
Wanting to lose weight, have a healthy body image and stop binge eating can not all happen at once.
As I've mentioned before, the number one barrier to healing our relationship with food, aka stop binge eating, is also wanting to lose weight or fear of gaining weight
(as well as restricting our food which I talk about HERE)
It's almost impossible to recover from binge eating while also wanting to shrink your body. You have to want to heal more then you want to lose weight.
Wanting to change your body means that eating is no longer about nourishing yourself, its about wanting fix something you see as wrong and "not ok" about the way you look which often is not good for our self-esteem.... and typically just triggers more binge eating because now food has all the power.
I know- its a shitty cycle.
In order to stop binge eating, not only do we have to stop restricting and controlling our food but...,
We have to stop prioritizing weight loss.
The goal of weight loss is what fuels the binge eating which means wanting a smaller body is taking away your inner peace.
That means that losing weight is not going to help with the binge eating, rather no longer trying to lose weight will.
Furthermore , true BODY ACCEPTANCE is what we have to work towards in order to have a healthy body image and stop binge eating.
Body acceptance means truly getting that this is your body today.
The one you have right now- this is it. Take or leave it- it is YOUR BODY. Tomorrow you could be hit by a bus and then you have an entirely new body to work with.
Having poor body image does not have anything to do with what you look like per say, rather it is the result of not accepting your body right now and having a negative perception of it.
It's living in reaction to it.
Its likely that you see the body you have in the mirror and your reaction is something like... “its not ok, its too big, it needs to shrink” - which makes almost all of us feel like crap.
It also means that you have not accepted your body, so it has the power over how you feel each day. Your reaction to your body makes or breaks how your mood and that sucks.
I know because I've been there.
Rather body acceptance means you look in the mirror, you see your body, and you are like "ok this is the way it looks today... and how do I want to feel and live right now so I am happy and fulfilled?"
By not accepting our body as it is right now then our reaction determines our state of mine each day.
It effects how we feel about ourselves, our happiness, peace, joy, ease, and feelings of respect.
It makes eating a matter of life or death- because your happiness is dependent on external circumstances aka having your body look a certain way.
This makes me think about the suicide of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. These people, who from the outside, looked like they had it all: careers, money, family, notoriety, and yet, not fulfilled, not happy. Ending their own life.
Thinking that you have to lose weight and shrink your body in order to feel good about yourself, is like saying all you need to be happy is to have a fancy car and a big house.
"As long as it looks good on the outside we will be good on the inside."
We all know deep down that it does not work that way.
In order for you to feel good about yourself and this new body, you have to work on the internal stuff- in your heart and soul- not work on fixing the outside aka losing weight.
Your body just went through one of the most challenging and amazing things on the planet, your body helped you bring life into this world.
It gave you your beautiful children. And now you're struggling to love your body because it doesn’t look a certain way.
I am not denying our society puts pressure on women’s bodies, that oppression that we all feel, that pressure to look a certain way to prove our value, is absolutely real.
It is sooo real, its why I do what I do because is absolute bullshit that our society does this to us.
But I have to ask, what would you rather have, a smaller body or true inner peace?
I do not know everything but I do know this: true inner peace does not come from having a shiny exterior.
Just like a fancy car does not lead to true long-term happiness.
If inner peace matters more to you, sign up for a discovery call with me. I'd love to help you cultivate it.