Many women believe that losing weight will guarantee happiness and a better life. Studies show that changing your external appearance won’t guarantee a lasting improvement to your self-esteem. Why do we then continue to focus on expensive, external quick fixes without addressing the underlying causes as to why we don’t feel good about ourselves? Self acceptance and addressing the reasons as to why we eat and not focusing on what we eat (i.e. dieting) is the missing link to permanent change.
Women’s bodies are closely linked with their identity. Most women see their body as their total being and if they are overweight many think that they are a ‘total failure’, and forget that inside their body is a valuable human being. We find that women are constantly worried about their body, weight and their looks. This constant worry and anxiety can be exhausting. With 4 out of 5 women experiencing body dissatisfaction, body image is a real concern.
Self Criticism does not work
Many women believe that they need to exert more self-discipline and self-criticism to lose weight or improve their appearance to ultimately see results. This self criticism might involve being hard on yourself and beating yourself up with negative self talk, such as “Whilst I am fat, I will always be single”. Women then think that this self talk will provide them with the much needed motivation to go to the gym or start dieting tomorrow. Research has shown the opposite, that in fact self-criticism relating to managing weight and appearance actually led to emotional eating.
Self Acceptance is key
What’s the opposite of self criticism? Self-compassion. At the heart of self-compassion is self-acceptance. This involves embracing all facets of ourselves and not just the parts we like! We can recognise our weaknesses, limitations but this awareness does not interfere with our ability to fully accept ourselves. It’s only when we stop judging ourselves that we can re-direct our energy into more positive areas of our lives and feel free and at peace in our bodies.
The good news is that self-compassion can be cultivated. The challenge is believing that you are worthy NOW. Worthiness does not have any pre-requisites or conditions. It’s not saying “I’ll be worthy when…”:
- I lose 10 kgs
- I find a partner
- I earn $100K
We need to let go of the ifs and whens. We can only change what we accept. This sets us on the path of transformation.
A life of condemnation, criticism and control creates high anxiety and prevents us from enjoying and savouring the moment and our lives. Every woman is entitled to feel at peace and free in her body, regardless of her shape and size. Weight loss tends to occur naturally as a result of women feeling good about themselves on the inside.
1.Better Health Victoria. Body Image and Diets. Retrieved on 25th March 2012 http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Body_image_and_diets?open
2.Brown, B. (2010). The Gifts of Imperfection. Hazelden: Minnesota.
3.Cash, T. (2008). The Body Image Workbook: An Eight-Step Program for Learning to Like Your Looks, New Harbinger Publications, CA: Oakland.
4.Tribole, E. & Resch, E. (2003) Intuitive Eating, St. Martin’s Griffin: New York.
Georgie Beames is a Registered Psychologist and the creator of the Online FREEDOM Program to support women to make peace with food & their body and transform into person they want to be. Georgie has private practice experience supporting with body image & emotional eating concerns. She has over 12 years group facilitation and executive coaching experience. Georgie’s passion, interest and experience lies in empowering women women to live the life they were meant to live and realise their full potential.
Click here to learn more click here: https://georgiebeames.clickfunnels.com/30-days-to-freedom