Are you worried that being kind and forgiving to your body will take away your motivation to make lifestyle changes for your health?
I am a proud body positive therapist. I reject any suggestion that one body type is better than another because of size, looks, age, ability, race, or any other of the million beautiful types of humanity.
As a therapist, I am also involved in supporting self-motivated change processes. That means I believe in you and your ability to make lifestyle choices that will make you feel great, no matter what that looks like to you. You get to create the lifestyle that makes you feel best, and my role is to help you overcome the blocks that get in your way.
One huge block I see all the time with my clients is body shaming. All too often, we try to draw our motivation for lifestyle changes from a deep well of judgment and self-loathing. It may feel that being harsh and critical of ourselves will push us to work harder. But really, engaging in self-loathing is a sure way to get stuck in a wrestling match with yourself.
I have noticed this pattern over and over again. When motivation comes from shame, it is almost impossible to stick to any change. It’s perfectly normal for a new habit to take some time to adopt, but when people approach a new habit with a shame-based perspective, they’ll beat themselves up for completely expected setbacks.
Self-hatred is not a good motivator for positive change. Neither is shame or disgust. You can’t punish yourself into a healthier relationship with your body. I truly believe that if you want to make healthy changes in your life, the only way is to love yourself into it.
But how? Thanks to the negative messages we all receive from our culture, self-hatred tends to come much easier than love. I know how challenging this process can be. But all skills are built with practice, and this is no exception. Start practicing today and watch your muscles for self-love grow stronger. I have every reason to believe that you will find it much easier to reach your goals.
Do you feel clear that there are changes you want to make in your life to improve your health? If so, I invite you to consider these questions carefully.