“It’s never been true, not anywhere at anytime, that the value of a soul, of a human spirit, is dependent on a number on a scale.” ~Geneen Roth, from Women, Food and God
On my vacation, the body image triggers came out. Big time.
Something about putting on a bathing suit, I suppose.
These triggers go way back. I think it all started in 3rd grade when someone told me I was chubby. From then on, I started writing down everything I ate and limited my list to only 5 items.
1 piece of toast…1 French fry…2 pretzel sticks…1 piece of pizza
If I went over 5 things, and as you can see they weren’t the healthiest for a growing girl, I would beat myself up, plan on doing better the next day, and starting over and over again.
This led to constant dieting pretty much all my life. South Beach, Adkins, low-carb, all carbs; diets that screwed with my mind not to mention my metabolism. I think I avoided bananas for 5 years because I never got out of Phase 1 in South Beach.
In my 20’s I hated my thighs and would slither into a pair of shorts over my bathing suit at the pool. I didn’t want people to see my butt. I guess I was what you call “skinny fat” and thought the whole world saw the jiggle.
After I had kids, I hated my stomach (and honesty time, this is still a big struggle for me). I gained 50 lbs. with both Kate and Jack and tried desperately to lose all the baby weight. Stroller Strides, running, triathlons… striving for a flat tummy. I weighed myself everyday, usually 3 times or more. I had a certain number in my head and if I weighed more than it, then my whole day was ruined.
Then I stopped eating.
Kate, being only 3 years old, noticed. “Mama, why aren’t you eating with us? Why don’t you sit down?”
Wake up call.
That’s not good when your kids start to see these things. And who knows what I was saying out loud about my body.
I knew it was time to zap the negative self-talk and get some help. It was a lot of hard work with group counseling and learning to switch my mindset; to rewire thinking that was embedded in my cells.
Instead of burying my thoughts, I learned to experience them. I constantly felt trapped and smothered with all the self-loathing thoughts that ran through my head. Slowly but surely, I began to make a switch, and now automatically when I get the “Ugh, I wish I was ________ or my _________ looks terrible,” thoughts, I stop myself immediately. I even say “STOP!” out loud.
Then tell yourself ,
“Thank you very much for letting me know. But I am amazing.”
Let it go.
That’s it, you say? I know…switching negative thoughts to positive feelings. Not easy. Nope…this is lifelong process.
I guess this tactic or trick is really giving yourself a break and embracing a new way of thinking. Being gentle with yourself. Forgiving yourself. Practicing this consistently, constantly, and with no judgement…it works.
Some days it’s tough, especially those bathing suit days. But after some time these negative thoughts will disappear as quickly as they came. I promise.
…I’m so much more than my body. I’m a soul with a body. I accept my body. I accept ME.
As for my Kate, a 9 year old, she’s starting to notice bodies….who is bigger, smaller, older, younger…
I make sure to tell her she’s beautiful every day. I make sure I tell myself, too. Really look into my eyes, deep into my soul, “Lisa, you are beautiful.”
I’m glad I shared my story with you. It helps me heal, and I am very hopeful that we can all learn to accept our bodies wholeheartedly. As I tell my clients, our bodies love us. No matter what number is on the scale.
View your body as a whole; not piece by piece. Your body pumps blood and breathes air to keep you alive. Your body keeps you safe. Your body loves you. Let’s give her love right back.
Gorgeous one, how do you show your body some love?
Share your thoughts in the comments.
*If you want to delve into this topic a little more, I recommend any book by Geneen Roth regarding body image and emotional eating.
Thank you Lisa for sharing your story with us. We all seem to have one. And I believe sharing it is part of the healing process. YOU are magnificent! xo
Thank you, lovely. Yeah, I don’t think I know one woman that doesn’t have one in a form or another. Big love to you!
Lisa, thanks for sharing your story. And you are right there is a lot of healing in telling your story! I love how you challenge your negative thoughts. In the beginning it is hard and uncomfortable but with lots of practice (daily) it does get easier. I spent almost two decades struggling with anorexia….that is a lot of negative self talk and ingrained behaviors but everyday I practice nourishing my body and soul is a day that I experience personal growth. Self-love does feel good and I am so happy you have found it! You are an amazing friend, Mom, health coach and human being and I love you!!! xoxoxo
Oh, Fran, my love, I love you so much! It is so darn uncomfortable trying to stop those negative thoughts from taking over. I realized, and learned in group counseling, that it’s fine to acknowledge the thought, but then detach and let it float away while replacing it with a more positive, loving one. Fran, thank you so much for opening up and sharing about your eating disorder. For me, I’ll think things are going all fine and then triggers happen, like at the beach. I start the downward spiral of comparing and berating myself…so I get better each day of stopping all that before it gets out of hand. It has taken me about 5 years now of practice and I know this is something I will need to do all my life. You are so beautiful, my friend. Thank you so much. Thank you for being so wonderful. xoxo
I am so proud of you and thank you for sharing your story. So many people struggle with their human image, when what we really are is in on the inside. All of our individual journeys are about learning to love and accept ourselves so that we can accept and love others. We are all mirrors of each other. All the experiences; the joy and the pain wake up to to who we really are. LOVE.
Once this transformation happens people tend to see a shift in all areas of their life for the better.
Namaste my friend. I love you.
Now time for my smoothie!
Thank you so much, Casey! I know that we all have our stories, and in my field, a lot of coaches get hung up on being perfect. I even sometimes fall into the trap of that so I needed some release with sharing with my community, people I love and trust. Just that simple (well, it’s not easy, but only a few steps!) STOP and not pushing your feelings away, but acknowledging, then saying, Nope, that’s bullcrap…I’m freaking beautiful…this practice gets easier and you begin to believe, trust your body and yourself. The transformation is amazing, you are so right! Love you girl and drink up!
I am so appreciative that you shared your story lisa. I too, think sharing our secrets is part of the healing process. Here I am, 40 years old and still trying to watch hat I eat, and beat myself up when I overindulge. I love your pictures too! I still struggle so much with the number on the scale. and I think WAT TOO MUCH about food and what kind of food I am eating. I am totally inconsistent too. Some days it’s all meats other days carbs, then I’ll go raw, it’s crazy. I want to change this but somehow it still gets the best of me. I am going to keep working on it though.
Writing to you has helped the healing…I can feel it already. I totally get what you are saying…although, I have known you for awhile now and I admire your openness (because this is a touchy subject for a lot of women, and many don’t feel comfortable sharing) and drive to live a healthy and happy life. You have a lot of the tools (such as the cleanses and recipes) but now here is the exciting (but painful) part: You can now work with your mindset. Just using the quick exercise in the post, which might seem bogus BUT when you do it and do it every single day, it does work. Sure the triggers will come to test you, but you have this to fall back on. You know what I did about 5 years ago? I threw away the scale…in the garbage and haven’t weighed myself since. Crazy pants, huh! BUT do you know how freeing it is to not rate your life on a number? Maybe something to think about while you are exploring. I’m here for you during this process, and I love you bunches.
just this very morning i was thinking of the mean voice in my head and how if that bitch said things like that to my BFF it would come to blows QUICKLY… and i am a very PEACEFUL (*ahem*) person … this article speaks to my need right now. I am grateful for your writing. <3<3<3
Thank you, dear. I also try to think of it that way too…would I let anyone talk that way to my friends? OR would I say anything bad about someone’s body? Hells no. So this is also a great way to think of it. So glad my truth spoke to you…it was difficult to write about but I feel so much better.
Wow. Weight and body image are struggles I definitely seem to be having more as an adult than when I was younger. I hate how I look now, and more importantly how heavy I feel, and berate myself every day. I didn’t think that I had these struggles when I was younger but now after reading this I think about it and I think I did. I had a lovely body when I was younger, I was in great shape and was able to eat whatever I wanted and not gain weight. Yet I always wore baggy t-shirts and clothes that didn’t fit me well. A big part and I never realized this until a few years ago, was that I didn’t have anyone telling me how beautiful I was or giving me the emotional love or support I needed, so it affected my self esteem and I didn’t believe I was as pretty as I was. It is so hard to deal with this and change negative thoughts, and i have been nowhere near successful at it, but i believe it is worth the effort
Steph, that is so interesting…it is the opposite for me as I grew up nitpicking at my body constantly until after I had Kate and Jack it all came to a head. I totally get not thinking about having struggles when I was younger…I don’t even remember that except it was just a way of life and my thoughts were consuming me. Thank you for being so open and honest about how you feel. I know that I used to thrive on “Lisa, you look so good. You lost weight!” OR “How skinny you are!” Now I know that it has to come from all inside…from me and that is a lot of work. Painful, but as you said, it is worth the effort, and I know you, you are BEAUTIFUL inside and out, really. As my friend for a VERY long time, I can say that and know that you and I will do this together…this journey during our lives. love you.
thank you so much for sharing your story. I needed to read this today. I have been doing some serious smack talk to myself about not staying on my clean eating track. I need to let go of the negative and be proud of myself for making the healthy change today…right now. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
You are so welcome, Stephanie. So welcome and thank you for sharing your thoughts. You know, the clean eating thing, make it flexible to fit you. To fit your life…I’m so so very proud of you and for mostly being honest and willing to dig deep to really lead a happy life. That takes guts. It’s so very painful and hard at first…very uncomfortable to let go of the negativity because it’s so different. But it can happen. totally. Stephanie, you are AMAZING! AND I’m honored to have you as a part of the community. Big love.
Thanks Lisa for sharing your story. I hope you see how far you’ve come from that person who didn’t eat bananas for 5 yrs. You are in inspiration to us all — maybe even more so since you shared your own inner battle. We all have our body issues and spend way too much energy on telling ourselves how we should be better. Imagine if we just spent that energy on helping ourselves and others!
I have always disliked (ok, honestly, hated is more accurate) my hips and thighs but one day as I was looking at my precious 3 yr. old who is built just like me, I realized that that’s just the way my body is made and that no matter what I ate (or didn’t) or how much I exercised, I’d still have hips and thighs. It was liberating to finally let it go.
Thanks again for sharing with us,
Sheila, you are a ROCKSTAR! Thank you! And you are so right on when you say we spend so much time and energy on things we can do better. I say, forget all that! I will say making the shift to stop the negative talk in its tracks might sound all woo woo and too simple, but it does work. Of course, really digging down, getting to the root takes time and lots of tears, but after 5 years now, I say it is all worth it. I totally get the hips and thighs thing (and love your 3 year old!)…I’m Italian, and you know what, it’s the way it is. Sheila, thank you so much for being here with me. Love you lots!
Lisa, Thank you for sharing….you are a beautiful person, inside and out and I am very thankful for having met you! I enjoyed reading your words…as I think negative thoughts on my eating habits as well. I do try to live healthy and well, but am not at that ‘ideal number in my head’ today. Its a daily struggle but I learn more and more each day how to ‘live well’ and ‘love myself’! Thank you! MC
Hi MC, my dear! I miss you so much, you know that?
Thank you so much for your kind words and so glad you shared this with me. I think every woman feels some sort of insecurity, whether they admit it or not. It’s getting in touch with yourself and really owning your thoughts that can help you move towards making a shift to, as you say, “live well and love myself.” I am with you and so happy we can do this together. Big love.
I heave tears in my eyes. Thank you for sharing, Lisa! You are beautiful!
Love you, Jen! Very…thank you for having my back. AND you are BEAUTIFUL…so much.
I know how difficult it is to put yourself out there like that. You have exposed yourself which is much more than many people are willing to do. I appreciate your honesty. Thanks, Lisa — Its helping me heal, too. You are truly an inspiration!
It actually feels good, Jen. I was so hesitant to hit “publish” but I’m so glad I did. It’s hard to admit insecurities or that i’m not perfect, but you know, as I really speak the truth and show ME, it all doesn’t matter. I feel so much better just admitting things. AND so glad it we can heal together. Big love to you!
Lisa, thank you for sharing your story and for your honesty. It is so important to acknowledge how hard it is–and I know for sure how hard it is–to feel good about your body all of the time. And so so important for the kiddos not to give that negativity to them. I am grateful to read your thoughts and feelings!
Christa, thank you so much for being here. I totally know, it got pretty scary when Kate started to notice things. I think it is very hard for women to feel good about their bodies all the time… I totally agree with you. I’m so grateful for you, Christa! Big love.
Thanks so much Lisa for bringing up the topic. Obviously those negative messages we’ve absorbed throughout our lives from family, boyfriends, the media, etc take a toll and they seem to pile up so its much harder to shake them as you get older. I love what Sheila said about her daughter and how beautiful she is. I told my daughter every day how beautiful she was too and now she’s a confident unselfconscious beautiful soul. It puts things into perspective and makes you realize that our perceived beauty or lack thereof is completely in our own heads and its up to us to stop the negative thoughts when they start and replace them with what we would say to our own daughters.
Yes, the messages we get during our lives can be so damaging, BUT I know for me, I can’t live in the past and blame that anymore. I realized self-love had to just come from me, not anyone else. Such a tough lesson and so hard to do, as you point out, as you get older. I love how your daughter is simply unconsciously confident…what a gift you gave her. I love it! AND I love how you put it, shifting the negative to words we say to our daughters, and tell ourselves the same thing. Wendi, thank you so much! Big love to you.
Wow, what a powerful piece (or should I say peace) you wrote! It is so hard for women to be at peace with how we look. I love that you mention your daughter, because that’s thing that keeps me honest around here. I once heard that a child’s same sex parent is their most influential on their body image. That does not mean the airbrushed photos in magazines don’t have an impact, but I took it to heart because it made sense to me. I am very careful not to criticize myself in front of them. What happened was I started to realize that I didn’t need to criticize myself at all. You’re so awesome and I love you for being you! Thanks for all you do!
-Ann <3 U. 🙂
Awww, Ann, it means the world to get your message…and yes, Kate keeps me honest. In fact, Kevin would totally agree with me on this…I used to talk about my weight, my hair, pretty much all the time. I don’t even remember that now since I’ve really made an effort to not “go there.” I really think that thoughts and even words can really bring on unwanted things in life and also, as you mentioned our kids, it is so powerful to see an adult, especially their mom, having great self-esteem…modeling self-love. And I love that you realized you don’t need to criticize at all! Love you bunches, Ann!
WOW….. I have tears . Lisa you really are doing what you should be doing. I was hating on my butt today and needed this. AND you looked amazing pregnant! I just wanted to kiss your beautiful belly!!!!!!!!!!!!! imagine a man doing that! hugs and huge love and I BOUGHT Kate another gift today!!! 🙂 cant help myself!:) LOVE you forever friends!
Oh, hunny, I just LOVE you, sister! You always thought I looked awesome pregnant…I needed to invoke that at the time!:) Now I just love my belly and all that my body can do. She is one strong machine! AND YOU are so beautiful…please know that in your heart. xo
PS. I swear you spoil Kate! AND she loves it! She loves you so much. 🙂
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