We live in a society obsessed by weight and weight loss. You can’t seem to do anything without being hit with some sort of message that thin is good. Sexy means being slim. Weight loss is easy. Fat is bad. Now I know that you are a sensible woman who knows that these things aren’t true. But that doesn’t mean that you are telling yourself at least some lies about weight loss.
I’m not talking about the lies that society conditions us to believe. That we need to be thin to conform with socially acceptable ideals of beauty. I’m talking about the lies we tell ourselves to justify the next diet or fitness plan. The lies about weight loss we convince ourselves are true so that we can carry on believing that losing weight means we’ll be happy. Beautiful. Acceptable.
I’m as guilty as the next person of telling myself these lies about weight loss. I’ve used them as justification for becoming anorexic. They are the mantras I’ve repeated to myself every time I’ve worried about my weight. Or thought about dieting even though I know it’s not the answer.
You see, over the years I’ve had to recognise when I’m telling myself these lies about weight loss. Because they stop me from truly loving my body as it is. And if you want to be body positive then you are going to have to let go of these beliefs about yourself and your weight as well.
#Lie 1 – I just want to be fitter
Let me start by saying there is absolutely nothing wrong with being fit. Nothing. But so many people tell themselves this lie when the reality is fitness has nothing to do with it. Deep down they really want to be thin and they see being fitter as a way of doing this. So we tell ourselves that we are focusing on fitness. That we are exercising to build strength or stamina. A lot of the time though people who don’t see that number drop on the scales won’t be happy. No matter how fit they are.
If you are not sure if you are telling yourself this lie ask yourself this simple question. What if I waved a magic wand and made you the fittest you have ever been BUT your body stayed exactly the same. Would you be happy? If you are brutally honest I suspect the answer is no. And you know what, that’s OK. It’s not a crime to want to see physical results for your efforts. But it is important to be honest about your motivation for exercising and recognise that you are still in a mindset where you feel you should be thinner.
#Lie 2 – I just want to be the best me
This is a common statement that I hear when I challenge women on why they are so desperate to lose weight. Or why they are so adamant that they cannot learn to love their body as it is. But the lie in this is that being the ‘best’ you means being thin. Says who! Why are we buying into a lie that says if we are overweight or flabby that we are not the best versions of ourselves? Who decided that being thin or toned means ‘best’?
When I ask women what other people like about them so much it’s never “they like that I go to the gym four times a week” or “they love that I’ve got a flat stomach”. It’s that people find them funny; kind; caring; adventurous; determined; loving or exciting to be around. These are the characteristics that make you the best you. Not how you look. So just be careful of being in a mindset where you think the ‘best’ you is a thin you. Because it’s really not.
#Lie 3 – I’ll be happy when I’ve lost the weight
Yeah… this is absolute rubbish. Take it from someone who knows, losing weight will not solve your problems. At best it will temporarily cover them up but it won’t last. Firstly because even when you’ve lost the weight you’ll still find yourself worrying about putting it back on or trying to maintain things. So you won’t suddenly be able to relax and enjoy your body again.
Secondly, because it’s not really your weight that is stopping you from loving your body. Put simply, if you need to be thin to feel body confident then you aren’t really body confident. And that leaves you vulnerable to feeling just as unsure about yourself at a lower weight than a higher one.
Lastly, weight loss is hard. You might never reach your ‘goal’ weight so are you telling me that you really want to pin all your hopes of happiness on something that may not happen? Surely it’s better to focus on building up your happiness levels right now, not just when it comes to your body but in the rest of your life as well. Besides, you never know. If you increase your happiness now you might find that you no longer feel like you need to lose weight to be happy.
One of the biggest dangers with wanting to lose weight is that we aren’t being honest with ourselves about our motivations. We kid ourselves that we’ve got good reasons for needing to change our body. But often, we are looking to change because we can’t let go of the toxic messages that we need to be thin to be loved. So it’s worth just considering if you are telling yourself any of the above lies about weight loss.
If you are, remind yourself that it’s OK not to want to lose weight and to love yourself as you are. And if you want to build body confidence and learn to love your post-baby body as it is without needing to lose weight read this post on 7 ways to make peace with your post-baby body.