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Being Thin ≠ Happiness

“If I could just lose my belly fat, I’d finally feel pretty. I wouldn’t talk bad about myself. I’d walk into any room feeling confident and beautiful. If I could only lose this weight, I’d be happy…”

I have heard this statement, or a similar iteration, from nearly every client I have ever worked with. Throughout my career as a Self-Love Coach, I’ve noticed this hyper sensitivity, primarily from women, in regards to their weight. These women truly believe that being thinner would be the magic solution to elevating their relationship with themselves. They, like most women, try to align themselves with the high aesthetic standards in our world today and crumble emotionally, feeling the pressure to upkeep with the unrealistic images society promotes.

But my question is, how can love for oneself flourish, if the love for your body is conditional?

Self-love doesn’t tolerate conditions or limitations. It embraces you, without exception, even if those exceptions aren’t in line with the latest trends. Self-love asks you to choose yourself, without guilt, shame, doubt or hesitation. It nurtures us from the inside out, even when we struggle and suffer. Free flowing, compassionate and gentle love; self-love is self-sustaining.

Conditional love on the other hand is a tyrant. If you don’t meet its expectations, it will throw you out into the cold and trade you in for something else. A shinier more “perfect” model. Conditional love has no mercy. It will never be satisfied. If you meet its expectations today, tomorrow you may be surprised to find a new list of demands. Chasing conditional love leaves every victim feeling hopeless, overwhelmed, and inadequate.

Happiness is not a one stop shop. Being thinner may boost your mood for several reasons, such as: feeling more attractive, being healthier, accomplishing a goal, etc., but in my experience, losing weight only contributes a sliver to an individual’s happiness and its effects are short lived. There are numerous layers of life that determine our overall feelings of happiness, such as: career success, family/friends, finances, diet, etc. Depending on a number on the scale to ensure your happiness is a great way to set yourself up for MAJOR disappointment.

In our culture, in our society, most people feel overwhelmed by all the layers of life that contribute to our happiness. So they think that if they focus on one major physical aspect of themselves, if they can physically change, then all the other pieces of their life will magically fall into place. The problem with that misconception? Our bodies are ever evolving! Every day our bodies interact with different variables that alter its course of action.

The only predictable thing about life, is that it is unpredictable. Small shifts in our life can throw our bodies out of whack. Stress and emotions are the most common challenges most people run into on a daily basis. With these shifts, our body figures out ways to adapt, but most people lack the awareness and patience for their bodies to adjust to these shifts. They immediately speak negatively to themselves and simmer into self-loathing, blaming their bodies for reacting below their expectations.

The second problem, is our society’s obsession with always yearning for more. Today your goal may be to lose 20 lbs., but tomorrow it will be to tone your body and to have a six-pack. Once you reach your initial goal, it’s not long before a new goal takes its place. Think about it, when was the last time you had a goal and achieved it? How long did it take for a new, better, shinier goal to take its place? Probably within minutes of achieving your goal, a new goal emerged and the effort of how hard you had to work to achieve your last goal, became a distant memory.

It’s important to clarify that there is nothing wrong with having goals. Goals keep us motivated, inspired and in pursuit of personal growth. The problem with our approach to goals is that collectively, globally, people lack gratitude for what they already have and are in constant chase for the next best thing. This leads to a slippery slope of never having enough. You feel like you are always lacking, which isn’t true, you are just focusing on what you don’t have, not all that you already have acquired.

Instead of berating your body and focusing on what you don’t have, I challenge you to take a different course of action: focusing on loving your body exactly as it is today. That’s not to say you forget about your fitness goals, but I encourage you to approach your goals differently. Ask yourself, why do I want to lose “X” amount of weight? What’s my why? Is it to be healthier for your children? To be healthier for yourself? To move with more ease? Or is your why lacking depth? Is your sole motivation to attract a romantic partner?

If you’re reason is to be more attracted to yourself, that is fine, but uncover if the true reason behind that motivation is to elevate your relationship with yourself. If not, achieving your goal will feel hollow. Looks and beauty fade. If your sole incentive is based on physical looks, you’ll find your victory to be brief.

I tell my clients to focus on being healthy, not on a specific number on the scale or physical aesthetic. People you see on magazine covers are often Photoshopped and rock hard defined 6 packs are the result of major lifestyle changes such as diet and exercising 7 days a week for hours. The older you get, the more difficult it becomes for your body to change, as metabolism naturally slows down.

Stop fighting nature. It’s better to focus your energy on YOUR ideal picture of health. A vision that feels authentic and genuine, and to stick to a healthy routine that you LOVE. Too many people focus on trying to create a routine that feels like a chore. This ultimately leaves to them giving up on their goals and back on the hamster wheel of self-loathing.

A few other simple self-love practices to elevate your relationship with your body: speak to your body with love, buy clothes that fit you NOW (instead of trying to fit into clothes that don’t fit you anymore), dress for your body type, understand your physical nature, and intentionally eat with awareness. All of these practices are manageable and can be done every day. The more love you are able to show your body presently, the more love it will be able to give you now and in the future.

If you take anything away from this blog post, I hope it will be that having wellness goals is good, but to not equate those goals with happiness. The journey to falling in love with your body is where true sustaining happiness lies, not in the results of what you physically look like.

Remember, results look different for everyone. Your journey may take longer than someone else’s, maybe less, either way, you should celebrate your results every step of the way. Every inch to elevating your relationship with your body, elevates your relationship with yourself, and that my friend, is where true happiness blooms eternally.

Xoxo,

Elena

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