You can't hate yourself thin

Negative self-talk is a common behavior that many people employ to progress towards their goals, but is it really effective?

The Flourish team
A woman looking in the mirror with her hand in her hair

It's the hottest trend in weight loss, and you may not even know you’ve been doing it for years. 

“Ugh I hate my thighs."

“My arms look flabby."

“My stomach is disgusting."

How many times have you made similar comments about your body? Whether it's from a look in the mirror, an analysis of a photo, or a conversation with your coworkers, these comments may have become so common in your daily language, that you may not even identify them as a problem. 

If your strategy to lose weight, be happy, and build confidence is through self-hate, then this language fits the bill. You're right on track.

But if that strategy worked, why do you still feel so uncomfortable and unhappy in your body? Wouldn’t all that beating yourself up have worked by now?

The funny thing is that this strategy would be completely unacceptable (and maybe even illegal) in any other relationship. Think about the language we encourage and expect from a friend, mentor, or parent. If any of these people in your life were to constantly make mean comments about your body, your capabilities or your worth, you'd probably reconsider the value of that relationship.

You know the importance of affirmations, encouragement, and an overall nurturing environment for growth, progress, and connection in your other relationships. And yet, when it comes to your relationship with yourself, for some reason, it becomes the exception to the rule. You believe that the harder you bully yourself, the greater, more positive outcomes you'll achieve.

But maybe you’re saying, “I’m only being hard on myself until I lose the weight. Once I am the size I want to be, I'll be able to love myself and be happy.” 

Let's use a common example of shopping to reflect on that statement:

How often have you thought that satisfaction would come from getting a new jeans or shoes? You get a quick hit of instant gratification as soon as you swipe your credit card, only to end up wanting more within a few weeks or months.

The truth is, you'll always come up short in this pursuit because gratitude, acceptance, and happiness doesn't come from your circumstances but from your perception of your life and yourself.  When you constantly engage in negative self-talk and self-loathing towards your body size, that pain and misery you feel is from the language itself and not your physical body. That is why shrinking your body doesn't solve the problem. The key is to heal that relationship with yourself first, practice kindness and self-compassion, and provide that nurturing environment for you to build the habits you desire. 

If you’ve been beating yourself up about your weight and body size for most of your life, practicing self-compassion and self-love could feel scary. It could feel too soft or complacent. You may even feel like self-love would oppose your goals. But imagine this—if you were to treat yourself with the encouragement and kindness you'd expect from a dear friend, how do you think that would impact your life? Would it deter you or invigorate you to face the challenges of taking care of your body every day?

And so, if you want to change your body size, there's still so much more to talk about and explore (check out our other blogs talking all things body!), but we can tell you one thing—if you’re hating yourself through the process, you couldn’t be doing it more wrong.

We encourage you to start noticing the self-hate you tolerate every day. When you find your thoughts wandering in that direction, ask, “Is this statement true?” and “Does this statement serve me?” Remember, if you’ve been yelling at the size of your thighs for decades, the propaganda may convince you that these statements are blatant truths. Take the step to challenge those beliefs and expand the possibilities of how you can perceive your body and learn to appreciate all that it is capable of. 

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