Here it comes; that not-so-wonderful time of year. Those post-holiday weeks when we are assaulted with messaging that we are not enough; not thin enough, strong enough, healthy enough, young enough… we are not enough of anything, except when we are too much.
There is so much to deconstruct about why this advertising works so well and it takes a lot of time, effort, and work on our part to understand it. I’ve done a lot of that work and I would like to share with you some of the things I remind myself of regularly- especially as we enter the season of “New Year, NEW (meaning smaller) YOU!”. I hope these thoughts might offer you the option of loving yourself as you are right now, without needing a “new” version of you.
These are some of the things I remember when I feel myself slipping into feeling like I am not enough:
- I am enough. I am enough exactly as I am.
- The size on a clothing tag has absolutely nothing to do with my worth, discipline, health, or how much I love myself. It is simply a number that is useful in helping me find clothes that fit.
- My weight is not an indicator of my health, worth, discipline, or how much I love myself. The only time it is useful is for medication dosing, anesthesia, or situations like knowing whether or not it is safe to ride a zip line.
- BMI is complete and utter bullshit. There is no legitimacy to using it as a measure of health and it is slowly and steadily being eliminated from doctor’s offices, doctor’s mouths, and wellness checks. If BMI is BS, what does that do to assessments like “obese” and “overweight”?
- Fat is not a medical condition. Dieting is an industry.
- Scientifically and statistically, dieting (which includes restricting food in any way whatsoever no matter how it is masked, I’m looking at you, Noom.) is a sure-fire way to gain a significant amount of weight.
- If someone is concerned about my health, they would not ever talk about my weight.
- Mental health and self-love are at least as important to my health as what I eat and how much I move.
- Joyful movement feels really good and is healthy. Abusing my body because I believe it is unworthy as it is is extremely unhealthy even though doctors, nutritionists, and a billion dollar industry celebrate it.
- When I stopped restricting food, I binged. The binging ended once my body began to trust that I would not restrict food again. Now, food occupies very little of my thoughts except when I am excited about eating, baking, or cooking.
- It is good to be excited about food!
- It is good to love to eat!
- When I step out of Diet Culture, my life is infinitely happier, healthier, and more stable.
- Committing to a diet to make myself better or healthier is a complete contradiction. If I want to be happier and healthier I have to work through the things that are lowering my self-worth, of which Diet Culture is a massive contributor.
- Developing my self-worth shifted my thoughts. It lets me clearly see how little it matters if someone speaks negatively of my body or describes it in a derogatory way.
- “Health gurus” mostly have little desire to help get people healthy. They mostly want to people to get skinny and buy their products.
- If weight did not matter to them (a frequent claim) they would not share “before” and “after” photos of ttheir smaller selves and clients as “success” stories. Nor would they pretend they are sharing these photos to prove how much better their or their clients kidneys are functioning. (Insert eye roll emoji here).
- If one is focused on helping me get healthy, weight cannot be part of the conversation, program, goal, or plan. (See #6).
- Once I have my self-worth, I am untouchable by those trying to convince me that I am not worthy as I am.
- If that white sweataer fits and is comfortable I can lovingly wear it right now. I do not need change my body to wear a piece of clothing that I love.
- Eating food, in any quantity, is not an indicator of my morality.
As the promises to help you lose weight so that you can become worthy suddenly become more aggressive post Christmas, I would like to offer a suggestion:
When those ads are in front of you- wehther they come from a company, “friend”, or “coach”, and you notice that sinking feeling that causes you to get really, really down on yourself, just recognize it. Whether you are berating yourself because you “cheated” on your diet, or you start to believe that you don’t “want it bad enough” because you didn’t get up at the ass crack of dawn, before a really busy day, to beat up on your body by doing movement you hate, to make yourself “healthy” (aka thinner), notice it. Name it.
Try to think of where those thoughts come from. Are these thoughts effective? Are they serving you? Are they helping you feel good about yourself? Do they let you go to sleep at night happy and content? Do they allow you to stop eating when you are full and walk by the candy aisle without drooling?
Or do they have you obsessing about food and terrified of what you are eating? Do they tell you you are at your highest capacity of worthiness and love exactly as you are, or that you will be worthy of more of everything once you lose 40 pounds or get to a size 10?
Which thoughts make you feel good? Which make you feel awful?
When it comes to health and weight there are a whole lot of inaccruate assumptions we run on without realizing it. Once we identify them we can start to evaluate their role in our lives.
I hope the things I shared above offer some perspective. I hope they might make you think twice before you get down on yourself or commit to yet-another-year of becoming “your best self!” by becoming a smaller self. I hope that some of these thoughts might help you move toward loving yourself as you are instead. I hope this January 1st seese you letting go of self-loathing and moving toward loving the you that you are, exactly as you are, no “new” required.Thank you so much for reading! Follow Pondering Jen on social or sign up for our newsletter to stay connected!