What’s holding you back from losing weight? Is it hormones? Food sensitivity? An undiagnosed medical condition?
I hate to break the news, but chances are the answer is, “YOU.”
The good news though is that YOU can make a difference.You’re a smart. You know everything you’re “supposed to do.”
You’ve tried countless diets and exercise programs. And you’ve probably been successful at some point in taking off at least part of the weight you want to lose. You are a winner in the short term loss game. But you keep coming back to old habits whether it’s a bag of Cheetos or skipping the gym because your kids need a ride to soccer.
You put yourself last because something in your head persuades you to make yourself the lowest priority.
There is a voice inside each of us that judges everything we do. It’s our Inner Critic and that bitch is loud and unruly. She stops us from being our best self by sowing seeds of doubt and by overwhelming us with a list of failures that drowns out our success.
Newsflash: all that negative self-talk is just noise.
So let’s talk about how to turn the volume down on your inner critic, shrink the noise, and get busy winning. Until you deal with your Inner Critic, you’ll never maintain lasting weight loss.
These three principles will help you get a handle on your noisy Inner Critic and turn her from your enemy into your ally: self-awareness, self-love, and self-respect.
Always begin with truth. Brutal honesty is the best policy when it comes to your Inner Critic. She feeds on fear and guilt and those negatives thrive in a secretive environment like mold in a dank basement.
Most overweight people have “disposed of the evidence” at some point. They’ve thrown away the candy bar wrapper or stuffed the empty ice cream carton to the bottom of the trash. They didn’t prevent themselves from eating those unhealthy and unwanted calories, so with them they’ve swallowed a whole lot of shame.
Shame feeds your Inner Critic and when she is full, she is loud.
Sadly, it’s not just what we eat that we hide from, it’s our bodies too. We don’t step on the scale. We don’t look in the mirror. We don’t buy new clothes. We pretend we are fine. We gloss over the truth.
But all that hiding of wrappers and bellies and shame doesn’t fix the problem.
Every day is a new opportunity to start over. Make yourself a promise. Promise to be totally honest with yourself.
Here’s a three part plan to weight loss self-awareness:
- Get on the scale in the morning.
- Own your wrappers.
- Dress in front of the mirror.
- You are you. You are worth it!
At 110lbs or 220lbs, you are still you. And you are beautiful. You are a unique and wonderful person who deserves to be fit, healthy, and happy. Honestly.
Once you pull the blindfold off and see yourself, and your weight, as you truly are, you are ready for the single most important tool for turning down your Inner Critic. Loving yourself.
That’s right. I’m talking total embracement of the imperfectly perfect creature who is you.
I’m talking self-love.
“Self-love” has gotten to be such a buzzword. It’s so overused these days that the word alone can be a turn-off. For me the word “self-love” sparks images of self-help books, hushed, therapy-speak voices, and touchy-feely BS that kind of makes me want to hurl, but self-love isn’t a “feeling.” It’s an action.
Self-love is a kick-ass, fearless action.
It is passionate and total and extreme. Don’t you deserve to be the recipient of that kind of love? Don’t you deserve to be totally embraced, fears and all? It’s what we expect from a lover. Shouldn’t we demand that from ourselves? Don’t you deserve to be loved as fiercely as your kids or the dog you dote on? Damn straight you do!
Your Inner Critic is really just a mass of insecurity. She is all your fear and guilt balled up and given voice. When you love yourself you calm her down. You take away the fuel that drives her to be so loud so instead of beating you up she can inspire you to go further, push harder, and be more.
Consider all the things that make you who you are.
Chances are the list doesn’t begin with “a nice ass” or “great abs.” I bet that list begins with things like “compassion” or “a great sense of humor” or “loyalty” or “a killer work ethic.” And the negatives that matter aren’t things like “a muffin top” or “cellulite.” They are things like “short tempered” and “judgmental.”
Who you are is not what you look like.
Who you are is unquestionably and thoroughly lovable.
To get your Inner Critic under control you have to love yourself enough to treat yourself like a friend.
We value our friends not because of what they look like but because of who they are. We value their ideas and feelings and what they add to our lives. We treat them with respect because we love them.
When you get right down to it, you are your best friend. You are the person who is with you in times of great joy and great sorrow. You know everything about you. You never leave you. So doesn’t it seem reasonable that you should respect that relationship?
You owe yourself at least the same love and care you would give any other person who stood by you the way you do.
Try considering your Inner Critic your really loud friend with no filter. You know the type. She has an opinion about everything and she never thinks before she speaks. Sometimes she even hurts your feelings with her brutal honesty, but ultimately her intentions are all for your good. So you learn to call her out when she oversteps, and you rein her in when she isn’t helping.
That’s the kind of self-respect your Inner Critic needs from you to help turn down her volume. Your Inner Critic can be a motivator, but she can only be an ally if I keep her in check.
Losing weight is hard. If it was easy we’d all be skinny. The fact is that we need to enlist the help of all of our resources, including our Inner Critics, to win at weight loss.
Keep it simple. Use self-awareness, self-love, and self-respect to shrink the negative noise and win the good health and happiness waiting for you. Seriously. You’ve totally got this. You are a winning machine!