Have you ever looked in the mirror and said, “I hate my weight,” and felt hopeless? You might wonder how you can feel good about your appearance when you feel so bad about your weight.
Maybe you think you need to lose weight before you can wear clothes that you like. Or you believe you need to drop some pounds to feel attractive.
Nothing could be further from the truth!
In fact, staying in the “I can’t feel good about myself until I’m skinny” mentality is exactly what keeps us in a yo-yo cycle of dieting and deprivation, often followed by bingeing or emotional eating. What to do first?
How to Feel Good About Your Body
Stop the diet-binge cycle. When we give up dieting, we’re also challenging the belief that we deserve to be treated well only after losing weight.
As a psychoanalyst and coach specializing in eating issues, I know that identifying and working through what's eating “at” you is the primary key to change your relationship to food.
Self-esteem is also crucial when it comes to our relationship to food and others, and one measure of self-esteem is the way we think about our appearance.
One clarification: you don’t have to look any certain way to be attractive or feel good. It doesn’t matter what you wear, how much makeup you put on, or your hair color.
It absolutely does matter how you feel about yourself, including the image you see in the mirror. The point is to feel comfortable in your skin and your clothes!
What does all this have to do with emotional eating? When you feel good about how you look, you're less likely to distract yourself with food.
Sexy is not a size
How often have you stopped yourself from getting ready or looking good because you didn’t feel good?
Our minds often tell us, “I can’t believe you ate that! You’re disgusting. Everyone will look at you and know you have no willpower.”
That voice sure sounds nasty and awful. And, it’s a liar.
A quick Google search of “Curvy models” will pull up thousands of images of curvy women feeling good in their skin. One of my favorites, Iskra Lawrence, posted on Instagram with a picture of her relaxed (with some tummy rolls showing!). The caption reads:
“…Having rolls of skin/fat that are soft/squidgy or big/small does not define your beauty. I wanted to show you how my body looks when I'm relaxed and when I'm posing right next to each other so you can see how easy it is to manipulate how a body looks. (I filmed myself doing this for you on my YouTube)
Iskra works as a model for Aerie, American Eagle’s underwear, and the lingerie line. Aerie has stopped retouching their models and asks the women to look comfortable and happy.
That’s because our “flaws” don’t stop us from being beautiful. Beauty is not a size. Sexy is not a size. Attractive is not a size.
Challenge the belief that you can’t look good today, right now, as you are. Thinner does not equal more attractive. And that brings us to this idea…
Thin Doesn’t Equal Happier
I know many thin women who feel insecure and unsatisfied with the way that they look (that goes for all the guys out there, too).
People think skinny women must have more successful careers and relationships. They must be happier.
The skinny = happy formula is not true. It is because we equate thinness with other positive qualities that we think we must be thin to be happy.
When we erase the idea that skinny = beauty/success = happiness, we find other ways to measure ourselves.
Clearly, nobody told Oprah Winfrey that the only path to success was by being skinny. Oprah is successful because she was engaging, interested, and authentic!
We haven't always had the idea that thin is better. Check out this advertisement from a different era:
I also love this quote from British journalist Hannah Betts, questioning why thinness is the ultimate ambition.
“It is time we stopped reducing ourselves. Time we remembered that a body is more than stomach, hips, and thighs. It is the heart, lungs, and brain. Personally, I will continue embodying rebellion. I shall put on weight when I overdo the food and drink, and I shall lose it again when life calms down. This is the normal, human way of things. And if this makes me less of a woman, then I’ll settle for “human being.”
When we erase the idea that skinny = beauty = success = happiness, we can find other ways to measure ourselves.
So, what's holding you back?
The only thing stopping you from feeling good about the way you look is your belief that there’s something wrong with you. Let’s challenge that idea. Check out Iskra Lawrence and others who are out there proving that looking good is not equivalent to a number on the scale.
The point is not necessarily to accept your weight as it is (although that is a perfectly fine choice). This is about feeling good about yourself while you’re in the process of becoming your healthiest self.
I’ve got lots more tips to help you feel good about your body while you’re in the process of getting healthier. Click HERE to grab your free copy of this guide!