4 ways to stop beating yourself up.
When you step onto the scale, how does that number make you feel? Does it discourage you or validate your hard work?
Regardless of the outcome, the number is not — and should never be — a measure of who you are as a woman, and should never determine how much you love yourself.
Weight loss continues to be an obsession in our nation, with $20 billion dollars a year spent on the industry and 20 million women suffering from eating disorders. There's a lot of pressure to lose weight and achieve a certain look.
With so much time, energy, money and focus being spent on weight loss, I wonder about the women who are not realizing their true potential. How many women have hidden talents that have yet to be discovered? How many dreams are crushed because women don’t feel they measure up? How might the world be different if $20 billion dollars were spent on personal development, instead of investing in how we look?
I believe this happens because the number on the scale is visible. The blemishes and imperfections you see in the mirror are visible. When you compare yourself to others, you see them.
What lurks inside like fear, anxiety, insecurity, self-doubt and self-criticism are not visible, but you're sold the idea that improving your outer appearance will be the antidote for your insecurities.
Changing your inner perspective to embody confidence, fearlessness and self-love will radiate from you. What radiates from you is the real you. Confidence is unmistakable. It comes through in your smile. It’s reflected in what you create and whose lives you touch.
Think of a woman you know who you admire. Does their influence in your life have anything to do with her weight or her appearance? So ask yourself: is how you appear on the outside a reflection of how you feel on the inside?
1. Change your mindset.
Instead of trying to achieve a certain body weight or a certain look, think of diet and exercise as a form of self care. Instead of dieting, think of is as making healthy choices with food. With this, the focus is on being healthy as opposed to reaching a certain weight.
Trying to reach a certain body weight can lead to disappointment and frustration. Self care and being healthy will always serve you positively throughout your life, regardless of the number on the scale.
2. Challenge what you see.
Steer away from media and magazines that portray perfect-looking people. Many of the images in magazines are phony anyway thanks to Photoshop.
3. Focus on being better.
We all have room for improvement. We all are a work in progress. And we all have a purpose.
Let’s say you do reach that magical number on the scale — then what? Instead of being concerned with how your body grows, focus on personal growth. Focus on how to be better in your work and in your relationships. Strive to be better in everything you do. Read self-help books, attend workshops and learn something new. Spend time doing what nourishes your heart and soul.
Think of what you might do if you were guaranteed not to fail. Whatever that might be is most likely possible. You just have to believe it. Try something new. Be adventurous. Unleash your true potential.
Work on a developing deep, authentic love for yourself. Consider whose lives will be touched by your love? After all, you cannot give what you don't have.
Kick the scale to the curb. Don’t allow it to define you. Your value is immeasurably more than it reveals.
Craig Nielson is a coach, motivational speaker, and advocate for women struggling with low self-confidence and negative self image. Learn more at My Internal Image.