Body Image and Fat Loss

“If I learn to love my body I won’t be motivated to change it.”

This is one of the biggest fallacies in the fitness industry, the belief that you need to hate on yourself in order to change. In fact it will do the exact opposite. Here’s why.

All of us are motivated by emotional pain and emotional pleasure. Pain is a useful and important driver. It usually kickstarts us into action. But pain is an action signal. It is a signal that you need to make new distinctions, and new commitments.

You’re not supposed to stay in pain beyond this point. When you perpetually live in pain, that’s suffering, and when people suffer they will do anything to get out of it, including binge eating, or numbing yourself in a variety of ways. People who are suffering do not typically act from the best in themselves.

When you hate on yourself or your body you are much more likely to sabotage your fitness goals, simply because you spend a significant portion of your day in upsetting emotions.

Does the following pattern sound familiar?

  • You go towards the mirror and before you even get there you ask yourself questions like “how bad are my arms today, how disgusting is my stomach, how bad do my legs look?” etc.
  • You look in the mirror and surprise surprise, you find what you were looking for.
  • You focus on what you hate to the exclusion of everything else.
  • You feel disgusting, the day is ruined, and you think “Screw it! I’m a lost cause! I might as well not even bother!”

Poor body image and self hate is a muscle. The more you exercise it the better you get at it. Eventually it can develop to the point where the only flaw on your body is a pimple on your cheek, but because you go looking for it and focus intently on it, before you know it all you see is one giant pimple staring back at you with a puss filled evil grin, just waiting to ruin your day!

Intuitively you know that you make better decisions when you are feeling good. When you’re in a bad mood, problems seem insurmountable and out of your control. When you’re in a good mood, you suddenly feel like you can handle and overcome those same issues.

When you become highly skilled at poor body image and low self worth you will repeatedly sabotage yourself. We see this pattern over and over and over again.

To successfully transform your body long term you must do two things:

Use Pain Appropriately

Recognise dissatisfaction with your current condition as an action signal to DO SOMETHING. Make a new commitment – an absolute decision to take control of your destiny. Plan what you will do differently from now on, and take action immediately. Once you have made this commitment you have earned the right to move past your pain to get excited, and to enjoy the present moment.

Then during those inevitable moments when you get tempted to make short term, indulgent, destructive decisions, remind yourself of the emotional pain you felt. Focus on it for long enough to reinforce your commitment, then once again, get excited about the future, and enjoy the present moment.

Practise Gratitude and Self Love

If you do not love and accept yourself, you won’t treat yourself kindly, or you’ll attempt to numb yourself from the emotional pain of feeling unworthy, using food or other numbing agents. Neither of which are conducive to transforming your body!

By far the most successful and sustainable way to transform your body is to develop a profound sense of respect, gratitude, and love for yourself and your body, at the same time as being excited about transforming your body. You can absolutely feel excited and fully committed to achieving more health, vitality, energy, and aesthetic changes, whilst feeling deeply grateful for the body you have.

How do you balance the two? When you look in the mirror, if you notice what you want to change about your body (you will because you’ve trained yourself for years to do that – you don’t need more training!!) then acknowledge it, do not take it on as your identity or a reflection of your worth as a human being, simply remind yourself you’ve got it handled. Then immediately focus on what you love about yourself. Focus on this until this feeling dominates and overwhelms any dissatisfaction you had.

When you learn to do this, you will be so much more motivated because you’ll be excited about what you can achieve, what you can experience more of, and what you can add to your life, instead of acting from a place of desperation – trying to escape what you fear the most.

What do you think is the most sustainable, successful approach…?

Moving from self hate, to less self hate (focusing on what you don’t like and trying to get rid of it – even though you continue to go looking for it)…

Or moving from gratitude and self love to even more health, wellbeing and self love (focusing on what you love, what you can feel grateful for now, whilst being excited about the future).

The second approach is consistently more successful in achieving lifelong, healthy body transformations, with the added bonus that you actually get to enjoy life along the way! What a concept!


Author: David Godfrey