We can shift the world through love, but we must have love in our own hearts first. -Daily Om
Recently, Kristen and I read Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, which is about understanding shame, embracing vulnerability, and ‘enoughness.’
At Well-Balanced Nutrition, we see folks, mostly women, at all different parts of their wellness journey. Last week, I saw a young woman who had lost nearly 50 lbs three years ago and maintained her weight loss until recently. She put on 5 lbs after starting a new relationship and “getting more liberal,” in her eating habits. She came to see me about losing the weight after spending all of January following her healthy diet (with no change on the scale… frustrating!).
Shortly thereafter, a good friend explained her own dissatisfaction with “those last 3 pounds she couldn’t lose,” and proceeded to berate herself for eating a handful of M&Ms.
While reading Daring Greatly, I kept thinking of all my loved ones and how much I wanted them to read this book too. It’s so easy to get swept up in feeling inadequate, shameful, or unwanted. Our basic human desires are to belong and all too often that is tied to our body weight, shape or pants size. The story we tell ourselves is if those numbers don’t match the societal or our personal expectations then we’re not good enough. As Kristen put it, “We all fight the voices that tell us, if only I had ____, I would be _____. You can fill in the blanks.”
Food for thought:
A couple weeks ago Kristen wrote about Getting rid of perfection and embracing enough. Did you notice the inner voice she mentioned?
What would you tell your daughter, sister, or bestie who is shaming herself about the handful of M&Ms?
It’s time we start to love ourselves for who we are. Remember, we must first show love to ourselves in order to share love with those around us.
Here’s the one thing we really want you to know: You are beautiful, just the way you are!
Monday, January 23, 2017
“…if we want freedom from perfectionism, we have to make the long journey from “what will people think” to I am enough.” -Brene Brown
I’ve admitted before that I’m a recovering perfectionist and I’ve explained that Well Balanced eating is far from perfect. Today, I share with you why we should not strive for perfection when it comes to our bodies.
Perfectionism, not to be confused with self-improvement or striving for excellence, is a never ending struggle to please everyone in order to avoid discomfort. As Brene Brown defines it, perfectionism is a belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgement, and blame.
Body shaming is when we tell ourselves we are not good enough unless we have the perfect stomach, the perfect butt or the perfect hair. And if we don’t feel good enough, we tend to judge other people for not being perfect. Then when we are feeling bad about ourselves we blame someone or something for our imperfections.
What we must realize is that our worthiness does not have anything to do with what our bodies look like. I’ve battled with body shame recently, feeling too small and not girly enough. I’m not saying this for pity and definitely not to be judged, but to help us all understand that it is normal for us to feel a little uncomfortable about our bodies. We all fight the voices that tell us, if only I had ____, I would be _____. You can fill in the blanks.
It’s not that we can’t enjoy wearing make-up to feel beautiful or go to the gym to get a fitter body. The trouble is when we start associating our worth with those things.
Your homework: Listen to your inner critic and pay close attention to how much you believe and internalize the things she tells you. It’s important to be mindful of negative feelings but then to let them go, rather than clinging on to the negativity. When you hear your inner voice say things that you would never say to your daughter or your best friend, it is time to replace those thoughts with, “I am enough.”
The other day I was listening to a play back of a message I left for someone. It is so strange to hear your own voice, right? The first thing I noticed was that I took really long pauses in between my words. Maybe it is something that only I notice or maybe it is something other people pick up on too. Either way, I am a bit self conscience about it but here is why it happens.
I have grown incredibly aware of how important our words can be. Words, the things that fly out of our mouths, sometimes all willy-nilly like, can leave a lasting impact. You might remember a specific moment when someone’s words made a lasting impression on you – for better or for worse. Maybe it was a motivational speaker or something that was said during an argument. Those are big moments.
Even in the small, everyday mundane moments, our words matter. We can really be in the habit of saying the same words over and over without realizing it. A simple example is how many times we go around saying something like… “How are you?” “Fine, and you?” “Have a good day!”
Now dig a little deeper and think about all the other things we just automatically say. As a parent, I say “See?! Now that’s what you get for doing XYZ.” Or, “That’s why we don’t stand up in the chair.” Ugh… it just comes out like word vomit. I cringe when I hear myself saying that because no one needs to be reminded of a mistake they made in the midst of the pain. Chances are they’ve learned the lesson and they just need a little empathy and understanding.
We can say similar things to ourselves, often without noticing. I ask my clients to weigh themselves daily if they are trying to lose weight, but I tell them to be careful of their words and thoughts as they are doing it.
“I’m so fat.” “I can’t believe I ate all that.” “I’ll never lose this weight.”
These are the kinds of words and thoughts that can really sabotage our best efforts. When we see or hear negative words our bodies send out stress signals. Even worse, when we do it over and over again we can really start to believe those words. The more we hear, read, or speak a word or phrase, the more power it has over us. This is because the brain is always searching for patterns and repetitions in order to make sense of the world around us.
Instead of letting words get the best of us, we can use the power of words our advantage. We first have to gain awareness and then control over that which we are exposing ourselves to daily. Our natural tendency is to focus on the negative, and it takes work to turn that around. So when I speak slowly, it’s because I am consciously making an effort to catch and cancel out those negative words. It’s definitely a work in progress.
Food for thought:
What words do you speak, read or think repeatedly?
Try this today:
Go on a negativity diet.
- First, notice and be aware of your negative words and thoughts.
- When they pop up, you can say, “cancel, cancel, cancel!”
- Replace negative words with positive ones. Try saying challenge instead of problem or yes, later instead of no, not right now.
- Replace judgments and criticisms with words of kindness. We are all doing the best we can so be kind to yourself and others. Or if you must give negative feedback try sandwiching it between two positive statements/thoughts.
Boost the Power of Positivity. The next key is feeding your brain more good thoughts than bad.
- For every one negative thought you have, generate 3 to 5 positive thoughts. Your positive thoughts don’t have to be perfect, sound good or even make sense.
Feed your brain a hefty portion of positive words at least 3 times a day.
- Start your day by reading or saying positive affirmations, quotes or scripture.
- End your emails with a happy message.
- Drink from a cup with an uplifting message on it.
- Plaster sticky notes with positivity on your mirror, computer, phone, etc.
What ideas or thoughts do you have on the power of words?
Monday, November 28, 2016
It’s here! We’re in it. The infamous holiday season. No matter how busy you decide to be this season it’s no excuse to put your wellness goals to the backburner.
Last week, while listening to Darren Hardy talk about how to succeed in business and life I got to thinking about his use of tough love. Sometimes his message makes me a little angry; however, he’s got a good point.
Most of the time, for anything we want to do it’s a matter of having the right knowledge and being brave enough to try. For example, all summer I kept saying I wanted to swim in the quarry at Eno State Park but could never figure out where to get in so it never happened. Last weekend, my friend showed me the way and now I know for next time (when it’s warm enough to get in the water!).
I believe this is often the case for our healthy habits. We want to do well and we “know” what to do, but we might need someone to show us how. Thank goodness for YouTube!
What seems like it should be simple can often feel overwhelming. Think about when you learned how to drive… This may be harder to recall for some of us! It’s an exciting but daunting task. Driving is a lot of responsibility and there are many moving parts, literally. Nowadays, you get in the car to drive without thinking about all the steps.
There is always a learning curve to each new activity we take on. Whether you’re eager to become a grill master or learning how to cook for one, it’s important to be gentle with yourself and take it one step at a time.
Food for thought:
Have you been making excuses to put off learning a new skill? ______ If yes, what do you want to conquer? _________________________________________________________________
Do you need more information? _____ Where can you find it?
Maybe you need a class or someone to guide and support you. Who can you ask for help?
Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others. – Brene Brown
I’ve learned a lot about boundaries in the past 3 1/2 years. When my daughter was born I discovered just how much your heart can love a tiny human. Naturally, I want to give her the world and I want her to be happy. Now more than ever, she has been testing her limits and pushing her boundaries as three-year-olds do. In those trying moments, I want to give in to her desires just to make her happy. Yet, I know avoiding temporary disappointments will only lead to long-term consequences.
If I let my little girl do whatever she wanted, she’d miss out on opportunities to develop life skills like learning how to share, be a friend, follow directions, and get along with others. On the other hand, if I’m too strict with her, she might not learn to think on her own, her confidence could suffer and she might grow to resent me. The sweet spot is right in the middle where loving boundaries exist.
A boundary is simply a line drawn between what is okay and not okay. While I’m in the thick of establishing these loving boundaries as a parent, I realize how important this concept is for our health and wellness goals as well. We have to determine for ourselves what is okay and not okay to preserve our health in the long-run.
For example, one of my clients has recently entered a new relationship. She realized upfront that she could easily get swept up in other things if she didn’t define what was important to her now. She knew that getting a good workout in at least 3 times a week kept her mentally and physically feeling her best. So now that she has this boundary set in her mind, it becomes easier to choose the gym even when other opportunities arise. She’s choosing to focus on the greater, long-term results of loving herself, instead of focusing on what would make everyone happy in the moment.
The holiday season is a time when we could all really stand to set loving boundaries. It is so easy to worry about disappointing others that we often forget to care for ourselves. Setting boundaries can be the most loving thing we do for ourselves this time of year. Your boundaries can help guide your decisions and make it easier to stay true to yourself through the hustle and bustle.
Food for thought:
Boundaries are a function of self-love and self-respect. – Brene Brown
What boundaries will you set for yourself?