Do you skip high school reunions because you feel embarrassed about your weight?
Do you wear only dark-colored clothes to keep attention off your body?
Are you waiting to be thinner before taking that cruise?
When you feel self-conscious about your body, special occasions and everyday life events can be intimidating. In the moment, it can feel a whole lot easier to stay hidden or stay home than to be seen carrying those extra pounds.
But think about it. Do you really want to let your weight take your LIFE hostage? Because that is what’s happening when you let it control you.
Getting Your Life Back
Maybe you feel crippled with shame and don’t value yourself enough to feel you deserve the best. Or maybe you let other people’s judgments—or photo-shopped magazine models—send you into hiding. By giving your weight too much importance or negative attention, you miss out on fun, opportunities, and experiences.
Think of the negative message you send yourself when you let your weight limit your choices. You’re telling yourself you don’t deserve to hang out with old friends, take a special vacation or wear beautiful vibrant-colored clothes. You’re telling yourself that you aren’t enough.
When you avoid situations because you feel self-conscious, you’re trying to protect yourself. That’s understandable. You’ve probably experienced your fair share of weight discrimination and judgmental comments or looks, and that hurts.
But when you avoid doing something because you feel insecure about your body, you’re not protecting yourself… you’re punishing yourself. I know you feel sensitive and afraid but you can take steps to feel stronger inside and start showing up in your life.
How Marianne Took Charge
My client, Marianne, resisted joining a health club because she felt insecure about her weight. (Can you relate?) She admired her friends who enjoyed their yoga and Zumba classes. A part of her wanted to go with them but she felt too embarrassed.
I asked Marianne to close her eyes, go within and recall her first memory of feeling embarrassed about her weight. She said, “I’m in gym class in fifth grade and the kids are picking teams for a soccer game. I’m the last one chosen. I know it’s because I’m fat. I feel so embarrassed.” I asked Marianne what that little girl needed back then. As tears fell down her cheeks, she said, “To be included and accepted.”
Marianne began to realize that she was excluding herself from the fun in life in the same way she felt excluded by her classmates so long ago. Once Marianne connected with the pain of that little girl still inside her, she vowed to stop holding herself back. “I need to take better care of ‘her’ by taking better care of ‘me’,” she said. She kept a picture of herself as a child by her bedside table. Every morning she kissed the photo and promised to take good care of that little girl.
Marianne made the commitment to stop letting fear and insecurity about her weight control her life. Not only did she eventually join that health club, Marianne also went to her high school reunion for the first time since graduating and thoroughly enjoyed herself. “If I didn’t go” she said, “I’d be hurting myself in the same way I felt so hurt about those soccer games in fifth grade. I won’t let that happen anymore.”
Once you commit to no longer let your weight take your choices hostage, trust that, like Marianne, you’ll discover within yourself the resources to succeed. Here’s a strategy to help you get started:
1. Make a List
Write down all the things you stop yourself from doing because you feel self-conscious about your body. Rate these things on a scale of 1-10 from “would NEVER do” to “might SOMEDAY do” as in, “I’d never get in a swimsuit in public, but I might go to Zumba if I could stand in the back row.”
Choose the one thing that feels the most doable (or the least scary) to accomplish.
2. Ask For Guidance
With that one thing from your list in mind, get yourself quiet, go inward and ask your inner Wise Self:
“What is one step I can take this week to get ready to accomplish this?”
Be still and listen. Write down what you hear. If you don’t hear anything right away, that’s okay. Sometimes guidance is revealed over time, in whispers, through your intuition.
3. Honor That Guidance
Do your best to honor what your inner Wise Self told you and take that one small step this week. Maybe you check out different health clubs in your community, make a date with yourself to go shopping for a gorgeous, bright-colored dress or call an old high-school friend just to say, “Hi.”
Whatever guidance you hear, encourage yourself to accomplish that one step, no matter what. The simple act of taking even one small step sets in motion an energy vibration that supports your determination and lifts your confidence.
4. Love Your Inner Child
Like Marianne you may recall times from your childhood or teenage years when you felt shame and embarrassment about your weight. Chances are those painful feelings still linger inside. Support your inner child as Marianne did and find a photo of yourself as a child or teenager. Look at it daily and offer that child words of love and loyalty. Promise her you will do your best to take good care of her health and happiness.
5. Affirm Your Courage
This is one my favorite quotes. I read it whenever I need a boost of courage:
“You gain strength, courage and confidence
by every experience in which you really stop
to look fear in the face.
You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
To stay inspired, keep this quote on a card, your computer or phone to look at daily. You don’t have to wait until you feel strong and courageous to start overcoming your fears. It’s the other way around. As Eleanor said, you develop your strength and courage by doing what you fear.
My challenge to you, with love:
This week, will you take one step to do the thing you think you cannot do?
Please share your thoughts below. I’d love to offer you my support.