Have you ever had the experience where you feel light and thin, and then you catch a glimpse of your reflection and notice your thoughts immediately changing?
You might feel fat, ugly, or ashamed of how you look. This can be frustrating, especially if you’ve recently lost some weight,
Let’s examine why this happens and how you can help your perception of your inner and outer self to line up.
Celebrate your progress
The first thing to do is congratulate yourself on your progress. No matter how much you have lost or where you are on your journey, celebrating the accomplishment of what you have done is so important.
Sometimes I hear my client’s minimizing the weight loss, but that doesn’t help you stay motivated. What you’ve done is incredible!
Thoughts lead to feelings
Next, let’s talk about what’s happening in your mind. You step on the scale and see that the number is lower than it used to be. You have some thoughts run through your head.
They might be things like:
- I’m so much lighter.
- I’m making awesome changes.
- I’m so proud of myself.
- I have worked hard, and it shows.
- I haven’t seen this number in years.
When you believe those sentences and buy into those ideas, you feel light, thin, proud, free, accomplished, satisfied, and amazing. You probably walk around with a little spring in your step when you feel that way.
You probably take care of yourself differently. Maybe you choose a different lunch or a different outfit, and many other things are different as a result.
Then, when you see yourself in the mirror, you have some other thoughts run through your head.
They might be things like:
- There’s no way that’s what I look like.
- I look so fat.
- I’m so ugly.
- I thought I was looking so much better than this.
- I can’t believe that’s how people see me.
- You can’t even tell how hard I’ve worked.
- It doesn’t matter what I do if I still look like this.
Choose your focus
When you believe those sentences and buy into those ideas, you feel some other feelings — shame, embarrassment, despair, hopelessness, regret, disbelief, sadness, frustration, irritation, anxiety, and apathy.
Maybe you want to hide in the pantry with some cookies or your bed with some chocolate and never go out again.
When you are focused on what it feels like to be you, on what you have accomplished, what you have done, what it’s like to be in your body, you feel good.
However, when you focus instead on what you look like, how others see you, and how you are perceived, you feel bad.
This scenario you describe is minutes apart. Nothing about your body has changed in those minutes. The body on the scale is the same one in the mirror. The body standing in the mirror is the same one that stood on the scale moments before.
The only thing that has changed is the sentences in your mind, the focus of your thoughts. And with that, everything changes.
It isn’t your body that changes, and you don’t have to change your body to feel different.
Remember your innate value
So, how do you get the perception of your inner and outer self to line up?
Your perception is expressed in thoughts, in those sentences in your mind. Decide how you want to perceive or think about yourself, no matter what you see on the outside.
Decide that you want to focus on how you feel, on what you’ve done, and not how others see you.
Decide that your value is innate and is not determined by the scale or the mirror.
Your body is an instrument
Remind yourself, as the Kite sisters teach us in their amazing book, More Than a Body, that your body is an instrument, not an ornament.
Think about all it does for you, all it’s capable of, how it feels to be you, how your body takes care of you without you even having to think about it. I love using questions to focus our brains on how our bodies feel and what they can do, rather than how they look.
How do you feel in your body in your daily life? Then, think about all the things you do.
And in your case, having lost some weight, how do you feel compared to how you used to feel? You’ll likely notice places where moving and living feel easier or different than before.
If there was no feedback from the outside world, you were alone with no mirrors or cameras, what would it feel like to be in your body?
You can choose to think and feel those things now.
We’re not trying to ignore that we have other thoughts and sentences. We’ve been sold a belief system about our bodies being objects to be viewed and the outside appearance of our bodies being paramount and a huge determiner of our value.
Acknowledging that it’s happening is the first step, but then it’s important to move past that and focus on how it feels to be you and the true purpose of your body
Your body is a miracle
You may have been taught things about your body that aren’t serving you anymore. You can let those things go.
Your body is a miracle, your worth is innate, and you deserve to live the life you want and love you no matter what the scale says.