I really love John Mayer’s music. There’s something about a singer/songwriter and a guitar or a piano that just sings to my soul. One of my favorite lines in one of his songs is, “Love ain’t a thing. Love is a verb.” A line of a song and a concept that just speaks to my heart.
Love is not a thing that just exists. It’s not words. It’s action.
Injecting love into your health journey
You hear me talk about injecting love into your weight loss or health journey quite a bit, and I’ve given you examples here and there through the life of the podcast, but I wanted to be super clear and address this specifically today.
I want to paint you a picture of what I mean when I say come from love for you as you go through this process.
Many of you may wonder what that looks like in practice. Many of your brains want to believe the things you’re doing and the way you’re approaching this whole thing with love, but shame and guilt, obligation, and inadequacy can all drive action and pretend to be love.
They can disguise themselves as helpful.
They can make you believe that it’s truly from love for you that you are denying yourself sugar for the rest of time, but it’s not, necessarily. That’s not to say that denying yourself sugar can never come from love. It totally can, but not always.
So, how do you know the difference?
Different kinds of love-fueled action
Let’s talk about what love-fueled action looks like in different areas of this process of change, along with what it’s not, so you can start identifying the difference for you.
I want to preface this by saying that though I can describe and explain it, ultimately, it will be an individual experience and being able to connect with YOU.
You are not your mistakes. You are not your thoughts. You are not your body or your past, or your roles. You are loved divinely and innately whole.
But as you go through and experience life and emotions without the ability to differentiate, you start to identify as your labels and your judgments. You allow the world and its beliefs about who you should be to dictate who you are.
Then, when we talk unkindly to ourselves, we notice how we feel. We experience a pain specifically in that situation because it goes against who we are at our core.
It’s the deep discomfort of ignoring our goodness and treating it as weakness, of refusing to honor the love we deserve, of using our missteps as evidence of our worth.
It’s out of alignment with the love we are at our core, so it feels terrible.
Now, this isn’t to say that it will always feel amazing when you act in alignment.
Sometimes coming from love acting from love will mean opening up to the experience of being a human with all of the discomfort that comes. Sometimes, love-fueled action supports your growth, which feels uncomfortable because it’s new.
So, don’t misunderstand this concept to mean that if you come from love, you feel amazing, and this process will be easy. It won’t, but it will feel completely different.
It will feel lighter, not necessarily better. It will lead to learning to real growth, effective change, and lasting results because changing how and why we do things changes the outcome.
So, let’s start with love when it comes to your goal or your reasons for wanting to make changes.
Coming from love when setting goals
If you come from love when you set your goal, your goal sounds like what you are looking forward to, what you’re excited to create, the feelings you will feel, the things you will believe about you.
It considers that you are a human who will still experience human life and all that comes with it, but it focuses on the skills you’ll build to handle that life the way you want to. It’s multifaceted and centered around an identity that you want to embody.
For example, this may be your goal statement: my goal is to nourish my body with food, honor what it needs, and appreciate it for all it does. I want to feel confident in what I’m capable of, proud of how I show up for myself, and grateful for all I have learned.
Then, you could easily work backward and decide the steps you will need to take to get from here to there. If you currently eat whatever is on the way home from work and have a drive-thru, and you feel bloated and tired afterward, that probably isn’t what you mean when you image nourishing your body with food. So then you get to define that for yourself.
If you hate your body for how it looks, part of your goal will need to be that you start to create some space between you and all the messages that have told you the most important part of your body is how it looks.
You’ll have to differentiate your body’s value from its aesthetic and start to integrate gratitude for how it functions and how it keeps you alive.
What love isn’t with goal setting
- Your goal sounds like everything you don’t want, and it’s all just the opposite of how you are now.
- If your goal is three digits only, and those three digits are the ones you think you should see on the scale in order to have the “right body” or the three digits you used to see when you liked yourself, got the most compliments, or when looked the most like women you see on TV.
Coming from love with food
Coming from love when it comes to choosing what to eat, when, and how much connects directly to your body. When we’re coming from love, we consider what our body needs and what will feel good in our body. We are tuning in and listening to hunger and satiety signals. We are honoring what our body wants.
We are observing what our body doesn’t seem to like or reacts unfavorably to. We can consult experts, sure, for information, but not to dictate to us what our body should eat. It should be a jumping-off point to experiment and find what works best for us.
We stop when we’re full. We see food for what it is. It’s just food.
We learn to release food rules and restrictions, and we eat with full permission using our body and how it feels and responds as our guide.
What love isn’t when it comes to food
- Letting our mouth decide what we eat based on the taste experience only
- Following someone else’s meal plan for us without regard to how we feel while doing it
- Not allowing foods because they are bad
- Restricting eating as a punishment for the previous eating or in reaction to a number on the scale and ignoring our current level of capability or current lifestyle
- Adopting some extreme eating plan so that we can hurry up and lose weight
- Overeating to the point of physical pain
- Rewarding yourself with food when you have been good
All of these things disconnect us from and disregard our bodies. They are brain-centric solutions to a body issue.
We have to involve our bodies in the decision-making if we are truly coming from love.
When you stop eating just at the point of satisfaction because you are learning to honor how your body feels, but you have been accustomed to eating until your plate is clean or eating until you feel numb or not even paying attention and just eating unconsciously, this stopping will feel really uncomfortable.
Your toddler brain will throw tantrums, but knowing you’re honoring you will still feel better than giving in and over-eating again.
It’s very easy to think love is always saying yes, but here’s what you want to do, notice the difference between the discomfort your feel when you put your fork down when you’re full and the discomfort you feel when you ignore your body’s signals and overeat. Really tune into the difference.
Coming from love when things don’t go as planned
This looks and sounds like a compassionate curiosity. It’s wondering what happened with a genuine interest in discovering what happened. It’s looking back at what triggered the eating outside of what was planned or what’s standing in the way of you creating a plan in the first place? Or it could be hypothesizing and experimenting why the scale isn’t moving?
It’s understanding instead of judgment. Kindness instead of criticism. It’s looking forward only after being willing to see where we are and how we got here.
What love isn’t when things don’t go as planned
- Saying who cares or it doesn’t matter, and then continuing to eat without regard for your body or your values.
- Being ruthless to yourself in your mind
- Making it mean something about who you are as a human
Coming from love with exercise
When it comes to moving your body/exercise, it looks a little like how we do it with food and eating. It’s about listening to your body, what it enjoys, what it needs, what feels good and helpful.
It’s about expanding our definition of movement to include what feels like joy and pleasure as well as what feels challenging and strengthening.
Sometimes love for me with exercise looks like showing myself what I’m capable of as I pushed myself to sprint for the last minute on the treadmill at Orange Theory when I don’t think I have it in me.
My lungs are burning, my heart is pounding, my legs are nearing exhaustion, but it feels like love to know that I can stop and walk or can see what I’m made of; how mentally strong I am. How much I can do when I believe and I push out of my comfort zone.
But, sometimes it looks like listening when my body says, not today. Sometimes I do walk, and that is love too. But I know the difference when I’m walking instead of running, and it’s a love-fueled decision or a fear-fueled one.
What love isn’t when it comes to exercise
- A way to balance out the crap you ate
- Punishment for the way you ate or the number on the scale
Learning to listen
One situation, one decision at a time, there’s a whisper from the loving core of you, a soft yes, a gentle thank you.
You have to tune in and listen and be willing to hear the answer. That is what coming from love looks like and feels like.
When you’re ready to get started, download my free PDF guide, Freedom From Food Rules. You’ll learn how to get back to your own inner wisdom about taking care of your body and how to take back your power when it comes to fueling your body. Download now.