This started for me when I was 12 years old. I remember standing on a scale, seeing "110" staring back at me, and thinking, "I'm so fat. I need to lose 10 pounds." For some reason I had this number in my mind: 100. And until I reached it, I wouldn't be happy. This internal pressure hit me at such a young age, like most girls, because of the perfectly photoshopped bodies in magazines and on TV, but I also heard comments from my parents. "I can't believe so-and-so gained so much weight!" I knew being fat was a bad thing, so I devoted my entire life to becoming thin. I was constantly comparing myself to others and pinching and prodding at myself in the mirror, saying hurtful things.
Now at 40 years old, I realized that this trash-talk to myself hasn't stopped. If anything, it's gotten worse. While talking to my CrossFit coach before class one day, she said she too was obsessed with reaching a certain number on the scale. And she was constantly saying things to herself that she wouldn't say to her best friend. Things like:
"I feel so fat."
"I look horrible."
"I need to lose weight."
"My butt is too big."
"I shouldn't have eaten that."
"I need to exercise more."
"I wish my stomach was flatter."
Or even things that don't have to do with weight, but about your abilities, like when you're in a fitness class:
"I suck at this."
"Everyone is better than me."
Imagine turning to your best friend, or your sister, or your mother, or your daughter and saying these things. You would never, right?! Not even to a stranger on the street. Or what if a stranger said something like this to you? You wouldn't stand for it! So why do we think it's OK to say these things to ourselves?
It's time to treat yourself as wonderfully as you treat every other person in your life. Plain and simple. Be kind to yourself. Focus on the things that make you awesome. Say things like:
"My legs are strong."
"Look what I can do."
"My muscles have gotten so big."
"I'm trying my best."
"I have a beautiful smile."
"I'm so much stronger than I was a month ago."
"My butt looks amazing in these leggings."
"I'm working hard, I'll get this."
"Look at my muscle definition."
Every time you look in the mirror, say something nice about yourself, even if it feels weird or forced. When you catch yourself about to say something negative, turn it around and say something positive. Don't feel ashamed of being proud of yourself! Make a pact to give yourself three compliments a day, and after a while, it'll become a habit that really affects your daily mood. And while you're at it, give three compliments a day to other people to help start a trend that builds self-esteem and promotes a healthy body image.
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