In case you missed the epic “smash the scale” video I made earlier this year, here’s the Cliff’s notes:
1. Take your scale
2. Grab a bat or hammer
3. Smash it to smithereens
4. Feel like a bad ass
(If you want to watch it for yourself, click here)
My intention was to inspire all of YOU to release yourself from the bondage/torture of the scale.
Unless you are pregnant, under the care of a physician for a medical issue, or in treatment for a restrictive eating disorder, you do NOT need to be weighed. Period, end of story. (Even for the circumstances listed above, weigh-ins can be done “blind” aka without telling YOU the number.)
Does that mean you will be living ‘happily ever after’ with no issues about weight, body image, or your appearance?
Awwww, that’s so cute.
Sadly no, smashing your scale does NOT make all of your body, weight, and appearance “issues” disappear.
It simply means you won’t own a scale.
Granted, the scale is a huge obstacle, but it’s not the only tool that your “inner gremlin” uses to its advantage.
Wanna improve body image?
Face your fears:
Photos and mirrors and closets…
Oh the dreaded picture that was posted on Facebook where you look “AWFUL, fat, or unflattering”.
There is a special kind of pain that comes from seeing a “bad” picture of ourselves. This pain can be made even worse if the picture is from an event where we THOUGHT we looked good, and yet the photo evidence appears to prove otherwise.
I have gotten many an email from clients about this exact situation and I STILL suffer from the sting of photo shame from time to time.
So what are we to do???
This is not an easy one… it cuts right to the core of our fear of being unattractive, unloved, and not 'good enough'.
I don’t have any magical words of wisdom. Truth be told, building body acceptance, self-worth, and having the strength to face PAINFUL emotions head-on TAKES TIME.
Here is what I can offer right now.
Create a go-to response that you can use when you see an “unflattering” picture of yourself. Something simple and, more importantly, something that you TRULY believe:
“I was having a really good time and what I looked like didn’t actually matter that much.”
“People love me not because of my appearance but because of who I am.”
“Photos do not have the power to control my day. I choose to move on.”
A very potent cure to our body image blue is to limit time spent on social media while you are new to this work. It really helps.
Choose to make your life more about LIVING IN the moment than about CAPTURING the moment. Encourage friends and loved ones to do the same (we have gone a little picture crazy, have we not?)
Ask yourself, “Will this photo matter in a week? A month? A year?” If not, don’t give it another precious moment of your time and energy.
What can I say, they are a necessary evil.
Great for ensuring you don’t have food in your teeth or to check if you missed a button, but beyond that it gets tricky.
I actually haven’t owned a full length mirror in 2 years. It’s glorious. I highly recommend it if you are new to the body-image-recovery game.
At first not owning a full length mirror wasn’t intentional, we simply didn’t own one after moving out of an apartment with mirrored closet doors, but when I realized I much I liked living mirror-free chose NOT to buy one for our new home. I always hated the mirrors on our closet doors so why invite that misery back into my day to day life??
After a while I began to realize how much less energy I put into what I looked like. Clothes became more about how they felt and I didn’t have as many negative thoughts while getting dressed.
I invite you to explore your relationship with the mirror.
Does it bring up feelings of anxiety, insecurity, or self-criticism?
Just like the scale, does is dictate how you feel about yourself, your body, or your eating and exercise choices?
If so, how can you change your relationship with the mirror and "self checking" as your walk past mirror windows or doors?
One of the most powerful homework assignments I give to my clients is the “clean out your closet” experiment.
Having hangers full of clothes that no longer fit is definitely NOT the kindest thing you can do for yourself.
When we constantly see clothes from our “thinner days” it can invoke urges to restrict, diet, or “lose a couple pounds”.
When we wear the same rotation of clothes, yet have a closet full of gorgeous items we can’t or don’t want to wear, it makes us feel… hmmmm what’s the word… BLAH.
You can clean out your closet all at once, or tackle it one section at a time (pants -> shirts -> bathing suits). Whatever order will get you to actually do it.
Here are a few* guidelines:
Only keep items that you REALLY like or need. (No matter how much money you spent or what a good sale it was)
Only keep items that fit you COMFORTABLY right now. (Those pants that you can SQUEEZE into, and you can FORCE them to button, are probably not going to be comfortable at dinner or a movie)
Do not try everything on all at once. This is a recipe for disaster. Want a sure fire way to feel defeated instead of empowered?? Try on everything in your closet in one day. Instead, start with the things you KNOW damn well don’t fit and get rid of them first.
Still have items that you’re on the fence about? Leave them alone until you organically want to wear them. Then, try them on, and if they don’t fit comfortably then you know for sure that you can get rid of them. If after 6 months you STILL haven’t reached for an item, then you probably don’t like it as much as you thought you did, and it’s safe toss whether it fits or not.
*I know what you are thinking. There are a million exceptions to this. If it’s an item with sentimental value you can keep it, but just not in your closet. If you don’t want to donate expensive things you can sell/consign. If you are pregnant or just had a baby this probably isn’t the time to do this exercise. If you have items that are seasonal then tackle the closet in seasons. The most important thing is to GET ITEMS OUT OF YOUR CLOSET and out of your eye-line. SO if you can’t bear to get rid of things right away, put them in a container and store them at your best friends/sisters house.