Over the past few months, I have had an epiphany. I realized that I have never truly been able to take a compliment. Mostly though, I had a hard time taking a compliment whenever I felt like I was fat. I have had friends tell me, “girl, you look so good! I need to go workout with you!” And though that is what they said, this is what I heard: “Girl, you look good…fat!” So why did I hear that when that is not what they said? Because of my mentality and view of self.
I recently heard Jesse Duplantis say: “you lose weight from the inside out.” Though he is a preacher of the gospel, I received this “health principle” as truth. It is an undeniable truth that weight loss, as well as sustaining that weight loss, starts in the mind. If you never change your mind to being dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle, you will never consistently do it. Likewise, if you don’t change your self-view of yourself, what will happen is that even when you get to the size you want to be at, it will still not be good enough (that was always my case). Because if your motivation is skewed, it will constantly be a “yo-yoing” of weight loss, to weight gain, with an emotional rollercoaster of your self-image based on your size.
For years, I struggled because I was caught up in the “scale cycle.” I would weigh myself daily, and if the scale did not say what I wanted it to say, I became depressed. My whole day changed, and even my outlook on life and self changed. In essence, I was a slave to the numbers on the scale. I am not quite sure of when it happened, but after much prayer and reading the right things and believing them, I started to change my mind concerning myself. I was able then to get on the scale, and if it didn’t say what I wanted it to say, I WAS STILL OKAY. That was a huge step. I began to say to myself, “Jenelle, you are not where you want to be yet, but you know how to lose weight. Keep doing what you are doing. But embrace yourself as beautiful exactly where you are at.” I had to learn how to love myself no matter what size I was. Now, this was not an excuse to stay where I was, especially being overweight and at risk for many health issues, but it was rather inspiration to believe that I could look good at the size I was, while working to be at the size I wanted to be.
This blog is not really so much about changing your mind to lose weight, though that may be what you need. More so, it is about changing your view of self while on your journey to getting to where you would like to be. So I want to give you 7 ways to Embrace Yourself by Changing Your Mentality:
1. Accept a compliment for what it is; even if you don’t believe it. If someone sincerely gives you a compliment, take it. If someone says to you, “You look really good!” In response, don’t say things like, “who me?,” or “I have gained so much weight so I am surprised to hear that,” or “naw honey, I need to lose weight.” Though those statements may have truth in them, you don’t have to embrace them. Love yourself and accept compliments. Allow them to build you up and see yourself in a better light. If others see something good about you, why shouldn’t you?
2. Let your self-esteem wrap itself in love rather than your size. My view of self should not change based on my size. I should love myself and embrace myself no matter what size I am. Wives and husbands do it all the time with each other…why shouldn’t you?
3. Read some inspirational books. If you have a poor self-image, you need to fill your mind with words that encourage you and motivate you to change the way you see yourself. “So Long Insecurity,” by Beth Moore is a good book for this. “Battlefield of the Mind,” by Joyce Meyers is also good. There are many great books out there for helping to change your mind. Find one, read it, and believe it. One of my favorites is the Bible. If we start to see ourselves the way God sees us and loves us, we will greatly improve how we see ourselves.
4. Talk positivity to yourself. I taught a nutrition education class to women at a church, and during a session on body image, I challenged the women to look in the mirror and say positive things to themselves concerning their physical attributes. For several of the ladies, this was difficult. Others found it to be weird. Many found it to be enlightening. Try it for yourself. Try looking at yourself and saying “(Insert your name here) you are beautiful! You have beautiful (Insert attribute here)(i.e., eyes, ears, face, nose, etc.)!
5. Surround yourself with people who will continue to build you up. This can really be a challenge as you don’t always have control over who is around you (i.e., work). But whenever it is in your control, surround yourself with positive people who see great value in you. We are creatures of habit and also imitation. So if you hear others habitually saying positive things about you, there is an increased chance that you may start to say it and believe it…
6. Get a reality check of what is really a normal size. Don’t use the television and celebrities as your target when looking at size. That is unrealistic. Many of them use extreme methods to get to their size. Many of their methods may be dangerous. Besides, they do not represent the general population. Set a “realistic” size goal…
7. Lastly, if you are a heavier size, and are in the process of trying to lose weight, try to enhance your other physical attributes. Just because you weigh more and are trying to get to a smaller size does not mean that you have to let all other areas of yourself look bad until you get there. Get some nice clothes that compliment you where you are at (if you can afford it)! Get a new hairdo or a haircut! Women, put some makeup on! My point is, you don’t have to look a mess just because you think you are fat. I have seen the show “What Not to Wear” transform all types of people into beautiful beings who seemed to feel better about themselves simply through enhancing attributes they already possessed.
I hope this blog helps you in improving the way you see yourself…until next time…