When I tell people what I do for a living, 90% of the time they ask me if I can give them a meal plan or help them lose weight. And when people come to me for coaching, most have goals related to food and weight.
Of course they do! In the society we live in, we're taught to believe that if we're not focused on dieting and managing our weight, we're doing it wrong.
But, the truth for many of us is that underneath the desire to get to a certain size or shape is the desire to feel comfortable in our own skin. To move in the world feeling more confident. To get dressed with ease. To feel valued and beautiful as we are.
And most of the time, those desires won't be met with a number on the scale.
But those weight goals? They're not for naught! They're the perfect starting point to help identify your unique desires. And, once we can clearly see them, we can do the ultra-important work of achieving those desires without obsessing over the number on the scale.
Feeling Comfortable In Your Own Skin Takes Work
This is not a "forget about the scale and love the body you have today" post. Although, if that works for you, go for it! For most people, that sounds nice, but doesn't actually shift the deeply-held beliefs about body and weight.
This is more of a "it takes quite a bit of intentional work, but the results are sooo worth it" kind of post.
So, let's start with what kind of work we're not talking about. I'm not talking about spending hours sweating in the gym at 4:30 in the morning or planning your calendar so you have plenty of time for meal planning and food prep.
The work I'm talking about, and the key to feeling comfortable in your own skin, is the work of unlearning the things we've been conditioned to believe about weight, health, and worth and connecting with what's most true and authentic for you so you can live in a way that feels more aligned and fulfilling.
The Evolving Ideal
Let's dig a little deeper into the things we've been conditioned to believe about weight, starting with the modern ideal of beauty.
There are many books and articles that explore this topic more eloquently than I can. I highly recommend Fearing the Black Body, by Sabrina Springs, that explores the origin of the thin ideal as a highly racialized concept, and this article that explores the different beauty ideals over various decades.
In this article, they conclude that:
Twenty years ago, models weighed, on average, 8% less than average American women. By now, they weigh 23% less. Most models now have a weight that's considered clinically anorexic.
Let's let that sink in. The norms that we are conditioned to strive for, the bodies that are glorified are also bodies that, by many standards, would be classified as at risk for health complications.
Tips to Help You Feel Comfortable In Your Own Skin Today
This is deep work and it is not easy. To create some space to do this work with a bit more ease, here are a few recommendations:
Wear clothes that fit the body you have today:
The norm is to try to wait and buy new clothes when we've reached our "goal weight," but wearing clothes that don't fit can lead to increased discomfort and stress which can interfere with our ability to do the work of connecting with our bodies.
Focus on what you do like about your body:
Practice appreciation for what your body can do and all the way it supports you throughout the day. I recommend noting at least 2 or 3 things every day and feeling into the appreciation.
Ask yourself, "What is the most caring thing I can do for my body today?"
And then, as often as possible, do that thing. Maybe it's rest, stretch, move, eat nourishing food. This practice helps you connect with your body in a more loving way.
Go beyond initial thoughts
When you notice a belief that doesn't feel great - ask yourself, "Why do I think that?" or "Where did I learn that?" And then see if it's something you might want to shift.
I don't know what thoughts and beliefs will emerge as you do this work, but I'd love to support you as you start to identify them as you identify them and do the work of changing your relationship with food and weight so you can feel more comfortable in your own skin.