How often do you get up out of your chair, stride confidently across the room, and think, “Damn, I look good!”? Almost never, right?
I’m sure you’re thinking I’m being silly or sarcastic, but I’m not. I’m totally and completely serious.
It sounds absurd to imagine yourself doing this, mostly because you probably don’t feel confident in your body and aren’t happy with the way it looks. You probably think you would do this if you had the body you really want.
But it’s the other way around. In order to get the body you really want, you have to embrace and inhabit the one you currently have. Only then will it start to take shape and become what you want it to be.
The more you act as if, the faster you become.
Part of the reason we stay stuck for so long is that we’re so used to living in the bodies we have now that we can’t imagine ourselves any other way. You look in the mirror and see the same body, day after day — and you stay in the same narrow range, going back and forth, never breaking through to goal weight. If you feel like you look a little less thick around the middle, then (yay!) you can “cheat” today. But if you feel like you look bloated and gross, then you crack the whip and starve yourself.
But don’t forget, it’s not really about losing weight. Weight is only a symptom of the real problem: the way you eat. If you keep making it about the weight, you’re going to stay stuck. If you stay stuck for too long, your confidence erodes, and you give up hope that anything will ever change. That’s when desperation sets in, and you go looking yet again for the magic diet that’ll finally fix everything.
You have to have imagination to make anything significant happen. You have to snap yourself out of your rut and push through the wall that’s standing between you and the life you want — and deserve — to live. (And, yes, that life includes having the body you’ve always dreamed of.)
The good news is that it’s not that hard to do, and it can also be really, really fun. You just have to get on board with some mental work and maybe trying a few unconventional things. Here are some tactics and ideas:
Act it out. You absolutely should strut across the room — as much as you possibly can. Channel your inner supermodel. If you need inspiration, pull up some old videos of Naomi Campbell working it out on the catwalk. Don’t suck in your stomach either. Let it all hang out.
Believe it or not, the more you hold yourself differently, the easier it is to eat better. When you cover yourself up, constrict your body, and walk like you don’t have the right to even take up space, you’re going to continue binge eating to make yourself feel better. So dress up, walk confidently, look and feel your best — and you’ll become your best.
Talk to yourself. It’s important to be aware of and combat your inner critic. You have to check yourself when you hear that voice telling you how disgusting you are and that you’ll never lose weight. But it’s even better to go one step beyond and say things like “I am on fire today!”
Amping up your self-talk this way gives you a very different feeling than saying “I am beautiful inside and out” or “I can do anything” — even though it’s important to say those things, too. There’s a special kind of energy you get when you pump yourself up like this, and it also helps you act it out even more.
Imagine it. Envision yourself exactly the way you want to be. Picture yourself getting dressed in the morning. See the kind of clothes you would wear if you could wear anything. Visualize yourself doing something truly exciting — boarding a plane for a fabulous overseas trip, crossing a marathon finish line, laying out by a pool with clear blue water (which does sound exciting to me since my view usually consists of piles of laundry and dirty dishes).
I like to play inspiring music when I do this, and I use my time in the car to do it. Try Beyonce and Rihanna — they work great. And just like with talking to yourself, using your imagination helps you act it out.
Just remember that you have to embrace your body the way it is if you want to change it. The goal is not to beat your body into submission and change it into something completely different. The body you really want is already in there — it’s just underneath a layer of crap you don’t need.
Also remember that you’re a lot more powerful than you think you are. You don’t have to keep dumbing yourself down, day after day, year after year, staying stuck for all eternity.
It’s really not as hard as you think it is to make changes and to design a different life for yourself — the one you dream of having. And if you can dream it, you can do it.
And when you do it, you get it.