Body Image: Rewriting Old Stories

In last week’s newsletter, I was chatting all about the stories we tell ourselves about our bodies and how those stories can hold us back. As always, I get super-personal in my newsletter and I shared some of the stories I’ve told myself over the years that have held me back from my own goals and happiness.

The stories we tell ourselves could range from: I’m too skinny to I’m too fat. I’ll be good enough when I fit into a certain size or weigh a certain number. They could be about our perceived flaws like cellulite or body parts that we fixate on. They could be the stories we tell ourselves about our physical abilities and athletic performance. The truth is: these stories only matter when we give them power, and when allow them to define our identity.

Recently I’ve seen some of my favourite fitness professionals say that it’s really just about loving ourselves as you are, right this second. I think we’re oversimplifying when we say things like this. It would be nice to just flip a switch and choose to love ourselves right this second, but it’s not that simple for many of us.

I wholeheartedly agree we deserve to take the power back and get past the stories that hold us back. BUT getting there is WORK – terrifying work at times and liberating at others. Most of us need strategies to get there. Stepping into our power doesn’t happen by accident. How can we get intentional both physically and mentally?

  • Know that you are more than your old story: start here. You are more than one trait, one characteristic that you may fixate on. You’re more than a number on a scale, or the dimples on your thigh, the skin on the back of your arm, or your pants-size. You’re more than your fitness level and physical ability. You are heart, soul, knowledge, effort, love, softness and strength.
  • Show up and practice: Instead of worrying about not being the strongest, fastest, smartest or whatever-est, literally just show up and practice. When we choose action over inaction we can trust that we are physically and mentally stronger than we were yesterday.
  • Get cozy with the idea of discomfort: Making change and getting past our physical and emotional barriers can be uncomfortable, *will* be uncomfortable a lot of the time. It can be easier to stick to our old stories because there’s a familiarity there, an easy way out. If this process was easy we’d all just be able to ‘love ourselves as you are, right this second’, but it’s not. The more we expose ourselves to our fears, to situations that challenge us and wade into that discomfort the less scary and the more normal those situations become.
  • Visualize: We do this regularly in pre and post natal fitness. We visualize and cue things like stopping the flow of pee or picking up a blueberry to engage the pelvic floor muscles or the opposite, visualizing inflating the pelvic floor like a balloon or melting like a stick of butter to release. Visualization is powerful. In the context of our convo. today, we can use visualization and focus to intentionally and relentlessly get rid of the mental clutter that holds us back. I literally mean climbing up into the attic of our brains and finding the junk that’s lingering: those old, sometimes painful thoughts, memories, stories, pieces of clutter. Find them: the stories that we tell ourselves about who we aren’t (or even false ones about who we are), what we’re bad at, what we can’t do. Face that clutter, those stories, and visualize taking out the out that trash.

We each have the power to rewrite our stories and to move forward with more intention and power. If this resonates with you, send me an email to let me know what story you’re going to get rid of.

xo J

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