The holiday season is finally here. We’ve heard the fat jokes start up, the talk about how much hypothetical weight we will gain from a couple of meals and attending holiday parties + the stretchy pants jokes are officially in full force. I fully accept the fact that I used to be one of those people who engaged in all of the above behaviors… but I’m not anymore!
Before you ask how I did this, I didn’t make any trips to the gym, I don’t work out on a regular basis or obsess about my calorie intake, I just incorporated the tools I’ve learned to love myself without needing a scale or a 6-pack of abs (I don’t have either anymore). And I’m not ashamed of that. I simply welcomed the thinking that I am worthy of love + acceptance no matter how I feel or look. Do I still get thoughts that I don’t think I look good from time to time? YES! But the difference in loving myself fully is that I now am able to change my thinking process. When I have a “negative” thought about how I look, I think of three positive affirmations: encouraging things I allow myself to believe about my appearance. Here’s an example of what that process looks like:
Initial thought: “My stomach is so big, it’s hanging over the top of my jeans. I look disgusting.”
Change thought: “My body is beautiful no matter how well it fits in these jeans today.”
2nd thought change: “It’s okay that I don’t have my 19-year old body anymore. My body is perfect just the way it is.”
It took me years of learning + practicing this thought process before I actually believed these thoughts. If you have followed my journey, you know that I battled a life threatening eating disorder for years + was even hospitalized for 3 months in an inpatient facility in 2009. I truly struggled with the belief system that I was worthy of love + support in my life. I had lost sight of who I was + needed to re-train my thought process + the fact that I was someone worth knowing, I needed to remember I was a good person + life wasn’t about being or looking perfect. Sure enough, after I attended enough group therapy sessions, I knew that I had the knowledge to try applying these thoughts, I just didn’t believe them yet. I learned that it was going to take practice + a whole lot of brain power to stop my negative thoughts about my body + changing them to positive thoughts. It didn’t matter what mood I was in or what I was looking at in the mirror. My self-confidence was riding on the fact that I needed to change how I thought about my body. Let’s face it: I couldn’t let the way I looked on any particular day. I needed to build myself back up by the thoughts that went through my brain every moment + every day. Here’s another example of how I change my thoughts:
Initial thought: “My arms are chubby + I don’t want to show them at all today.”
Change thought: “My arms are functional + I’m thankful for things they allow me to do.”
2nd thought change: “My arms are strong + I love the way they look.”
Now that I’ve been living in recovery for 5 years, I can still say that these negative thoughts still cross my mind sometimes, that’s ok. It means I’m HUMAN! The cool thing about learning how to change my thoughts into positive affirmations is that these thoughts now come pretty naturally to me. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have to keep working at them. I’m frequently reminding myself how important it is to build myself up + I LOVE encouraging others to do the same. How do you talk to yourself on a good day? What about how you talk to yourself on a “bad” day? Do you pick + choose the way you think based on your reflection in the mirror or how your jeans fit on a bad day? You have the power to change the thoughts that fill your brain each day, it’s up to you to allow the good stuff to fill your brain.
It might be holiday season, but that doesn’t mean that you have to obsess about the food you ate yesterday, the food that will be served at your Christmas party this weekend, or the sweet treats that are going to be in your office break room. Remember that your self-worth is not determined by the guilt you might feel after indulging in a delicious meal or if your clothes are a bit more snug than usual. You deserve love + self-confidence no matter how your jeans fit today or any day. Here’s an example of what I used to think back in 2009 the day after Thanksgiving:
Initial thought: “I ate too much food, I wish I would have had self-control to stop eating sooner. I wish I didn’t eat dessert. I’m such a failure.”
Changed thought: “I really enjoyed eating Thanksgiving with my family today, I am thankful to have enjoyed a delicious meal with the people I care about most.”
2nd changed thought: “I deserve to enjoy a tasty meal with good company. I’m glad I was able to take home leftover stuffing too!”
I challenge you to change your thought process when those negative ways of thinking start to take over this holiday season. Try using a positive affirmation or two when you catch yourself thinking, “I shouldn’t have…” or “I wish I looked like…” Stop that stuff right now, friends! Be your own biggest fan + change those thoughts to positive ones. You are the only person that can actually make it happen, try it out + let me know how it works for you the remainder of the week. You won’t regret it!