Cultivate Pride

I have never had one client be motivated to stop overeating by the thought of looking cute in her skinny jeans. Not one. Me either for that matter.

This phrase is the weight-loss shorthand for our culture, it captures a desirable outcome we can all get behind—a cute booty. I don’t think it’s wrong to want to look cute in your jeans (my point would be to buy cute jeans and rock them out now, but that’s another blog post…), I just don’t think that thought motivates you.


Because it’s not really what you want.

What you are looking for is the emotion behind looking cute in your jeans
—the emotion that comes from loving, honoring, respecting and nurturing yourself enough to be willing to feel your feelings and stop putting more food in your body than it wants.

I’m talking about pride.

Pride has gotten a bad rap. When most people talk derisively about pride, they are talking about false pride—propping up of insecurities with arrogance and conceit; seeking external validation with a “look at me” attitude. I am talking about true pride—appreciation of yourself and your accomplishments from a place of genuine self respect, dignity and confidence.

This is great news because you don’t have to wait until those skinny jeans fit, you can feel proud of yourself right now. And when you tap into this very strong emotion of pride in yourself, it becomes a piece of cake (ha! pun intended) to stop eating when you’re satisfied.

Here’s how to cultivate pride:

1. Create strong emotion.
Here’s where I think the skinny jeans battle-cry falls down. There’s not enough emotion associated with it. You slip on those jeans and you feel… really good, maybe great. And then, you’re wearing pants. Not exactly a Hallmark moment.

Now, think about a day where you take great care of yourself. A day where you eat wonderful foods that fuel your body just until you’re satisfied and no more. A day where you exercise and maybe even go a little longer or faster than you did the day before. A day where you are willing to feel your feelings rather than eat them. Or, a day where you simply do one of those things.

Now, how do you feel? I hope you say proud. What does pride feel like? Get into it, make it vivid, feel free to lay it on thick—you deserve it.

Remember that feeling.

2. Pride now, no waiting.
Waiting for your jeans to fit (or until you get to your natural weight) is too long to wait for the emotional payoff of loving yourself. Plus, it’s totally unneccesary. That feeling I asked you to remember above? Give it to yourself every time you do something pride-worthy. Let me tell you, when I do my Kinesis workouts, I give myself a HUGE dose of pride feelings. I lay it on thick. I make it a double. I frickin’ supersize it. I went from a woman who had an ambivalent and rocky relationship with exercise to a woman who not only loves it, but regularly challenges herself to new levels of fitness. I’m proud of that.

Since I’m not a fan of cooking, I am proud of myself every time I make a great fuel food meal from my “Eating for Life” cookbook. (Or a not-so-great meal due to operator error!) And, I’m just a proud when I grab a great fuel food option from the grocery store. I am still proud every time I stop eating at +2 on the Hunger Scale. Have you caught on yet? I am extremely proud of myself on a daily basis.

3. Fast Forward
Whenever you have a decision point between prideful action and self-destructive action, fast-forward in your mind. Conjure up all your prideful feelings and think about how awesome you will feel about yourself right after you choose self-esteem over self-destruction. Feel those feelings deeply—and choose.

Let your strong emotions of pride propel you through to the outcome you want. The Biggest Loser theme song captures this concept perfectly, “What have you done today to make you feel proud?”

So? What have you done today to make yourself feel proud? Please comment and share. It doesn’t have to be just eating or exercise, all kinds of pride cultivation welcome!

6 comments on “Cultivate Pride
  1. Oh boy, I love this. I feel proud when I have put a big container of grilled chicken breast in the fridge because it means that I made it easier to make healthy snacking choices for me and my husband. In fact, I just did that two hours ago. I am puffed up with pride. Thanks for reminding me!

  2. Hi Bridgette, I am proud because I am smart enough to listen to my body say “enough with the work at the computer, I need a break”. Regardless of the umpteen work and school things I need to do right now, I am listening to its needs and giving it a break. I am proud that I can say “So what! to whatever and whoever else” and take the afternoon off to care for me! I know you are proud of me too! 🙂

  3. Love your post! The other day I took the babies out for a jog and spilled water from a sippy cup onto my iphone, completely ruining it. Although my intention was to feel proud for going on a jog, I was frustrated with myself for being so careless with my phone and no longer felt very proud at all. Working with a coach, I came to realize that sometimes “life happens” and we have to feel our feelings no matter what. I tried to stuff my feeling of shame underneath an intention to feel proud. As soon as I realized I was stuffing my feelings of shame with a “should,” I gained a lot of insight into what I was making it mean that I broke my phone. Getting to the bottom of my feelings was tough but I did it! The best part is that at the end of the day I ended up feeling proud of myself afterall. 

  4. Ok, I’m totally hooked on your blog Bridgette. I don’t know what took me so long to find it, but I’m so happy that I did. This is an awesome post. Thank you! I’m starting my new nightly habit of listing “What I did to make myself proud” starting tonight! whoohoo!

  5. Great perspective Bridgette! I so enjoy your blog. When I looked at the scale this morning and thought, “that number is not dropping as fast as I want it to” I thought back to all that I had accomplished to take care of myself this week and began to feel that sense of pride. Thank you for expressing this so well.

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