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!