Today, we’re talking about habits because habits are on our mind as we near the end of the first month of 2020. What habits do we want to keep and what habits do we want to get rid of?
What habits do we NEED to give the flick?
If you have some or all of these six habits then you definitely need to give them the flick — these six particular habits are what could be keeping you stuck in a negative body image.
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Helping you on body image, body confidence and how you can break free of those negative habits that are keeping you stuck hating yourself, your body and your life because ain't nobody got time for that in 2020.
We only have time for gratitude, big dreams and bigger goals, so here are six habits keeping your stuck with a negative body image.
1. Weighing yourself daily
The number one habit that I cannot deal with that you need to stop doing if you are still doing in 2020, it needs to stop and that is weighing yourself.
Throw away your scales. Okay? If you've got them, pause this, go throw them out, smash them, don't even give them away because no one needs them! And I know a lot of people will be thinking right now, "I need that to track my health. It's important to weigh myself every day to know if I'm fluctuating." Blah, blah, bullshit. You do not need to weigh yourself. A scale measures how heavy you are. What is the purpose of that?
A scale cannot measure your worth. A scale cannot measure how happy you are in life. It also doesn't take into account your water weight or your fat versus muscle. It actually has no purpose and it can not accurately determine if you're healthy or not.
The only thing weighing yourself determines is your mood.
If you're waking up every morning and the first thing you're doing is jumping on the scale, you're just starting your day off negatively. When I struggled a lot with my body image, my morning routine consisted of waking up and weighing myself before I showered — if I'd lost weight, "Okay, great, but I need to lose more" and if I'd put on weight I'de feel like shit the rest of the day.
I would tell myself "you can't eat certain foods" or "you need to over-exercise now", it becomes the focal point of your life that distracts you from the actual important things in life that deserve your attention.
Half the time it's just water weight anyway. But either way you need to throw the scales out because they're not helping you feel good about yourself. You don't need to weigh yourself.
2. Following social media accounts that make you feel like shit
Okay, the second biggest thing that I know so many women and men struggle with on the daily is dealing with images, messages and marketing show to us on social media. Social media is such a big part of our lives, you only need to check your screen time on your phone to see how much time you actually spend endlessly scrolling.
I'll fess up, I've spent a daily average of 4 hours and 19 minutes "social networking". That time makes a big impact on your life if it's spent making you feel inadequate or self-conscious.
You can check yours in your smartphone settings under Screen Time, let me know on socials how much time you spend on socials... ironic?
When I'm on someones social media page, whether this person is a good person or not — if I'm feeling a certain way, if it starts to make me think, "oh, I should probably not have a big dinner because I want to look like that." Or, "I wish my hair was like that. Oh, I wish I had started doing this sooner." Oh, this, that and the other. It is not a positive place for your mind to be and the simplest thing that you can do if you're looking at an account is to not follow or to unfollow.
When I find new accounts I kind of like the vibe, see how they make me feel, look at some of their stories, and if I'm not feeling positive, I will not follow them.
Social media is not real life and we have to remind ourselves of that but if someone or something that keeps popping into your feed is triggering you to feel a type of way about your body or life in general — go to the page and unfollow because you don't need that negativity in your life.
A lot of people have the mentality that if I guilt myself into feeling some type of way, it'll force me not to eat or not to overindulge or not to enjoy my life because I need to look this way and looking this skinny is more important than my mental or physical health. This mindset is just not healthy.
There is no point feeling like shit and hating your body. Absolutely no point. You cannot hate yourself into loving yourself.
3. Keeping clothes that don't fit you anymore
2020 is the year to get rid of clothes that don't fit you because I know we all do it, right? We hold onto things because we think, "Oh, I'm going to fit back into that. New year, new me. I'm going to go to the gym, I'm going to lose all this weight and I'm going to fit back into this item of clothing that I love — which leads to yo-yo dieting.
All it's doing is sitting in your cupboard, taking up space and reminding you of a time in your life where you think your body was better than it is now. It's not actually serving you other than making you feel guilty. That's all it does.
Guilting yourself into trying to lose weight or trying to do whatever you're trying to do is not going to get you there. If you want a bigger booty or you want to fit back into your jeans, you need to find a healthy way of going about it.
It's getting yourself excited to move your body. It's exciting to feel into your body and be in your body and your spirit. If you enjoy dancing, dance, if you enjoy gymnastics, do gymnastics, if you enjoy rollerblading, do that.
I enjoy going to the gym and I do it because I feel strong. I feel in my body, I feel good, I love it and it's not to fit into an old pair of jeans or an old dress that I used to love. I want you to do is to donate your clothing, give it away, and then find clothes that light you up inside, that you feel good in, that you feel powerful in. Treat yourself to a new item of clothing or just repurpose some of your clothes, put them together in a way that makes you feel confident and then prepare your clothes for the week ahead.
You just feel good when you wake up and your clothes are set, you put them on, you feel good in them and you're not seeing items of clothing that bring you down.
This habit may not apply to everyone, but it damn well applies to a lot of people, and it used to apply to myself. That is the habit of over-exercising.
I remember the days where I would literally get up in the morning, go to the gym, do a one-hour body pump or group fitness class, leave, do half an hour on the treadmill, and then I'd go back to the gym that night and do the same thing.
It was just so unhealthy because it becomes addictive and your body needs rest. If you're exercising nonstop, it's actually doing more harm than good because you're not giving your body a chance to rest and to recuperate, which is what your muscles need. You're tearing down your muscles while you're exercising, so you need to give them time to rest and rebuild so that they can build back up and you become stronger. So, you're actually not doing your body any favours by overexercising. Instead, find something that you can replace it with, maybe some yoga or meditation to relax the muscles and your mind without having to be in the gym doing strenuous workouts.
5. Using diet products or diet plans
If we're going to talk about your body and moving your body, we should also be talking about your diet/food you consume.
Diet products are a scam.
I absolutely loathe diets with a passion. We've all, dabbled in some sort of diet, whether it's a product like a skinny tea or some sort of drink or prepared food, or an actual diet plan/program like Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers — their methods are useless by the way. You can't transfer your learnings into everyday life. You need to do your research because "Roughly 90 per cent of people who lose a lot of weight eventually regain just about all of it." Read more about the stats here: https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/health-management/weighing-facts-tough-truth-about-weight-loss
This is why the diet industry is so massive is because people keep coming back and coming back because they keep putting the weight back on, they lose it and then they put it back on.
If you're currently dieting in any way, which could be counting calories, which isn't always a bad thing. You want to make sure you're getting your proteins, your fats and your carbs, all of that is great.
If you're counting calories in every meal or snack you consume it's keeping you stuck in a negative body image — you may feel like it gives you more control in your life, but you're actually insanely out of control.
Any sort of diet pills or skinny teas, or I used to buy the cleanses that you would buy in a bottle. I'd go to the chemist warehouse and I'd be like, "All right, I'm going to do like this three day cleanse and it's going to start me off on the right track to get into better habits." What it actually does is tell yourself that you're not good enough and that you need to be buying these diet products, and they're just not healthy and that lifestyle is not sustainable.
You want a sustainable way of living that makes you feel good, that takes care of and nourishes your body. You don't want something that's not maintainable and that costs a hell of a lot of money. It's a scam. Diets are scams and you don't need them in your life.
If you have diet books, if you have diet pills or anything like that, I want you to throw them away (just pop them with your scales). Do not give them to anyone because you don't want to pass on these bad habits to anyone else.
Throw them away and start finding ways of living a more sustainable life. If you enjoy cooking, cook nourishing foods and meal prep, so that you're prepared to be eating healthy throughout the week.
If you enjoy cooking, that's great. If not, maybe you could look into some sort of food subscription, which is ten times better than the dieting plans. Hello Fresh is a great subscription, and this is NOT sponsored, it's just the only one I've tried and their food is great!
There are plenty of other good food subscriptions options that can help support your healthy way of living much better than any diet products or plans would.
6. Negative self-talk
Your mind is the key to your happiness. It really, really is. And I want you to really, really listen to me when I say that you need to stop talking badly about yourself. For yourself, for those around you, especially if you have children. It's important that the way that you speak to yourself is positive because if you're constantly bashing yourself and saying, "Oh, I hate my flabby arms or my thick thighs." Or, "I've got rolls and stretchmarks that are disgusting" Or, "I don't like my nose. I need to fix this. I need to fix that." and so on, you're staying stuck in a negative body image.
You'll have little to no self-esteem and feel as though you're not worthy, and so that's the kind of treatment you'll accept from others.
You wouldn't speak to a friend like that, so why are you talking to yourself like that? You wouldn't speak to your daughter that way but we're so conditioned to talk down to ourselves that it's almost ignorant to love something about yourself or talk positively about yourself. Which is so skewed, it makes my brain hurt. We need to cut that shit out because it's generational. We're passing it down to our children who are then passing it down to their children and so on. We're living in this cycle of negative self-talk, do we want that for our kids or grandkids?
No, we don't so what we need to do is reframe our thinking, reframe how we talk to ourselves because I get it, we have negative thoughts, right? There's always going to be negative thoughts that come up in our head. We try something on in the change room and it doesn't fit right, and we're like, "I'm so gross." But we need to reframe that thinking.
Think about yourself as if you were your sister, friend or daughter. And she said, "I look disgusting and fat in this dress." What would you tell her? You would tell her that she is beautiful and the fact that that dress doesn't fit is the dress' problem, not hers.
You would tell her that she's beautiful because she is and so are you.
You need to reframe the way that you speak to yourself because you are worthy, you are good enough and you deserve respect from yourself and from others. And you're not going to get it from others as long as you keep speaking to yourself that way.
How to reframe your thoughts
I really want you in 2020 to break the habit of negative self-talk. You may feel it coming on, you may think it, but you need to pick it up and you need to reframe it. If you think, "I look fat." You need to reframe it to, "At this moment I'm feeling fat. I'm not feeling good about myself, but you know what? Those thoughts aren't true because I am good enough. I am beautiful." Tell yourself the things that you love about yourself. "I'm compassionate. I have empathy for people. I'm a great listener. I have beautiful eyes, I have beautiful hair." Start turning those thoughts around and loving on yourself because it's what you would do for a friend. I think breaking these habits is going to be game-changing for you beyond your wildest dreams. If you can cut out the dieting, the negative self-talk, weighing yourself, keeping clothes that don't fit and following negative social media accounts that make you feel like shit — you'll be able to improve your body image and learn to love and respect yourself.
Are you struggling to take action in 2020? Listen to the podcast or read the blog on Breaking Through Action Paralysis & Getting Started in 2020 here: https://www.bybrookelindsay.com/post/breaking-through-action-paralysis-getting-started-in-2020