“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn
I’ve been thinking lately about how I saw myself when I was overweight. Back when all I could see were the stretch marks and double chin, I felt so much contempt for my body. You might have said of the same things I did back then:
- I can’t take my shirt off in public. Look at this gut!
- Maybe if I raise my chin a little higher, my double chin will disappear.
- Who’s going to love me when I look like this?
See, I hated my body when I started my health journey. I felt weak, disgusting, gluttonous, and just unlovable. Because of this self-loathing, I found it really hard to get any sort of traction in turning my life around. Any diet plan or workout routine got dumped within days of getting started. How could I possibly change this disgusting body into something I could be proud of?
Don’t Curse All You’ve Got
In the end, I found the way to start that journey to better health. It didn’t start with some miraculous workout plan. Atkins, Dr Oz’s miracle B12 shots or eating paleo didn’t shift me into some fat-burning furnace overnight, either. Nope, this whole lifestyle shift that helped me lose 100 lbs, beat diabetes, and rebuild my self-esteem came from one small shift.
Someone once told me, “Don’t curse all you’ve got.” This same man, the late Jim Rohn, told me that we all had the same materials to work with: soil and seed and sunshine and rain and seasons and the miracle of life. That’s all we’ve got! When you curse all you’ve got to work with, then where do you stand to begin changing for the better?
If I cursed my unhealthy body for being a shitty place to live–the only place I had to live–then I gave up on the only thing I had. Hating myself made an awful starting place for shifting my lifestyle; who goes to work on improving something they hate? I decided to change my approach, starting with how I saw myself.
Making the Shift
Of course, shifting from self-loathing to self-loving takes time and practice. Start by noticing little things you love about your body. Does it keep you alive so far? That’s one thing to love. Maybe you’ve got cute dimples, sexy curves, or strong legs. Pick that little thing that you love about your body and celebrate it. Feel that appreciation well up inside you.
Now, it’s simply a matter of scale. Take that appreciation you feel for that small part of your body and expand the love to cover your whole self. Feel gratitude for your body up to now: it’s been nice enough to give you a place to live, after all!
Once you’ve managed to capture that spark of self-love, you’ve got the means to start making changes. See, we look after the things we love. By shifting our mental image to a place of affection and appreciation for the body we have, we start the process of making a new lifestyle journey for ourselves. Sure, there’s more to making a healthier body than just loving yourself as you are. It’s just that there’s no better place to start the process.
I believe in you.