“Do you want to meet the love of your life? Look in the mirror.” –Byron Katie
With Metabolic Effect’s Metabolic Rehab program launching next week, I have been thinking a lot lately about the use of the physique as the sole source of self-worth. I’ve been ruminating on this because I cover the MINDSET piece in the online program–this is a big piece because usually the mindset precedes the physiological dysfunction. I pulled a lot from my personal experience and from those of my clients, and one key theme that keeps popping up is this idea of self-worth being linked so strongly to size or physique.
So, is it possible to look good and still feel insecure? I love this question because it hits home such an important insight, which is: You don’t need a bangin’ bod to be confident. All you need is to make the choice to be awesome regardless of your physique. The concept of security is all about simply deciding that ultimately, you are ok.
Being lean does not automatically equal being confident. Of course we get this on an intellectual level. Yet, many of us still pin our confidence and self-worth on the attainment of a certain size, shape or look. We stay in that insecure place, WAITING for that fleeting moment in time when at last we are at our desired size or leanness. Only THEN will we give ourselves permission to be self-confident. It’s kind of a shame, really–at least it was for me for many years. I remember being at close to my leanest ever and feeling painfully insecure because I was not in “show shape.” I had seen the leanness I was capable of, and I could not hold it. I felt like a failure. I remember getting mad at myself for not being able to control my eating. I remember feeling embarrassed to be seen in public, thinking people were judging me because I no longer looked like I did when I competed.
I was a victim of my own thinking. I was CHOOSING to feel embarrassed. I was CHOOSING to feel less-than. I was CHOOSING to feel insecure and small. Were people judging me? Probably. But in retrospect, I can’t believe how much wasted energy I gave to that fear. Who cares? It has only been in the last couple years that I stopped worrying about what other people thought and started saying, eff it: I am who I am, in “show shape” or not. I am going to stop being a slave to a physique that, frankly, I am wasting my life obsessing over.
To illustrate the point, the photo below. Left photo I am working a booth at the Arnold in 2007 (with Tosca!). I was thick in insecurity mode here, scared to get fat and obsessing over my eating. I tried to diet for the booth work, but I couldn’t stay on the plan and was cheating fairly regularly. I got a tan and hoped that helped :) I distinctly remember going out to dinner that Saturday night after the 2nd day at the booth and killing pizza (something I would never do now, simply because I am at a more balanced place and frankly, don’t even think about it). The photo on the right was taken last weekend at my coaching club members’ photo shoot (with coaching member Julie Stubblefield). I never obsess about my eating anymore (again, because I have PRACTICED balance eating for a couple years now), and guess what, I am the EXACT SAME SIZE in both photos. The difference is that in one, I am miserable and obsessive. In the other, I am fine and balanced.
For me, feelings of stress, guilt, remorse, obsession, inadequacy, fraudulence, embarrassment, insecurity, etc were all 100% IN MY MIND. And, they did not affect the OUTCOME–for all my stress and negative self-talk, it never did anything to keep me more in line with my eating. And if anything, I was wasting time being too distracted to even do anything else–business, relationships, coaching, reading, blogging, writing, etc. For all my stressing, it never successfully “scared me” into action–it only left me more despairing.
SO, back to the original conundrum: Does being leaner automatically mean we are more secure? The answer is no. There are plenty of “Love My Curves” gals out there to illustrate this point. The key, I would argue, is to be HEALTHY. And that encompasses both the body and the mind. Does getting in better shape help develop confidence? It can, and does for many. But you have plenty of other reasons to be confident right now, as is. The power is in your hands to decide you are awesome. Right now. Why wait? :)