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July 14, 2016

4 Counterintuitive Ways to Overcome Your Body Obsession

Numbers: the scale, dress sizes, body fat %, calorie counts, minutes on cardio, macro counts, point counts.

So much of what we focus on when it comes to being good enough comes down to these numbers. Did we achieve the right ones? Yes (great, I’m “good” today). No (I suck, why can’t I be better??).

If we think about it like that, it’s kind of crazy, right?

There’s so much more to life than an effing number, but when we are mired in body obsession and feelings of unworthiness, numbers become the benchmark of “am I good enough?” They’re tangible, concrete.

And doing the more intangible work of self-love and overcoming our insecurities is harder than just pinning our self-worth on a number. Numbers are control mechanisms. And they can keep us suffering in our not-good-enough-ness.

So how do we overcome this? What actual tools do we have?

Implementation can be tough. We know intellectually that we’re worthy, but our insecurities and body shame continue to creep in.

I get that, and I think telling people, “Just love yourself!” (while true) is just short-sighted.

We need actual tools to be able to do the work of really feeling a sense of peace about our bodies. HOW do we do it, in real time??

So in this email, I laid out the ones that really made a huge impact for me when I started down this road. They are somewhat counterintuitive, and I hope they will serve to stretch your mind in new ways so you can begin seeing yourself as much more than a number.

1) Normalize insecurities.

You have them. I have them. That mom over there who seems to have it all together has them. That fitness competitor on stage has them. That cover model has them.

I think there is power is de-stigmatizing insecurities and realizing they are kind of just “the norm.” And that should also tell you that they are subjective.

If I am just as insecure at 12% body fat as I am 20 lbs heavier, then honestly, isn’t it just a choice? No objective measure can give us what we need. Affirmation and worthiness doesn’t depend on anything outside ourselves.

When I see that everyone is insecure on some level, it tells me that I am not alone, and I also have nowhere to “go”—if a professional figure competitor has insecurities, then obviously it’s a choice and not some objective destination that once I get there, I’ll feel worthy.

2) Ask, would anything meaningful in my life actually change if I lost 10 lbs?

Because “the numbers” can blind us sometimes, I am going to challenge you to answer the following questions, about what I consider to be the more meaningful measures of happiness:

  • Would my family love me more if I lost 10 lbs?
  • Would my friends talk to me more if I lost 10 lbs?
  • Would I be better at my job if I lost 10 lbs?
  • Would I be smarter? More successful? More helpful to others?
  • Would I do anything differently if I lost 10 lbs?
  • Would I be able to contribute to society more if I lost 10 lbs?

The answers to some of these questions might be yes (and that’s fine, I’d just ask you to investigate the “why” a bit more). But I will assume that most are a no.

This was mind-blowing to me when I started asking these things. When I gained 20 lbs back after my show, and whoa, my family and friends still loved me and appreciated me! Duh! Of course they did, because their love and appreciation doesn’t hinge on my weight—ONLY MINE DID!

3) Ask your BFF what they love and appreciate about you the most.

This is about celebrating your unique awesomeness outside of your body. Sometimes it’s hard for us to see our worth outside being lean and fit. And so it can be hard or awkward (or even feel forced) when we try to find other things we love about ourselves.

But your friend or partner or family member will probably come with the compliments, if you only have the courage to ask. Blame it on me! “Jill is making me ask 2 people close to me what they love and appreciate about me.” Lol. DO IT.

And then don’t brush them off! Take them in. ACCEPT them! Don’t make excuses or deflect. Accept, write them down, carry them in your purse and when you need them, they’re there.

4) Find a higher purpose and cultivate meaning in a bigger way.

Getting a little high-level on you, but I remember back to my body obsession days when I was at the gym 3 times a day, eating nasty “clean” food that I hated out of Tupperwares and watching ‘Cupcake Wars’ for hours: I didn’t have anything else!

I think some people feel this transfer of meaning once they have children and build a family. Others find it by starting their own business or pouring themselves into their work. Others find it through travel or social events.

Creation is the key, here. What are you creating that is not just a bangin’ body?

Cultivating a sense of self-worth through contribution is key. Get involved in a club, learn a language or musical instrument, start a blog or online business, volunteer, write that book you’ve always wanted to, dedicate time to coaching others.

Create a feel worthy and a sense of contribution outside of your body. You have to. This is probably by far the most impactful tool and THE THING that helps us move from body-obsessed to creation-obsessed.

Like my dad, J. Cole says, “Do something.” ;)

Gals, I hope you will take one or two of these tools and put them in your back pocket for when you are feeling shameful or upset about your body.

I get it. It’s tough. But remember, the “what to eat” and “how to train” stuff, while interesting and necessary, aren’t the crux of the problem. Food and exercise aren’t rocket science.

And continuing to chase “to-do’s” will have you constantly overwhelmed, jumping from diet to diet and always feeling as if you are missing that one key piece of information.

Guess what? You’re not.

That key missing piece of information isn’t out there. It’s inside. It’s not a “to-do” but a ‘how-to.” And that’s on you.

You can change your mental landscape within minutes by doing mindset work. And self-compassion research shows us that people who are kinder to themselves are more likely to take responsibility for their actions and actually do more.

Your mindset is your compliance tool.

Don’t take it lightly.

The JillFit 10-Week Mindset Makeover goes into detail on things like Perfectionism, self-worth, overcoming your body insecurities and how to handle emotional hijack moments. Get all the details right here.

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