Searching for the perfect diet or exercise regimen to finally achieve that “perfect” body? Let me stop you right there! Loving your body has nothing to do with weight or muscle tone or anything about your physical appearance. In this guest post from Madison Surdyke of Sunny Thymes, she's sharing 5 Secrets to Love Your Body, no restriction, deprivation, crazy bootcamps or dieting required!
This guest post is from my amazing friend Madison Surdyke, a certified integrative nutrition health coach and blogger at Sunny Thymes. Madison is on a mission to help you put an end to your food and body worries so you can actually enjoy your life! Um… yes please!!
Madison and I met years ago when she was living in Atlanta with her boyfriend who worked with my husband. We immediately clicked and have bonded for years over our love of online entrepreneurship, mindful living and intuitive eating (Madison is actually who first introduced me to this concept and her blog has been instrumental in my own journey towards a healthier relationship with food and my body, as I recover from an orthorexic relationship with The Wellness Diet).
Today, she's sharing her powerful wisdom with us, and I couldn't be more excited! Let's get to it!
5 Secrets to Love Your Body…Without Dieting!
Have you ever thought, “If I could just find the right diet, then everything would be better.” or “If I could just lose 10 pounds, then I would be confident and happy.” I know that feels like your only option. But I promise, there's a better way that doesn't require you sacrificing your happiness and well-being.
You don't have to struggle any longer to feel good in your body.
I want you to think of the strongest relationships you have in your life. What do you value in those relationships? Is it trust, compassion, unconditional love? What else?
Did you know that you’re also in a relationship with your body? If this relationship was with another person, how would you describe it? Would it be a healthy or unhealthy relationship? Would you describe it as a love hate relationship? Would it be an addictive relationship? Or maybe a really boring relationship? Would it be an abusive relationship? Would it be a relationship with extreme highs and extreme lows? Would it be the kind of relationship you’d want your kids to have?
Loving your body actually comes from having a trusting relationship with it, not how it looks. I totally understand why you think you can’t love your body if you don’t like the way you look. We’re constantly told that once we achieve our #bodygoals, then our lives will magically transform and we will instantly become happier and healthier (living the dream right?).
This isn't a matter of worrying about how your body looks but a matter of what you are choosing to make it mean. But I totally get why you think that. It's completely normal. Everyone is always telling us that losing weight is the secret to loving our bodies and being healthy. But is everyone who has the “perfect body” healthy and in love with their body?
If you continue holding onto this way of thinking, you may be stuck stressing about food and your body for your whole life.
So what DOES everyone who loves their body have?
Well, they know that every feeling that you want when you get the “perfect” body is available to you right now. And guess what? You get to CHOOSE to feel that way right now.
These 5 secrets will help you do exactly that.
1. Intuitive Eating: Make Peace With Food
For many women, their struggles with their body are deeply related to their struggles with food. And vice versa. BUT fixing that doesn’t have to be that difficult. What if dieting, controlling your portions, doing a cleanse, counting calories, etc is not the answer to feeling good about yourself? Is that really how you want to live your life? Is that really what you want to teach your kids?
What if there was an easier, better way? No dieting, rules or suffering required.
Intuitive Eating is a framework to help you get back in touch with your body’s natural wisdom, rebuild the trust between your mind and body and heal your relationship with food so you can actually enjoy your life (rather than spend it worrying about food and your body all the time).
It’s about listening to YOUR body to guide your food and exercise choices. It’s about following your internal signals like hunger, fullness and satisfaction and rejecting external cues like diets, food rules and societal trends.
I know you’re probably thinking, “that sounds great but if listen to my body and eat what I want, won’t I just eat junk and be super unhealthy?”
Eating intuitively doesn’t mean taking care of your body goes out the window. You can do BOTH. We live in this world where we’re constantly told, you can have THIS or you can have THAT, but not BOTH. But why can’t you eat what you want AND take into account how it makes you feel? Why can’t you eat foods that are tasty AND nourishing?
This is not a matter of if you’ll eat healthy or not. It’s a matter of where you’re focusing your attention. Are you focused on depriving yourself because you feel guilty and ashamed or are you focused on truly feeling good and making the best decisions for you body? When you focus on the latter, you can eat what you want AND take into account what will make you feel physically good.
2. Master your mindset so you can master your body
Most intuitive eating and body coaches focus solely on trying to change your behaviors but they fail to look beneath at your identity and beliefs that are DRIVING those behaviors. You can do #allthethings to have the “perfect” body or find the “perfect” diet but if you don't work on your beliefs, you’re not going to feel ANY different if you achieve those things (and is that really even an achievement then?).
You may be thinking “but I WOULD stop hating my body if I lost 20 pounds”. I TOTALLY understand where you’re coming from. But chasing “shiny objects” (like the “perfect” body) is a bit like chasing a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. The moment you’ve got your hands on it, the shinyness disappears.
Still don’t believe me? That’s okay. All I am asking you to do is instead of focusing on losing 20 pounds, can you focus on the things you believe losing 20 pounds will give you? For example, if you believe you’ll be happier when you lose 20 pounds, is there anything you can do now to create more happiness for yourself? Or maybe you believe you’ll be healthier when you lose 20 pounds. Again, is there anything you can do now to create more health for yourself? Maybe meditation, eating more vegetables, going on a walk, etc.?
What you think, believe, say, and keep affirming about food and your body is the very thing that's keeping you from feeling at ease in your body and confident in your food choices. This is why it’s important to focus on transforming your beliefs FIRST and as a result of your new beliefs, you develop new, intuitive behaviors and as a result of your new behaviors, loving your body becomes an inevitable by-product of who you are.
How much would your life change right now if your beliefs and behaviors shifted to match those of someone who's 100% free and confident with food and their body?
What do you think will happen if you continue doing what you've been doing and don't change your beliefs and behaviors?
Do you believe…
…you’re not good enough until you weigh a certain amount?
…there’s a perfect diet, you just haven’t found it yet?
…you will feel happier and more confident once you reach your goal weight?
…if you eat “bad”, then you have to make up for it afterwards?
…changing the way your body looks will make it easier to love it?
…you’ll take better care of your body once it looks the way you want it to?
Now, I want you to be REALLY honest with yourself…are these beliefs really serving you? Are they empowering or disempowering?
To me, there’s no such thing as “right” or “wrong”. There’s only empowering or disempowering and you get to CHOOSE. So instead of focusing on #bodygoals or finding the “perfect” diet, what might be more empowering? What if you focused on how you can respect and care for your body NOW?
All of the thoughts, feelings and experiences we think will be available to us once we achieve our dream body are available to us RIGHT NOW and we get to CHOOSE that.
3. Embody the future version of you who already loves and respects her body
In order to respect and care for your body now, you have to step into the version of you who already loves her body. You have to think the thoughts, feel the feelings, believe the beliefs and adopt the behaviors that the future version of you who’s 100% confident in their body would take.
- What are her thoughts? Beliefs? Habits?
- How does she feel?
- How does she talk to herself? What does she say?
- How does she care for herself?
- What has she let go of? Who/what has she forgiven?
- What is she grateful for?
- Who does she spend time with?
- What does she read? Listen to? Watch?
- What is she NOT stressed about?
Seriously, THIS WORKS. Because when respecting and caring for your body is WHO YOU ARE, loving your body is literally inevitable. Think about it, if you’re believing and doing all the things that someone who is totally confident in their body is, how could you NOT love your body? It would be pretty freaking hard.
What if you just experimented and tried out this new way of thinking for a day or even a few days? Just see how it goes. Because guess what? You can always go back to your old way of doing things if you want. BUT, if what you’re doing now isn’t working for you, then why not TRY this?
Would you say the same shit you say to yourself or about your body to a friend, or your kids, or your partner? Would you tell them they are worthless, not good enough, a failure, etc?
What if you could have the same level of understanding, care and compassion towards yourself that you have with the people you love? How would that feel?
What if you could have compassion for yourself DESPITE the fact that you’re not happy with your body? What do you think that would change in your life?
Fighting what “is” is actually what causes pain and suffering. Disliking your body is not the root problem. The root problem is the thoughts and feelings that lead to the dislike.
When those thoughts and feelings are loving, you can act from a place of truly wanting to take care of your body. But when those thoughts and feelings are hateful, guilty or shameful you act from a place of punishment and deprivation. And when you act from this place, it’s nearly impossible to make truly loving, caring decisions for your body. Making decisions with true intention of caring for yourself is a completely different experience.
This doesn’t mean you’re “letting yourself go”. It’s not a matter of what you are doing, but who you are being. For example, going to the gym because you know it will feel good and it will give you energy IS honoring your body. But, dragging yourself to the gym because you have to punish yourself for the cookies you ate last night IS NOT honoring your body.
Same action. Completely different experience. So what’s the difference?
Self-compassion. It’s all acting from a place of love and treating yourself the way you would someone you love.
This doesn’t mean negative emotions will never come up. Instead, it means being able to love and honor yourself THROUGH the feelings that come up so you CAN act from a place of love. It’s all about allowing rather than controlling.
I know a lot of this might sound totally crazy to you. It’s a completely different way of approaching food and your body than you’re used to. But, that’s why it actually WORKS.
Chances are, you’ve had some MASSIVE realizations and it probably motivated you to start making the changes you need in order to feel more at ease in your body and more confident in your food choices.
5. Work with a supportive coach
There is NO SHAME in asking for help. It is HARD to break old habits on our own. Our brains LOVE to repeat the same old thoughts, beliefs and feelings which means we also end up repeating the same outcomes, results and experiences.
A good coach can help you break those patterns and form new ones that actually support your goals. A lot of these patterns are happening on autopilot which is why it’s so helpful to have a coach because they can help you witness your own mind. And with this awareness, you have the power to start changing all of those autopilot habits that are keeping you stuck.
So the next obvious question is…how do I get started?
I'm hosting a FREE masterclass September 25th. I'm going to REVEAL my 5 secrets to never worrying about food and your body ever again so you can actually enjoy your life!
YES GIRL, I GOT YOU!
This training has the potential to be the turning point of your new life.