“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance” – Oscar Wilde
Do you remember how it feels to fall in love? The butterflies in your stomach, the feelings of ecstasy, all the feel-good endorphins flooding your body… and then the unexpected bonus of losing a few kilograms without even meaning to. Why is it so easy to lose weight when you are in love? Why not harness the power of being in a loving state of mind at content with yourself? Why not fall in love with yourself again? Loving yourself can be crucial for long-term weight loss success!
When it comes to matters of the heart, many of us lack feelings of self-love and self-worth. We allow ourselves to focus on what we most need to change and what is wrong with us, rather than seeing what is right and valuable about who we are. We are quick to assume that a healthy body image is the automatic result of being thin, but that is not the case. Many people who are revered for their beautiful bodies also struggle with low self-esteem and an unhealthy body image.
A healthy body image starts within. You first need to love and respect who you are inside before you can begin to love and respect who you are outside. It makes sense to work from the inside out if you really want to make lasting changes to your body, mind and heart. It is all about changing your mindset. Instead of focusing on what you aren’t, focus on what you are.
Self-love helps the desire for physical change become more realistic and easier. More importantly, self-love shifts the motivation behind your desire for change. By loving yourself, you will become more in tune with your body. This could make you more able to recognise your inner eating cues, help you make exercise more fun or purposeful and will encourage you to make healthier lifestyle choices.
Here are a few ways to fall in love with yourself again:
Speak positively: Pay attention to your thoughts and how you speak about yourself to others. Listen to the words you use to describe yourself, whether in your head or out loud. Do your words, thoughts and actions reflect love, understanding and patience? Try spending the first minute of every day praising yourself!
Remember that love isn’t perfect: You don’t have to do everything right in order to love yourself or to have others love you. Instead of berating yourself if things don’t go to plan (the chocolate biscuit that jumped into your mouth, the day without exercise), start practicing a bit of unconditional self-acceptance and understanding.
Be an observer, not a judge: Don’t issue good/bad/pretty/ugly judgements when you look in the mirror. Try to take in your physical attributes the way you would those of a child or beloved friend – with appreciation and acceptance, not criticism. With self-acceptance also comes accepting that your body will change many times throughout your live. Pregnancy, childbirth, stress, hormones, lifestyle and aging will change your body throughout your life. You’ll become smaller, shorter, leaner, larger, more muscular, less muscular. To expect to look the same at 40 as you did at 25 is silly.
Make yourself a priority: You may be conditioned to feel selfish for putting yourself and your needs first, but you shouldn’t. Taking care of your own needs is a key component of self-love. Make time to pamper yourself, to get enough rest, to feel the benefits of exercise, to prepare healthier meals and to do things that make your heart smile.
Falling in love with yourself is a daily process. Sometimes, it’s rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes, it’s heartache, tears and a whole lot of sweat. But when your focus shifts from your body and weight to things that really matter to you, it encourages you to love and accept your body as it is. This in turn will bring you a greater sense of well-being, energy and vitality.