Question: How much money have you spent on thigh creams, fitness equipment, tummy tuck belts, weight loss programs, slim belly systems, dieting advice, magic weight loss pills, gym memberships and personal trainers?
How many nights have you lain in bed crying because you’ve sabotaged yet another diet? How many times have you resolved to lose those 20 pounds once and for all?
How many times have you hated on your fat thighs, fat butt, fat belly, fat face?
And how has all that been working for you? How much weight have you really kept off? How has it really changed the way you relate to food and your body?
Not much, considering you’re reading this post. Then, my love, it’s time for an intervention then.
Because when fat stops being fat, you can finally begin to be alive!
But how do you do that? How can you stop being paranoid about every calorie you put into your mouth? How can you stop giving your scale the power to destroy you, your life, your relationships, your will to live?
How can you let go of the devotion to being thin in order to finally begin living your life?
The truth is that the delusion about feeling better once your weight is lower is lethal for your soul. We forget what life is all about because all we care about stepping into the footsteps of Hollywood stars with their tiny bodies and “beautiful” frames. We forget that what truly matters in life is love, family, fun, happiness, work, leisure time, connection and peace. We forget that even if we wear a size 2, our happiness isn’t guaranteed.
Have you ever wondered how different your days would be if you didn’t weigh your body in the morning and punish yourself for not weighing 80 pounds? Have you ever wondered what you’d do with all your time and your life if you didn’t research new diets, read new diet books, look for the new magic pill and feel bad for ruining yet another perfect weight loss program? Have you ever wondered who you’d be if dieting were not an issue at all and you’d follow the beauty ideal of 500 years ago instead?
I bet you’d be a force to be reckoned with. I bet you’d contribute to this world in ways that you cannot even imagine. I bet you’d smile more, sing more, feel more and be a much more peaceful version of the current ravenous, lonely, starving and grumpy dieter you are.
Here’s the thing: Most of the time, our issues with food and our weight have nothing to do with food and weight. Zero. Nada. Rien. We are so desperate for love, attention, healing, soulful connections, sacredness, peace and simply some quiet time that we focus all of our energy on our bodies. We feel so helpless in this world, so overwhelmed, so unhappy that worrying about our shape and thereby forgetting about what’s really going on is the less painful road.
Of course it is. Because who wants to admit that their marriage isn’t working, that their job sucks, that they’re unhappy as moms and dads, that they aren’t satisfied with their sexuality or that they simply need a break from life. Who really wants to admit that everything is not just fine and that there’s really so much more simmering underneath their nonchalant attitude?
Hardly anybody and that’s why we’re all suffering. You, me, your neighbor, your daughter, the girl sitting in the cubicle next to you or the handsome man you’re passing every day on the train. We’re all silently screaming for a way out of this dieting and weight loss hell. We’re all just so tired of the fight.
That’s why I sat down to write a comprehensive and fun list featuring my favorite ways of letting go of the pressure to be different, look better, weigh less and battle with food every single day of your precious life.
The following tools, tricks and prompts are both action steps and ways to open yourself up to live a life that’s so full and nourishing that you don’t have to reach for the chocolate chip cookies to feel whole and alive. Most of the tips are free, some ask you to invest in yourself, but not nearly as much as you’ve already spent on your various dietary adventures.
If you’re inspired, take a deep breath, be open and dive in. Don’t forget to have some fun.
- Commit to yourself. What would change if you saw love for yourself instead of regret, anger, shame, failure, hurt and fat?
- Nourish yourself with more than just food. Create a spiritual practice, go out and play, have movie nights, use perfume, cuddle a baby or listen to your favorite songs.
- Stop living in the future and begin to live in the now. Your best bet of creating the future you truly want (hint: being comfortable in your body) is to begin feeling comfortable in it NOW.
- Admit to yourself that you’re scared. It’s OK to fear this process. Change always feels difficult at first, but going down the same path over and over again won’t lead to a different outcome.
Shift your perspective from wanting to be thin to wanting to be healthy and powerful in your body. What does being thin do for you if you feel weak and are always hungry?
- Stop making your body wrong. If you make your body wrong, you make yourself wrong. Your body is not wrong for being hungry. Your body is not wrong for craving sugar when you’ve been starving yourself for weeks. Your body just wants to make sure you’re taken care of.
- Realize that there’s no perfect diet. You might find a diet that works for you for a while, but your body and your physical needs are ever changing and so your perfect diet will ever change. That is, if you want to stay sane and lighthearted.
- Your dietary needs change constantly. Don’t fear these changes. There are times when you’re sick, times when you move a lot, times when you are mostly sedentary, times when you are so happy and fulfilled that you don’t need a lot of food. There may be times when you’re using food as a therapeutic means and times when food is simply a tool to help you keep going. Everything is always in flux; so don’t hold on to needing 1500 calories because that’s what once worked for you. Go with what your body is telling you, begin to listen and don’t let your mind override your body’s wisdom.
- Take tiny turtle steps instead of wanting to make huge leaps. Slow and steady wins the race. If you want to create lifelong habits that support your health, take the tiniest steps you can ever imagine. Make it easy on you instead of trying to be the hero and taking the hardest steps you can think of.
- Drop into your body over and over again. Take a moment to breathe, ground yourself and feel your body. Begin by feeling your toes, your feet, your knees and work your way up to your head. You can do this in the office, on your way to work, while waiting in line at the supermarket, while watching TV or before you go to bed. There are no excuses not to do this exercise.
- Go to a farmer’s market every once in a while instead of always buying food in supermarkets. Just seeing the abundance of food that comes from local farmers makes a huge difference in your appreciation of the food you eat. Talk with the farmers and learn more about the way they’ve grown and harvested their veggies. Build a relationship with food instead of demonizing it.
- Put a list of powerful quotes on your fridge, next to your bed or your bathroom mirror. Inspiration is much better than motivation. The more you stay inspired and see that there’s a different way of seeing yourself, food and the world, the more you’ll open yourself up to inner change.
Realize that there is no “good” food or “bad” food. Food is not a moral issue and food itself is always neutral. What matters is how we use food instead of letting food use us.
- Do what you’ve always wanted to do even if your body isn’t perfect right now. Go on that date with the hot guy from Starbucks, swim in a public pool, travel the world, kiss in public, EAT in public, learn a new language or go for a new job. You can do it. Don’t ever let your body hold you back.
- Make self-care a non-negatioable part of your life. Self-care still has a bad rep in most countries and most of society, but if you want to serve yourself, your family, company and the world as best as possible, self-care is the way to go. Only if your cup is full will you be able to give fully and be fully.
- Clean up your fridge and throw away all “low fat”, “non-fat” and “fat-free” products. You’ll eat more of those than of their whole fat versions.
- Lean into your fear. Do the things that scare you in life. The more you face your fears in all of your life, the less scary a change in your attitude around food and your body will be. Also, the more you do what you’ve been afraid of for decades the more empowered you’ll feel and the more you’ll know what you’re really capable of.
- Drop into your body’s wisdom instead of relying on outside sources for information about what to eat. Experts can only tell you what works for them, but they cannot 100% tell what will work for your unique body structure. So, listen to yourself, check in with your body and learn from it.
- Check your breathing a few times a day. The deeper you breathe the more oxygen enters your body, which helps to get out of your mind and into your body. Plus, more oxygen means burning more calories.
- Get a feel for which foods feel good in your body and which ones feel uncomfortable. If you want, write it in a food diary – not to check how many calories you’ve eaten, but to get some information on your body’s reactions to food.
- Find the ways that help you embody your body. Try music, dancing, repeating mantras, having honest and deep conversations, stillness, making love, getting a massage etc.
- When you overeat, be OK with it. You’re not a bad person for having eating too much. You ate more than feels comfortable, so what? Nobody will kill you for it and 99.99999% of humankind will never care.
- Explore the lessons that your acts of binging or dieting desire to teach you. When you binge or begin a new diet, what is really going on? What do you need to acknowledge, heal or let go of?
- S L O W D O W N. The slower you go in all of life the less you’ll have to rely on food to slow you down.
Don’t eat standing up. Even if you’re binging on an entire truffle cake, sit down. As Geneen Roth put it: When you eat at the refrigerator, pull up a chair.
- Define beauty for yourself. Free yourself of society’s image of beauty and instead rise up and see what you actually find beautiful. Don’t just focus on what’s beautiful about a body. Find other sources of beauty elsewhere. The more you acknowledge beauty in all areas of life the less important your body will be.
- Destroy your scale. Just do it already.
- Start a gratitude list. Write down 3 things you’re grateful for before you go to bed. Use different things every day and you’ll see how abundant your life is.
- Identify your negative self-talk. The more you know what’s going on in your mind the better you’ll be able to not take your self-talk so very seriously. Sit down for ten minutes and just observe what your mind is doing. Don’t judge your thoughts, just let them pass by like clouds on a beautiful summer day. Then, go on to check in with yourself every hour and see what you’re thinking at that very moment. Just observe, don’t act. Remember that you are not your thoughts; you’re the one who watches them.
- Try Tapping for your body image fears.
- Turn your negative self-talk around. Once you know what your mind is repeating to you every hour or so, change it to a more positive statement. You obviously cannot do this with every thought you’ll ever have, but you can do it with your most hurtful thoughts like “I’m not lovable because I’m too fat”, “everyone always judges me because of my muffin top”, “I’m never good enough”, etc. Sit down to write a few positive alternatives for these phrases and then say them to yourself when you notice a huge self-judgement bomb going off.
- Learn about the body and it’s amazing capabilities. Read this post for some inspiration.
Imagine picking your body up and holding it tight, rocking it back and forth. All your body ever wants and wanted is and was to be loved by you.
- Stop reading Vogue, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan etc. if it hurts your body image. Do interviews with quotes like “I exercise 5 times a day” or “I never indulge in chocolate” or “I lost 300 pounds in 2 days” hurt your self-esteem? Do headlines like “The 20 healthiest foods on the planet”, “The latest wonder workout”, “How Topmodel XYZ stays so tiny” (hint: she doesn’t eat!) make you want to go and throw yourself off a cliff because you feel like you’re never ever going to measure up and be enough? There’s absolutely no need for you to read any of these magazine simply to make yourself feel bad. If you feel ashamed, you’re more likely to end up binging and/or going on the next diet that’s destined to fail.
- Don’t begin your day with sugar – by having sugar at breakfast you’re triggering your body to want more sugar all day long. If you simply must have sugar in your morning coffee, use natural sugar like stevia.
- Find a spiritual practice that helps you to find ease and peace in life. For me, it’s meditation, crystals, yoga and playing with my son. What’s yours? If you’re feeling jaded when it comes to living a spiritual life, it might help you to know that placing your life in a bigger vision increases your chances for accepting your body tremendously. So, start small and light a candle every night or say a tiny prayer before you eat. Embrace feeling awkward and just go with it for now. You’ll soon not want to miss your practices anymore because they simply make you feel better.
- Let go of the believe that fat in food leads to fat in the body. This is an outdated scientific lie that’s certainly ridiculous. There are very, very, very different kinds of fat. Yes, some are unhealthy, but there is plenty of “fat” that is essential for your body and for living a healthy, abundant life.
- Let go of the people who bash your body and their own. Nobody – not a boyfriend, a mother, a best friend, a coach, a teacher, a co-worker or a boss – has the right to comment negatively on your weight and your body shape. So, if there’s a person in your life who repeatedly tells you you are fat, need to lose weight, are ugly and have a deformed butt, stand up for yourself and leave them behind.
Practice to be in the moment more. Set yourself a 40-day challenge and spend at least 5 minutes each day doing nothing but focusing on your breath. You may repeat the mantra “Here Now”.
- Add more HAPPINESS to your life. I know that “learning to be happy” is really in right now, but it’s in for a reason. There are numerous studies showing that your level of happiness and inner peace is essential for your health – mental and physical. The more doses of happiness you add to your daily life the better. Make a list of activities, scents, people, places, movies, songs, colors, shapes, experiences and words that make your heart beat faster, that give you goose bumps, that lighten your mood and inspire your soul. Then, once a day, do one of these things. You’ll see that your life changes in many ways.
- Don’t let someone tell you that self-care isn’t an integral part of being healthy and having a kickass, gorgeous, glowing body. Self-care is a non-negotiable part of moving into body acceptance.
- Figure out which stressors you have in your daily life. Stress raises your cortisol and insulin levels and therefor inhibits weight loss and stores fat instead. So, even though being oh so busy is cool these days, too much stress is working against you and your body BIG time.
- STOP dieting once and for all. Do you really want to continue living in dieting hell for the rest of your life? Is this really the way you want to spend each and every day for the rest of existence? I really hope not. And no matter how often you resolve that this diet will change everything, it won’t. Read what dieting does to your body here.
- Let go of obsessing over the protein ratio of your meals. As long as you have balance in your meals, the exact ratio of protein, carbs and fat doesn’t matter. Don’t overdo either of these and you’re off to living a gloriously healthy life.
- Explore new foods. I have to admit that I often eat the same things over and over again; mostly because it’s easy and fast, but also because I’m not a huge fan of cooking. But I love exploring new foods when I’m out, when I’m traveling or when I just feel inspired to try something new. It doesn’t happen too often, but when it does, I am fascinated by new flavors and a new sense of taste. Which new foods have you explored this year?
Don’t just love yourself, marry yourself! Read this post by Leonie Dawson.
- Go on a silent retreat and experience the effects of not speaking for a few days. This might drive you crazy at first, but it’ll be a whole new way of relating to your thoughts and your body. Going on a silent retreat is on my life list and one day, I’m going to do it for sure.
- Pick up a practice that helps you connect the mind and the body like Yoga, Tai Chi or Qigong. If you’re super resistant to this kind of exercise, start by stretching yourself a few times a day to begin feeling your body and to notice the effect that a little bit of body connection has on your mind and your overall wellbeing.
- Make a list of your trigger foods. Which foods make you want to binge without stopping? Which foods create anxiety for you? Which foods add more hell than heaven to your life? Write down a list – just for your own awareness and then see if you can skip these foods for a month. Notice how that changes your relationship with yourself.
- Stop defining yourself as a fat person, an overeater, a binger, an anorexic, a bulimic, etc. You are more than this disease. There’s a quote going around saying that I’m not fat, I have fat. I have fingernails, but I’m not a fingernail! Think about that for a while.
- Reclaim your femininity. Embrace that you are like an ocean: sometimes calm and flowing, other times chaotic and stormy. Stop being embarrassed about your emotions, your intuition, your softness. The feminine is the body. The feminine is the sensual. The feminine is the curvy. You’re a goddess, the unknown. There’s so much mystery around the feminine, cherish it instead of longing for masculine concepts like numbers, calories, measurements, willpower, perfectionism etc.
- Eat when you eat. I’m notorious for working while eating and now that I have a 5-month old son, I am not just working when I eat, but I also have a baby on my lap that I try to entertain. Needless to say that I don’t notice a lot of what I put into my mouth. This causes more harm than most people now. Your digestion starts in the mind and when the mind doesn’t really notice that you’re actually eating, your metabolism isn’t working on it’s highest level, which means that you’re not getting all the nutrients you could get out of the food you’re eating. This means that you’ll most likely eat more or feel unsatisfied after your meal. So, set yourself a challenge and stop doing everything else when you’re eating. What do you notice now?
- Stop comparing your healing process to someone else’s healing journey. Just because your best friend, with whom you’ve been dieting for 30 years, has made peace with food and now feels comfortable in her “normal” body, doesn’t mean that you’re a failure for not being there just yet. Every person on this planet has her own path and some need more time, others less. Don’t feel discouraged and instead continue to do what you’re doing: changing the patterns that have made you miserable, insecure and feeling fat. You’ll get to your destiny when the time is right.
- Find your body image role models. I’m so glad that there are more and more women standing up for themselves and showing that “real beauty” is beautifully diverse. While there are still very few “plus size models”, the modeling world is at least beginning to offer different perspectives on beauty. There’s still a tremendous amount of work to be done, but I’m sure that one day, the world of beauty will reflect the world that is actually real. Until then, research a few women that you look up to. Women who are comfortable in their bodies without having to starve themselves or place too much value on their appearance. Come up with at least ten and add to your list as often as possible.
What judgements do you have about people who carry extra weight? Write about this, think about it, talk about it. The judgements you have for others reflect the judgements you have toward yourself.
- Give yourself more time for every meal. If you squeeze your meals into your very, very busy day, then stop this pattern today. No matter how important your job is, how much time and attention your kids need, make your mealtimes a priority for your own sanity. Begin slowly, but try to add 5 minutes to your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Notice how the conscious decision to spend more time on eating changes your mood, relaxes you and enhances your eating experience. Also, your digestion will thank you for it.
- Add more compassion into your daily life. If you’re beating yourself up from the moment you wake up until you go to bed, don’t. Be more compassionate toward yourself, even for your negative self-talk. Be kinder. Be gentler. Be calmer. Breathe into your judgements and add a few loving, forgiving words to them. If you judge others, turn it into compassion and remind yourself that everyone struggles, everyone has issues and everyone has bad days.
Stop waiting for someone else to heal you. People can support you, love you, hold you, encourage you, but nobody can do the healing for you.
- Book a Reiki treatment to relax into your body. When I found out that I was pregnant, I felt like I was in the eye of a tornado. I had just separated from my husband and had no idea where I’d go and what I’d do and suddenly I was responsible for a child. Reiki was extremely helpful in this time of uncertainty and chaos. It helped me stay centered, relaxed and gave me a sense of peace and comfort that I didn’t experience in any other way. In case you’ve never heard of Reiki (which I hadn’t until about 2 years ago), it is a healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch in order to activate the natural healing processes of the patient’s body and restore physical and emotional well-being. Check out my friend and world-famous Reiki Master Pamela Miles and find out more about the way Reiki can help you.
- Work with a therapist on your traumas. Some experiences in life just cannot be dealt with on your own and if things get really traumatic, friends, loved ones or a coach just won’t be able to help. Don’t be embarrassed to seek the help of a therapist and instead applaud yourself for the courage of sticking up for yourself and for your mental and physical health. Again, the fewer blockages you have on the inside the less you’ll rely on food for safety, comfort and fulfillment.
- Subscribe to the very empowering Beauty Redefined blog. I love Lexie and Lindsay and their scientific, but super relatable approach to the topics of beauty, self-love, body image and self-esteem in our times.
- De-clutter your closet at least once a year. Your body is ever changing, it changes with the seasons, with the years, with your health, with your moods, with your work situation, with your relationship status, with life and that’s OK. Don’t hold on to clothes that are too big or too small for the sole reason of wanting to feel bad about your current weight. Instead, clean up your closet and only keep clothes that fit now – not tomorrow, not yesterday. You’ll feel lighter instantly. If you want, have a clothes swap party with your friends. This is a cheap way of adding new clothes to your wardrobe and you’ll get to spend some quality time with your posse.
- Change your perspective and look at your struggles with food and your body as a way of growing as a human being. If you can begin to learn your lessons instead of doing the same things over and over and over again, you’ll grow more than with almost any other challenge in your life. Your weight and your issues with food have a lot to teach you. Open your eyes and see what it is.
- Accept that throughout your life your weight will fluctuate. Everything has seasons, everything has phases and so does your body. As mentioned above, your life situation has a huge influence on your weight and your body shape. I’m pretty sure that you know by now that nothing ever stays the way it is. So instead of desperately trying to hold on to something that will change anyway, prepare for ups and downs and go with them. Accept it and move on with your life.
- Don’t forget that the body is a brilliant genius. She knows food and knows what she needs. You actually don’t have to do or decide anything when it comes to maintaining your weight. Let your body do the work for you. She’ll be so so happy to have her task and her territory back.
- Figure out who you are and who you want to be. One of the most common side effects of obsessing over food is that you have no freaking clue who you actually are, what you like, what you don’t like, what you want and what you want to get rid of. Spend some time in contemplation and get to know your desires, your wishes, your core. Who are you?
- Read ALL of Geneen Roth‘s books and do the exercises. She’s brilliant. That’s all.
- Eat your biggest meal at noon if possible. We human beings go with the circadian rhythm, which means that our metabolism is most effective when the sun is highest in the sky. So, if you want to absorb as much nutrients as possible during your meals, stay away from eating a gigantic dinner and instead eat more than just a tiny salad for lunch.
- Marvel at the miraculous world we live in. If you can, go outside and look up at the sky. Take in the magnitude of the world, the beauty of what you see – even if you’re surrounded by skyscrapers and masses of people. How cool is it that you get to live in this wonderful age of incredible possibilities?
- Subscribe to my Body Love Notes and receive 37 bi-weekly messages that’ll encourage you to see your body in a different light. These messages are action packed and compassionate. You’ll feel empowered, comforted and – most importantly – will be a lot more hopeful about your way to freedom.
- Feel your feelings. You’re probably well aware that your behavior around food is often a way of numbing yourself and running away from what you are feeling inside. And you’re actually super smart for behaving that way. Who wants to feel painful feelings? Who wants to feel abused, hurt, threatened, scared? Nobody! So, eating is a very sensible choice in that moment, no? However, feeling your feelings also has its major benefits – one of those is that you’ll stop being so addicted to food. So, set yourself a challenge of feeling your feelings for at least a minute before you begin a binge. Once you’ve mastered that, extend that time to 2 minutes, then 3, then 4, then 5. Just sit, breathe and feel, reminding yourself that you can go back to binging in a couple of minutes.
- Speak your truth. When you go around denying your truth all the time, it’s natural to want to binge, diet and focus your abundant energies into destructive habits. Denying yourself means denying the world a unique person, a gift for all of us. Stop being a doormat and begin to speak your truth more and more often. It’ll be scary at first, but it’ll soon be oh so empowering and almost addicting. You are worthy of saying what you really mean.
- Stop wanting to feel bad about food, your body and yourself. Sometimes we hold on to our desire to just feel bad for the body we have gotten, the food that seems to want to make us sick and the personality we don’t like. It feels safe to stay in this space of self-loathing. It can actually feel good and comfortable. But does it really? Isn’t the price of comfort and safety way too high? Challenge yourself to want to feel great about yourself for a day and see what a world of a difference this makes.
Delete your dieting apps from your phone. They are just one more thing standing in between you and your body.
- Forgive your parents. It took me forever to stop blaming my parents for what happened in my childhood. Today, however, we have a solid relationship and I’ve let go of wanting them to change the past, to do right what had been done wrong. As I’ve learned to forgive my parents, I’ve loosened my grip on calories and exercise. It’s made a hell of a difference in the way I see food. How’s your relationship with your parents? Are you still mentally living under their roof, being angry and hurt? How’s that been working for you?
- See your dysfunctional past as the gateway to your healing. Your past brought you to this point, to this very moment. Without your past, you wouldn’t read this post, wouldn’t be who you are right now. Without your past, you wouldn’t be able to learn all the lessons you’ll learn on your way to healing and peace.
- Grab a copy of Love Your Body The Way It Is on Amazon. It does not matter if you are overweight, underweight or anywhere in between, you can always benefit from radically falling in love with your body and this is exactly what this guide will help you to do.
- Be brutally honest with yourself. Are you really happy right now? Are you settling for something that feels off and wrong? Is this really the life you want to lead? When you’re lying to yourself and others to make your life seem better and less pathetic, you take away your chance of changing what doesn’t work, of building something that feels right. So, stop the lies and instead just honor yourself enough to tell yourself the truth.
- Journal about weight, life, love, randomness, confusion, anger, pain, body image, self-love, sex, work, people, society, heart, soul, beliefs, anything that makes you think, feel, laugh, cry or hurt.
- Let go of your victim story. Pitying yourself is fun for a while, but there comes a time when you have to grow up and leave your “I’m so unfortunate” story behind.
Stop eating foods you HATE. If you don’t like them, why do you force yourself to eat them?
- Eat foods you love instead. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Be sure to use your brain though and obviously don’t stuff yourself with Big Macs, milkshakes, fatty pizzas etc. all day long.
- What are your real values in life? Is being thin one of them? What is it that stands above everything else for you? Are you currently incorporating some of your real values in your daily life?
- Get a pet and cuddle it whenever you experience the need to judge yourself. There’s hardly anything that brings you back to the current as much as cuddling a pet does. You could also get pregnant and give birth to a child, but that just takes a tiny bit longer.
- Don’t talk so much and listen instead. If you’re a talker like I am, challenge yourself to listen more instead. If you notice that you’re just going on about something that really isn’t of great value, WAIT, which means asking yourself Why Am I Talking. Sometimes silence is key to reconnecting with yourself.
- Allow yourself to dream. Dreaming isn’t evil, it isn’t naive, it’s your soul urging you to be who you have always truly wanted to be. So, dream. Dream of a better life, a bigger house, a small cottage in the country, a beautiful family, a sexy husband, a hot lover or a deliriously happy you.
- Subscribe to the Love Yourself Friday videos on Youtube. These videos are fun, short and uber inspiring if you’re having a rough day.
- Give your negative self-talker a cute and loving nickname. Instead of hating upon the gremlin in your ear, think of a cutesy name like Elsa or Fitz. Whenever you’re particularly annoyed by your Elsa, pad her on the head and tell her it’s OK to be quiet now.
- Lighten up. Don’t take your life and yourself so very seriously.
- Find people with common interests. When I was severely depressed and anorexic, I was more or less saved by a community of Lost fans from all over the world. I had never experienced friendships around common interests and for me, this was a turning point in my life and career. Do you have people who share your craziest interests in your life? If not, find them.
- Reduce the stress in your life and stop the excuses for not doing so. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Have you found your most stressful sources of stress? Yes? Fantastic. Then it’s time to find creative ways of reducing them. Use Martha Beck’s 3 B’s (Bag it – Don’t do it if you don’t absolutely have to! Barter it – Barter with someone who loves to do this activity. Better it – Make your activity more fun) if you’re stuck.
Ease into life’s uncertainties. You cannot control anything – not even your diet.
- Let go of the outdated and embarrassing “scientific” belief that less food and more exercise is the way to lose weight for good. It doesn’t work – or have you ever kept the weight off?
- Turn off the computer more often. The crowded online world has a huge impact on your mental health and your sense of being grounded. Go offline consciously to re-center yourself and remind yourself that life happens here and now – in the offline world.
- Hire a coach. Sometimes you’re just stuck and have no idea how to make it to the next phase in your life. That’s OK. Reach out for help. A coach will be able to gently, lovingly, but firmly guide you through your current obstacles.
- Listen to music that inspires you. Music is often the greatest transporter of emotions and it can tear you down or lift you into higher spheres. Which songs empower you, give you goose bumps and bring you peace? Create a playlist and listen to it whenever you need a little inspiration for you bod.
- Create a body-love vision board. A vision board is a place where you can make your dreams more concrete. It’s a great way of activating your right side of the brain (the creative side) in order to make your dreams and visions come true. Obviously, you’ll still have to work for it, but by looking at your vision board on a daily basis, you’ll keep your ideal day/life/body/relationship with food on your mind, which in turn will help the left side of your brain to find a solution to make your ideas a reality. Plus, vision boards just make you feel positive and happy inside. You’ll need a poster and a few old magazines, photographs and the Internet. Print out the photos, affirmations, graphics etc. that speak to you and your ideal day/life/body/relationship with food and glue them to your poster. You can also write affirmations and mantras that you like on the poster to make it even more powerful. Hang your poster somewhere you see it often and look at it as often as you can.
Stop counting calories. It’s detrimental for your relationship with your body and with food. Plus, counting calories is never ever a long-term solution for your weight problem.
- Whatever happens, it always happens for you. Believe that.
- Find a workout you TRULY love. If all forms of exercise burned the exact same amount of calories, which one would you choose? Do that one. If you work out feeling stressed and hating it, you won’t burn the maximum amount of calories anyway. So, have fun when you move your body – no matter which workout you choose – and your body, mind and soul will benefit a thousand times more than by slaving away in the gym (if that’s what you hate!).
- Make embodiment your goal. I’ve given you plenty of tools to embody your body again. Make this process of moving back into your body your goal instead of chasing weight loss and a skinny body.
- Invest in yourself. Spending money on yourself – especially if you feel responsible for your family – can make you feel extremely guilty and indulgent. But investing in yourself also has a strong message: it shows that you value yourself, that you think of yourself as a whole person, someone who is just as deserving of care, beauty, love and affection as everyone else. If you’re always thinking of everyone but yourself, change your behavior and begin to treat yourself to sessions, clothes and things that make your heart beat just a tiny bit faster.
- Join me for a free three day Body, Mind & Soul Cleanse that’ll make you feel lighter, happier, more peaceful and alive.
- Embrace your sexuality. We’re all sexual beings, yet sexuality creates so much pain and most of us have tons of issues around it. This influences our relationship to food and life tremendously. If you feel awkward, embarrassed or incredibly insecure about your sexual desires, be honest with yourself, figure out what you’re scared of and try to lovingly wave goodbye to your fears. This will take a bit of work, but it’s definitely doable.
- Create your own body-love mantras. A few ideas:
I have the courage to step into my body gracefully with ease.
I feel excited about the possibilities my body is creating.
I choose to feel worthy about myself. I am worthy of my own love.
Even though I don’t feel beautiful right now, I know deep down that I am beautiful inside and out.
Nothing stands in the way of my body-love. I can choose body-love now.
- Stop waiting for someone or something else to make you happy. While material things are certainly fun and nice to have, they won’t make you happy in the long run. Neither will a boyfriend, a lover, a family or a god – if you don’t fully appreciate and love yourself. Build your happiness on yourself first.
- Realize that everything in your life is interconnected. If you increase your happiness and pleasure levels in other areas of life, you’ll increase your experiences of happiness when eating too.
Start each day with a positive intention for yourself and your body. Before you get out of bed, either think of or write down an intention you wish to carry around for this new day. One of my favorites is: I intent to see my body differently.
- Adopt good habits instead of attacking your “bad” ones. We all have bad habits, all of us. What differentiates those that are OK with their habits from those that are constantly beating themselves up is a) the refusal to judge themselves for their habits and b) the commitment to adding more and more positive habits to their lives. If you refuse to stop drinking coffee (like I do), drink a cup of green tea at night. If you just won’t stop hating on your love handles, share some words of kindness for your eyes. You can always add a good habit into your life.
- Realize that you are NOT your body or your weight. You’ve heard this before a million times, no? But you still don’t believe it, do you? It’s time you let go of your huge attachment to being your body and being judged by your weight. The one who judges yourself most is you. Stop it. Let go if it. You are telling yourself a big, fat lie.
- Forgive yourself for everything you think you did wrong. Everyone makes mistakes – why are you holding yourself to a higher standard?
- Create an environment that makes you love sitting down to eat. If you eat between boxes of crap or in the kitchen that just feels cold and unwelcoming, beautify your environment in such a way that you cannot wait to be in that room and feel a sense of joy whenever you enter it.
Don’t skip breakfast. Breakfast helps your metabolic engine to start working. If you skip it because you believe it’ll help you lose weight, you’re actually shooting yourself in the foot.
- Read The Slow Down Diet by Marc David. Brilliant book from the first page to the last.
- 99% percent of people who’ve lost weight on a weight loss diet gain their weight back within a year. Do you still think that dieting is a good idea?
- Build more intimacy with your body by touching your body from your feet to the top of your head. If you refuse to touch and feel your body, you refuse to connect with it and thereby heal your relationship with it. Even if you feel repulsed by your body (actually, especially if you do), touch it softly once a day. Start by touching the area that makes you feel least uncomfortable and then slowly work your way to other body parts. This exercise can be sensual if you want it to be, but it can also be very practical. Feel yourself, feel your body, feel the connection between your hand and the part you’re touching with conscious awareness and love.
- Be patient with the process. Just as comparing your healing journey with others only adds stress to your life, so does willing your breakthroughs to be here right now. You will need as much time as you will and your timeframe is perfect for you – no matter how long it takes. Trust your process. Trust yourself.
- Do a weight loss/weight gain inventory. How many pounds have you lost in your life and how many have you gained? What can you learn from that?
Realize that food is NOT the enemy. You need food to live this amazing, wonderful life.
- Let go of the belief that being overweight means being unlovable. Carrying extra weight and being a person that can be loved have nothing to do with one another. Absolutely nothing. You are not your body, remember?
- Start dating now. Don’t wait to have the perfect body to fall in love. Do you really want a partner who’ll only date you because of your weight?
- Be a role model for your kids. If you have kids, realize that your actions influence them big time. If you hate upon your body in front of your girls or never eat when your family is eating, you are creating a very dangerous environment for your children. They watch you closely because they admire you and when mommy isn’t eating, they’ll most likely want to stop eating too. Or at least it’ll make them feel extremely insecure and self-conscious about their own bodies. Do you want that life for your kids?
- Take a good look at the women who supposedly “have it all” because they’re skinny, rich and commercially beautiful. Do they appear to be happy?
- What judgements do you have about thin women? Why? Be honest; nobody will read your words or thoughts.
- Know that by healing your relationship with food, you help the world to heal our collective distorted body image. We are all connected and we all need to heal. There’s so much pain and suffering in the world when it comes to weight and food that we need to make a collective effort to change our perspective and our ways of dealing with the world of eating.
- Eat higher quality food. Less is more.
- Be honest with yourself: Are you even willing to change anything?
- Your body is your business only – own it!
- Realize that science has no evidence that being overweight means being unhealthy or that being thin means being healthy.
- Stop going down the same hopeless road over and over again and instead change direction. Remember Albert Einstein’s quote: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
- Eat your favorite meal at least once a week (even if you consider it forbidden!). Allow yourself to enjoy food again. Allow yourself to experience pleasure and joy. 40-60 % of your metabolic power comes from pleasure and nourishment. So, even if you eat the healthiest food there is, you won’t benefit from it if you detest it.
- Build yourself a self-care fort with blankets and pillows. Because sometimes we just need to feel safe.
Pray – to God, the universe, spirit, angels or yourself.
- Stop searching for a “quick fix” – they DO NOT exist and you’re only – willingly – setting yourself up for failure by believing in them.
- Wear sexy underwear. Some of my clients just won’t put on sexy clothes or express themselves in a stylish way because they feel like they don’t deserve it until they have their perfect body. If you feel the same way too, at least put on some uber sexy and expensive underwear to give your self-esteem a huge boost.
- Look into your eyes and say: I love you. What comes up?
- Practice daily acts of kindness.
- Remember: there’s more to life than dieting. Make a list of what you have in your life that is so much better than being on a diet.
- Losing weight doesn’t guarantee you happiness. Believe that.
- Let your infants and toddlers be your role models. I am always fascinated with children’s completely detached relationship to food. They want it when they need it and when they’re full, they don’t give a s**t about it. How would your life be different if you’d tap back into this space of detachment?
- Take action – don’t just read this post, judge the ideas and action tips, but try some of the exercises. Be willing to fail, to hurt, to feel awkward and a bit uncomfortable in order to then triumph and step into who you truly are and always have been.
- Realize that you don’t lack willpower because you cannot stick to a silly, stupid diet. You have not failed yet again. Your diet has failed you.
- Read Gabrielle Bernstein’s Miracles Now and DO the exercises suggested in the book.
- Do a role play: Become your body and let her tell you what she needs in order to heal.
- Write Your Way to Body Love.
- Look at your idols and role models. What about them makes them so special? Is it their weight?
Make a list of all the things you’ve missed out on because of your obsession with weight.
- Make a list of all the things you’ll gain if you let go of your obsession. How will your life change? How will you change?
- Write down your 10 Commandments when it comes to weight, exercise, food and your body. Are they kind or not? Do you want to have them in your life? Do they have to be true?
- Read these books.
- Take responsibility for your life, your weight and body image. It’s time to own your health instead of assigning responsibility to your wife, husband, doctor, health practitioner, coach or kids.
- Buy a 5 Minute Journal to help you stay on track with your gratitude practice.
- Write a letter to your dieting self. What do you want to say to the part of you who is addicted to dieting and losing weight? What’s on your heart and what have you always been afraid of saying?
- Write a letter to your “fat” body parts. Be loving and kind. What message do you want to tell them? What will they reply to you?
- Learn to express your feelings in other ways than by putting food in your mouth. This takes practice and commitment and lots and lots of self-compassion but every ever so tiny win helps you to move into the right direction. Write down what it is you’re feeling, say it out loud, hug yourself, pray, hit a pillow or do whatever else feels good in the moment.
Once a day, preferably before you go to bed, think about one thing you can do for your body.
- If you’re a mom, remember the incredible task your body has accomplished. How can you not be awed by her infinite abilities instead of hating her for your stretch marks?!
- Remember that your body is a piece of the universe. She’s a part of all the matter that ever was and all that ever will be.
- Consider this: … you are a field of Intelligence. It resides inside every cell of your bod and is most evident in the ribbon of information called DNA. The is the blueprint that makes you you. Each cell is less than 1/1000 of an inch across, and yet it contains enough information to fill one thousand books with six hundred pages each! If you uncoiled the ribbons of DNA from all the cells of your body and placed them end on end, they would stretch to the moon which is more than two hundred and thirty thousand miles away – and back one hundred thousand times!
~ The Gift of Our Compulsions by Mary O’Malley
- Listen to Martha Beck’s free 7 League Boots meditation and ask your inner guide for assistance when it comes to making peace with food, your body and yourself.
- Check out Hilary Rushford’s Style & Styleability videos and simplify your style – no matter your weight or body shape
Ask yourself: What am I getting out of staying exactly where I am right now?
- Purchase Louise L. Hay’s What I Believe & Deep Relaxation audiobook and listen to it daily for 40 days.
- Practice the 1-minute breath: Breathe in through your nose counting 1-2-3-4-5, hold your breath counting 1-2-3-4-5, breathe out through your nose counting 1-2-3-4-5. Practice this series for 1 minute or more.
- Wear bright red lipstick just for fun. You’ll feel like the sexy beast you really are.
- Stop eating sugar for a month. If you’re adding white sugar to almost everything you’re eating or drinking, go on a sugar detox for a month. Not because I want you to go off white sugar, but because it’ll reset your taste buds and give you the true experience of taste again.
- Seek pleasure with other senses than your tongue. Food is awesome, but you can have fun and pleasure without eating. Treat your senses to other experiences too that make your heart skip a beat and feel like an explosion of sugar inside – just without the sugar.
- Contemplate: How has my weight/ my relationship with food helped me in my life? Have you had experiences that changed you from the inside out because of your relationship with food? Have you found a special person? Have you changed your perspective on some things or let go of anger and regret?
- Remember that a calorie is just the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water through 1 °C. Even your computer has calories.
- Think about how you can feel thin right now! Then do it!
- When you have a very self-conscious day, step into warrior pose to channel your inner warrior and to create a moment of real connection with your body again.
- Stop attacking others. It only creates negative energy, which as you know now, creates stress and stress creates a stress response that is harming your body.
- Bless your meals before you take your first bite. This’ll help you relax before a meal and create positive feelings, which will make you slow down and actually enjoy what you’re putting in your mouth!
- Check in with your feelings at least 3 times a day. Set yourself a timer and simply note what’s going on in your head and what you are feeling in your body. This is a simple exercise helping you to embody your body again.
- How many hours of sleep do you usually get? Sleep deprivation and weight gain are very connected. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to not feel as satisfied as when you get a good night’s sleep. Also, lack of sleep causes ghrelin levels to rise, which stimulates your appetite making you want to eat more.
Put your hand on your heart and feel your heart beat when you’re stressed.
- When you feel closed up, open your heart and your soul by doing the Camel Pose – one of my all-time favorite yoga poses!
- Change your food story. Stop telling yourself – and the world – that you’re just always going to be fat and that you only have to look at food to gain weight. Replace that story with a more positive – but still truthful – telling of what’s happening when you see food and step on the scale. Are you always stressed when you eat? Might that be a reason you just “have to look at fat to add some pounds”? Do you obsess more about your weight than your weight will ever obsess about you? Do you have extreme limiting beliefs that keep you holding on to your weight? Do you just like to repeat your story and not change your life? If so, re-tell your story.
- Join the 21 Step Body Image Remix by Summer Innanen. It is a life-changing 21-day online program for the woman who wants to swagger with confidence.
- Accept compliments instead of instantly deflecting them. I’m horrible at accepting compliments because I always think I’ll come across as extremely self-absorbed and arrogant if I just thank the person for their kind words. So, I deflect, which makes me feel kinda insincere. Owning compliments isn’t easy but with practice, you’ll learn to appreciate others’ thoughtfulness and you’ll come to realize that what others see in you is totally different from what your Elsa or Fitz is telling you.
- Eat more greens! Simple, but effective.
- Showcase your favorite body part more often. Don’t say you don’t have one because you do – even if it is your left foot or your pinky. Show the world what you’ve got and what you love.
- Give yourself credit. Write a list of all the things you’ve kicked ass at this week, last month, this year and in your entire life. Boast, brag, be confident. Nobody will have to see your list, but it’ll give you a self-esteem high once you realize how freaking amazing you are.
- Read a novel and put away the self-help books (including this post). I’ve just devoured Cecelia Ahern’s latest book: The Year I Met You. It’s been a much needed break from reading books about nutrition, psychology, human behavior and self-care and it just filled my cup again after having been a bit depleted from all the seriousness of life.
- Play daily for about 20 minutes. Swing on a swing, draw a picture, do a mandala, sing loudly, chase your boyfriend around the house – be naked if you want to-, do a phone prank or tell dirty chokes.
- Break your rules. What’s the biggest dieting rule you’ve lived by for decades? Break that rule at least once a week. Do it.
- Accept your curves and your extra layer of fat tissue as part of your femininity. In fact, don’t just accept it, celebrate it.
- Accept alcohol, sweets, candy and such things as part of your diet instead of cursing yourself for being a willpower weakling!
- Practice A Course in Miracles Lesson 21: I am determined to see things differently. Say it 5 times a day while browsing your brain for issues that make you angry.
Worship & trust your appetite instead of cursing it.
- Your body is often a metaphor for life – what does this say about the way you live and how you relate to your life?
- Remember that it’s OK to have body fat. If someone would suck all the fat out of your body right now, you’d die in an instant. So please, stop demonizing fat, it’s keeping you alive.
- Craft your Go-To Body-Love Response. Unfortunately, we live in a world where body-shaming is normal and happens every single day. You may not have been the victim of body-shaming yourself, but I’m sure that you’ve felt judged in a collective manner by society and the media. You can’t go into a supermarket without having headlines scream at you to Lose 50 Pounds in 2 Days or Test the Latest Wonder Drug Now, right? These messages mess with our minds and with out hearts, which is why it’s crucial to have a go-to body-love response. Your words should resonate with you and resonate in your body, so take some time to craft your response.
- Eat more healthy fats. We’ve already established that fat does not equal fat and that fat plays an integral part in keeping you alive. If you deny yourself all kinds of fat, you’ll likely experience dry skin, dry hair, oily skin, funky nails, brainfog, loss of memory, low mood, the inability to lose weight, weight gain, redness around your eyes, poor digestion, poor absorption of vitamins, constipation, depression etc. Soooo, eat your healthy fats like avocado, olives, sesame oil, coconut oil, fresh fish, nuts and seeds, nut butter, just to name a few.
- Grow a vegetable garden or some herbs. This is a fun and rewarding way of connecting to food and of adding tons of love and attention to the process of preparing a meal.
When you resolve to go on yet another diet, ask yourself: How have diets been working for me? What’s different now? Why am I willingly setting myself up for disappointment and pain?
- Remember that when you break an 800-calorie diet, you’re not sabotaging yourself. Your body is giving herself what she needs to survive, to thrive, to do what she’s supposed to do.
- External happiness fades with time. Be honest: What’s the status of your inner beauty? How are you taking care of that? How much time do you spend focusing on maintaining an inner happy life? It’s time to direct more energy into the more invisible direction, love.
- When you feel insecure, lonely or fat, watch a funny youtube video that’ll help to get you back to a more balanced and whole you and simply make you smile. Some might call it a waste of time and a distraction; I call it a much-needed mental health break and a way to restore your inner bliss.
- Create sacred times of being with yourself. Schedule at least one date with yourself a week – even if you’re super busy.
Let yourself be touched, hugged and taken care of.
- Worship setbacks as part of your journey to health and freedom. Every setback has a lesson, every so-called failure creates a new beginning and a chance to see things differently.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help and assistance. You’re not admitting to be weak or a failure if you ask for help. Life – nobody does it alone. You can try, but I promise you that the more help you have along the way the more fun and joy you’ll have. So, stop worrying about what others might say and instead just ask for the assistance you need right now.
- Write a letter to your future self. What are your dreams for yourself? What do you want to have in your life? What do you definitely not want? Where do you want to go? What advice do you have for your future self? Any concerns you’d like to share?
- Listen to this podcast.
- Stop complaining in general. The more you complain the more negativity you add to your life, which makes you seek comfort in food.
- Get back to eating real food instead of relying on fake, synthetic, artificially created and mutated foods.
- Write down your biggest frustrations when it comes to your body and your eating lifestyle. Then burn your notes or shred them into pieces, making it a beautiful ritual of letting go.
- Don’t shy away from confronting deep wounds, painful memories or other issues of the past when they haven’t been healed yet. Sometimes it’s important to dig some events back up to heal fully and evolve.
- Make cooking a family affair. Cooking healthy and yummy food can be super fun. Involve your partner and your kids, sing songs, listen to the radio or talk about your days. You’ll all benefit tremendously from this experience.
- Figure out if you even want to find a different way. Often we feel too scared or too comfortable to even try something new; no matter how ineffective our old methods are. Here’s the thing though: Your old tools haven’t worked for decades and this won’t change in the future. You need to embrace different systems in order to course correct your life.
Instead of stepping on the scale in the morning, start your day by asking yourself: How do I feel in my body right now? How can I help myself to feel better today?
- Whenever you hear a negative thought about your body coming up, meet it with love. Say “thank you for giving me your opinion and for watching out for me. I think I got this on my own now. Go back to sleep.”
- Stop arguing with reality. Your current life is what it is and going on and on about wanting to be thinner now, to have a different life now, to have better conversations now, to have a partner who listens now, to have children who pick up their socks now, to wear a size 2 now or to live in a different part of the world now, won’t change a thing. Either drop the issue, change your perspective on it or change the actual situation, but stop story fondling and complaining.
- De-clutter your home. As I’m writing this, I’m moving for the 8th time in 4 years and instead of taking all my stuff with me (again), I’ve decided to give as much away as possible. With every bag that leaves my home, I feel lighter, more joyful and liberated. De-cluttering makes a huge difference in our feeling state, so if you haven’t de-cluttered your home in ages, now is the time to do it. Be ruthless and give away or throw away what you haven’t used in years.
- Deal with your problems, even if it feels very uncomfortable. You disembody when you experience discomfort, which is why it’s crucial that you learn to deal with life’s uncomfortable sides like having to pay your bills or resolving a conflict at work. It’s easy to overeat when you’re disembodied.
- Watch Why Is Zero a Size Tho? and think about why you want to be nothing!
Eat. No matter what you do, if you stop eating, you’ll never ever stop obsessing over food and your weight. Don’t starve yourself; don’t go on an 800-calorie diet or even a 1200-calorie diet. Instead eat. Eat regularly. Eat with pleasure. Eat with gusto. Eat.
- Begin over and over and over again. But begin again with the right tools, not with the self-destructive, lethal dieting programs you’ve been on for ages.
- Begin again.
- Always, always, always be kind to yourself. No matter how often you fail in your eyes, no matter how often you mess up and have to begin again, remind yourself that this is a process and beating yourself up unnecessarily doesn’t help you at all nor will it make you feel better about your body or unhook you from your crazy addiction to food and dieting. So, practice kindness. Always.
Now I want to hear from you: What helps you when you feel overwhelmed by your obsession with food and your body?