Can you think yourself fat?

I recently received a message from a friend that went something like this:

"I know you've heard me say it a million times, but this is the start of a new me. I'm going to start eating healthy and exercising today. This will be my “new normal” and maybe one day I'll be attractive and not just a fat cow."

Ugh. I applaud her efforts to be healthy...but that last part kills me. Beautiful, vibrant, and successful women tie their worth to a number, and somehow believe that abusing themselves will lead to a positive outcome. Worst of all, we waste our lives worrying about something that doesn't really matter. Hearing another woman mentally mutilate herself is so painful for me because I've struggled with it so much myself. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

I was going to create my own video about how body hate robs us of our life force, but I could not have said it better than Taryn Brumfitt in this TEDx talk. It is possibly the best body positive talk I’ve ever heard…well worth the 14-minute listen!

Self-hate never leads to positive change

When you loath your body, healthy eating becomes an exercise in self-torture. Eating a kale salad because it's "good" vs. a donut, which is "bad", translates to: I am either "good" or "bad". Exercise becomes the “money in the bank” that allows us to eat, or worse, is the staff by which we beat ourselves and pay penance for even the smallest of dietary “indiscretions”. A dress size or the number on the scale becomes a measure of self-worth: How should I feel today? What kind of person am I today? Am I worthy of love, affection, and friendship today?

When will we learn that we can't hate ourselves thin?

Is it really possible? Can you think yourself fat?

It turns out there’s a lot of truth to the power of your thoughts in creating a specific outcome. You become what you think about the most, so you can think yourself fat. A good example of this is the compelling phenomenon called the “placebo effect”, illustrated very clearly in Marc David’s book The Slow Down Diet:

“In 1983, medical researchers were testing a new chemo treatment. One group of cancer patients received the actual drug, while the other group received a placebo – a fake, harmless, inert chemical substance…In the course of this study…74% of the cancer patients receiving real chemo exhibited one of the more common side effects of this treatment: they lost their hair. Yet, quite remarkably, 31% of the patients on the placebo chemo drugs…lost their hair, too. Like many people, they associated chemo with going bald.”

If your mind is powerful enough to manifest physical symptoms such as hair loss from taking a fake drug, imagine the effect of thinking to yourself “I’m a fat cow” about 3,000 times per day. Or saying "I hate exercise but I'll never get thin if I don't". Or believing that "this donut is going to make me soooo fat". 

When you hate your body, do you want to go out and socialize with friends? Do you feel like having sex with your partner when you've called yourself "a fat cow" all day? Are you able to be a happy person when all you can think about is how fat your thighs are? When was the last time you felt like going to the gym or eating healthy or doing anything when you were having a "fat day"?

The good news is that if you can think yourself fat, you can also think yourself thin.

Think back to the last time you felt truly happy. What was it like? How did you act? Walk? Talk? Dress? Eat? How did you feel? Free? On top of the world? When you feel good it's a lot easier to treat yourself well and make good decisions, right?

What we believe about ourselves translates into feelings, which powerfully influence our actions and our end result. It's the feeling that's important. To manifest the health and the body we want, we need to feel the way we would if we already had what we wanted. That means you must feel good about yourself NOW. You need to get happy and stop putting your life on hold TODAY. You need to walk/talk/act as if you are already the person you want to be.

When you feel happy and good, it's much easier to take action, and those actions will come from a place of love and self-respect instead of self-loathing and punishment.

I want to leave you with what I think is the most important take-away message: even if you never get thin, loving yourself today will give you the opportunity to stop putting your life on hold and just be happy! Isn't that what we all want anyway?!? Your gravestone can say "Here rests a happy-go-lucky, caring, vibrant, woman/mother/wife/sister/daughter, who lived life to the fullest", instead of "Here rests a woman whose life's work was getting rid of her bat wings and the cellulite on her thighs".

Be yourself, celebrate your flaws, worry less about what others think, and live it up as much as you can...being happy in the here and now is one of the secret keys to achieving your best self!

Be yourself, celebrate your flaws, worry less about what others think, and live it up as much as you can...being happy in the here and now is one of the secret keys to achieving your best self!

I know it's not as easy as just deciding to love yourself and be happy right now. This issue is so near and dear to my heart that my next post will follow up with tips on loving yourself NOW so that you can become the person you want to be while still living and loving your life in the process!