Tired of hearing about self-love as spa days and affirmations? Read on for a different perspective. You won’t find another thing to add to your to-do list here!
Week after week you find yourself in a familiar pattern. You can’t sleep at night because your mind is racing with all the things you need to do for other people. You’ve got kids, a partner, and clients you need to show up for. Between carpooling to extracurriculars and working full time, you don’t have a second to yourself. Because you put everyone else’s needs before your own, basic self-care is non-existent. Overly tired, you turn to fast food for quick energy and end up eating past fullness. Then you commit to compensating later by restricting. You’re uncomfortable in your body and disappointed in your lack of a support system. It’s easier to say, ‘everything is fine’ than share that you’re struggling.
You find yourself spending money on things that leave you feeling empty. Subscriptions to weight loss programs have never proven effective. Yet you’re tempted to believe each new one will be the one that works. At least dieting provides a sense of control in the midst of your chaotic life. Scrolling social media, you lose yourself in the perfectionist fantasy of weight loss influencers. Their lives look so free and peaceful!
As enticing as they sometimes seem, we’ve already established that diets don’t work. Dieting disconnects you from your body’s internal cues of hunger, fullness, and satisfaction. When you place rules on nourishing your body adequately, your inner rebel is bound to come out. All plans for eating mindfully vanish and you’re left feeling like, ‘What’s wrong with me?!’ yet again. This pattern confirms to your brain that you are the problem, not the diet.
The problem is not actually food or your body. The problem is that women are socialized to:
They’re taught a good mom takes responsibility for everyone and everything, and sacrifices her own wants and needs. This conditioning only leads to burned-out women who feel resentful of their families.
Now, wait before you jump to the other end of the spectrum! The solution is not to abandon all roles and responsibilities. That’s all-or-nothing thinking (a very common tendency of a dieter’s brain). There’s a way to find a happy medium and to do so with intention.
We’ve all heard of the proverbial oxygen mask when it comes to self-care. Your family needs you to take care of YOU before you attend to their needs. It is not selfish to prioritize your well-being and happiness.
But where to start? Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
In the beginning, it will feel scary to set boundaries because you’re worried about how others will react. That makes total sense! Our primitive brains needed acceptance from the tribe for survival. But belonging to a tribe starts with self-acceptance first. Try reframing your fear and viewing it as modeling healthy self-respect. Your definition of what it means to be a ‘good mom’ is the only one that ultimately matters.
The way we relate to food and our bodies is the way we relate to everything, and vice versa. When we strengthen our connection with our bodies and their needs, we’re better able to pay attention to our internal cues. Honoring those cues helps us, and those around us, remember our inherent worthiness. Remember, the world treats us externally how we treat ourselves internally.
If this all sounds great in theory but difficult to put into practice, I invite you to book a discovery call with me. We’ll work together to trust your body’s mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. We’ll challenge the rules, beliefs, and thoughts you have about food. And we’ll set individual goals that feel most supportive for you!