When I reflect on my own story and hear the stories of others, I cannot help but notice the scars that can be left by obesity. I think that we often think of the physical scars that we carry on our bellies, legs, arms and chest. However, I think that the deepest scars are the emotional ones. The emotional scars left by the mean words of others calling you fat or saying that you have a pretty face and would be such a great catch if only you lost some weight. Or the emotional scars of the negative self-talk that tells you that you are fat or nitpicks all your body parts that are not good enough.
Losing weight and feeling healthy is a fantastic feeling and one that our clinic clients share with us every day. We celebrate each success, small and large, along the way towards each person’s health goals. What we notice, is that despite the success in fat and weight loss, those emotional scars remain stuck. Being healthy is as much a mindset game as much as it is a nutritional one.
Here are 4 ways to challenge those voices and heal those emotional scars. Grab a journal and work on some of these questions:
- Identify the voice. Whose voice do you hear that says those critical things? Usually we have at least one person who we hear with those emotional scars and it’s time to exorcise them once and for all!
- Challenge the voice. Are those voices credible? What makes them credible? Do you respect those people or the voice? If you don’t, then why do they get to take up so much space in your mind?
- Replace the voice. What do you want your internal voice to saying? It cannot be rainbows and butterflies as our minds won’t hold on to that. But it will hold on to realistic positive messages such as “I am worth it”, “I deserve to be healthy”, “one step at a time”, “I will take each day as an opportunity for health”, etc.
- Practice the new. Take time each day to challenge the negative voices, challenge and replace them. Then think about an activity or action that would help reinforce the positive message. This can vary from taking a yoga class from going to a walk or reaching out to a friend for coffee. It’s not just about changing your thinking, it’s also about changing your lifestyle!