The alarm goes off, waking you to another long day. Before your feet even hit the floor, you begin your body-checking rituals.
Ritual 1 - Lay perfectly flat on your bed. Can you feel your hipbones?
Ritual 2 - Stand sideways in front of the mirror. Does your stomach look "flat-enough?"
Ritual 3 - Step on the scale. Have you lost any weight since yesterday?
The answers to these questions determine not only how you will think and feel for the rest of your day, but also how you dress and present yourself to the world.
If you’ve gained weight or think you look fatter, you fall straight into believing you are anything but beautiful. Getting ready for your day is now tortuous. You likely put on a "fat" outfit, one that hides your stomach, your hips, your arms, even your legs. You throw your hair in a messy ponytail (not model messy, which actually takes hours to do, but neglected messy), forget about jewelry, and forego any make up that might call attention to you.
If you’ve lost weight or think you look thinner, you kind of, temporarily, feel a little beautiful. Getting ready for your day becomes slightly more pleasurable. You might put on one of your favorite dresses, the one that shows your waist, your cleavage, or your legs—whichever looks least fat. You make yourself up, do your hair perfectly, and put on beautiful jewelry.
You hope and pray that this temporary hit of confidence will stay with you throughout the day.
How’s this working for you? I know it didn’t work for me! Try the next three steps on tomorrow morning and let me know what happened!
The Body-Beloved Way to Beauty
1. Drop all external measurements to feel beautiful. Your beauty has little to do with your size and shape. When I struggled with my eating disorder, I would sometimes reach the "perfect" weight, but I felt horrible about myself because I knew what I was doing to myself to get there. My confidence would only last for a few minutes before I became paralyzed by the fear that one extra bite would make it would go away. It is time to drop the distorted connection between body size and beauty. It doesn’t serve you. It never has.
2. Own that your beauty arises from who you are, not what you weigh. Did you just make a snarky face? I saw you! and, I have witnessed this truth countless times. I know people who look beautiful on the outside, but who lose that beauty as you get to know them. I know people who might look more "ordinary," but who become more and more beautiful as you get to know them. Do you know what I mean?
The more I have become comfortable and confident about who I am rather than what I weigh, the more attractive I have become. I love the word "attractive" as attractiveness arises from the energy I emit, instead of the way I look. When I love my body, when I love myself, when I love my life, I am incredibly attractive.
“I know people who look beautiful on the outside, but who lose that beauty as you get to know them.”
3. Take care of yourself and your body as though you were the most delicious, sensual, exquisite goddess. If you imagined being a goddess in human form or a queen, what would you wear? How would you present yourself to the world? How would you feel in your body?
Well, you are! So start acting like it and you will soon know it!
Thinking of myself as a goddess makes me want to adorn my body. I pick clothes whose fabric and shape is sensual, discerning whether they feel good to my body rather than whether they make me look thin enough.
I wear my hair according to my current mood: do I feel wild today? I free up my curly hair in wild abandon. Do I feel more contained and sleek? I straighten out my hair to silky lustrousness.
I put on jewelry that emphasizes this mood, that brings even more brightness and light to how I already feel.
I am now ready to go out with the confidence and pleasure about who I am that I never once felt when I thought my beauty came from what I looked like. This feels so good!
Are you ready to practice the body-beloved kind of beauty? Check it out for yourself and notice what happens. The worst-case scenario is that you don’t feel any better and you got back to the old way. The best-case scenario is that you fall in love with your body and yourself. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Isabelle Tierney, MA, LMFT, is a pioneering Eating Disorder therapist, life coach, energy healer and motivational speaker who transformed a 30-year bulimia struggle into an unparalleled reverence for the sacredness of the human body. She has helped thousands break unhealthy habits and heal their relationships with their bodies. Learn to love your body as a conscious, unconditionally loving ally by joining the Body Beloved Renaissance.