Highlights for Freedom from Body Hatred
- What I think about when I think about Freedom (0:10)
- Being on the list, plus all I’d missed (1:00)
- Your 3 steps to body freedom (4:30)
- How about you? (7:00)
Freedom from Body Hatred
What I Think About When I Think About Freedom
Every year … well, every day, really … I think about freedom.
Actually, every day, I think about freedom from my body, freedom from negative thoughts, freedom from the sadness I feel about myself at times, freedom from uncomfortable clothes or the shoes and self-violence…
…freedom to be who I am right now in this minute without feeling that I have to change in order to be accepted.
The word freedom takes a whole new meaning when you’re on a terrorist’s hit list. It’s no longer just a word or a concept; it’s bigger than that. It’s not about focusing on the negative, but it is choosing to be positive … but what other choice do I have?
The concept of “freedom” got me thinking: What do I want to be free from…?
Being on the List, Plus All I’d Missed
For my entire life – at least since I was 10 years old – I have had the belief that Thin fixed everything. If I could be thin, I would have at all. I would conquer the world!
That may sound kind of dramatic, but it’s true! I have always felt that being thin was that one thing that was missing from my life, but that thinness has always eluded me.
Then the unimaginable happened: I got a phone call from the FBI notifying me that I was on a terrorist hit list – what they called a kill list. I was like, “Wait… What?”
After a lot of tears, a lot of phone calls, a lot of googling, and some serious disbelief, I was able to verify that it wasn’t a hoax or a scam to steal my identity, but the actual FBI calling me because of their duty to warn me that my name had appeared on a kill list.
I cried on a lot of police-recorded lines – not something I’m proud of but, man, the tapes are out there now!
But it really got me wondering: So, now I’m on a hit list. How do I move forward from that? How do I take this fear and sadness and turn it into something productive and positive?
It took me a while, but I realized that there are few things more terrifying than being contacted by the FBI – well, maybe 30 years of self-violence and self-hatred! – but I finally realized that if terrorists are out to get me, I have been wasting my precious life worrying about my weight and body image and on hating myself.
A few years ago, one of my very good friends, who was like a brother to me, passed away. And it was the very first time that I realized I could die from something that wasn’t weight-related. It was a life-changing revelation.
You see, when you’re overweight or you’re struggling, doctors and other people always put the fear of God in you that if YOU DO NOT LOSE WEIGHT, YOU ARE GOING TO DIE FROM IT.
And while that can be true, there are a million other ways to die that do not involve your weight or your body image – like dying in a car accident or having a brain aneurysm or getting caught in a mass shooting at a mall.
I realized I had been wasting so much of my time hating myself for not feeling good enough and always missing out on so much. I thought of all the places that I didn’t go because I didn’t like the way that I looked, all the times I stayed home because I didn’t feel comfortable in my clothes, all the events that I missed because I was self-conscious.
Your 3 Steps to Body Freedom
Over the last seven years, I have done a lot of work with unraveling the craziness that comes with weight and body image – for myself. And that means that I can translate that and parlay that into sharing that wisdom – and that seriously deep, heartfelt work – with my clients.
Lingering doubts can pop up into your head every now and then … they still pop up in mine. I can get hooked on a thought and have to climb my way out of a nasty nest of negative thinking. I can get out much faster now, but it still happens.
Spending several hours crying about being on a kill list made me realize that there are so many other things – WAY more important things – that I should be constantly focused on rather than weight, body image, body-hatred, and self-loathing.
So, here are a few steps to your body freedom—
- Don’t worry about what other people think about you; it’s none of your business. One of my favorite quotes, and one I live by, is Eleanor Roosevelt’s “What other people think of you is none of your business.” I quote this a lot because it bears repeating! I say it to myself all the time, and it gets me to take that next step forward.
- Focus on what you love, not on what you fear. Fear never wins; love always wins. Let your heart lead you to the next great thing. Don’t allow fear to have an opinion on what you do or do not do; don’t let fear hold you back. There are only two things that can happen: you win, or you learn something … and that’s it. Those are the only two results: learning and winning. So, YAY!
- Choose your thoughts wisely. Because what you think becomes the house you live in. Your thoughts matter. Be grateful for the amazing body that you have … right now. Your body may not be where you want to be or look like you want it to look, but it still does amazing things for you each and every day. Thank it and think positive thoughts about it.
How About You?
So, I’m walking my talk: I’m taking my steps toward body freedom, and I am declaring this year free from body hatred!
Hating my body is a waste of time. I’m over it; I have way more important things to do in my life, and I’m going to do them!
I want every woman to feel comfortable and confident and amazing this summer. Feel great RIGHT NOW. Stop putting your life on hold until you lose 10 pounds or 20 pounds or 100 pounds or whatever it is.
Love yourself RIGHT NOW. Live your life.
This is YOUR Independence Day!
This article was originally published on July 4, 2016 and has been updated.