I spent a few intense hours last Sunday with my daughter, trying on clothes, making sure she had the perfect thing to wear on her first day of school. The big question, as she tried on each different thing in her closet? “Mom, do I look fat?”
She is not fat.
And this is a girl who actually has a lot of confidence and a lot of style and was raised by a mother who loves her own body, who teaches women how to love their bodies.
I was concerned about this question, wondering how she got to feeling this way, until I was trying on clothes for the launch of Creation Course. I love clothes, and I change outfits a lot when I teach. And as I tried on each outfit, and then showed the outfit to my team for review, the big question I found myself asking was “Does this make me look fat?”
My apple, seems she did not fall far from the tree.
And I thought back to the video series we just completed, and all the Q’s I have received that I answered on Facebook. And I notice we are all apples falling from the great tree called DOUBT—doubt about our bodies, our beauty, our weight. It is epidemic amongst women to question our bodies, rather than enjoy or celebrate them.
How can I love my body, even though I’m 20 pounds overweight?
Am I too old and fat to find love?
Do men prefer women who are thin?
Do I have to lose 30 pounds before I can start dating?
Many of you also asked me who I know and trust in this area. Could I recommend someone for you?
Well, you asked and I’ve delivered. I am so proud to introduce you today to Sarah Jenks, the founder of Live More Weigh Less. She has just unveiled a free video training series and if you’re anything like me, you’re going to love it.
This week, I’ve invited her to guest blog for us because, in a sea of weight loss articles, shiny magazines and empty promises, she is a needed breath of fresh air.
She truly stands out to me as someone who has real, sane solutions for loving your body and creating your ideal weight naturally.
Sarah Jenks, of Live More Weigh Less
It feels so good to be here, to be in my tribe. Let me start out by telling you a bit about my story…
I’ve spent my whole life wondering, up until recently, why is it that I want to lose weight so badly, and I know that eating vegetables and not eating ice cream is key, but I still can’t stay away from the frickin’ candy bowl at work?
This question has haunted me for most of my life. I’ve watched friends, celebrities, and perfect strangers breeze through a 4-week stint of the South Beach Diet, or give up sugar without breaking a sweat and emerge 15 pounds lighter. But no matter how psyched I got to start a diet, or how much I desired to fit into my old jeans, I could barely make it through three days without polishing off an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
I believed there was something wrong and different about me, like God had forgotten to give me willpower when I was created. This pissed me off and made me feel really defeated. How could I, of all people, be the world’s worst dieter?
It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom, inhaling an entire bag of Dove Chocolate Promises while hiding in the supply closet of my ad agency on the third day of my seven-day juice cleanse, that I finally realized that if this diet thing was gonna work, it would’ve worked by now.
Without all my energy and attention being taken up by mastering the latest diet, I looked around and realized, my life totally sucks! I had no concrete plans for the future, no hobbies, no fun dates coming up, no trips planned, no dreams to fulfill. Could I be any more boring?
You see, I was waiting for my life to begin when I was thin. I was convinced that if I could just lose twenty pounds I would have the courage to start my own business, my relationship would finally feel passionate again, and I would stop hating myself for being so weak and ugly.
In the meantime, food was my only source of excitement, fun, connection, and relaxation. No wonder I could never stick to a diet; sugar was my lifeline.
These are the three key steps I took to get out of body hell, and now teach thousands of women worldwide to help them create the life and body they are meant to have.
1. Fun needs to be your number one priority.
I don’t remember when it happened, but at some point in the transition from childhood to adulthood, fun became synonymous with selfish. Fun was something I would do later, when I deserved it, after making six-figures or being a size six. So, food became my only source of fun. Sneaking ice cream in the middle of the night was an adventure. Buying a chocolate bar in the middle of day was my stress-reliever. Drinking till I was dizzy on a Saturday was my release. You see, as women, fun, desire, pleasure—whatever you want to call it—is built into our DNA. It’s as critical as air and shelter, and our bodies are hardwired to get our fix of fun, no matter what. Getting it in the form of food is fast, cheap and easy. Pretty smart when you think about it.
I knew I needed to start having real fun in order to kick my dependence on food. I started going to dance classes, taking voice lessons, going for long walks in the park, packing picnics with my boyfriend, flirting with strangers (thank you, Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts), going skinny dipping and taking weekend adventures. In just a few short weeks I felt alive, sexy, strong and happy—all the things I thought I needed to be a size 6 to feel, and I had only lost 3 pounds. Fun is now my elixir, my lifeline, my love. I actually have an amazing video that walks you through an entire day in my life, so you can get even more ideas for how you can bring more fun into yours. You can get access here, it’s totally free.
2. Get clear with what it looks like to take care of yourself.
Most women come to me because they are embarrassed by how they look. They hate showing up to a party because they fear everyone is going to gossip about how much weight they have gained. They don’t want to go home for Thanksgiving because they are worried their mother is going to lecture them (again) about how she’ll never find a man if she looks like this. Sigh. But here’s what I’ve discovered: even though it feels as if we are embarrassed by how we look, we are actually embarrassed that we’re not taking care of ourselves. We may be freaking out that our friend is trying to calculate how many sizes we’ve gone up, but what we’re feeling deep inside is embarrassment that we haven’t been moving our bodies this month, or that we’ve chosen to order take-out every night instead of cooking ourselves a beautiful dinner. And when we get real with ourselves, lamenting over our too-tight jeans is easier than confronting the very vulnerable and painful fact that we’re not loving and taking care of ourselves the way we deserve.
Instead of focusing all of your energy on how you wished you looked different, I want you to take some time to think about what it looks like to take incredible care of yourself. And I want you to think about it from the perspective that you are already at your ideal weight. Here’s why: I want you to create a repertoire that is sustainable and can last you a lifetime. When we say “Eat no sugar or dairy ever,” we inevitably get sick of the pressure and gain back any weight we’ve lost. When I treat myself as if I am already at my ideal weight, I drink wine a few nights a week, move my body every day but only in ways I love, eat chocolate, make sex a priority, eat lots of veggies, go on adventures, take time to cook beautiful meals, only eat when I’m hungry (if you struggle with this, you’ll love this short video) and take time to look my best every day, my body naturally settles to a place where I feel uniquely myself. There may be times when I show up to a party a little heavier than I was when I last saw some people, but because I know I am in alignment with how I am taking care of myself; I never feel self-conscious.
3. It has to be about how you feel, not how you look.
If all we needed was “the desire to be thin” to lose weight, then we would all be beanpoles. However, every time we go to a restaurant, even though we are fully aware we want to lose fifteen pounds by Christmas, we still choose the pasta alfredo and chocolate lava cake! What gives? In those moments, the drive to be relaxed, to fit in, to feel connection, to get a jolt of excitement, to have a taste of pleasure are so much stronger than your desire to be thin.
Here’s what I want you to do next time: I want you to think more about how you want to feel during, right after and an hour after your meal. When we’re only focused on losing fifteen pounds by Christmas it’s so easy to think, “Oh, it’s ok, I’ll start my diet tomorrow, I need this tonight,” and then we leave the meal feeling full, sick and watch our friends go off to the club without us because we need to roll into bed.
Imagine instead being focused on how you want to feel, not how you want to look. You want to feel alive, engaged and beautiful, so you opt for some meatballs over polenta, and eat just enough until you’re satisfied. After a bite of your friend’s dessert you feel ready to dance the night away. You’re the first to hit the dance floor and barely notice the three men watching you in awe. When one of them asks you if he can buy you a drink, you’re shocked because it’s usually your friends that get all the attention, and you were convinced that no man could be attracted to you like this. But because you’re dedicated to feeling alive, engaged and beautiful, you accept and have a fabulous evening.
Do you see how different your life can be when you focus more on how you want to feel in 45 minutes, and less on how you want to look in three months?
Here are your marching orders, my dear:
1. Write down three things you are going to do for fun this week and when you are going to do them.
2. Create a long and clear list of what it means to take care of yourself. Include what your body loves to eat, what you need for love, moving your body, friendship, nature and pleasure.
3. Define how you want to feel before, during and after a meal. Write it down and stick it in your wallet so you can connect with it before you eat. Think nothing about how you want to look months from now.
I’d love to hear what you’re most excited about or your questions in the comments below.
A tenet I live my life by is: the future is made up of the actions we take today. Don’t waste any time creating the life you desire, my dear. Go out and get it, because no one else is going to do it for you.
Live More. Weigh Less.