Hate Your Body? Then Gain More Weight. That’s How The Mind Works
Why Hating Our Body Makes Us Fat
How We Feel About Our Body Matters
"While I hate my body now, I will totally love it once I am slim!"
Says every person before their weight loss efforts fail miserably.
Love it or hate it, how we feel about our body matters.
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Obesity (Robinson et al) examined the link between body image and weight loss for 14,000 adults. What did they find?
A big surprise, the researchers found that adults who perceived themselves as "fat" were actually far MORE likely to pile on pounds in the future.
"What kind of bizarro world are we living in? This make no sense at all! If I hate my body, won’t that light a fire under my butt to make a change?"
Maybe, but the odds aren’t in your favor.
The truth is, being infatuated with the scale, hating our body, and thinking that life will become magically perfect once we become slim and trim is, paradoxically, often the very reason we gain more weight. Yep, hating how fat we are often makes us fatter.
Internalizing Our "Big Fat Stupid Self" Thoughts
"What you resist, persists" — Carl Jung: Legendary Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst
You have probably heard the old saying, "out of sight, out of mind." Well, the effects of hating our stay-puff marshmallow thighs last long after we squeeze them "safely" into our jeans, out of view.
Not only are we internalizing and cementing our identity with every "I hate my fatty, fat self" thought that we think, but we are attracting more of the same.
"I didn’t even know it was possible to gain weight there, no more skirts for me, gotta' hide my cankles… My thighs, oh my, they look like cottage-cheese plastered tree trunks… My belly dun’ lapped over my belt, Dunlaps Disease confirmed… My butt is so big Sir-Mix-A-Lot would deny…"
When we train our deep mind to "buy-in" to being overweight through our negative self talk, then we will believe "being fat" is who we truly are. The mind can be very literal in this way.
Once that happens, like a child kicking and screaming, our deep mind will sabotage any efforts (diet, exercise, etc) we make to change our "fat is the status quo" body.
Study: Meditation Makes Us Kind & Compassionate
"Nature versus nurture," we have all heard the phrase before.
Certain attributes are hard-wired into our DNA when we are born, like the color of our eyes, hair, and skin. Other attributes, like our capacity for compassion and kindness, we pick up as we go along.
University of Wisconsin neuroscientists have shown that when we help others, one specific part of the brain, namely the "right anterior dorsal insula," lights up like a Christmas tree.
"So, you're telling me that in order to stop hating my body, I need to join the Peace Corps?"
Actually that might work! Our world certainly needs all the help it can get. However, if you are handcuffed by a 9-5 like most of us, then another solution is ideal. Luckily, there's meditation!
In a highly cited 2012 study, UCLA School of Medicine researchers found that meditation activates the very same "compassionate" brain region as the aforementioned University of Wisconsin study.
What does this mean, exactly? By cranking up our "right anterior dorsal insula," the ancient mind practice literally trains our brain to be kind to everyone and everything, including "us." This transformation automatically quiets down our negative "I hate my big fat stupid body" self-talk.
Is there any coincidence that many of history's greatest humanitarians practiced meditation?
While losing our stubborn belly fat may not win us a Nobel Prize, what's for certain is that making the world a better place starts with the man in the mirror. Meditation ensures the reflection we see is our highest and best version.
Loving Yourself Puts The Weight Loss Wind In Your Sails
When we trade our self-hatred for self-compassion a wonderful thing happens. We stop swimming against the weight loss current.
With a positive mindset capable of achieving anything, we accept our imperfections, we accept our current reality, and we become ok with our body as is. Loving ourself doesn’t make us lazy and unwilling to change, either. Quite the contrary.
It helps us realize that achieving the best version of "us" is both our destiny and our duty. With this mindset, we have the strength and discipline to stick to any plan moving forward.
Meditation is the perfect vehicle to bring about this shift in consciousness.
Fat Is Not Your Identity
"Do my shameful, self-hating thoughts, even if they ultimately make me sabotage my diet and exercise plan over and over, make me who I am? Will meditation throw out the baby with the bathwater?"
You are not your dysfunctional thoughts. Hating your body no more defines your state of being than a case of athlete’s foot defines your body.
Found in the wonderfully intoxicating space between each thought, the "real you" is that of pure consciousness.
Harnessing the power of meditation will open up a world you never imagined, with far kinder, deeper, clearer, and more insightful thoughts just the start.
Achieving the perfect body is easy when you realize how perfect you already are.