My new clients are shocked when I first tell them that self-compassion is the secret sauce that will give them the power to change their lives so they will feel good about getting healthier and thinner. Like me and perhaps you too, they’re also familiar with the old balls-to-the wall approach of no pain, no gain. They’ve also spent years torturing themselves and shaming their bodies in an effort to lose weight and change their eating habits.
But as I explain in my book, those drill sargeant approaches to losing weight don’t work. Eventually we reach a point where the deprivation level is so intense that we have to give in and eat. As long as the cycle of shame keeps on spinning, and you don’t have any other way of dealing with your stress, food will always be your secret soother.
If when you look at yourself in the mirror, all you see is fat and excess weight, you’re not seeing yourself as you really are. Let me encourage you to take off those dark gloomy glasses and take a peek at a more empowered perspective. I want to give you something to ponder related to your body.
If you have the blessing of being able to dress and bathe yourself, that’s something that you may have taken for granted. You’re not alone. I took it for granted for years and never realized what a blessing it is to be able to bathe and dress myself until I learned this powerful lesson.
ADL is a term used in the Assisted Living community that describes a level of competency of an individual to care for themself. It’s an acronym which means, “Activities of Daily Living.”
Back in 2000 when my Nana fell down and broke her hip, she was no longer able to live in my home with my family and I. She was my best friend in the world and I couldn’t imagine not being with her. I was distraught, filled with guilt that I had let her down, and could not keep my promise to always take care of her and never put her in a nursing facility.
But I found a place that was just literally up the road from where we lived in New York. It was lovely and we all adored it. That marked a beginning of a new wonderful journey for Nana living in an assisted living community.
I remember the first day when the administrator did an assessment on Nana’s abilities. Nana was a little hard of hearing, so I would answer all the questions for her. She asked me if Nana was able to bathe and dress herself.
When I told her “No.” Unfortunately she can’t do that anymore without my help,” the woman checked off a box marked “Needs help with ADL.”
When I asked what that meant, she explained that an aide would come each day to help Nana to bathe and dress her and give her medication. The administrator told me that the community would be happy to provide this service at an additional expense of $15 each day. At that time, since Nana was very wise with her money and saved for a rainy day, that money was available and Nana could afford the best care. When all was said and done, her out-of-pocket care costs were $60K year.
Back in 2011 after my mother’s husband passed away, I flew down to Florida and moved Mommy into a local Assisted Living community there. It was lovely. When I met with the administrator and she asked me about mom’s ability to bathe and dress herself, I told her “No. She requires assistance.”
At that time, the rate of hiring an aide in Florida through a reputable service was $12.50/hr.
Today in Florida for that same assistance the cost of hiring an aide through a reputable service is $25/hr.
Now I want you to think about your body in terms of your abilities, not your appearance. If you are blessed and able to pull on your panties after drying yourself following a bath or shower, you’ve just saved yourself the cost of hiring a stranger to do that for you at a rate of $25/hr, or $175/week. What’s your independence worth to you?
If you’ve been struggling with feelings of body shame, feeling pressured to lose weight, I hope that you will see your body from a kinder and more gentle perspective. Think about what it can do for you, and not just how it looks.
There will always be other women who are prettier, smarter, thinner and younger than us. It won’t serve us in any way to focus on comparing ourselves to them or feeling bad that we’re not like them. It’s just not sustainable to think you can motivate yourself by being cruel and harsh with yourself. Self-hatred is not a motivator for change. If you want to change something about yourself, you have to be kind and appreciate what you already have.
By focusing on all the blessings you already have, it frees up your energy and makes you feel good. When you like and respect yourself, you’re willing to take better care of yourself. You’ll take the extra few minutes to chop those veggies, or wash the salad, or ask hubby to do the dishes while you soak in the tub. We take care of the things we love, and that includes ourselves. I want to encourage you to think about yourself with more loving kindness.
I’m going to paraphrase a quote from my mentor, Dr. Nancy Bonios, the creator of the Beyond Dieting program. She says, “permanent change requires a climate of love, kindness and understanding, not self-hatred and disgust.” Be nice to yourself.
We often take the little things for granted unless we see them from a bigger, grander, different perspective. Now that you have this new experience in expanded awareness, how do you feel about your bigger body? Perhaps a little more appreciative?
If you want to revel a bit more in this message of self-love, and catch my Thursday FB Lives, click the link to join my FB group, 30 Days to Lovin’ the Skin You’re In. There as a member you’ll get first dibs on all my best offers and upcoming events.