You know what app I’ve been crushing on lately? Timehop . Have you tried it?
If you love walking down memory lane, this app is pure gold. It goes through your most popular social media accounts and let’s you see what you posted 1 year ago, 2 years ago, and so on… (I have some posts that go back 7 years or more! Depends on how long you’ve been hooked to those precious social media accounts). It’s a beautiful little reminder of our life events and what we’ve chosen to share with our friends and followers.
But there are days when a reminder from the past can sting. When the present feels all too real.
And if you are currently embarking on a weight loss or body transformation journey, there’s nothing like looking at old pictures to stir up some unwanted emotions.
But it’s not worth our time and energy to get sucked into the past, to battle the comparisons of ourselves, or to even fathom the thought that these pictures are any sort of indicator of our worth.
So instead, I’ve developed two promises to myself, two main feelings that I refuse to feel when looking at pictures, and I hope by the end of this post, you’ll pledge the same.
BODY IMAGE OATH #1:
I refuse to look at old pictures and feel bad about how skinny I used to be
Do you find yourself doing this?
If you raised your hand, boy oh boy, you are not alone.
I used to look through old pictures (particularly from my high school cheerleading days, or my college years where I spent hours upon hours in dance class) and I would feel a pit at the bottom of my stomach.
I would look at those pictures, and I felt like I was looking at a completely different person. The woman in the picture was 4 years younger, lived in a different place, dated different people, had different interests and dreams . Was this even me?
I gained 40 pounds after college, and although I’ve been working hard at losing my “ real word weight” , those pictures are a reminder of how much my body has changed. They are a reminder of the mental weight that I had put on, the mental weight that manifested into physical weight through times of neglect, uncertainty, and stress.
But now I’ve come to the realization that we don’t deserve these poisonous thoughts, they don’t serve us one bit. And here’s what I realized instead:
When you look at old pictures of yourself, when you used to be in better shape or you were feeling your best…remember – That’s still YOU!
Sometimes it’s hard to remember this because the person staring back at you looks different than you might appear right now. But that doesn’t discount you or limit you in ANY sort of capacity.
That’s you .
You might have grown and learned valuable lessons, but your core and your soul are still the same. You have the capability to look and feel great – it’s in your bones.
And there is nothing that is stopping you from embodying that physique again, if you so wish.
You can feed yourself excuses all day long, tell yourself tall tales about your faltered metabolism, or how time has taken its toll, or how you could NEVER be in great as shape as you were in high school – but those excuses are just mind obstacles that YOU are setting in your path. Obstacles that will trip you up if you don’t clear the route.
The real question is, what route are you going to take to get yourself to where you want to be?
It might not be the same route you took before. Lord knows I don’t plan on doing the same conditioning routine I did when I was a cheerleader; I would break all my bones!
But, I’m starting a new swing dance class with my soulmate tonight, and that’s my chosen route back to the body that reflects the happiness that I feel on the inside.
Give your body some love!
It isn’t YOU vs. YOUR BODY.
Remember the thoughts that made you the healthy person that you see in that old picture.
So many of us actually enjoy eating healthy and working out – but it’s hard to remember this fact once we’ve fallen off the bandwagon. It stresses us out thinking about HOW IN THE WORLD we are going to fit exercise into our crazy schedules…but in reality, exercise releases our stress!
So think, what was it that made you glow back when you looked like that old picture?
Maybe you used to not be as stressed, or you had strong friendships or a hobby that occupied your time.
Whatever you can pinpoint, use that as the starting point for the route back to that place.
Because that person in the photograph is you, your DNA remains the same.
You’ve done it once; you can do it again AND MORE.
BODY IMAGE OATH #2:
I refuse to look at recent pictures of myself and feel bad about how I look now
Yup. This one can be tough, especially when you are JUST at the beginning of your weight loss journey. “Before” pictures are never fun to take.
But your life will start to shift in spectacular ways if you make this your number one rule.
You know the best way that you can prove this to yourself? (And get a good laugh at the same time!) Find an old picture of yourself that you USED to think was unflattering.
I used to look at this picture and I disliked how my thighs spread across this wooden couch. It was a candid picture, when my guard was down (I was acting on stage). This picture used to make me cringe.
Now, I look at this picture and I find it lovely! I would LOVE to be at that weight again. And I remember how much I enjoyed performing in that class and how it felt to feel carefree and present in my body.
And it makes me chuckle, because I wish I could give my past self a big ole’ hug. I feel bad for the unnecessary pain I must have been carrying with me if I thought THAT picture was fat.
Be kind to yourself and your body. Find those old pictures that used to torment you, and start sending love their way instead.
Prove to yourself how easy it can be to shift your thinking. Shift your thinking – shift your body image – shift your body. There are no shortcuts.
You are the same person as you were then and you are the same person now – the body houses your soul and your soul is made of pure love.
Next, I challenge you to look at a recent picture of yourself, a picture that you might not find flattering or where you might not be at your ideal weight.
Can’t find one? That’s what I was afraid of…
So many of us have these large gaps of time where we rather not be photographed at all than be documented at a weight that we are not proud of.
As hard as it can be, you don’t deserve to be photographed any less based on how you feel about your appearance!
I used to untag all of the unflattering pictures of myself on Facebook, picking and choosing the images that I wanted the world to see. I used to leave my photoshopped headshot up a little too long, relying on previous years to hide the way that I looked in the present moment.
By effectively erasing myself online, I was sending the signal out to my friends, my family, and the universe that I deserved to be erased, to go unnoticed, to deny my deserved space on earth.
And we see this in the media all the time. The media erases full-figured women and men from the discussion on a daily basis. They are no longer a part of the dialogue, unless the focus of the discussion is on their weight and appearance.
And so it’s hard not to feel erased, when you no longer see yourself depicted as desirable. It’s easy to WANT to be erased, when the only attention you receive are comments about your physique.
But I demand this of you – write yourself back into the dialogue. No matter the size, don’t allow yourself to be erased, not by others and especially not by yourself.
I want you to take a picture of yourself right now. Consider this a sacred selfie.
Don’t hide your arms, don’t hold your breath and suck in your gut, don’t hide behind other people, don’t erase yourself.
If you consider yourself a perfectionist, resist the urge to control or nit-pick this image. It’s a soul selfie, it knows no bounds.
All you need to do is BE the joy that resides inside. Let that part of you shine in this picture.
I’ll do it with you; I took this picture today. I might no longer have my sculpted arms like I did back in my cheerleading days, but this picture is pure soul. My hair is natural, even the sun is shining bright! I like to think I give better hugs with softer arms anyways…ha! I feel like this is me, and I’m proud to share it.
Inhabit the body you have in this present moment.
And I want you to look at that picture of yourself, look at that person, and realize all the accomplishments he or she has achieved.
That girl has friends and family who love her no matter what. That guy gives to others and shares his self-less heart.
Those qualities and achievements apply to that picture of you too, not just the skinny photographs .
Our society is obsessed with equating success with a slim figure, and it’s just not true ! As if the will power to resist chocolate cake means that you can run a Fortune 500 Company or find the cure for Cancer – one does not equal the other . Just as our emotions do not dictate our success in all areas, our weight doesn’t either.
I want you to stop seeing your perceived outer struggle and start feeling your inner radiance.
THAT’S who you are. And that’s who I see when I look at that picture of you. That’s a damn fine sacred selfie!
Weight gain or loss doesn’t add or subtract your glowing qualities and your highest achievements.
You don’t have to be a certain weight to deserve ANYTHING.
So I want you to look back at that picture and do EVERYTHING IN YOUR POWER to feel love for this version of you. You are alive. You have a heart that loves. You have strengths and abilities that have nothing to do with your physique.
And when you can feel love for the unflattering photos, that’s something. That’s true body love and care.
I don’t want there to ever be another gap in the record of our time on earth. Because that’s sending the message that we don’t deserve to be here if we don’t look a certain way, and that’s simply not true.
Do you pledge these two body image oaths? If you can stand behind these two simple principles, you will begin to feel the love that is created from within. That love has no boundaries, has no judgments or faults. And you will begin to view your body has a beautiful vessel for a loving heart and spirit.
How amazing would it feel to refresh your Timehop and feel gratitude for every step of your journey – the ups AND the downs?
If you pledge to hold these two statements as truth, please let me know. There is no need for us to do this alone. Share your #sacredselfie with Soultiply on , Twitter , & Instagram ! Also, f to stay up-to-date on all the latest!