Ep #14: Loving Your Body

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Sometimes we find it challenging to really love our bodies. For many of us, even when our bodies were younger, we didn’t like the way they looked. And no matter what gender or age, our body image issues never really disappear.

In order to take positive steps in the way we view our bodies, we first have to understand the nature of these thoughts. I’m going to share with you some of the reasons we choose to view this body of ours the way we do and what we can do to change the choices we’ve made throughout our lives.

Join me this week as we start to adjust the thoughts we’ve held about our bodies for decades. I have prepared two wonderful exercises to help you identify what you don’t like and show you how to change your thoughts using The Model. Sit back and prepare to challenge some long-held beliefs!

If you’re interested in attending an online workshop to love this very body you have right now, you can get on a waiting list. Sign up HERE and I’ll give you all the details.

Listen to the Full Episode:

What You'll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why we are prone to a negative body image.
  • What effect our negative thoughts have on ourselves.
  • Why age is just a mindset.
  • How your brain looks for reinforcement that your thoughts are true.
  • Two exercises to identify what you hate about your body and how to fix those thoughts.

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to It’s Never Too Late to Lose Weight, a podcast with Pat Beaupre Becker, episode 14.

Welcome to It's Never Too Late to Lose Weight, a podcast for women approaching 60 who have been successful at everything but reaching their weight loss goals. Tune in each week for tools and strategies to help you lose weight, create a strong body, and support a healthy mind. Here's your host, certified weight and life coach, Pat Beaupre Becker.

Hello, my dears. Spring is in the air, our freesia are blooming and yet there’s hail and snow too. It’s a crazy time. But it was Academy Awards last weekend and I really love the Academy Awards. I am a total fan, a total groupie, but I was really dismayed at the continuous comments about age and I actually feel a rant coming on, okay.

So Christopher Plummer, nominated for best actor, actually got into this movie late because of the controversy around Kevin Spacey and actually was nominated for best actor; like walked in at the last minute. Amazing – isn’t that a performance that deserves amazing congratulations? And yet all of the jokes were about Christopher Plummer’s age, right. We have Roger Deakins, 68 years old, won for best cinematography. We have James Ivory, 89 years old, won for best screen play. Agnes Varda, 89 years old, was nominated for best documentary.

And all of this amazing success, amazing proof – and yet in the face of that, we continually hear all of these comments about age. Now, my biggest one was Jane Fonda. Now, if you saw Jane Fonda, she looked amazing. Her body is in incredible shape, her dress was gorgeous; her hair, her face, everything about it. Every time they spoke about her, what they said was, “Oh yeah, for her age, she’s really rocking that outfit.”

Okay, so Jane Fonda is a fitness person. She’s been in the fitness – always considered fitness a big part of her life. She’s an actor on TV, in film, she wrote a book. She is a speaker at events. She is amazing and we are only talking about how she’s amazing despite her age. Helen Mirren, 72 – okay, she’s my favorite goddess. I love her and yet we look at her and we can only think, “For her age…” Eva Marie Saint was 93 and she spoke with such clarity and intelligence, it was fantastic.

Rita Moreno, 86, what energy and what beauty. I mean, she was really fun. You could just feel that energy that she had – and again, all the talk about her age. We had Christopher Walken, 74. Warren Beatty, 80. Faye Dunaway, 77. I mean, come on people. The joke that Sandra Bullock, who I love, one of my favorite actors – but she is standing there after hours of hair and makeup, looking perfect, talking about turning down the lights so that she could become younger, right, that she is trying to get to her 40s or maybe even 35.

You know, we baby-boomers, we’re working, we’re working out, we’re writing, directing, we’re creating, we’re living. Well, I have to say, I’m not immune because one of my favorite blog post titles that I wrote was, Old Broad from Brooklyn Gives Weight-Loss Advice. Now, I like that because it just reminds me of something my mother would say, right; Old Broad from Brooklyn… But it doesn’t feel like a denigration for me.

And you know me, I’m following the research on the brain and we know that the limitations of our ability and our ability to act, our ability to change, this is all within our bodies and ourselves. We can change, we do change, we continue to grow until we’re dead. So we’re not winning Oscars despite our age but because of our age. We’re not relics. We’re not unusual because we’re winning and creating and doing and being because age is a state of mind.

But the only problem is, you only discover this when you get here, right. Because when we were young, we thought the same things. But if you close your eyes, no matter what age you are, your inner-self is the same inner-self that you have been with your entire life. It’s still the same. And I think that makes us forever young, or maybe just forever us.

So I’m going to put a list of some books that you could read about a different view of aging in the show notes. But that’s not what we’re going to talk about today, although I have to say, of course Hollywood and all of this glamour is the reason why we believe we need to be perfect in every physical way. I mean, we do see the screen and now everyone, no matter what their talent is, has a focus on beautiful perfection, hair, makeup, outfit.

So today, we’re going to talk about our bodies and we’re going to specifically talk about loving our bodies. And as a weight-loss coach, I can tell you that there are many of us who have hated our bodies, and the truth is, you cannot hate yourself thin. You cannot hate yourself healthy.

Now, if you think about it, your body has been your mode of transportation for 50 years, maybe 60 years or maybe 70 plus years. We have all been there and done that. we have raised children and, unfortunately, we have buried children and partners and siblings and parents and friends we thought we could never even imagine living without. And we have schooled our brains, we’ve done housework, we’ve run companies, we’ve written books, directed films, created courses, and we have supported so many people in our lives.

But isn’t it curious that many of us did this all while we were hating our bodies? And I can tell you, without a plan to really see how you hate your body and to see that impact on it and to change it, we’re going to continue to practice this until our day our opportunities to love this body are over.

So when you look in the mirror, what do you think and say? “My butt is saggy. Those eyes are disappearing. I wish I had a flat belly or a perkier butt.” But I want to point out how many times a day do you look in the mirror and you say that? Once a day, if you look in the mirror and you say that for 40 years, you’re actually saying it 14,600 times.

If you look in the mirror and say something negative twice a day, that’s 29,200 times. And if three times a day you look at yourself and think something negative, that’s 43,800 times you are giving your brain that negative message. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true that many of us hate our bodies.

So how do we show that hate? So I know, for me, when I really didn’t love my body, I would look at my belly and I’d think, “I’ll never have a flat belly. I’m never going to be thin enough.” And I would be frustrated and then just give up and say fuck it and overeat. And then the other part was I didn’t value myself.

So our bodies are only one part of us, and yet, when we hate that body, it feels terrible. But we’re so used to it that we tolerate it. I think it’s like you hit your head with a hammer over and over again and you go, “My head is hurting,” but you just keep hitting yourself with the hammer. And if you stop hitting yourself with the hammer, it’s going to feel better.

So what is the result? How does that hating yourself manifest in your life? And I know, for me, it held me back. I was insecure and that feeling of discomfort really caused me to overeat so I would stuff those feelings. I would be so frustrated and hopeless, and again, would lead me to say, “Forget it, I’m not sticking to this. I can’t do it.”

So when you don’t stick to your promises to yourself and then you kind of learn to live with that result, you think it’s a fact that you hate your body, but really, it’s just an opinion. And you can choose another opinion. You know, I know for myself, and I would take a bet that for you too, is that you actually hated or tried to change your body even when it was young, right; even when you had smooth skin and thick hair.

So what chance does this poor body have at the age of 60? And we’re talking about this very body that is encasing your brain, your soul, your history, and what chance does it have?

Now, we can also talk about how society hates our bodies – teaches us to hate our bodies – by always wanting us to be better to change. So I know, for me, it’s like the message is, be thin. Right now, it’s like longer eyelashes. My eyelashes are getting thinner, but everyone’s putting on these false eyelashes and spending all this money, so it’s have longer eyelashes, fuller lips, perfect eyes, perfect body. And of course, that depends on who you are and where you’re from. Every culture has a different reflection of what the perfect body is.

But then, a culture moves beyond the physical image to more social norms; be a perfect mother, perfect executive. There is a confidence gap among women and how it works is that men actually overestimate their abilities and take greater risks, while women underestimate their talents and then hesitate to risk failure.

Now, I know this is not always the case because we could just – if you watched the Olympics, you saw many women who were taking incredible risks, physical risks, mental risks, and they were very inspiring. But how does it make us feel when society tells us that we’re not perfect enough physically? What is the result of that hatred that you turn inside to yourself?

I think it ends up, we keep our light under the shadows and we suffer in silence. So I’m inviting you to envision an alternate universe today; a sacred space where you are invited to spend the next year, only 365 where you decide what you want to say and think about your body. Because, you know, it’s up to you. You can hold onto your current beliefs, but if you do, why would you?

Remember, our physical body is just one part of us. So we want to understand the nature of our thoughts and our feelings and our human experience of which our body is just one. I was listening to a talk from a spiritual teacher, a Buddhist, and he was talking about evanescence; that we are evanescent. And I think our aging body really gives us this great wisdom that we kind of suspected all along – nothing is permanent. Everything is impermanent. So supple skin, thick hair, presidents, babies, diseases, TV shows, fashion, feelings, emotions, desires, worries, we know that they come and they go.

And the reason that this is helpful to understand is because knowing that everything is impermanent allows us to raise our children, to go to work, to deal with heartache and to still seek more celebrations. Remember, not one emotion is permanent. And if you do any kind of meditation, you learn that your thoughts and your feelings, they just keep moving like clouds in the sky.

So when we understand that the very seed of our experience lies within us and yet our perceptions are entirely looking outward, so we measure ourselves by the outside and we don’t check in with our inner-selves. We know that an experience that we have inside is going to be triggered by an external stimulus, right. So you look in the mirror or you read an article and you feel like your body is ugly. But the origin is always internal because the experience of what you see is based on what you think about it; what your opinion is about it.

And you also know that we can generate that same experience without seeing that trigger, just thinking about that article can create that negative feeling. And the same way with a positive feeling, when you think about someone you love – if I asked you to think about your favorite person in the world right now, you’re going to feel a little bit of joy, a little bit of gladness without them even being in the room.

So we have our mantra – you’ve been listening to the podcast – which is by using The Model, which is our thoughts create our feelings, our feelings drive our actions and our actions add up to give us results. So I’m proposing we reject hate for our own body and we choose love. I’m going to talk about our bodies as if we had thoughts of honor, gratitude and excitement because why settle for hate when we can choose love? Now first thing is, I want you to know that you are 100% lovable right now; whatever size you are, whatever age you are, with or without makeup. And I want to ask you, who do you think creates love? Because love really has nothing to do with someone else, it’s all about you. Because if your loved one isn’t here, wouldn’t you still be able to love them? If they passed away, would you still be able to feel love for them? Because love is inside us, it’s our own quality.

We use that person or that circumstance as a key to open up what’s already inside us, kind of like electricity, right. The electricity is there and you turn on the lights, you flip the switch.

So I’m going to ask you, does it matter if others love you and your body in order for you to love it? I want to tell you that you are the supplier for your life. Now, you know, if you’re been orphaned by parents or partners, you may believe that it’s not impossible to feel love without that reflection in their eyes, right. If they loved you and they’re gone, part of our grief is that we won’t have that reflection. But isn’t that a great dishonor to our ancestors? Because impermanence is part of life – when our ancestors and our loved ones die, what is our lesson in their death?

And when it comes to losing parents, I think in some ways, it’s our turn to become adult. And adult means you are the supplier of love for your life. But at the same time, if you decide, okay, I’ve lived all this way, I’m going to be proud, I’m going to love my body now, in some ways, you’re actually shattering your identity, just like when women lose weight and they change their image; it’s shattering their identity.

And we know that our brains do not like change because our brain is really seeking pleasure, avoiding pain of any kind and wants efficiency with limited energy output. So how do we do this? I say we create peaceful thoughts and we practice believing them. Did you know that you can believe anything you want? Like no matter what’s going on in your family or what that latest fad is on TV, you can decide what you believe and you don’t need anyone’s approval. You can decide to love French food, or you can decide to hate French food. You can decide to desire white go-go boots or you can abhor them.

And if you decide to love your body, you can love your body and you can feel good in your body. You can decide to create peace around your body. You can allow old negative thoughts about your body to slowly dissipate. The thing is that we actually – when we’re initially doing this work for changing our beliefs, we can actually believe the old thought and the new thought at the same time. But we’re going to have to be a little bit uncomfortable because when you change your belief, you’re going to feel uncomfortable. Your brain is going to resist and give you this cognitive dissonance, and that can cause you to feel a little dread, maybe, a little anxiety.

But a belief is just a thought you keep thinking. And then you think it so often that you consider it a fact and you accept it. Now of course, what’s your brain going to say? How dare you think so highly of yourself? Who do you think you are? Your opinion doesn’t matter. But taking massive action to love your body is going to take some time and effort. And the thing is you’ll probably want to give up. You’ll probably forget to do the practice. You probably won’t take it seriously, but evolving takes effort, right, it takes hormesis, which is that stress; that good stress, that good effort.

But I’m telling you, achieving the desired results is so worthwhile. Imagine adding 49,000 thoughts about how you love your body, how you accept your body, how you’re excited about your body, how you’re grateful to your body. So this process of letting go of an old identity so that we can create a new identity is going to take a little time. But as we evolve through our years, through our 60s, through our 70s, let’s embrace the discomfort – the emotional blowback that will happen – but just continue practicing new thoughts about your body.

You can recall that your brain is elastic and you know your brain is capable of growing new neurons now, at your age, at your weight. So are you ready? Let’s not waste another moment hating this most amazing host creature. So remember, the very seed of your experience is within you, but your perception is entirely outward, and this is – when we think about our bodies – this is very true.

And this is what we’re going to begin to change today. Now, an experience may be triggered by an external stimulus, as I said, but its origin is always internal. So I’m going to share some exercises so that you can experience using your thoughts and your inner attention and to focus on that inner experience to change your feelings about your body.

Now, we start with two concepts. One is called anchoring and the other is called integrating. So anchoring is actually where we take a minute to put our feet down, to kind of ground ourselves so that we can really focus our attention. And integrating is something that I want you to do after you complete a moment of an exercise so that you do the exercise and then you take a minute and allow all of your neurons to reset themselves by using this thought of integration. So if you’re driving in your car, you probably don’t want to try and do these exercises, although you can listen and then practice them later and listen later. I’m also going to give you an opportunity to do this work with me in the future.

So let’s start with the anchoring-in exercise – and we’ve done this before on other podcasts. You want to put your feet on the floor, you want to sit up straight, you want to stretch your spine, move your spine and maybe you want to touch your arms, feel your feet on the floor and then look around the room and see maybe five things that are on the wall. Look around, kind of get yourself grounded into the present moment. Then I want you to just take a minute – not even a minute, maybe just ten seconds to integrate so that you feel yourself, you feel your feet on the floor. Then I want you to breathe in and close your eyes, and you’re going to fill your torso like it’s a basket. Imagine there’s a laundry basket that is expanding and just overflowing.

So as you fill your stomach and your sternum, you want to feel the sides of your body just kind of expand. And then you want to feel your energy all the way to the floor, and then also breathe up through your sternum and all the way to the sky. So you’re just feeling the wholeness of yourself, feeling yourself expanding and breathing.

So that a few times and then think, integrate. So, now you feel yourself expanded, you feel yourself grounded. Now what I want you to do is open your eyes and I want you to stamp your feet on the floor fast and loud. Like really, just make some noise. Make it so you’re moving your feet, you’re stomping your feet, and just do it for maybe 30 seconds.

And then, after you do that, I want you to think, integrate. And you might notice that your body starts to wake up, right. And then, we’re going to do that other exercise one more time. We’re going to breathe in, we’re going to fill your torso like this laundry basket of overflowing – breathe into the sides, into the floor, up through your sternum, all the way through the sky, and then think, integrate. Okay, so now here is the other exercise. So, I want you to think to yourself, this is my body, right. So as you now have filled your torso, you’re filling your air and all of your body parts, you’ve done some activity so your blood is kind of moving through your body, and just think, this is my body. Maybe there’s some aches and there’s some pains and there’s some sensations, but just, you know, this is your body. Now, you’re going to go to the mirror and you’re going to look at yourself for two seconds and then close your eyes.

I want you to say whatever comes up for you. And I want you to say it with the words, “I notice I’m thinking,” in front of them. So, let’s see – if I do it, I could say, “I notice I’m thinking my body is fat. I notice I’m thinking my body is old and wrinkly and weak.” And you’re doing this all with your eyes closed. “I notice I’m thinking my eyes are like disappearing. I notice I’m thinking I wish I was young again. I notice I’m thinking my body just disgusts me.”

Okay, so after you do that with about five different thoughts, I want you to now open your eyes, look in the mirror. Look for two seconds and close your eyes again and think, “My body is good for keeping me here. My feet keep me connected to the earth. My belly digests my food and holds my pants up. My heart is pumping blood and blood is circulating in my veins. My cells are constantly dying and regenerating.”

Okay, now open your eyes again. Now we’re going to do it one more time. You’re going to go to the mirror again, you’re going to look for two seconds and you’re going to close your eyes. And then I want you to think, “I can learn to love my body. My body is priceless; I can’t buy a new one. My body is a gift. My body is a privilege. How many of us know people who no longer have one? My body is all here. My body serves me. My body is amazing and it’s certainly worthy of gratitude. My body is lovable. I love my body. I honor my body with helpful food. I enjoy my body as it takes me through the day.” Then I want you to open your eyes again and just do that anchoring again. Feel your feet on the floor. Stretch your arms. Maybe give yourself a hug. Look around the room. Feet on the floor, pressing into the floor, breathing in, expanding your whole torso. And then relax.

Now this is a practice that if you did – how much time did that take us? Maybe it took us a few minutes. Maybe you could take five or ten minutes to do this. And if you do this every day for 365 days, you are going to be a different person. You are going to feel that love. And even if you don’t believe it, it’s still working in your brain because remember, your brain is always seeking evidence. And if you start to give your body these questions and these beliefs about how your body is a gift, how your body is serving you, how amazing it is, your brain is going to consistently look for evidence to prove that to you and you’re going to feel better.

Now, I have an exciting announcement. If you’re interested in attending an online workshop to love this very body you have right now, you can get on a waiting list. And you do that by going to never2late.info/lovingthisbody, you can sign up there and I’ll give you all the details.

So in summary for today, I want you to know that your body is an amazing creature. I mean, look, it’s able to achieve standing up, walking, thinking, loving, digesting, regenerating, memorizing, creating and even just sticking to stuff that’s hard, right. But your body is only one part of you and it houses your mind from birth to death.

We hate our bodies without understanding that we’re choosing to do it and we don’t have to. We see outer images of other bodies, especially if they’re older, and we compare them and we wish that we were not who we are. We see that society is prizing young and thin and perfect skin. No problem, as long as we also value aged and wrinkled skin with a twinkle in our eye.

We can learn to connect to our inner experience of ourselves, not just our reflection in the mirror. And by connecting to ourselves, we remain vital and then we can give to our society by continuing to contribute to thought, to innovation, to history, to knowledge, our experience. We can contribute to our culture, to ethics and to creating beauty. So join me and let’s love our bodies. Let’s stop distracting ourselves with this hatred because we just don’t have to do it.

So, one of my favorite things is a good story and a good storyteller. So Cal Fussman, who is an interviewer and writer extraordinaire, has a new podcast called Big Question. Now, you know I have a big place in my heart for people from Brooklyn. There’s this spot they fit right in. and I can tell you that Cal with his podcast and all his interviews, they just have a really secure place in this Brooklyn heart.

Now, I met Cal a couple of years ago when I brought him in to teach about how to ask great questions to get the right candidate for a particular job. And afterwards, he invited me to have breakfast with another Brooklynite, Larry King.

Okay, that was amazing. And the outcome that I hadn’t anticipated about even scheduling that breakfast was that, of course, I wanted to get all I could and learn all I could about Larry. So I read his book that he wrote and I watched some of his amazing interviews with amazing people. And both Cal and Larry have interviewed the great men and women who have impacted my life and your life.

And as interviewers and writers, they started old-school, but they continuously reinvent themselves to meet the challenges of today. And I think those of us who are lucky enough to listen, we’re receiving a curated view of the people, events, past and present. And these stories are told with great character by those who have witnessed and been part of our own great cultural shifts.

So if you like a good old-fashioned storyteller, listen to Cal’s podcast and enjoy. Thanks for listening to It’s Never Too Late to Lose Weight. Come back next week when we talk about quitting on yourselves. We’re going to learn how to stop quitting on ourselves when it comes to weight-loss. I’ll talk to you then; bye-bye.

Thanks for listening to this episode of the It's Never Too Late to Lose Weight Podcast. If you liked what you heard and want more, head over to never2late.info/guide, to download your quick start guide to jump start your weight loss plan and begin creating an amazing life you love.

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