This guest blog is written by Sarah Robertson Sutton, transformation coach and founder of Truce.
I have coached clients and been in enough conversations with my own female friends to know that if we women actually spoke to passersby on the street in the same constantly disparaging ways we talk internally to ourselves (particularly about our bodies), we’d end up in some serious head-smacking, hair-pulling, tear-inducing fights.
Those kinds of thoughts and mis-beliefs are simply not in line with the gift you are in this world. But, since you’ve likely carried this subconscious attitude for a good long time now, what do you do about it, and how can coaching help?
I describe coaching as four overlapping and ongoing phases:
Discovery —uncovering your blind spots or judgments about life that are unknowingly causing you to get in your own way
Perspective Shift —choosing a new way of looking at your particular challenges that opens up possibilities for action
When you apply coaching (at least my brand of coaching) to the weighty body image conversation, all sorts of transformative shifts happen. I’ll give you an example of a pivotal a-ha moment that helped a client of mine named Emily completely change course. And then I’ll invite you to try a mini-coaching practice to help you start to let go of your own warring mindset.
Emily’s initial revelation ( Discovery ) came during a simple 5-minute visualization exercise I led in one of my group coaching classes. When I asked participants to picture their ideal experiences of body health, the overwhelming feeling Emily got was that she was having FUN. Now, if you know Emily, she is fun. She’s funny and always upbeat. But when it came to her wellness, she was seeing that piece of her life through the lens of what the industry tells people they “should be” doing—going to the gym 5 days a week and swearing off desserts. Ugh, so not fun!
Emily decided to suspend this previous belief and choose a way of being that was more integral to the woman she already was ( Perspective Shift.) I challenged Emily only to commit ( Commitment ) to actions that felt fun for her. If it wasn’t fun, she was not to do it. So, she started playing more with her kids and getting in the pool with them (gasp!), tried new zesty foods, and instituted a healthy homemade pizza night on Fridays ( Action.)
When Emily called me a month later, she exclaimed, “This is the easiest weight program I’ve ever done.” And the cool thing is that when she started relating to her body in a new way, in addition to tracking down to a more natural weight, Emily made all sorts of new ground in her career and relationships, as well.
So now it’s your turn to call a truce with yourself.
Take a piece of paper and split it down the middle. On the left-hand side, list all the things you are frustrated by and dislike about your body. Right-hand: All the things you love about your life. List at least 10 for each. Be specific; if you say you love your job, what is it specifically that gets you up in the morning? (Pause, and do this before reading ahead. Also notice what feelings or energy is stirred up when writing each list.)
Now review your lists. What do you notice? What else?
I would venture to guess that everything you say you hate about your body has little to do with how it performs for you and more to do with how you see its physical attributes, whereas your life’s best qualities are abstract feelings and experiences with others that go way beyond skin-deep. Yes?
Inquiry: What do you think your attitude toward your body would be like if you chose to start loving it as you do many other aspects of your life? What’s one thing you will do today to appreciate your body?
What Clients Say:
“Transformational is right. Clearly this is about so much more than just weight and Truce recognizes that. With other programs, I never felt so capable and choosy. After a seeming lifetime of struggling, I am finally comfortable in my body and back to the size I was as a newlywed. I am truly having fun and feel so empowered.” ~ Emily, full-time market research analyst and mother of 2.
Stay at peace,
Sarah Robertson Sutton
Sarah will be starting a fall/ holiday group coaching program for healthy weight management and body acceptance. For more information on the workshop and to register, check out theworkshop tab here.