The journey to self-love can seem like a noble cause. But I find, with my clients, that they often use it as another way to judge their current thinking.
They’ll think “I should love my body”. Which means they’re believing something has gone wrong if they don’t experience love for their body now.
This only creates more suffering.
The truth is, self love is accessible to you. It’s not something that depends on anything outside of you.
But the last thing you want to do is force self love because “you think you should”.
In this episode, I’m teaching you how self love is something that you can create yourself. Along with the steps you can take when self love feels out of reach for you.
Hello there my friend! Welcome back to the podcast this week. Before we get into today’s episode topic, I want to share something really special with you. My amazing client Erin recently completed her time in the Own Your Eating Habits program. She joined, went through weekly coaching, went through the curriculum and did the work. I want to share with you what she had to say about her experience in the program. So, here’s what she said. “This program was the most loving thing I have ever done for myself and I can’t recommend it enough! Kat’s method was uniquely tailored to my specific needs. My biggest challenge before joining the program was emotional and binge eating. I felt like I could never change. After joining the program, I began to learn how to identify my emotions and process them without food. With Kat’s kind and intuitive help, I began to understand why I overate and that I was not alone. This program not only helped me find peace in eating and my body, but I was able to perform more successfully in my profession. I have created positive results in all aspects of my life. Kat was kind, compassionate, and truly celebrated my successes even when I couldn’t see them. She was made to do this work.” Whew! Alright, so full disclosure, every time I read that I try not to cry. For those of you who don’t know, I am a crier. I cry when I see random acts of kindness on the street or those animal rescue ads you see online. And Erin, if you’re listening, you should know I read this for the first time when I was on a road trip in the car with Taylor. And he was like “Are you okay, what is going on?”. Because I’m just reading this and sitting there crying. And another thing about me is I’m pretty sure I have a really ugly cry face. Like, you know people who cry really pretty? That’s not me. I scrunch up my face really hard no matter how much I cry and it makes sense that he’s like “Babe are you ok? Do we need to pull over?”. Anyways, I appreciate Erin for sharing her experience so much and hearing how this program has impacted my client’s lives is really why I do this work. It’s always so incredible to hear so I wanted to share that with you. And something she said that really hit home for me is when she stated, “This program was the most loving thing I’ve ever done for myself” and that’s really what I want to talk about today. It’s the concept of self love. And I remember back in the day I would think to myself “What really even is self love?”. We know self love is a really trendy concept and that everyone is telling us to “just love ourselves”, like it’s this really easy thing for us to choose to do. And I remember feeling really resentful of anything that promoted this idea of self love, because in no way did it feel accessible to me with the eating habits I had and the body I had at the time. That’s really how I felt and if you’re feeling that way I more than understand where you’re coming from. And in this episode, I want to clear up for you exactly what self love really is and how you can use the concept of self love in a way that actually feels accessible to you right now. Because it’s likely it feels like this abstract concept that seems slightly pretentious and inauthentic. If you’re anything like I was in the past. So, let’s define what self love actually is. And I like to keep it as simple as possible. I define self love as simply believing thoughts about ourselves that create the feeling of love, right? Pretty simple. Self love is believing loving thoughts about yourself. And while this is very basic, I want this to sink in for a second. Because many of you will likely have this picture of what self love is, that’s very dramatic and messy. For me, self love used to come from this very “convincing” energy. I thought self love meant trying to convince myself to love myself every single day. I would actually take advice I found online, go in front of a mirror, and try to convince myself that “I was beautiful”, “I was loved”, that “I love my body”. I would repeat these positive affirmations. And let’s be real. None of that crap worked, ever. Never ever. And it ended up just tarnishing any relationship I had with this concept of self love. Every time I tried to convince myself of those things, it made this concept of self love less believable. So, right now I want to give you permission to remove any preconceived notions of what you believe self love is. Because the reality is it’s simple. It’s not pretentious, forced, and it doesn’t require you to convince yourself of anything. Real self love is possible. Because we’re simply referring to the act of believing loving thoughts about yourself. Simple. Believing loving thoughts about yourself. And the difference that I want you to note, is self love comes from actually believing loving thoughts, not convincing yourself of loving thoughts. Such an important distinction. Now, many of us will mistakenly think that self love comes from things outside of our own thoughts. We’ll think loving ourselves comes from what our body looks like, our weight, eating the right things, our accomplishments, what people say to us, etc. We’ll think that self love comes from changing things outside of our own thoughts about ourselves. And this is why we become so obsessed with changing our eating habits, our weight, our body – everything – because we think that once we change those things externally then we’ll magically think loving thoughts about ourselves internally. And this just isn’t the case. This is why you’ll feel desperate to change things outside of you, only to feel the same way after all of it. This was me with weight loss for years. I would desperately want to stop hating my body, so I would try anything to change it externally. It was from this desperate, convincing energy. But this didn’t really change the way I was thinking and feeling about my body which left me with the same results over and over. This was why I would lose the weight then go back to overeating. And this is all because any loving feeling you experience, first comes from a single thought that you had in your brain. We think that we feel love because of things that happen outside of us. Because of outside circumstances. For instance, you’ll think that you’ll feel love for your body when the number of pounds on the scale reaches a certain number, but it’s not the case. You’ll feel love when you believe a thought about your weight that causes you to feel love. The number on the scale doesn’t create love. The thought you have about your weight or your body creates that love. Make sense? If not, give this a relisten and let it sink in. Now, if you’re experiencing self loathing or self hatred or shame right now, the same thing applies. It’s not really your body, weight, or anything outside of you that creates those negative feelings. It’s your thoughts. So, a specific example. It’s not the number of pounds on the scale that causes you to feel shame. It’s because you saw that number on the scale and had the thought “I shouldn’t weigh this much”. Which created the feeling of shame. And we know this is true, because there’s other people out there with different thoughts who would have a different experience of that same number. So, another person may step on the scale, see the same number of pounds and think “This is just how much I weigh”, right? They’re not thinking anything that creates shame for them. Maybe they just feel certain or calm. Your experience of your weight, body, eating habits, or yourself comes from your thoughts. Which are just sentences in your head. Nothing more. So, really, this just means that if you’re not loving yourself or your body right now, it’s because you’re having certain thoughts that don’t create feelings of love. To create love, you will need to believe thoughts that create feelings of love. Now, it’s worth noting that creating self love isn’t just a cutesy, romantic concept. This is how it can be portrayed sometimes, but it’s not that fluffy. It’s actually a tactic to seeing the results you want with food and body. It’s a prerequisite to getting healthy, making the changes you want to your body, and changing your eating habits. Because here’s what trying to change your eating habits or body will look like from self hate or self loathing. You’ll think that to feel better emotionally you need to change the way you eat and lose weight. So immediately you’ll feel this sense of urgency and desperation. Because your brain wants to feel better all of the time. So, if you’re believing that weight loss or healthy eating is what will allow you to stop hating yourself, then you’re going to feel really desperate to do so. It’s all going to feel very heightened and frantic. And why this is, is because you’re operating from your emotional, primitive, survival brain. And this brain just wants to do whatever it needs to do to feel better – right now. It’s not really designed to make intentional, smart decisions. So, from this brain you try to eat healthier and lose weight. So this means you’re forcing yourself to eat a certain way, maybe restricting food, and then what happens? You find even after doing these things that the changes aren’t sustainable, because you will emotionally feel like crap. You’re following the meal plan but you’re still in self-loathing. So it all feels impossible long-term and you self -sabotage. You end up overeating or binge eating. Which puts you back in the same self loathing place as when you started. So, this is a very generalized look at what your health journey will look like from a place of self loathing. I’ve been here, maybe you’ve been here, and it all comes from you desperately trying to escape the self loathing. Anything we do or don’t do is to feel, or avoid feeling, a certain way. Now, how would this look different if instead of forcing yourself to eat healthy through the self-loathing, you instead focused on creating self-love first? Basically the journey would look more sustainable, neutral, and enjoyable. Because you wouldn’t be constantly trying to eat healthy and lose weight from a desperate place of trying to escape self-loathing. You’d be able to access that deliberate brain as opposed to the primitive, more emotional brian. You’d be able to plan for success, take action on that plan, evaluate progress, and move forward. That’s it. That’s all you need to do to succeed with healthy eating. Plan for success, take action on that plan, evaluate progress, and move forward. What stops you from doing that simple process? When you’re using healthy eating and weight loss as a way to feel better and escape your self-loathing. When you’re able to move into self love, you take away that desperation and urgency. So then, it becomes simple. And you get to just focus on moving forward and making progress with your eating habits. This is exactly what my clients learn how to do in the Own Your Eating Habits process. Much of the time, they come into the program with this mindset of desperation, right? Where they want to rush towards the end result. This is always because they’re feeling some type of self-loathing or self hate that they want to escape. What happens is in the program they really learn on a deep level why this won’t work. Why they won’t get the results they want from this energy. After that realization, then they can take the steps to changing their energy, so self-loathing is no longer holding them back. They learn how to manage their mind in a way where it doesn’t feel so desperate, urgent, and dramatic. After this, they’re just left with the math. Where they can make the plan, follow through, evaluate progress, and move forward. This is why moving from self loathing to self love is a tactic. You’re moving into the energy you need to make long-term changes. Self love doesn’t come from making the changes you want with your body. Self love is a prerequisite to making those changes in a lasting and sustainable way. A concept I teach my clients is that they have to find acceptance for exactly where they are now. They have to be willing to live in the house they live in now – so to speak. With the body they have and the eating habits they have. Because once they’re willing to create this acceptance, or love, then they won’t be in a rush to change it. If you’re in a rush, you won’t be able to access that decision-making brain. It will all feel very heightened and primitive. You’ll need to get to an energy that feels non-urgent. Which for most of my clients is the energy of acceptance for the eating habits and body they have now. Which brings me to something else I want to offer to you. Self love isn’t always necessary to make the changes you want. Whether that’s with food or body. What? Hear me out. Much of the time, when we’re in self hatred, shame, or self-loathing, we’ll think we want to feel self love. Because that’s where our brain goes. We’ll be having this negative emotional experience and we’ll always think about the ultra positive emotional experience. Which in this case, is feeling love for ourselves and our bodies. But I want to offer that you may not be as attached to self love as you think you are. You may be attached to the concept of self love because society is telling us that we should love ourselves and our bodies. Like it’s just what we should do as humans. Which causes many of us to feel shame when we don’t love our bodies. So, this is one reason why you may feel like you need to create self love. Because you think you should. But I want to offer that you may not even care so much about creating self love, you likely just want to stop experiencing self loathing. Which are two different things. Because yes, of course you want to stop experiencing self loathing because it’s very uncomfortable and not fun. But you don’t have to make the giant leap to self love to stop experiencing self loathing. Think of self loathing as the negative 100 on the emotional scale, right? It feels awful. Self love can be seen as the positive 100. It’s super heightened on the emotional scale. But what if it was never necessary to get to that point to stop feeling self loathing and to make the changes you want with food? Because most of you, especially if you’re at that negative 100 of self loathing will feel like it’s impossible to experience self love. It’s going to feel too far off for you. What if instead, you could just find your 0 mark? Meaning instead of moving from negative 100 to positive 100, you just made the shift from negative 100 to 0. And what this 0 mark looks like for myself, for my clients, and I’m guessing for you, is the emotional experience of acceptance. You’re not hating yourself or your body, and you’re not loving yourself or your body, you’re just accepting all of it. It feels more neutral. And never underestimate the power of a neutral emotional experience. Right now, you may think you want to feel this ultra positive emotional experience of self love to get the results you want. But most of you don’t need to even access self love to make the changes you want. I have this one client for example. She was so focused on wanting to love her body. It was the main reason why she joined my program. And what she learned was that this desire to love her body only brought her more suffering. Firstly, because this desire was coming from a place where she felt self hate, right? She was rejecting her body. Secondly, it created suffering because self love felt totally out of reach for her. It felt like a lost cause. So, eventually, we came to the conclusion where I said to her, “What could you accomplish if instead of self love, you opted for acceptance for your body instead?”. This changed everything for her. Because in that moment she removed the pressure of needing to love her body all of the time. She realized that for her to make healthy changes with food, wear the swimsuit with her family, and be intimate with her husband, she just needed to accept her body. To feel that more neutral emotion. Because she realized, it never really was about her body. She didn’t need to love her body to fully enjoy her life. She just needed to stop focusing on it all of the time from that place of self-loathing. See the shift made here? It’s incredible. And these were the results she got from this work and I really went deep with her. This is why she was able to take this one shift and apply it to so many areas of her life. She showed up to coaching every week with the intention of accepting who she was now. From that place, she was able to go on and make the changes she wanted with food and her body. All because she shifted from self loathing, that negative 100, to self acceptance, which was that neutral 0 mark. Self love just became something that would be nice, but not necessary. Sometimes when I think about this concept I think about many men and what their relationship is like to their bodies. Men definitely struggle with self loathing as well, but culturally it’s much more common for them to accept their bodies as is. And it’s funny I know many men in my life, and I’m sure you likely do as well, where they’re not even thinking about loving their bodies. They’re not thinking about hating their bodies. They just accept it for how it is. And then from this place they can show up fully to their lives. Because there’s not this narrative that they “should love it”. Very interesting to think about. So, think to yourself, what would you need to believe about yourself or your body right now to feel acceptance for it? If thoughts and feelings of love are available to you, go there. Play with it and see what comes up. But always know that if feelings of acceptance are more accessible to you now, then this is likely all you’ll need to make the best next steps forward with food and body. And this is really the loving experience that my client Erin was referring to when she described her journey through the program. She really mastered this concept that self love or self acceptance doesn’t come from achieving results with food or body. That energy is the prerequisite to making the changes you want. The path towards sustainable healthy eating genuinely should feel like “the most loving thing you’ll ever do for yourself”. And this is what I want for you. Alright my friends, I hope you found value in this episode today. If you’re ready to make sustainable, lasting, loving changes to your eating habits right now, join me in my program Own Your Eating Habits today. You can apply at katrentas.com/coaching. I’ll see you there.
Hey there! I'm Kat Rentas. I’m a certified life and health coach for women who believes that eating healthy should feel simple and sustainable. I teach hundreds of high-performing women to change their eating habits without the overwhelm. Want to change your eating habits in a way that is aligned with your needs, preferences, and goals? You’re in the right place. You can read my full story here.