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Why being hard on yourself is keeping you from losing weight

Mother’s Day.  

It’s a time when we get to celebrate our own mothers and also be celebrated if we are a mother.

The relationship between a mother and child is a sacred one, but we often don’t realize that within each of us we have our own maternal energy, or mother archetype, as well as our own inner child.  

This internal mother/child relationship is playing out in your life right now, whether you are aware of it or not.  It may be serving you or it may be causing you pain.

Let me explain.

As a health coach, I see women be so hard on themselves.  They’re hard on themselves about their bodies and how they look, about not doing enough as a friend, partner or mother, and about how they have continued to struggle with food.  They are hard on themselves about SO MANY THINGS.

Many of us have mistakenly bought into the idea that if you’re hard enough on yourself, you will “shape up”.  That if you scold yourself when you are “bad”, you will motivate yourself into “behaving” or “being good”.   We buy into the idea that if we are critical enough, it will motivate us into doing what we believe we should.

So…...how’s that working out for you?

My guess is that it isn’t.    

The truth is that you don’t need to be harder on yourself to be successful in your health journey.  

You need to be softer.  

You don’t need to be treated with more toughness.

You need more tenderness.

You don’t need to point out more of what you’re NOT doing well.  

You need to be celebrated for what you ARE doing well.

This is because as humans - and especially that inner child within us - we respond much better to positive reinforcement than negative reinforcement.

Why?

I believe it’s because your inner child wants to be loved.  It craves approval and to be seen.

It wants to feel important, appreciated, and like it’s doing a good job.  

How would it impact a child to be constantly criticized?  

To be told that it’s not good enough?  

To be told that it’s ugly.  Fat. Stupid. A failure.

To be told that again and again and again...

Would it slowly kill that child’s confidence and self esteem?  

Would it cause that child to rebel or say “screw it”, knowing it can’t measure up or do anything right?  

Of course it would!

Think about how this internal struggle between your own internal parent and child is playing out in your life.

If you’re struggling with low confidence or you notice yourself saying “screw it” and wanting to throw up your hands about certain things in life because you feel like you just can’t measure up, I challenge you to think about the critical voice in your own head.  

What is that critical voice saying and how do you think it’s making your inner child feel?  

Is she being validated and built up or constantly belittled and bullied?  

Today, when you want to be hard on yourself for what you didn’t do quite right,  I want you to think of your inner child.

In fact, if you have a picture of yourself as a little 3 year old or 5 year old, I encourage you to carry it around with you and pull it out and look at it when you feel yourself getting super critical.  

How would you talk to that sweet, innocent child?  

That’s how I want you to talk to yourself.  Be the most incredibly nurturing, loving and supportive mother you can be...to you.  

Soothe yourself when you’re down.  Love on yourself unconditionally. Positively reinforce any behaviors that you want to repeat.

Whether it’s praising yourself out loud in the moment, internal self-talk each evening, or even writing a letter to your inner child from you as a mother, practice praising her for what she did well, for a behavior she tried, for how she showed up.   

The amazing (and counterintuitive) part of this is that praising yourself for the “good” behaviors, instead of punishing yourself for the “bad”, actually leads to GREATER success in changing behaviors in your life and your health journey.  

When you focus on what you’re good at and doing well, your confidence grows.

When you stop demanding perfection of yourself,  your desire to rebel and binge weakens.

When you love yourself more, you crave sweets less because you’re finally being sweeter to yourself.  

As you celebrate this Mother’s Day, I encourage you to recognize the mother in yourself.  

Be best mother you can be to YOU.  

And watch how your own inner child blossoms.

Here’s to living your sweet life, my friend!

Lots of love,

Lisa