Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Endless Cycle of Self Loathing

Recent hike with Otto, 4 years later

This idea of hating our bodies and selves, beating ourselves up over food, has to stop.

What good has spending so much time hating yourself done? None. It has not helped you. In fact it has harmed you. The negative impact on your health has been far reaching. It has cost you precious time in your life. Missing out on important life events because you are so self conscious about your body and hating it, that you are paralyzed to live. What have you missed out on with your spouse, your kids, friends your own life? What has this gained you? Why do you continue doing it?

From a physiological perspective there is a negative feed back loop that happens when we are negative to ourselves. Our bodies realize this hatred as stress, and stress is stress. The same response happens to any type of stress, living back when we were hunting and gathering, starving, stress from work, stress from a crappy marriage, kids, sickness, stress from an injury, over training, whatever the stress is, the body deals with it the same. We release negative hormones, such as cortisol, and these hormones can cause weight gain, mood swings, disrupt all our other hormones, sleep disturbances, which causes many issues in of and of itself, among so many other negative impacts to the body. Self hatred, and dislike of ourselves causes even more stress due to the mental, emotional impact of this negativity. Your body does not like this. It causes it to not thrive. Every single one of your trillion cells is impacted with this negativity, disrupting the expression of your genes to hormones the cells produce, this is bad stuff. You are not doing your body any good.

How often do you eat something and then beat yourself up? Go on and on about how horrible you are? You beet yourself up for eating a certain food, it causes great stress in the body and something that could have been nothing, becomes something that causes negative stress, negative impact on the body and know you are gaining weight, allowing food to control your life, eating more because who cares. Hating yourself over food, destroying your body all over food, why? Allowing this thing to control your life, control how you feel about yourself based on what you ate. Maybe it was not the best choice, maybe it was a healthy food, but someone else told you it was not, or you decided on your own this food was "not healthy" and you beat yourself up because you ate it. You are not doing yourself any favors, the opposite truly.

One of the best things I have done around food, stopped worrying and began enjoying. I stopped beating myself up about what I was eating, if I had a cheat meal, that I was hungry so I ate. I stopped thinking, oh no, what is this going to do to me, will I gain weight, maybe I need to go exercise it off, I am not good enough, why did I eat it. I Just Stopped. I began enjoying my food. I know most of the time, I am nourishing my body with whole nutrient dense foods. I stopped going by someone else's good food, bad food list, I listen to my body and what my body says it needs. When I have a cheat meal, no stress. I enjoy every single bite. Then I go on. It has been so freeing and liberating to do this. My body has responded positively as well. I feel better, more satisfied and less stressed. It really is, just food. Am I perfect, no. this is something I continue to work on, I started several years ago. It is a journey, a work in progress. But, every time I catch myself beating myself up over food, I stop myself. I remind myself it is food to nourish my body, or maybe my soul. I stopped beating myself up, and enjoy the food. Every time I do this, it becomes easier and easier. I have begun to enjoy the social aspect of food, friends, family, my childhood, my genetics, the simple joy and pleasure of eating. In the end, it is not just about food, restriction, binging, hating myself, secretism, it is about joy, the people I surround myself with, the love, nourishing my body and how good it feels, just being. I don't need to starve  myself, follow some strict diet, someone else's right or wrong, panic because I overindulged once in awhile, had a cheat meal, am I nourishing my body 95% of the time, yes. even 80% of the time, the rest shouldn't matter. More importunately, why am I beating myself up for eating whole, nutrient dense, real food? 

The next best thing I have done, begun to enjoy my body. I really started working on this demon of mine by doing those bikini competitions, don't do one just for this reason. I wanted to stop hating myself, hating my body, thinking I wasn't good enough and picking out "all my imperfections". My Hubby would ask if I was going to begin loving myself, accepting my body if random judges, I was paying to judge me and compare me to other people, was going to finally make me happy? Why was I basing my body acceptance on what random people thought of me? The next set of judges might feel differently, and then what? I decided this was not going to be me any longer. I needed to start loving me for me. I needed to start loving my body for all the amazing things it has done and continues to do. Yes, sometimes I look back at those photoes and wish I had the definitions in my abs, the leanness, but the sacrifices are too great. I could never have hit my goal of front squating 135 lbs three times in a row, let a lone doing it for a set of five, or a one rep max of 155, how about squat cleaning 105 lbs with one arm, I could not have done it being that lean. I had nothing. My body was weak and struggled to get through a workout, let a lone live a healthy life. I felt like crap. Caring more weight, I feel grounded, stable, have energy, busting through workouts, lifting heavy, I feel so much, mentally, emotionally and physically. Nothing can trump that. These victories over hating my body have come slowly and little ah ha moments at a time, but they are so worth it. I am happier with my body know than when I stepped on stage for my first competition, at my leanest. 

One of the most recent ones was while on vacation at the beach with my now ex-husband. I was in the middle of our plank challenge and I was having him take pictures for me to post of me planking. After seeing some of them one day, I was upset with him because he did not tell me I had some pudge on my side on full display. I received "the look." I finally looked at him and said, I need to just stop don't it? I need to stop hating my body and never thinking it is good enough. I need to be comfortable in the skin I am in, it is the only one I have. I need to enjoy my body. 

Said pudge pic

I did this. I listened to my own advice and enjoyed my time on the beach. I stopped caring what anyone else might think of my body or how I looked, what was right, what wasn't and played with confidence. I went out and played in the ocean. 

We played beach games. Walked the beach. I planked and posted photos. Went out to eat, went wine tasting, laughed and enjoyed my one life. It was the best. I do not think I have ever felt more free. I do try and replicate that feeling of freedom, not hating my body, being self conscious and aware but living my life to the fullest.

Fun planking after my decision to stop hating my body

Am I perfect? No
Do I still struggle? All the time. This is a journey. I have to remind myself most days to just live, enjoy this one life I have and enjoy my amazing body, to stop hating it, self loathing it, picking it apart, because it is gaining me nothing and losing me everything. It is a fight worth fighting. 

Some of the fun My Body has allowed me to have:

Amazing, crazy hikes
Banff Canada, trail to the glaciers above Lake Louise

Sedona, Az

Grand Teton National Park, Paint Brush Divide trail, El. 10,700 ft.

Lewis Peak Trail,Utah

Fun, crazy play time in the gym, figuring it out

Yes, that is 155lbs and I front squated it

With a look back, I am not really sure how or why I can hate my body? It has done some amazing, incredible things. Enough is enough.

It is time for you to just stop. Just stop hating yourself. Just stop thinking you are never good enough. Just stop thinking you need to do crazy diets, take dangerous supplements, starve yourself, malnourish yourself, all to look like someone else. Stop these self destructive behaviors. Just stop.

When you begin thinking negatively about yourself, stop. What is good about you? What is positive?
When you begin beating yourself up for eating some food, stop the negative roller coaster. Own and accept you are eating it. Ask yourself why this food brings you comfort? Why do you think it is a bad food that you need to destroy yourself over? Stop beating yourself up over food.
Yes, nourish your body with whole, nutrient dense, rich foods, 80% of the time. Be happy and satisfied with this. Love and enjoy your cheat meals!!! Know these are good for you, body and soul.

Stop thinking you can out exercise your food choices, you cannot. This is not how the body works, remember my article about our bodies NOT being a math problem? Stop thinking you need to exercise every day or else? You don't need to over train, this will cause more destruction to your body than good. You will begin to make your body think it is a time of starvation and famine and it will hold onto everything you eat.
Yes, exercise is good. Our bodies need physical activity, but Stop beating yourself up with workouts, thinking this is what you have to do to have the body you want. Exercise and move your body because you love it, because it is fun and you enjoy what you are doing.

Any and all of your negative and bad habits, thoughts and actions towards yourself need to stop. When you catch yourself doing any of your negative behaviors, stop. Do not beat yourself up for them, we are working on stopping the beating, not beating for some other reason. Accept that you have done this, figure out what the real struggle is. Why are you beating yourself up in this manner? Decide on some positive mantras you will say to yourself instead of the negative bs. Make a commitment to yourself to stop. Move forward. Do this every time you catch yourself being negative towards yourself. In a short time, you will begin to see positive changes in your life, in yourself, how you react towards your body and you will begin to love yourself.
There are no excuses, no but Jenn.... Stop. The only way you are going to beat this monster is to stop.
What do you need to Just Stop? Let me know with the hash tag: #juststop. 

I have decided to stop hating my body. Will you join me?

Saving the world one stick of butter at a time.
God bless,

If you need support working through your struggles with your body image or food struggles, please reach out to me. I would love to help you work through these and help you find balance in your eating, exercise and life. Let me know how I can help. You do not need to walk this journey alone.


  1. It's interesting to hear that you struggle with food and body image. You have a killer body. Always have. I enjoyed this post. I didn't know you had a blog(; I'll be following. Thanks Jenn! You are darling!