“Look at yourself naked in the mirror every single day.”
That was the 30th — and most important — success tip that I gave my listeners in session five of The Rebooted Body Podcast. Of all the “diet tips” I’ve heard, looking at yourself naked in the mirror has never been one of them. I’m not sure why that is, because I think it’s the most important. From a motivation standpoint, it’s critical.
You probably already act on this tip to some degree. The question is, what do you see and what do you think about it?
Positive and Negative Self Talk
Do you think about all of the work that needs to be done to get to the body you want? Do you wonder how you got to be this way? Do you lay blame and call yourself names? Do you accept where you’re at, make excuses, and move on without further thought?
The negative self-talk scenarios are endless.
You might consciously feel bad about the negative things you say and think, but you feel as if you can’t stop saying and thinking them. That’s because almost nobody has a positive inner voice — at least not without doing a lot of work to acquire it. We’re so critical, so demanding, and so disappointed. And it’s hard to break free from that thinking.
What do you really want from this journey?
Don’t say weight loss. That’s a shallow, inauthentic statement.
You don’t want weight loss for the sake of weight loss. You want weight loss for a specific reason.
Will losing weight make you feel more confident? Are you truly concerned about your health and losing a few (or a few dozen) pounds will improve your health? Do you want to lose weight and improve health to increase your energy and regain an ability you’ve lost? Do you think looking a certain way will make you more worthy of love or acceptance?
Similar questions could be asked of the skinny guy, the ectomorph who can’t seem to put weight or muscle on no matter what he tries, or the girl battling her way back from the brink of death and the consequences of an eating disorder.
Identify your authentic, core motivation.
When we’re talking about changing your body (whether it’s losing weight or gaining it), you have to dig deep and get to the root of the issue — that core motivation — and you have to be as authentic as possible.
For some people this is a scary thought. It means you have to face some hard truths, wrestle with some buried emotions, and feel some pain.
If you’ve been overweight your entire life, this introspection might bring up memories of being bullied and teased. Life is fucking cruel.
If you’ve been recently diagnosed with an illness that was preventable, you might feel ashamed and be sinking in self-blame. And we tend to forgive ourselves last.
Maybe you’ve been eating and eating and eating (or the opposite) precisely because it’s an easy, socially acceptable medication for other issues in your life. And those issues are terrifying.
The mirror is a powerful tool.
Every day you get up and look at yourself in the mirror, you have a chance to speak to your authentic self. You have a chance to be real — even if it’s only for five minutes — and tell yourself the truth. And from this moment comes clarity and the realization that you’re not doing any of this so you can love yourself — you’re doing it because you love yourself. (tweet this)
That’s a major paradigm shift.
Sure, there’s work to be done and progress to be made to reach your goals. It’s okay to make note of that. There’s no reason to pretend that there isn’t work to be done. But that work has to be rooted in fact, not based on the fairytale you’ve been telling yourself up to this point.
When faced with choices throughout the day — eat this or don’t eat it — think back to the conversation you had with yourself that morning. Make the decision to eat or skip something based on whether or not that food reinforces your authentic, core motivation.
When people authentically change their relationship with food, we’ve won. It’s empowering and it’s lifelong. But here’s a hard truth: it’s difficult — impossible even — to change your relationship with food until you change your relationship with yourself.
Take your clothes off and stand in front of a mirror every single day. You’ve got important work to do. (Tweet this)
Kevin Geary is the founder of RebootedBody.com and a respected expert on cravings, eating psychology, and long-term habit change. He’s worked with thousands of men and women in over 35 countries around the world through his online academy and programs like Shut Down Your Sugar Cravings.