Oh, God, I’m About to See Someone I Haven’t Seen in Years...
...and I’m so much bigger than I was the last time I saw them.
...what will they think of me?
...I wonder how much weight I can lose between now and then.
Does any of this sound familiar? I’m sure this is a universal experience for everyone working to improve their body image and get off the diet crazy train.
Nothing plunges you back into diet mentality faster than the risk of being criticized or judged for your current body by someone you haven’t seen for a while. I’ve skipped more than one event in my life because I felt insecure. It’s really super scary.
Here’s a quick Cheat Sheet for help processing those feelings and getting ready for your big reveal:
Remember that your fear is just a feeling. It’s an old feeling that comes from an old mentality: that your appearance determines your worth, that you are supposed to look a certain way, that being fat means something about who you are. You’re actively challenging those beliefs, and you can observe this old feeling as a vestige of diet mentality. You can sit quietly, explore the feeling of fear and dread, and allow it to move through you. Imagine you can pick it up, look at it, decide it doesn’t work for you anymore, and let it go.
Create an affirmation and repeat it to yourself many times a day. Something that reframes your fear and dread into an empowering thought, like: I unconditionally love and accept myself. I’m worthy of love and respect in any sized body. People love me for who I am rather than what I look like. I feel confident in every situation.
Focus on feeling your best in the body you have. Rather than avoiding any preparation because you’re so freaked out, do what you can to get ready without focusing on weight loss. Can you get your hair done, get a mani/pedi, or buy a new outfit that fits you perfectly? What do you need to do to feel your best for the big event?
Remember your priorities. Anchor yourself into the feelings of freedom, compassion, flexibility, and self-acceptance that you’ve gained through Intuitive Eating.
Don’t apologize for your appearance. There’s nothing wrong with you, so don’t talk about it. If someone compliments you, say “Thank you” rather than making a self-deprecating comment.
Visualize yourself walking into that room with your head held high, looking beautiful, and feeling great. Imagine glowing with confidence and being warmly received by everyone you see.
Don’t be afraid to say no. You’re not under any obligation to rekindle old friendships or reconnect with people from your past if you don’t want to. If you receive an invitation from someone who is an energy vampire, or who has been critical or judgmental in the past, feel free to decline. This also applies to old dieting buddies, toxic family members, and mean girls from high school.
You’re on your perfect path, learning exactly what you need to learn. See this experience as an opportunity to recommit to your Intuitive Eating journey, remember your core values, and prioritize your own needs. You’re going to be just fine.