Still Feel Insecure Even After Getting in Shape.
When most people think about having a fit body, they assume it comes with heaps of self-assurance. We’ve been conditioned to believe that when you work hard and transform your body to look a certain way, you will automatically feel happy and secure. Unfortunately, that’s not always how it works.
Having helped hundreds of people go through fitness and weight-loss transformations, I can say with absolute certainty that most people do not automatically arrive at a place of self-love and body confidence when they reach their goals. In fact, fairly often, the exact opposite is true. Many of my clients actually feel worse after reaching their goals—either right away or later down the line.
How are we getting this so wrong?
After all, when you see a person who exudes confidence and and is physically fit, you might (incorrectly) assume which quality caused which outcome. “She’s happy and confident because she has that rockin’ bod! If I had her body, I would be happy and confident too!” But more often than not, we get it backward. Maybe joy and self-acceptance made it possible for her to achieve the body she has.
This isn’t to say that nobody feels confident when they change their body. It’s just that the way we think the transformation works is wrong. Figuring out how to take better care of your body and learning to set and reach goals can be an extremely empowering experience. But the confidence that arises throughout that process doesn’t come from the changes to your body. It comes from your ability to shift and improve your self-concept along the way. Without making those deep, internal adjustments, no amount of transforming your body will give you what you’re looking for.
Here are some of the most common reasons people feel insecure, even after reaching their fitness goals.
*Your expectations were unrealistic.
There is something kind of wonderfully hopeful about believing that if you work hard enough, someday you will look “perfect.” Sure, you don’t look perfect now, but if you find the right workout, diet plan, or supplement, you’ll finally look exactly the way you want to.
This already-unrealistic goal is usually compounded by another unfair expectation. Once you achieve that physical goal, you’ll feelhow you’ve always wanted to feel: whole, connected, happy, alive.
I once had a client who was convinced that when she finally got into shape, she would also become an extrovert. It’s pretty humbling to realize that even though you worked hard to succeed, you’re still just… you. Expecting that you’ll suddenly become a different person upon reaching your physical goals sets you up for disappointment and self-criticism.
*Your self-talk didn’t change.
Plenty of people believe that when they achieve their physical goals, they’ll finally stop being negative and self-critical. They assume their body is the cause of their negative self-talk, so changing their body will automatically change that behavior. But negative self-talk is a well-practiced mental habit.
If you’ve spent a lifetime focusing on your flaws, comparing yourself to others, and criticizing yourself, then you’re going to be very skilled at doing so. You’ll also probably be unskilled at positive self-talk or self-acceptance. It takes time and conscious practice to break negative mental habits, and even more time and conscious practice to get better at positive ones. If you change your body without changing your mind, your brain will simply find new flaws to focus on, new people to compare yourself against, and new things to criticize.