Are you stuck in a "when I...." trap? | Jess English | Dietitian | Brighton
You know what I mean, right? I’ll buy that dress when I’m that size, I’ll go on that beach holiday when I’m that weight...
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Are you stuck in a “when I….” trap?

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Are you stuck in a “when I….” trap?

You know what I mean, right? I’ll buy that dress when I’m that size

I’ll go on that beach holiday when I’m that weight
I can only eat that chocolate cake when I’ve eaten my five a day all week
I’ll consider giving that talk when I’ve got a year more experience
I’ll apply for that job when I’ve

All of these thoughts can be self-limiting

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Photo by Yleidis Maldonado on Unsplash

It’s one of the big reasons that diet and wellness industry can thrive – on us thinking that we’re not enough as we are at the moment.

I’ve encountered so many people who put off job moves, house moves, clothes-buying, experiences or travelling… you name it – because the scale isn’t showing them a certain number. This stuff is ingrained into our psyche; we should punish ourselves to be able to enjoy ourselves (admittedly this thinking definitely pre-dates diet culture!!).

It’s not our fault

Diet culture has been shoving this BS down our throats since we were knee-high. Models screaming ‘eat like me, look like me’ from the billboards – when in fact, only a meagre percentage of the population will ever look like that. I’d hazard a guess at maybe 5%?

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Imagine what it would be like if we were shown real bodies from these billboards and in shops – real colours, shapes and sizes. I feel like we’d grow up with an alternative opinion of what we needed to be focusing our energies on – that the ‘when I’ question would look a whole lot different.

How can you re-frame it?

When thinking about your body, have a ponder over what cool stuff can your body can do right now? Carry you about for the day? Go swimming? Give out hugs and love for the people you value the most? Cook up some awesome food? Comfort people when they’re in dire need? Why not jot them down – you might be surprised.

For the personal stuff, have a think about where you are now, what you’ve done to get there – we don’t spend nearly enough time celebrating where we’ve managed to get to. The job you’re at now or where you’re at in your education or personal life – you will have made significant achievements and these shouldn’t be forgotten.

Where do you want to be?

Visioning can sound full-on woo but it can also be pretty helpful in imagining where we’d like to get to; what might make us happy and fulfilled.

Have a think on how you want to be feeling, what you’d like to be doing each day and the people you’d like to be able to surround yourself with. What are your ‘when I’s’?

Why not now?

Take a look at that list – what on there could you do today – as you are? What’s stopping you?

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Could you go and buy that dress or those shorts in a size that fits? Could you book that holiday or staycation or think about that job application?

What would it look like?

Why not try it out – pick one thing that would make you happy – something you’ve been putting off and see if you can do it this week.

How else could you make yourself happy and comfortable? Whatever it might look like – Block off some time for reading, learn a language? Make more time for family? Simply buying new underwear that fits properly can make you more comfortable all day! Each little thing can actually make a massive difference.

Magic pill

Diet culture would have us think that if we look a certain way that all of our problems would be solved – that we’d be happy. The thing is – I can pretty much guarantee that those models will have their own issues with food, their bodies and their lives as well – it isn’t all as hunky dory as their face-tuned lives would have us think.

Why not try to do what you can to look after yourself – not to put off those things until you look a certain way, eat a certain way  or your clothes fit a certain way. Those things alone do not bring happiness, comfort and satisfaction – you’re worth more than a number 💛


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