I came across my fat pants the other day, while reorganizing my closet. You know what I’m talking about — those pants you had to get because all your other ones were too tight, choking you in the waist and riding up your… well, you get the picture, no need to go into the gory details.

We’ve all been there.

My fat pants, and some of my “regular” pants are a little big on me now, and it’s all because I bought the fat pants.

That’s right, buying the fat pants started the extra weight coming off — and changed my relationship with myself for the better.

After I closed my school for the holistic healing arts, I took some time to only work part-time so I could rest and recover, and dive into my spiritual life. Well, I ended up being home a lot and diving into the refrigerator as well. The pounds crept up. All my routines were different and I still hadn’t found my new rhythm yet. I felt a little lost. Food seemed to help assuage my unsettled feelings.

But as might weight increased, my self esteem, energy, and mood sagged.

My first reaction was denial, and to keep eating. Then I just started wearing yoga pants all the time. When I tried to limit my food intake, I just back lashed against that and ate more. This led to more bad feelings – and a lot of negative self judgement –  and not wanting to do much, which led to more staying in and eating for comfort. I was constantly in an inner battle, vacillating between self hatred and not caring (or so I told myself).

Does any of this sound familiar? I’ll bet you can relate.

One day I woke up and remembered I was a life coach and had tools for this sort of thing. What would I say to a client if they came to me with this issue?

I’d ask that client this question: Can you love yourself right now anyway?

Not love the bad eating habits or the weight or the low energy, I’m not asking you to reinforce any of that. I’m asking, Can you love YOU, even a little bit right now?

Again, not to reinforce the behavior, not to pretend you’re OK with the situation when you’re not, but to get under the situation to YOU. And love that person, that soul, that sweet human being just doing their best to get by.

It’s a radical choice! But I believe wholeheartedly that we are most deeply motivated by moving toward something, rather than moving away from something else. We’re more inspired to make change by self love, rather than self loathing.

When I asked myself if I could love myself a little even though I was unhappy with how I looked and felt physically, the answer was a very small yes. But any little yes is good! So I built on that with another question:

What small action could you take to show yourself just a little self love?

I knew immediately what I needed to do: I needed to buy a nice pair of pants that actually fit.

Even though the idea of buying that next size up seemed like defeat, like the bad habits won and I was lost, destined to keep gaining weight.

But just the opposite happened!

I bought myself a nice, comfortable, good-looking pair of pants from LL Bean in a larger size. I tried them on. No pinching in the waist! No binding in the crotch! I felt good! I looked in the mirror and saw a relaxed woman for the first time in months.

In that moment, my whole negative, judgmental, self-hating attitude began to change. That one small act of self love, of self acceptance, was enough to change the direction I was going in. It eventually led to other small acts — little Pilates, a walk, more veggies, less late night eating. And then finally a 10 day cleaning detox that spurred me to the super clean diet I have now. (Dark chocolate is a food group, right?)

Because feeling good about yourself can be just as addicting as bad carbs. And changing habits is really just one little tiny act of self love after another.

If there’s something you’re doing, some bad habit, that you’re judging and hating yourself for, try to make the distinction between the HABIT and YOU. Hate the habit, but love yourself, even just a little.

Just one well-fitting pair of pants worth.

Need someone to ask you the beautiful questions? That’s what I’m here for.

All My Best,