Author Susan Hyatt suggests focusing on the good stuff instead.
With summer right around the corner, are you one of the many women who are worrying about what you need to improve about yourself before swimsuit season hits? Susan Hyatt, author of the book BARE and host of the BARE Podcast, uses her platform to take on the mental aspects of body image to help us feel better physically. And she wants women to stop worrying about what they don’t like so they can enjoy less stress, better sleep and greater happiness. Whether it’s losing weight, changing jobs or committing to healthier relationships, Susan will give you a new way to think about how to create your best life.
Live Happy Now: What drives our obsession with how we look?
Susan Hyatt: Girls and women are bombarded with the messaging that thinner is better, our worth is based on our appearance and the skinnier you could be or the younger you could appear is more valued. When I get clients who say they want to lose weight, my number one question is ‘why?’ When they answer that question, it’s typically so that they could feel a certain way.
With BARE, it’s like, okay, “Well, let’s help you feel that way already without needing the scale number to be something different than what it is.”
LHN: You also talk about how willpower is not the answer. So oftentimes, we beat ourselves up if we miss a goal and we say well, “If I just had more willpower, if I just were better at this, then that would work for me.” Why is will power not the answer?
SH: Well, I would like every listener to really think about everything they do in their daily lives, whether it’s running kids around or taking care of aging parents or doing well at the office. We do so much that requires so much willpower it’s really this myth that if you just have more will power, you could have that body.
What I have come to realize in my work is that women don’t need more willpower, they need more pleasure in their lives. While we’re so busy doing the whole no pain, no gain thing, we’re leaving behind what our body is wired for and needs on a daily basis, which is pleasure. There’s all different kinds of pleasure and all different kinds of ways to infuse your day with pleasure that don’t require a whole lot of time or a whole lot of money. If we focus on that, there’s no need for anymore willpower.
Some of the smallest little moves can make a huge impact on your quality of life.”
LHN: So how do you help someone identify what gives them pleasure?
SH: Well it is interesting that you brought up that question because when I go to parties and things, people are like, “So what do you do?” I like to ask instead, “What do you do for fun?” and most people are like, “What? What do you mean?” So the first thing that I do is ask them in terms of their free time what are they doing? How are they spending their time? That usually is a hint as to what kind of pleasure they are really seeking.
LHN: Parade magazine had some really nice things to say about your book and I love that they said, “This is the perfect book for anyone who wants to master the art of de-stressing.” We all want to de-stress, so why is that so difficult?
SH: How long do you got? Because I think our central nervous systems are constantly in shock. I think that in our culture we are so used stress just being part of everything we do, and it doesn’t have to be that way. Everything from commuting to what is happening in the workplace to when we turn on our televisions and see what is happening in politics and the news, it’s just sensory overload all the time.
So that has become our normal and then when we make these suggestions like maybe you should just sit in the sun for five minutes, people are like, “Are you crazy?!”