Molly Seifert is a body image coach who helps women learn how to radically love themselves and their bodies. Her life’s mission is to guide women to embody who they authentically are and rid themselves of their obsession over their weight.
“The key is to ask if you’re going to allow yourself to fall into a shame spiral or if you’re going to allow yourself to feel that discomfort and then move on.“
Tell me about the dangers of the “comparison trap”.
Molly: Why is it that we care so much about what other people think? It’s important for us to be accepted by our tribe—our community—for survival. You’d think that, as we evolved, we would continue to rely only on our inner circle to love and accept us, but we’ve come to believe that everyone needs to love and accept us. People are looking for acceptance and belonging; but, our human desire underneath that is power. More than power over people, people seek power within—to achieve personal freedom. So, I invite people to switch from judgement to curiosity. If you start comparing yourself with someone else, ask yourself, “What is it that they have that I don’t?” That helps us uncover our core desires, which then give us a roadmap toward our personal freedom.
How did you become a body image coach?
Molly: Like with many coaches, a big part of it is my own story. I’m a recovering perfectionist. Throughout my 20s, I was putting on a performance. I was told what life was “supposed” to look like, so I pursued that idea. And I eventually realized, “Oh, shit, I’m not happy!” My body image issues began when I felt that I was losing my way on the path to “perfection”, and turned to trying to control the only thing I thought I could: my body. I was halfway through grad school while my family life and relationship weren’t going well, and I didn’t want to go down my current career path. I tried to lose a few pounds to get to a weight that was so arbitrary to me. All of the marketing was telling me that people with thin bodies are happy. I became so obsessed with calories while training for half-marathons. I got to the point where I restricted myself during the day and binged in the evening. I felt like a failure and kept telling myself, “I’ll do it tomorrow,”
What is “intuitive eating”, exactly?
Molly: The short definition of intuitive eating is “a non-diet approach to health and wellness.” Now, if you’re coming from a diet culture, you will crave many unhealthy things at the beginning because restriction is what creates obsession. When you start to give yourself permission to eat those foods, that is what we call habituation. We say, “I want pizza… I want pizza…” but then one day we find ourselves saying, “I don’t think I want pizza today.” With intuitive eating, if you can create a relationship with your body again, which is what we’re naturally meant to do, sometimes you’ll find yourself craving salads and nutrient-dense foods, and sometimes you’ll find yourself craving pizza. The last principle is called “gentle nutrition” which is about how you can nourish your body, both with nutrients, but also with pleasure and satisfaction—ultimately finding that balance in a totally intuitive way.
What advice would you give to people who are struggling with eating clean?
Molly: I’d ask them, “Why is it that you feel like you have to eat clean, and what do you believe would be true about yourself if you didn’t?” That’s going to reveal the core wounds that are fueling this obsession. If there is real trauma around those stories, I absolutely believe that you should seek therapy. Your relationship with food is on a spectrum: Some people eat food and move on without thinking about it too much. Others can easily be clinically diagnosed with an eating disorder. Then you have everyone in the middle. But everyone on the spectrum deserves help and support with whatever they’re going through.
Do you still sometimes struggle with your body image?
Molly: I think people assume that when you work on your body image, you’ll get to a place where you love your body everyday. That’s not true. Maybe if we lived in a society that did not value thinness, we could get there. But we don’t. So, what we have to do is manage our internal boundaries around that? The key is to ask if you’re going to allow yourself to fall into a shame spiral or if you’re going to allow yourself to feel that discomfort and then move on.
How do you sit with disappointment and be able to share your limiting beliefs openly?
Molly: There are two big pieces to this work, in my mind: 1) Validate and be with that emotion. Don’t ignore or suppress it. It’s okay to feel those emotions because that teaches your nervous system that you don’t need to run away. This is just information. 2) Manage your thoughts. If you feel disappointed with your body today, ask yourself exactly what “disappointed” means, and what that means about you. Uncover that core wound and reframe and rewire your mind. If you’re just starting on this journey, becoming intentional about noticing your emotions is all you need to do for now. Call it out, name it, and validate it. Then you can move on and even run away from it. It is just a step. Self-awareness is the gateway to healing.
Learn more about Molly Seifert
Her website: https://www.mollykatewellness.com
Follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mollykatewellness
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