Curb Negative Self-Talk You Give Your Body
“I’ll start Monday…”
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that uncommitted phrase come out of someone’s mouth. Myself included. I try my damnedest to fuel my body with healthy choices, but I am human.
I used to tell myself if I was good Monday through Friday afternoon, I could have pizza and beer on Friday night. Insert some negative self-talk telling myself I wasn’t going to stick with my new healthy ways anyways. Which would turn into donuts or cinnamon rolls on Saturday morning, burgers, fries and more beer Saturday night, and a stream of unhealthy food all day Sunday–I reasoned that I’d blown the whole weekend anyway so I may as well just start over Monday morning.
It was a vicious cycle that left me feeling defeated and disappointed in my will power every Sunday night. But I’d still do the same thing the following week. And then the next. And then the one after that.
Unquestionably, I made very little progress in my health goals. I stayed stagnant. And each week I’d talk down to myself, call myself weak for not being able to resist junk food.
Our Body is Listening
It’s amazing how a higher number on a scale or a pair of shorts that fit a little tighter than they used to will send many of us spiraling into a fit of self-contempt. Soon enough, we start listening to that inner voice.
Then we start believing it. Because here’s the thing…
Our bodies hear everything we tell it.
Stick with me here because I know that sounds nuts. How can our bodies hear what we’re telling them? It’s quite simple though.
We are the most important voice that we hear.
Let that sink in…the voice in our heads is the loudest at times. It controls how we see ourselves, how much effort we put into setting our goals, how capable we are in achieving them.
When we walk down the path of negative self-talk we are holding ourselves back. If you say you can’t do it, you won’t.
If you feel like I was feeling not too long ago, I’m here to pep you up. If you don’t succumb to that inner voice trying to knock you down, you will get past whatever slump you may be in. I did. And because I’m human and I’ll likely fall back into my human ways at some point, I’ll do it again.
It just takes a little grit. And a lot of positivity.
But don’t worry…I don’t mean that rah, rah, rah kind of positivity that feels fake and slightly annoying. I mean the kind where you have a plan to get yourself out of a shallow hole before it becomes a deep one.
The next time you fall off the workout wagon or have a few days of binge eating, try these 5 things.
Treat yourself to something non-food related.
For those of you stuck in the same cycle I was, try setting a non-food goal to reward your will power and hard work. Something that will last longer than a meal and doesn’t make you feel guilty afterward will go a lot further in pushing you toward your goals.
Once I realized that I’d get a lot further in my health goals if I stopped treating weekends like they were a free-for-all, it was like my mind cleared. What if I bought myself a new pair of shoes I wanted if I had two solid weeks of healthy living — regular workouts and fairly nutritious eating?
A new pair of shoes would spruce up my workouts, right as I was starting to stall. I’d highly recommend NOT going out and buying all new workout gear before getting the workout routine down. Rather treat yourself when you reach each little milestone, reconfirming you CAN DO IT.
Now, don’t take this to mean that I never eat anything indulgent. I totally do. I just don’t go to town on pizza, burgers, and beer all weekend long like before. And Mondays come with a lot less bloat and grief now!
Eat like you like yourself.
We’ve been hearing the phrase, “you are what you eat” our whole lives. But I don’t think many of us realize the truth behind it. What we choose to fuel our bodies plays a huge part in not only our health but in how we see ourselves and how we feel in general.
Let’s play a little emotional memory game. Remember the last time you ate fast food. While you were eating it, how did you feel? What about when you were finished? Was it worth it?
Like I said before, I am far from perfect. My family has the occasional fast food meal when we’re on the road or stressed for time but I can tell you that I always feel gross afterward. Something about the way the greasy food sits in my stomach just feels like I swallowed a boulder.
You don’t even want to know how long a fast-food french fry stays in your stomach…it’s no wonder we feel so bloated for days after a binge.
Just eat your veggies!
Did you know that eating your veggies keeps you fuller longer? Just eat the dang salad! Salads get a bad rap for being boring but you can make some super yummy salads with lean protein, avocado, fresh veggies, and even fruit! There are literally a million salad recipes out there! But do yourself a favor and skip the fatty dressings. Use a dollop of sour cream, guacamole or extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, or salsa instead.
Start small with simple healthy swaps. Check out my highlights on my Instagram for some simple Instant Pot meal ideas for free OR I have an eCookbook with simple healthy swaps for weeknight meals that will save you the trouble of Pinterest-ing until you’re overwhelmed and want to quit before you start.
Celebrate your physical abilities
Working out can feel like the pits. Especially on days that you don’t want to do it. I can’t tell you the number of times in my adult life that I’ve started a workout and then justified quitting halfway through. Because it was just TOO hard.
Cue the guilt and internal negative self-talk. And the comparisons to the women who have Instagram and YouTube channels that make difficult workouts look like a walk in the park.
First off, those women workout for a living. Of course, they can make one-handed push-ups with their toddler on their back look easy. You cannot compare yourself to them. Use them to motivate you if that’s what you’re into, do their workouts, follow their nutrition plans.
But no matter what…do not fall into the trap of comparison. I guarantee you those women have days when it’s hard to power through, too.
Channel that inner gratitude
Here’s what I recommend for getting yourself out of your head and into a place of self-compassion – gratitude. You absolutely cannot feel bad about yourself or have room for negative self-destruction when you’re feeling grateful for what you have. Which is, your healthy and able body.
Running is a privilege. Not everyone is born with the ability to do so. Thank God for the muscles in your legs that allow you to move at your own will.
Feel the air move in and out of your healthy lungs. Be thankful for the stitch in your side after a 30-minute cardio session that is making you healthier and more powerful. Don’t get mad at your time or the fact that you had to stop and walk a few times. Celebrate that you sped back up after that break.
Be grateful for your body in whichever way you choose to work out. Whether it’s bending into yoga poses, deadlifting heavyweights, or even using light weights. There is no shame in using 3-pound weights. Feel privileged in that you are strong and can lift your arms. Pat yourself on the back for starting the process of gaining strength.
Be grateful for what your body can do instead of what it can’t. This is one way to flip the switch in your brain from a negative mindset about your body to be more positive and appreciative of the gift that has been given to you.
Talk to yourself like you’d want your children to talk to themselves.
Would any of you call your daughter fat? Or your children lazy and slow if they weren’t the fastest in a race? Would you want them to hear any of the negative self-talk that goes on in your mind?
I can hear the resounding “absolutely not!” from all of you.
So why would you say it to yourself? Why talk down to yourself?
It’s so easy to pick ourselves apart for weight gain, blemishes, or not having certain abilities. Girl, you are beautiful and so are your youngin’s. But our kids hear what we say to ourselves.
Do we want them to believe they aren’t good enough? How do we want them to look at themselves in the mirror? With criticism and contempt? Do we want them to focus on what they can’t do instead of what they can?
No! We want our children to look in the mirror and see the beautiful and healthy beings that they are. To see all the amazing things that they can do – to see what we see. Not the negative self-destruction and limiting mindset we have from time to time. That’s worse than having them be bullied!
Be as compassionate to yourself as you’d be to your kiddos (or to anyone else, for that matter!). They will hear the words you use on yourself and begin to mirror the thoughts and self-talk. It is our responsibility to show them the way to treat not only others but ourselves.
We all need a little help sometimes.
If you’re finding it hard to quit with the negative self-talk, find someone to help hold you accountable. It takes practice but I swear that with someone to lean on when you feel like coming down hard on yourself, you’ll learn how to show internal compassion and kindness.
These big adjustments won’t happen overnight! Be patient with yourself. Show yourself grace.
Navigating through this bumpy road of life is challenging at times. It’s so much easier when you have support from others and are your own cheerleader.
The Mental Edits group is always here to support you. If you want to start regularly working out or if you’ve been working out but want to bump it up a bit, reach out to this group of amazing women! We have all been where you are and will probably be there again.