Do you know the voice I’m talking about?
The one that tells you that those pants make your stomach stick out, and it can’t believe you just finished off the last 3 brownies, and, by the way, when will you ever get some self-discipline?
The one that is frustrated that you skipped your workout again and tells you to throw in the towel on this healthy living thing because you’re never going to get there anyway.
Listening to that voice is dangerous.
Don’t let it dictate your “truth” – your mind will happily believe whatever your subconscious is saying. It doesn’t differentiate between truth or self-loathing. And the more you believe it, the more you will act out on it in a cycle of self-fulfilling prophecy, self-sabotage and more self-loathing.
I actually think that getting a grip on this voice is more important and more powerful than adding greens to your diet and kicking sugar to the curb. Because you can’t get anywhere if you’re battling yourself. Right?
So where do you start?
There are many exercises that I use in health coaching to learn how to talk back to this voice, but let’s start here.
Notice the negative thoughts. Write them down in the moment or at the end of the day. Read them back to yourself. Ask yourself, is that TRUE?
And then write (or talk) back to that thought.
For example, you’re getting dressed and think, “Ugh! Nothing fits me! I can’t stand my ( fill in the blank).” The underlying message is, I’m unhappy with my appearance. I’ll never get those last xx pounds off. I’ll never look like so-and-so.
What is true in that statement?
Acknowledge that maybe that one pair of pants doesn’t fit you and you’re frustrated. But those thoughts will not help you on your healthy living journey.
They will spiral you downward as you try to squash your frustration by finishing off the gallon of ice cream at midnight.
Instead, formulate a response.
“Okay, those pants don’t make me feel good about myself. I should put them away for awhile. BUT what IS true is… My strong legs carried me through miles of walking today… My stomach birthed these beautiful children… I am on my healthy living journey…. I am getting stronger…. I am at a much better place than I was x weeks/months/years ago…. I can continue to honor and love my body with good food and my body will love me back.”
Make sure that you have the final word and make that final word positive!
With practice, you’ll be able to catch that thought in the moment (rather than after the fact.) With more practice, you’ll be able to stop it mid-sentence before it finishes it’s nasty commentary.
PS- You shouldn’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to a friend. Would you tell her friend she looked awful in those same pants? Why be so mean to yourself?
Remind yourself of what is TRUE for you. What do you love about your body? What can you thank it for? It’s powerful.
The next steps? Widen your self-image to incorporate more than physical appearance (I’ll save this for part two). Discover where the voice is originating from and re-work your definition of beauty (part three.)
Do you catch this voice of doubt, comparison, discontentment creeping into your thoughts?
How do you handle the negative thoughts?