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April 13, 2012

Would You Talk to Your Best Friend Like This?

“Ugh, you suck.”

“You will never be able to get lean, you have zero willpower!”

“You cannot even stay on an eating plan for longer than 5 days, what’s wrong with you??”

“I don’t understand…WHY can’t you just DO IT!?”

Sound familiar? Hopefully you have never spoken to your best friend that way, and if you did, hopefully they told you to go screw yourself :) But in all honesty, these are some of the EXACT conversations we have WITH OURSELVES when it comes to fat loss.

Jade and I were walking last week, and chatting about my coaching calls with my clients, and how they are always so rewarding but also very insightful in terms of our own individual struggles and failures. Almost every obstacle one of my clients faced, is one I have personal experience with too. I have been there. It is a powerful and humbling lesson in relatedness. Jade said that one of the thing he says when coaching his clients is, “Think about how you would talk to your best friend. You know that they would not be motivated by negative, discouraging comments. So how do you hope to use that language to motivate yourself?”  Truth, ladies? :)

Many women, my self included (though it used to happen a lot more years ago), berate ourselves for not being what we think we “should” be. In the words of Carrie Bradshaw, we are constantly “shoulding all over ourselves.”

In one corner of our brains, we are happy. We are content. We love life. But the overarching obsession with getting lean, staying lean and watching every morsel of food that passes our mouths seems to cloud out the good stuff. It’s as if we are unable to give ourselves the win EVER because we hang on so strongly to the story that we struggle with food. The bad always seems to outweigh the good.

What about how great of a mom you are?

What about your savvy as a career woman?

What about your smarts? Your sense of humor? Your ability to care for others? Your education?

What about how strong you are? How about how you kick ass on the treadmill?

Or how you feel energized, more clear-headed and more confident when you are in your physical power?

Would it be possible to feel gratitude and appreciate these things, in a separate space away from the feelings of failure around food? Besides, you are only a failure if you believe you are one. I gave up the idea of “right and wrong” with nutrition a long time ago. Seeing things in black-and-white, on-or-off, etc simply did not work for me. Not only did it not make me leaner, it made me more miserable. So I just said SCREW IT and decided I would finally adopt the very unsexy strategy of moderation. And I can honestly say that I hardly think about food anymore. I know what works for me, I know what satisfies and I know what can get me into trouble. I work off a personal investigation into myself, not off a meal plan.

This transition takes a while, and though I have plenty of moments when I eat something I know does NOT move me in the direction of fat loss, I now meet my struggles with understanding and MOVE ON. Guilt, shame and remorse suck. When I feel those emotions, I am actually at my LEAST motivated. I want to say What the Hell and eat whatever I want. But because I simply refuse to use negative self-talk anymore, I am able to stay more motivated and on point.

So, do you think you can skip the negative self-talk too? Or do I need to clean your mouth out with soap? :) ox Jill

Related: Are we our own worst enemy?

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