The following is a guest post from my friend, and one of my Best of You Coaching Club alumni, Kara Silva (she was also featured here). I asked Kara to give the JillFit readers some insight into that little thing called MINDSET, and how to stop with the negative self-talk, while also still pushing forward on your physique goals. A hard balance to strike. Here’s what she had to say…
Take it away Kara!
If you read the Jillfit blogs with any frequency, you understand that chronic stress has an impact on health and body composition. Stress can come from many sources – balancing the craziness of working out, full time jobs, school, kids, relationships, activities etc – aka life.
Stress can also come from our language and our thoughts.
For years, I woke up every morning and touched my stomach – my not flat, buldgey stomach in hopes that something had changed over night. That suddenly I would touch it and some how find it flat and toned and I would feel those six pack muscles popping out. It never happened. My first thoughts to myself in the morning were what a fat lazy f**k I was. This would often be accompanied by walking into the bathroom and stepping on the scale. Many of us know what ever number is reflected back at us can make or break our day. Sounds like a great stress free way to start each day, huh?
For years, I spent SO many hours beating the crap out of myself for not being a certain body fat percentage or not having visible, show off worthy abs. I could find no peace. Over and over again in my mind I would feel the disappointment of not being super fit. I would feel angry at myself for not having the discipline to do what needed to be done to hit the goal that what felt like my whole heart, body and soul wanted.
That feels like chronic stress to me. Not good for my physical or mental health or body composition. Not to mention what a joy it is to be around some one like that. :)
Last year I made a deep shift in my acceptance of myself and my body composition. I stopped hating my body.
Here are my insights from that change:
- Understand What Hitting That Goal REALLY Means For You. Have you been dieting, sweating and straining for a goal for years and never really getting to where you feel like you needed to be? Take some time to journal around “If I hit this goal, what does that mean about me?” Also the opposite question is just as insightful “If I never achieve X, what does that mean about me?” I have had some plastic surgery. That is not something I admit to many people. I did it as I was determined one way or another to try and hit my goal of beautiful abs. My FIRST thought upon waking from my surgery is that “I am still me. This changed nothing.” I was disappointed. I had hoped – maybe not even really at a conscious level – that I would wake up transformed. I did not. I was still me – with a few less fat cells. That was an eye-opening realization. It was not the abs that I really wanted, it was who I imagined I would supposedly would be and what life would be like if I had those abs.
- You Have A Choice. Negative self talk is a choice and a learned behavior. It can be changed. First, bring awareness to your language. Spend some time REALLY hearing how you talk to yourself and when that shows up. How often you are beating yourself up? What is your first thought in the morning? Awareness is the first step. Once you have that you can begin to make different choices.
- Practice Gratitude. Gratitude is mind/heart/emotion shifting. The scale is not where you want it to be today? Ok. But are you breathing easily? (Awesome! Your lungs work!) Were you able to get up out of bed on your own? (Fabulous! Your muscles are strong and working well enough to support your body!) Can you see the numbers on the scale? (Cool! Your eyes are working!) Did you hear your alarm this morning ? (Woo hoo! You can hear!) Did you wake up today ? (Super! You are awake and alive and may have a whole other day of life ahead of you!) There is always something to be grateful for any any situation. Once you start practicing gratitude, it changes your view of the world in ways you can’t even imagine!
- Loving And Accepting Yourself Exactly As You Are Is Not Giving Up. I had to work through this issue with myself quite a bit at first. I thought if I am giving up driving to a low body fat percentage because it is making me crazy and miserable then the only other alternative is just to be a fat slob on the couch. Believe it or not there are so many more choices available on that spectrum! LOL! Because I love and accept myself, I want to fill my body with nourishing food. Because I love and accept myself, I love getting into the gym to challenge myself with weights. Because I love and accept myself, not only do I get better but the people around me do too! The behaviors (smart food choices, exercises, getting sleep, working for balance) can be the same as they were before but my motivation and mindset are completely different and it is so beautiful and freeing. I might even still one day set a goal to get to 15% body fat as a challenge to myself. That will only be because I want to try for that as a challenge and not because I am not ok, if I am not that.
- Practice Practice Practice. “Neurons that fire together wire together.” All of this takes time and you will have SO many chances to practice loving who you are. The cool thing is the more opportunities that come up, the more chances you get to practice loving your body the more those pathways in your brain grow and it becomes easier and better. Life simply gets better from changing your mental messaging.
Stop hating your body so that you can live a happier life!