After years and years of working out and beating myself up mentally and physically, I’ve decided to give it up. Full stop. No more. I just can’t do it any longer. Talking crap to myself hasn’t been helpful. Quite frankly, it has never once helped me work out harder or better or faster.
I used to whine in my head (and sometimes out loud), saying things like:
“This is hard” (while holding a plank)
“I can’t do this” (while pushing myself to do another pushup)
“This sucks” (while running)
But now, I’ve shifted from complaining to praising myself and my amazing body. I’ve decided to retrain my brain to say things like:
“I got this, no problem” (while holding a plank)
“I can do this” (while pushing myself to do another pushup)
“Body, you’re amazing and awesome. Go body, go!” (while running)
Or I focus my mind on something I am truly grateful for in my life…like the fact that I can walk and move and breathe with ease.
I’ve also been giving myself high fives, cheering myself on, and celebrating my successes mid-workout. Yes, I do realize it sounds crazy or silly to actually give myself a high five or cheer myself on. But you know what is crazier?
To be mean to myself like I used to be.
To say negative things and talk down to myself while I’m putting in the effort to improve my health.
To not believe in my body’s ability to hold a plank a little longer or do just one more pushup.
That’s what’s crazy.
I can’t imagine talking to a friend the way I used to talk to myself when I worked out. I wouldn’t stay friends with someone who talked to me that way. So why would I keep doing that to myself?
I’m not going to.
But I also realize, as with any habit you’re trying to break, I may slip up. And when I do slip up and hear myself complaining or telling myself I can’t do it, I will catch myself, stop, and remind myself to change my focus. And then I will get back on the positive brain wagon and get right back to cheering myself on.
Are you thinking, sure that sounds nice, Julie, but are you getting any results?
Why yes, I am. Now, I actually have fun and enjoy my workouts, and because I am so busy cheering myself on, laughing, and having a good time I don’t have time to think about how hard it is to hold the plank for another 10 seconds.
And when I’ve worked out with others, I’ve been told I inspire and motivate them to keep working out (which inspires and motivates me to keep working out).
Of course you also have The Big Question: What about weight loss? Are you losing any weight?
You know what? I am seeing some shifts and changes with my body, and I like that.
But for the first time in my life, I realize it is way more important to love and support my body than to worry about the numbers on the scale. I KNOW as I continue to cheer myself on and feed my mind with positive thoughts, my weight will continue to melt right off.
At the end of the day, what matters most, though, isn’t how much weight I lose—it’s how I treated myself on my journey to better health. I am choosing a path of self-love and celebration, not self-judgment and complaining. I invite you to join me.