So yesterday I shared a picture of my little motivational jars…
They are a great visual motivator for some…for others they add too much pressure. I shared the picture as, for me, seeing the ‘lost’ jar getting fuller makes me happy and if sharing it helps someone else use the idea and feel that way, then I’m a happy WLB!
Little did I realise that in sharing this picture I would get another insight into the world of negative self-talk.
Now first of all I will say that I think being tough on yourself is okay – my toughness spurs me on. However, there is a big difference between being tough and being negative…I will quite often get tough on myself when I am at the gym for example, as it helps me to push myself. I will say (in my head) things like ‘C’mon – you can lift more than that!’ or ‘One more, just one more rep!’ – now when you are sweating so much that it’s stinging your eyes and your Sure deodorant is working overtime to keep you fragrant, lifting more or pushing out another rep is pretty tough. My words of encouragement keep me going…a bit like having a personal trainer in my mind!
I will never say things like, ‘You can’t do this, don’t be stupid!’ or ‘Why can’t you do box jumps like that woman over there?!’. Comments like this plant seeds of doubt and makes me focus on the negative…which is hardly conducive to getting a stonking workout done. I like to feel on top of the world when I come out of the gym – dragging my feet across the car park because I am shattered…not because I am so down on myself that I can’t pick my bloody feet up!
Negative self-talk and being tough…there’s a difference – a big difference.
Your mind does what you tell it to most of the time. If you believe that you can do something, then you can and you will in most cases – unless of course you believe that you have the voice of an angel and Simon Cowell goes on to dispel that myth during an audition for the X-Factor…why do their families not tell them that they sound like nails scraping down a blackboard?!
Seriously though – the mind is so bloody powerful. Yes – I am afraid that I am talking about the mind again…I am afraid that some of my lovely Facebook ‘likers’ have driven me to it!
I posted my picture and got loads of positive comments, with people saying that they were going to make their own jars – perfect…just as I’d hoped for! But then I started to see a few comments such as, ‘I am going to have to buy so many beads’ and ‘I’d need a lot of beads’ and ‘I’m going to have to buy one massive bag of beads’…this made me wonder why we do this to ourselves.
Now, I am not criticising those who do this at all – I was always the first person to put myself down…I wanted to get in there before anyone else could beat me to it. It was my default setting. There was no harm in it – so I thought – and I always thought that anyone who pointed this out to me was blowing my comment out of all proportion. I would make jokes about my size, my eating, my lack of exercise…I used to think of it as being self-deprecating when actually it was convincing my mind – without me realising it – that I would never achieve what I wanted to achieve.
Also, I have to say that when I saw the bead comments I did wonder if people realised that I needed 453.5 beads for my jar – and I am pretty sure that they they didn’t need that many…so we have to use a little perspective too – not that my loss is any more significant than anyone else’s of course. Regardless of what you have to lose, it can be done – and you won’t need a Jewson’s lorry delivering a tonne of pea gravel to fill your jars!
So how do you know if you are using negative self-talk…
There are a few things to look out for – and I often hear these during my coaching sessions…
Jumping to conclusions – I was a bugger for this. When I thought about going to uni again for the coaching stuff, I was concerned about what people would think of me. “They will talk about my size.” The same went for the gym and the swimming…”People will stare at me, and some of them might laugh.” When I would go for job interviews, despite having confidence in my abilities, I would think “They will think that I am useless at what I do…if I can’t control my weight, how can I be good at my job?” Rather than looking at a situation rationally or simply stating the facts, we jump to conclusions…we assume the worst.
Someone else’s thoughts becoming our own – Now this is a tough one. People in our lives often act with our best interests at heart…but some of them can be toxic buggers too. They plant thoughts in our minds without us even realising it! If you hear yourself saying “You really shouldn’t…” or “You should…” what you are probably hearing are the doubts or wishes of other people. It’s guilt doing this to you!
Self-limiting talk and beliefs – “I am so fat!” “I must be stupid if I can’t stick to this diet.” “It’s too hard to lose weight!” “I will never get the kind of body I want.” “Gyms are not for people like me!” “I can’t go swimming when I look like this!” These kinds of comments limit you – they stop you from making progress…stop you from living life. It’s another case of a self-fulfilling prophecy – we assume defeat…stop looking for solutions…options seem very limited and we start to feel that we can’t deal with these things.
Speech habits – those automatic words we say to ourselves without even realising it. “Ahh…but…” this is a favourite statement of a client of mine – she tells me now that when she catches herself saying it, she hears my voice reminding her not to! This is probably what made the lovely ladies make the comments about the beads – we don’t really mean what we say, it’s automatic, but yet it has a negative impact upon our feelings about ourselves. “I’m so stupid!” “Ah, but it wasn’t really me that made it a success.” Think about when someone pays you a compliment. I have spoken about this before…I used to laugh a compliment off. Some people will say, “Yeah right!”, accompanied by a laugh to brush the compliment off. We think that this is an attempt at bringing humour to the situation, but it just puts your mind into a negative state.
If you recognise that you do this, and you want to tackle this negative stuff, then you can challenge these thoughts. It’s not as hard as you might think…although it takes practice! Take a look at the following and see what you think would work for you…
Reality checking – (these work really well for me)…
Where is the evidence to back up my thinking – both ‘for’ and ‘against’?
Is this fact…or just my opinion or interpretation?
Am I jumping to conclusions?
How can I find out if what I think is actually true?
Look for alternative explanations…
What other ways can I look at this situation?
What else could this mean?
How would I perceive this situation if I were thinking positively?
Putting it into perspective…
Is this really as bad as I am making it out to be?
What is the worst thing that could happen? How likely is it that this will happen?
What is the best thing that could happen?
What is most likely to happen?
Is there anything good about this situation?
Will this matter in five years time?
Using goal-directed thinking…
Is thinking this way helping me to feel good or to achieve my goals?
What can I do that will help me solve the problem?
Is there something I can learn from this situation, to help me do it better next time?
So can we just STOP the negative self-talk? It really doesn’t help you – or me – get to where we are trying to get. You might think that’s it not important…but I can tell you, hand on heart, that you will notice a big difference in your ability to believe that you can succeed when you don’t do it anymore! How do you think that I started to tackle the prospect of shifting over 32st? It certainly wasn’t achieved by sitting there and telling myself how fat and useless I was!
On the subject of useless…I haven’t been feeling on top form today. I woke up feeling sorry for myself – sore throat, runny nose, headache, achy chest…when I feel like this I revert to behaving like a baby and I want my Mum to come and make me chicken noodle soup! As she had a new foster placement arrive yesterday, that wasn’t going to happen! So I got up and went to check on the horses. They were fine, but my Welshie was a bit vocal today…I think he is expecting a pampering session – which is actually what I had planned for him and the other boys today…but I felt like hibernating and knew it was a non-starter. I then popped to Asda and grabbed today’s supplies, before my sister asked me to babysit for a little while. So I grabbed lunch and headed off to help her. This was good fun – my nephew wanted me to play horsey again, so I was trekking around his lounge, eating imaginary carrots off the carpet! I then caught up with my Slimming World consultant and we chatted for a long, long time – it’s good to catch up with her outside of the group. This evening hasn’t been so good – Mr WLB and I have had a bit of an argument about a wartime theatre production of all things…I know…what a stupid thing to argue about! Apparently I am hard to live with, put a spin on everything, hate not being right, and never back down – he knows me so well. So I am not sure what tonight has in store really – maybe a film, maybe my new Lee Child book, or maybe poison in the dinner he is making for me!
Breakfast: Linda Mc sausages, toasted wholemeal roll, spinach, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and eggs! (5 syns).
A lovely food day. I really get the munchies when I feel hungry – I think my brain takes the ‘feed a cold’ advice that I heard as a child really seriously! So I had a decent brekkie of eggs, Linda Mc sausages, mushrooms, spinach, cherry tomatoes, and a wholemeal roll. Lunch was my lovely Asda meatfree burgers with some pickles and peppers. Dinner was good – a veggie curry with mixed beans and roast potatoes. The curry just had chilli flakes, garlic, madras powder, tomatoes, onions, courgette, spinach, peppers, and a can of mixed beans in it.
Exercise: Zero…a blissful rest day – the first of my mini weekend gym-break!
Thank you for reading,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx