Positive Self-Talk

We all talk to ourselves. Even if someone has called you crazy for doing so, they’ve done it too–whether they realize it or not. Every single day our mind is filled with thoughts, internal dialogue, and words that constitute self-talk. And the topic of it, plays a pretty important role in our everyday lives. It’s just like that saying “Watch your thoughts, they become your words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions they become your habits.” And so on. Something as small as a thought (self-talk) can have a massive impact on your daily lifestyle.

As I was reading the bible, I was going through James a few days ago. James places a heavy emphasis on the message of taming the tongue, for the tongue makes great boasts, and can set the course for the whole body. It is, in a way, the entry way into the body for what we use it to speak, so we will become to live out. (see the quote above) And as humans we are quick to use the tongue for speaking evil. “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.” Now, it makes sense to apply to this to watching what we say externally and using our words to support, encourage, and build others up. But I think we often forget a very important person that this applies to: ourselves. You too have been made in God’s likeness and deserve to be supported, encouraged, and built up by your internal words: your self-talk.

Refer back to the earlier quote, thoughts–>words–>actions–>habits.  Now, if these thoughts are negative self-talk…imagine the impact it’s going to have on the trajectory of your life. For example, say you have the negative thought of “I can never do anything right.” You start having those thoughts more and more and pretty soon you’re speaking downgrading comments about yourself with a pessimistic view on life. Next, since you think you can’t do anything right, you stop trying and your actions reflect that. Lastly, you’ve given up, and over time that will become your new habit. All because you had some negative self-talk.

Now, look at it the other way! Despite your setbacks or failures, you keep reminding yourself that you are strong, capable, and can do anything you set your mind to. Then, you start viewing the world optimistically and getting up every time you get knocked down. Pretty soon, you’re creating resilient, confident, can-do-attitude habits. All because you had some positive self-talk.

I’ll be the first to admit, it is hard to always have positive self-talk; and I am FAR from perfect when it comes to it. I struggle, almost daily, with seeing myself, my accomplishments abilities, future, etc. in a positive light and turning my thoughts more positive. But trust me when I say that your “few thoughts” you happen to think nothing of can have a big impact on your life–both positively and negatively. So next time you find yourself having negative self-talk, remind yourself that you were made in God’s image, you deserve to be built up, not torn down with your words, and you are in control of how you talk to yourself. Make the majority of it positive, and I’m positive you’ll change your life.

What I learned from 2017

I really can’t believe that it’s already 2018, it feels like 2017 was just yesterday (I had to). But seriously, I know people say this every year, but it really felt like it was just January 1, 2017. 2017 brought a lot of things I would have never expected going into the new year–both challenges and blessings–and I learned a lot reflecting back over the year. I originally wasn’t planning to make a post like this. But after realizing how much I actually enjoyed writing my post last year about what I learned from 2016, I decided to do one for 2017 as well. My goal with these reflections is to take what I learned from the previous year into the new year so that I can constantly grow and improve. So, Happy New Year, Happy 2018 and without further ado, here’s what I will be taking with me as 2018 continues.

1. You don’t have to follow the trend

This year, especially in the fitness industry, trends were flying left and right. Everyone’s gluten-free and going vegan; cutting out dairy, nope, now dairy is important. Follow IIFYM, now that’s wrong and you should eat intuitively, oh now here comes intermittent fasting. You get the idea. At first, I thought I needed to follow everyone else, but in reality, just because something worked for others does not mean it will work for you too. And that’s okay! Don’t eat (or not eat) a certain food, do (or not do) certain exercises, or live life in a certain way just because it’s “trendy”. The best thing you can do is find your balance and what works for you, and do just that. You can respect others’ way of life and encourage/support them while still doing your own thing.

2. Have a vision for your life

Life can be difficult, it doesn’t come with a road map or instructions –> so create your own! For a while, I was just living, going through the motions of life with no clear picture of my destination. But towards the end of the year, I realized the importance of having a vision for your life. A vision of what you want to do, where you want to go, and who you want to be. It doesn’t have to be very clear, just have an end goal that you’re constantly working towards. I know I have plenty of those for 2018.

3. Life won’t always go as planned….

Now with what I said about having a vision for your life, understand that just because you have a specific goal doesn’t mean it’s going to happen or turn out how you envisioned it. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t even try, but it’s important to understand that life won’t always go as planned. Sometimes it’ll take you on a detour, simply one exit down; and sometimes it will take you on a whole new highway to a whole new city you never planned for–let it happen. Learn to find the positives in everything and work in whatever circumstance is given; try to be flexible and go with the flow sometimes because honestly you never know where it (or life) will take you!

4. …And God’s plans won’t always make sense

At the time. When life doesn’t go as planned, it’s because God has bigger and better plans for you already–we just can’t see or understand them because we were made to walk with Him one step at a time, not 100 yards ahead. My senior year of volleyball was going great until two weeks in when I broke my rib. Think that was part of the plan? Yeah, no. I didn’t understand it at the time, and honestly, I still don’t know what God’s plan for that was. But I do know that God is in control, and if I keep trusting in him, He will be faithful.

5. Rest is important

Physical, mental, emotional. As much as we would like, we can’t continuously go-go-go 24/7, 365 days a year.We often try to push ourselves harder and farther than the time before, and it leads us to be worn out, burnt out, and just plain tired of life. I learned that rest is important to make progress in the gym, that I can’t push my body to its max day-after-day without rest. I learned that it’s okay to be emotional, that sometimes I need to rest from the “trying to be happy”facade I sometimes put on and let it out. My mind needs breaks from always studying, I need time to relax and enjoy myself. Rest is not selfish, it’s essential for living a healthy life.

6. Be confident

This time last year, I can safely say I wasn’t too confident in myself. I was annoyed at myself for clinging to “clean eating”, and I felt small and weak. I was not confident in my physical appearance/my body, in my inner being of who I was, in my character, in my identity in Christ. It’s a scary feeling to feel like this, but it was true. Now today I can’t say that I am always 100% confident in everything about myself, but honestly, that’s normal! Everyone has good days and bad days. But standing here today, I did learn that I can choose to be confident in myself and to do something about it. Believing in and loving yourself right where you’re at–imperfections and all–is such an amazingly strong feeling that will take you so far no matter where life takes you.

7. You’re in charge of your own happiness

Last, but certainly not least, this was probably the hardest thing for me to learn and accept. When you are unhappy, it’s not the world’s fault, or your significant other’s, or that boss who chose someone else to promote, or your professor who gave you a bad grade, or your parents who won’t let you do “x”. No, it is your own fault. Happiness is a choice, something that we get to decide to choose every day, every situation that comes our way. It’s not always easy to choose the positive way, but if you can learn to choose happiness despite your situation or your circumstances, despite your looks, your job, or your family issues, you’ll live a much more joyful life.If you’re not happy with where you are, decide today to make a change to get to where you want to be. Decide today to be in charge of your own happiness.

To the girl who wishes she looked like me

I was originally going to make this just a journal entry for myself but then I realized that this is something that needs to be said, and that people need to hear. My goal is not to shame anyone or make them feel bad, but rather to spread awareness and provide insight. With that, just a forewarning, these are my thoughts (sometimes deep, somber, and not always the prettiest). They be random and sporadic, but that’s because I let everything I’m thinking and feeling flow out onto here. Yes, it’s real, raw, and vulnerable. Yes, it’s tough to read–I can bet you it was 10x harder to write. I’m not good at opening up or sharing my feelings, especially on this topic, but the only way I’m going to be able to help just one person is through doing so. So with that, I thank you for your support in reading my inner thoughts to the girl who wishes she looked like me.

I hear and see the comments–not only to myself, but to others too–of I wish I looked like youI wish I was as skinny as youI wish I had “x” like you, the list could go on and on, but you get the idea. While the rest of the world may think that I’m lucky to look like this or lucky to be getting these types of comments, I absolutely hate them. Almost as much as I hate the comment “you need to eat a burger” (body shaming fat people isn’t okay, so why is body shaming skinny people?). I hate them for a multitude of reasons. First, I no longer want to be skinny. For over a year, I hated my body; I just wanted to be “skinny” and worked at becoming so, which only led to me to the mess of my eating disorder. And the worst part is, I was never small enough, even when I had lost almost 25 pounds, I didn’t like how I looked. I finally changed my mindset to wanting to get strong and put on muscle, to wanting to go away from being “skinny”. Granted, I have a naturally thin frame so I’m always going to be a little bit lean and lanky, but my point is that I’m no longer working against my body to be even smaller, I’m working with it to be strong and powerful. So when people say they wish they were as skinny as me, it makes me afraid of what they’re going to say when I stop being the so-called “skinny”–which I know shouldn’t matter, but mentally it’s tough.

Second, you may wish you had skinny arms/legs like me, or wish you had a smaller butt or stomach, but you do not understand how I got down to this point: my eating disorder. You may think you want to look like me, but you do NOT want to be in the same boat as me with how I got here. Ask anyone recovering or recovered from an ED, we won’t wish it didn’t happen because it’s helped make us stronger and who we are, but it’s certainly something we wouldn’t wish upon our worst enemy. Period. Because I didn’t just lose weight (and practically all or most of my muscle), I lost my period for 19-20 months (besides a few months of birth control, which doesn’t actually mean it’s a normal period). You may think yay sounds great, but do you know how hard it is knowing you want children one day and all of a sudden your body cannot function enough to do so, after having a period for almost 4 years straight? I also gained a whole new mental battle, that messes with my mind multiple times a day–it’s not something I can just turn off. I lost my relationship with food, being able to eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full because I don’t get hunger cues. I lost my relationship with food in that I can’t just eat something because I feel like it–like a brownie, slice of pizza, or some ice cream–without feeling guilty, freaking out that the whole rest of my day has to be uber-healthy foods,  and being nervous to do so. My mind is constantly thinking about food: what I am going to eat, is it healthy enough, maybe I should eat more veggies, what’s the macros/calories, etc. When I see food, most of the time, all I see are the macros or calories in my head–using those to justify whether or not to eat something. And while I am working on these areas, and it’s not as bad as it used to be, this mental battle has stuck with me for almost 2 years now.

Honestly, for me, my ED is more of a mental battle rather than physical. I’m at a healthy weight, and still gaining. I’m pushing myself to eat and grow, but the mental part of watching the scale go up, and battling to find a new relationship with food is difficult. That’s why I hate these comments, because from the outside I may look how you want, but you have no idea the inner demons I’m fighting daily. Yes, I may be able to eat a lot of calories  right now (2700+) and gain minimal weight slowly, but that’s because I killed my metabolism and slowed it way down when I under-ate and over-exercised. I’m not in a lucky situation because everyday is freaking tough,  mentally and physically, dealing with the fear of food, guilt, bloat, digestion issues, pushing food when I’m not hungry, etc. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of being bony, of seeing my ribs and feeling my hip bones when I lay down. Tired of wanting to to grow, but being scared of the scale going up and still fearing my relationship with food. Tired of feeling this way, but I’m only using this feeling to fuel me to become stronger and get out of this situation into the one I want to be in.

Lastly, it’s tough when I see/hear these comments because I spent a long time (and tbh it’s still something I struggle with) wishing I looked like other people. Before it was “skinny” people with shredded abs–people who I now realize after being in the fitness industry were girls on prep for bikini competitions, which is not a sustainable look. Now, it’s muscular, body-confident girls. And this kills me because in recovery I want to truly love my body and how I look for what it is and what it can do for me–not hate it because it doesn’t look quite how I want. We were all created uniquely to look and be different. You may say you want a stomach like mine or my legs, but then you wouldn’t be you! You wouldn’t be the person God created you perfectly to be.

So to the girl who wishes she looked like me, I so deeply wish that you would instead love yourself for everything you are. It’s okay to want to change aspects of yourself, to set a goal and work towards it…but that doesn’t mean that you can’t love yourself exactly where you are right now. Transforming yourself into the best version of you should be your goal, not into someone else you wish you looked like. There is no one quite like you, and I wish you would realize that and embrace everything it means for you.

Who are you living for?

Who or what you live for consumes your life. Trust me. That’s how most eating disorders start. You live for your body, for this messed up ideal in your head, for society’s view that being skinny/small/low-weight is being perfect. lived for all these things. I wanted to look a certain way and lived my life based on how I thought society or other people would look at me, judge my body, and think of me. I was so caught up in hating my body and who I was that I forgot myself, I let someone/thing else dictate how I was to live my life.

None of this is easy to admit, it isn’t easy to type this, but if I can help just one person, reach someone struggling with my message then it’s worth it. I see it so much in today’s world, not just with eating disorders, but with anything. People are losing themselves trying to live for approval, other people, material things, etc. We get so caught up in what other people think of us, our lives, the choices we make, the items we buy, the “image” we portray that we actually end up losing the most important thing: ourselves. We lose sight of who we are, who we are made to me, who we truly want to be. Because I guarantee you that 99.9% of the people that try to live that way don’t actually want to be, it’s not what they truly desire, but they are so set on this image they think they need to be. Listen to me, you don’t need to be anything other than yourself. You are worthy, beautiful, lovable, smart, successful, deserving, capable whether someone else does or does not think so.

Whoever we live for dictates who we become. And eventually who we become turns into who we are. But it doesn’t have to be this way. If we are so set in our identity, then no matter what other people say, think, or do to us…IT WON’T MATTER because we know it’s not true. Think of it this way. If someone came up to you, pointed to a car, and said that is a machine that washes, dries, and folds all your clothes, you would look at them like they’re crazy. Why? Because you know it’s a car, you know it’s purpose is to get people from location to location and you know all of this because you’ve grown up learning and living it. But now imagine that same person could go back in time (with the car) and talk to a pilgrim. If that person walked up to a pilgrim, pointed to the car and said that is a machine that washes, dries, and folds all your clothes, what would the pilgrim say/think? They might believe them. Why? Because they don’t know any different, they’ve never seen, used or lived with this “car” before so whatever someone tells them about it, they can easily believe and adopt as the truth. The same goes for you. When you live for someone or something else, you lose touch with who you truly are–you become like the pilgrim who has ever seen a car. You allow other people to dictate your truth; you take what they say or think about you as true, and start adopting it as who you are.

But if you were with the pilgrim when the person told them about the machine that washes, dries, and folds all your clothes, you would still not believe them–even when the pilgrim did. You still know it’s a car and what it’s true purpose is, no matter what the pilgrim chooses to believe. The same should be for our lives. Even when other people think certain things about us, or tell people things that aren’t so true, if we know and stand firm in who we are then we don’t lose sight of our true selves. It doesn’t matter what others think about us. What matters is what you think about yourself. And no matter how much you believe that having other people think well of you, approve of your life choices, and “like” you will make you like yourself more…let me tell you, it won’t. The way you start liking yourself, is to love every single fiber and thread you’re created with. And the way you start loving yourself, is to actually get to know yourself on a deeper level; understand your likes and dislikes, your wants and needs, your dreams so big they scare you and your fears so small they terrify you.

This is why I live for myself. Living for myself means standing firm in my identity as a child of God and in who HE says I am meant to be. It means I focus on him; He is guiding my path, my plans, my future. But also just because God is in control, doesn’t mean that I cannot pursue things that I want, enjoy or am passionate about because all of those things God has given to me and blessed me with. Living for myself means that I don’t care if people don’t understand my passion for weightlifting, it doesn’t matter if someone agrees with my healthy lifestyle, it’s okay if no one supports my big dreams or if they disapprove of something in my life. It’s okay because all of these things are what I love to do, they are what I choose to do and they make me who I am today. This doesn’t mean that I don’t care about people. Not at all. I truly want to help people, to inspire them with my story, my passion and the love of God. It just means that when someone says something about me or thinks a certain way about me, I don’t let that dictate who I actually am because I know who I am.

Remember that life is short and we don’t get a second chance to live. So please don’t spend your one opportunity living for the wrong reasons, the wrong people. The most important thing you can do is to love yourself. It sounds silly, but truly loving yourself sets you up for a whole life of love, happiness, positivity, peace, success, and joy. My only question to you is: who are you living for?