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.

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.

Don’t Compare Your Journey

I think this message is something that is a necessity for everyone to hear and really take to heart. It can be applied to any life situation (job, hobby, family, relationship, social status, fitness, etc.), but in this blog I’m going to focus mainly on fitness journeys.

Don’t compare your journey.

It’s definitely not the easiest, but it’s so important to understand and here’s why:

“Comparison the thief of joy”

It really is. Generally when we compare–no matter what it is we actually compare–we see others at their best and ourselves at our worst. Whether it be bodies, relationship, social status, possessions, money, happiness, life in general, etc. our focus is what someone else has that’s better than us. This steals all joy from the good that might be happening right in our very faces. But even if you compare against someone to make yourself seem or feel “better off” “higher up” “more X” you aren’t truly happy. You’re getting these feelings by tearing someone else down, probably because you don’t want to face your inner demons yourself. True joy should not be about building yourself up by tearing others down; true joy comes from being confident in who you are and what you are doing and still having room to bring others up with you.

I get that it’s hard. Being into fitness and an athlete, comparisons happen all the time. Who has more muscle, who’s in better shape, stronger, faster, more skilled, etc. and while sometimes coaches have to compare players to pick who starts, it’s not fair for us to determine our worth around comparisons. Here’s why. You don’t know what someone has done, been doing, been through or is planning to do to get to where they are and want to be. You don’t know the time, the effort, the resources, etc. that someone had that could be different from your situation–not better or worse, just different. Think about it: you could be comparing your day 30 with someone’s day 300. A month vs. almost a year…I would say there SHOULD be some pretty big differences there.

In the fitness industry, a lot of factors go into your ability, your form, your physique, your training, your strength…even what healthy looks like for you in your life. Maybe they don’t work or work from home and have a ton more hours to spend at the gym, maybe they grew up lifting as an athlete whereas you just found the sport, maybe they’ve chosen to fully dedicate themselves 100% to being strict in workouts and nutrition whereas you want to choose to be more balanced (either way is okay!). Maybe (most likely actually) their genetics are WAY DIFFERENT than yours meaning that how and where they gain muscle/fat as well as how long it takes will be different. Some people have fast metabolisms and lean out easily, but have a hard time to gain any muscle (And vice versa). In any of these situations there is no right or wrong, there is just each person’s unique journey that they are on for themselves–to better their lives each and every day.

The only person who should matter in your journey is you. And because of this, your only comparison should be to your previous self. Compare where you;ve been, where you’re, and where you are going instead of comparing your now to someone else’s now. As I mentioned, your beginning could be someone’s 6 years in and it’s not fair to beat yourself up by this by comparing. Instead compare your beginning, your middle, your craziness in between to where you want to be–and then don’t stop there. Be so focused on improving your own life that you don’t have time to compare it to others’. Because in reality it doesn’t matter what others are doing, how they look or feel; it all matters how you are doing on your own fitness journey. Build others up as they progress through their journey all while remaining confident in yours. This industry has so much support, community, inspiration, etc. if you let it instead of using every platform to tear yourself (or others down) through comparison.

As one final thought, I’ll leave you with this to reflect on.

Nobody else can make the changes you want in your life, so why should you let your progress be defined by what others have done in theirs?

Simple answer, you shouldn’t. Don’t compare your journey, and I promise you, you will find an abundance of joy, happiness, support, progress, and growth through it.

Finding Your Identity

This is a topic that has been on my mind the past few weeks from talks with people at work, posts on social media, and my own thoughts/reflections.

Lately between my full-time internship, coaching, workouts, and just personal stuff I’ve been feeling very busy–which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I love all the experiences and opportunities that I have. But, this also means that I’ve been caught up in trying to balance it and succeed in all areas at the same time, and this has led to many “failures” in my eyes. Feeling as if I’m not good enough for my job, stressing about eating in recovery yet not putting in the effort to ensure I hit my macros and calories every day so that I gain the healthy weight I need to, not being able to spend enough time as I would like on coaching…all these things and thoughts begin to pile up and overwhelm me. I understand this is all part of life, but when I start to see myself as successful or not by how well I do in all these areas, it becomes a problem. My identity is no longer found in where it should be, but rather in what I do and how well I do it–and that is not or should not be the case at all.

I recently got the chance to speak about this in-depth with someone at work and it was just an amazing conversation to be able to have. She and I are very similar and when she mentioned getting tied up in her work, being a perfectionist, and wanting to accomplish so many things, I instantly related. Feeling upset for the rest of the day if a business meeting went bad or I made a tiny mistake in my work; feeling pressure from myself to go above and beyond and succeed at work; struggling to find what I was passionate about and wanted to do with my future. All of these moments were times I put my identity and worth in the so-called “success” of myself, my work, and my actions. Instead I need to do something that I have both heard and known for a long time, but now I need to really work on connecting to and living my life around it: my identity is found in the Lord.

Whether or not you’re a believer or follower of Christ, I hope that you can find some peace in this message.My identity, who I am, is already set by the creator of the universe; I am to be a child of God, one that he loves so, so much. God doesn’t care if I bombed a work meeting, forgot to do something, know my future plans, failed to focus time on my recovery, etc. because he doesn’t see me as those things. He sees me as a child of God who he has already claimed as his even while knowing my past, present and future. Remembering this allows the pressure to be taken off of me in all these areas because all I can do is my best. Going in, I know that I am going to do my best that I can, but that I won’t be able to accomplish everything–it’s impossible. But with God, all things are possible. I’m not saying he will magically give you the energy and strength to do 30 hours of work in 24 hours, but I am saying that you don’t have to define yourself anymore by what you do or don’t get done, by what you “succeed” or “fail” at. Instead you can find your identity in Christ, and be at peace knowing that is enough. No matter what else you accomplish or don’t accomplish, simply being His is enough. You are enough in him.

When I try and handle everything on my own and take on an internship, side job, workouts, personal development, recovery, social time, etc. all on my own, I get worn out and feel weak at my inability to succeed at everything. But when I already know that my strength and help comes from the Lord and that in him I have peace, rest, and renewal–it isn’t a burden to bear. I don’t let it affect me because I am not defined by any of that. I simply do my best and am satisfied at that because God fills any and all voids or gaps of joy and satisfaction. When you stop letting things of this world define you–how you look, your athletic ability, your relationships or number of friends, money, job, success at work–you can start to see that you were made for so much more for a greater purpose.

I couldn’t balance or handle trying to be super successful at my internship, fully recovered (physically and mentally), the best and strongest athlete I could be, a top coach, a big social media presence, a daughter, friend, etc. No one can and in life there are bound to be moments of failure–even in Christ. But the difference is that I no longer let those moments (or any moments really) define me, who I am, my worth or my purpose because those are already set for me in Christ.

Finding your identity is a huge step of growth and development of who you are as a person and what you do. I am still an intern, a coach, an athlete, an ED soldier, a strong, healthy body, but my identity isn’t in those things, but in God. I am free to be me and live my life because I know that at the end of the day, no matter what I do or what happens, I am a daughter of the one true King. And for me, that is enough. I pray the same for you. Find your identity in the One who has already given you the identity of being loved, worthy, and simply enough–no matter what! Because I promise you, you are all of that and so much more.