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.

My Top 5 Tips for Creating Goals

It’s that time of year again. 2018 is soon upon us and everyone will be starting to make their New Year’s Resolutions, their goals for the new year of how they’ll change and what they’ll do. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for people making goals and achieving them, I myself am doing the same thing. However, I think that most people don’t know how to go about creating realistic goals that they can stick to as the year passes on. I mean you all have heard the jokes…and if you haven’t, see the memes below.

It’s funny, but true. But I don’t think it has to be this way. That’s why I want to share with you my top 5 tips for creating goals in hopes of encouraging you to write good goals that you’ll be able to actually plan, work for, and achieve!

1. See Goals Simplistically

If you view your resolutions for yourself as a daunting task or a huge deal, you’re likely going to quit out of fear. This also means that New Year’s Resolutions don’t have to only start January 1st. I am a firm believer that you don’t have to wait until the end of one year/beginning of the next to make a positive change in your life. However, if you make a big deal about your goals being New Year’s, you’re going to think you have to wait around until the next year to start them. Instead, think of your goals as just that…simply goals for you to achieve in the coming year, not only to start during a certain period. Also, seeing your goals simplistically voids the all-or-nothing principle, where if you mess up on just one tiny part of your goal you’re done for the year. WRONG! It’s not a big deal if you mess up because goals are just a work in progress for you to work on piece-by-piece all year-long. If you mess up, simply get back on track or start over–even if that means it’s August. Bottom line: Don’t make too big a deal out of your goals.

2. Make Them Realistic and Specific

This is probably my most important tip. All too often people make resolutions; however, they make them so unrealistic that they soon get discouraged and quit. Making realistic goals is so important to actually sticking to what you said you were going to do. What exactly is realistic is going to depend on the goal, the situation, your resources and past experiences, etc.  Also, creating specific goals will only help further your accurate achievement–the more specific the better. For example, let’s say someone put their goal as “lose weight”. Does this mean 5 pounds or 50 pounds? Without being specific, there is no end goal in mind. So now let’s say someone says they want to lose 20 pounds, (yay for specific), but doing so in 1 month is unrealistic. If someone set that as their goal, and one month later didn’t reach it, they may just give up on the whole thing, when in reality if they had said to lose the weight in 5 months, the situation may have been better. You don’t want to sell yourself short to make it easy to be lackadaisical (saying you’ll lose 20 pounds in the next 3 years) but, you do want to make sure that what you’re setting up for yourself is healthily attainable.

3. Make a Plan

Big goals can be scary and daunting to accomplish. Creating a plan where you break them down into smaller goals, can help you achieve more. Think of them as the stepping-stones to get to your final destination. Making a plan will also help you stay on track so that you can know exactly what to do to reach your goals. For example, I want to eventually be able to do 5 pull-ups in a row. Instead of daunting myself with getting 5 in a row, I’ll break it down. First, I want to be able to do 1 pull-up. Then, I want to be able to do 3 in a row. Then, I will focus on achieving 5 in a row. This of course applies to non-fitness related goals too. Say you want to change your mindset to being more positive/grateful by the end of the year–but this sets no timeline up for how you will achieve that because unfortunately, it won’t magically happen on its own. Instead you break it down: saying that you want to write 2 things you’re grateful for 4/7 days of the week. Then, once you achieve that for a few weeks, change it to 7/7 days of the week. Then, whenever something negative happens, you decide you’ll stop and think of a positive thing to switch your mindset. Breaking your goals down will help keep you going and give you small accomplishments to be able to celebrate on your way to achieving the end goal.

4. Set a Timetable

A timeframe for your goals will help you even further to have a plan-of-action. Without a set timeframe, many people will end up half-assing their progress and not really achieving anything that they want to. I suggest creating a timetable for both your end goal, and your smaller goals that you created as well. Going back up to my pull-up goal, I may set to get 1 pull-up by April 1st, 3 pull-ups by July 1st, and 5 pull-ups by October 1st. Or for the person wanting to lose 20 pounds, set a specific amount to lose each month or every few weeks to keep your progress on track.

5. Just Get Started

Lastly, this one is short and sweet. As Nike says…Just Do It! So many people wait for the “right time” or when life is less hectic. Let me just tell you, life will always be crazy busy and hectic, there will always be excuses and roadblocks; there will never be the right time, there just won’t. Instead, you just need to get over the hardest hurdle: starting. Once you get started, assuming you set realistic goals with a plan and timeline, you’ll start seeing positive changes in your life and you’ll be able to run with it: All the way to achieving your goals/resolutions. Starting is the hardest part, but I promise you it is the best thing you’ll ever choose for yourself.

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.