how to squash your negative self talk

Last week I heard a voice inside my head that I haven’t heard in months and months.

“You’re fat.”

And the crazy part is that I listened to it.

I believed it.

It’s easy to let our thoughts spiral out of control if we’re not careful.

“I feel fat” turns into “I am fat” >> “I am gross” >> “I am a failure” >> “I am unlovable” >> see what I mean? It doesn't matter whether or not we actually ARE fat. Body shaming is a purely emotional thing.

So instead of living my life and enjoying the gorgeous weather over the weekend, I allowed myself to get trapped in my own head, obsessed about the way my jeans were cutting into my belly, second guessed my decisions to eat the delicious pita bread and froyo on our date night (two of my favorite foods!!), and my overall confidence and self esteem were completely shot. Which of course rolled over into other areas of my life as well, and I started to go down the spiral of self doubt about my business, life choices, and existence in general.

I thought I had healed my body image insecurities.

I’m a 30 year old grown woman! I’ve been a health and wellness coach for 3 years, practicing what I preach about self acceptance, balance, health and happiness at any size.

I guess this flare-up was just a sign that no matter how far we come, how much weight we lose, how much personal development we do, how many life coaching or therapy sessions we have, we’re always going to have days where that inner mean girl in the back of our head tries to take the driver's seat again. Life is an evolution, not a straight line.

Just because we’ve healed old destructive thoughts or behaviors doesn’t mean they’ll never resurface, but we don't have to let them control us anymore.

Luckily I’ve come far enough in my journey to send up a giant RED FLAG whenever I start to get self critical or body shaming thoughts like this so I can stop my inner critic before she runs away.

It's easy to put a surface level band-aid on your feelings and think you just need to workout more, eat healthier (or less), or punish your body into thinness, but those aren't solutions because this is actually not a surface level problem at all.

The secret to ending body shaming and self-criticism is AWARENESS.

Yup, it's so simple, but hard because you have to actually face your feelings and dig deeper. 

Whenever you catch yourself having a body image moment or obsessing about feeling “fat,” check in with yourself: what's really going on?

By bringing awareness to my "fat talk" I started to investigate my thoughts and feelings instead of dwelling in them, and what I discovered was really interesting.

I'm still trying to figure out my relationship with food and how to trust my body.

You know that a few weeks ago I finished the Ultimate Reset. It was amazing, I learned a lot, and although I tried to tell myself I was doing the program for the inner results and to heal my gut and let go of habits that don't serve me, I can't deny that I loved feeling super lean and skinny afterwards.

BUT IT IS NOT A SUSTAINABLE PROGRAM! I can't subsist on veggies and distilled water for my entire life. I was hoping to be able to maintain my results, but it's been really hard trying to find a new balance and go from a super structured and regimented eating plan back to intuitive eating.

It’s hard to remember that I can trust my body and trust that I don’t have to follow a strict diet to feel healthy and happy in my own skin.

I want a lifestyle that includes froyo, pizza, wine, and family dinner nights.

I don't want to constantly be obsessing about my body image.

I WANT to master intuitive eating so I can spend 100% of my life not worrying about food and my body. Right now I feel confident and free in my relationship with my body and food about 80% of the time. I'm going to have to give myself more time and practice!

Body shaming, food "issues," and self critical thoughts are always a symptom of something deeper.

Right now -- lots of stuff is happening for me, and I haven't been giving myself enough space to process it all. I'm asking myself to expand in multiple areas of life, which is pushing me out of my comfort zone and creates space for all my insecurities and fears to bubble to the surface.

I'm growing into a new level of leadership with my coaching team, Inspire Joy. I'm expanding my 1:1 life coaching business, putting myself out there in a bigger way even if some days I'd rather just hide and stay small. I'm making some really huge (to me) personal and career pivots! I'm also thinking about how I just turned 30 and life is really good but I really kinda want to have a baby soon, which is scary. Things are so good, deep down I'm afraid something bad is going to happen because do I actually deserve to be happy?? Also time is flying by so fast, I'm afraid I'm letting life pass before my eyes. And watching my grandma and parents get older is making me realize that life is so short.

See what I mean?

Whenever I start to feel a little stressed or overwhelmed with life, my anxiety goes straight to either my business (I'm not growing fast enough or making enough money etc etc), or my body (I am fat, blah, ugly, etc etc).

What I'm doing this week to squash my negative self talk

  • Journaling daily
  • Prioritizing yoga 2-3 times/week
  • Giving myself more downtime (even if I feel like I'm too "busy" to chill)
  • Drinking lots of water and eliminating late night sugar
  • If I feel anxious or overwhelmed, I am sewing or going for a walk instead of mindlessly snacking
  • Reaching out to a couple of trusted girlfriends to share what's going on and get their support

Next time your inner mean girl starts bashing your body:

Give yourself some space to dig deeper and get to the root of your fears so you can remind yourself that YOU ARE SAFE. You are ok. Nothing bad is happening right now. Everything that's uncertain is going to turn out even better than you could ever imagine.

You can't expect to go from feeling insecure 100% of the time to feeling confident 100% of the time. There are a million shades of gray in between because transformation is a spectrum, a spiral, a squiggly line. It's messy. It takes a lot of grit and courage and self compassion and patience, especially on the days you're convinced your'e moving backwards.

(You're never moving backwards)

xo Anna 

p.s. here are a couple of great articles on how to stop negative body talk and how to spot body shaming!

p.p.s. want a safe and supportive community to share your journey and connect with other women who value health, fitness, and living with joy and intention? Join our Fit For Life Facebook tribe!