Self-Affirmations & Feeling Silly

We have all probably heard at some point in our life that we should think positively, especially about ourselves.  Browse around on Pinterest and you will see thousands of pins that have sayings like “BeYOUtiful” and “You are your harshest critic” and “Hey, stop being mean to yourself”.  Ok, maybe not the last one but you get the idea.Self Affirmations & Feeling Silly | Life Healthfully Lived

The thing is we know we should be kind to ourselves, we just have a really hard time doing it.  It’s easy to critique our own body’s, habits, and personalities.  We’re used to being kind to others but don’t really know what to do when it comes to us.

That’s why self-affirmations were made.

Ok, that’s also probably not true but someone along the way that in order to be kinder to ourselves we should actually talk positively to ourselves.  Like actually out loud say nice things about us.  Stand in front of the mirror in the bathroom and say things like, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”  By doing this every day, you’ll learn to love yourself and be kinder to your body.  Those of you rolling your eyes at me right now, don’t worry I’m with you.Self Affirmations & Feeling Silly | Life Healthfully Lived

Or, at least, I was.

Self-affirmations sounded like a load of self-help hogwash.  Something that sounds good on paper and in books but doesn’t really work.  How is standing in front of the mirror every day (something I already don’t like doing) and talking out loud like a lunatic going to really help me like myself more?  But I also thought what have I got to lose?  If it doesn’t work no skin off my nose.  It’s not like I had to make these affirmations out loud in front of a crowd so I started talking nice to myself.Self Affirmations & Feeling Silly | Life Healthfully Lived

I didn’t choose hokey phrases that meant nothing to me, but rather I would look at myself and make a conscious effort to say something I truly liked about my body/life/personality.

“Good morning Katie, your eyes look really green and bright today.  Lots of people would really like to have your green eyes.”

“Hey there Kate, you just squatted more weight than you have before and I can tell your legs are stronger than ever. Nice work!”

“That dinner you made from scratch last night really hit the spot and it’s awesome that you can come up with flavor combinations like that all on your own now.  Keep up the good work!”

Sure, I felt silly at first but then a funny thing started happening.  I started to believe my affirmations.  I was getting stronger, my recipes were coming to me easier, there are certain features of my face and body that are absolutely beautiful.  And these feelings started to flow into other parts of my life.  I felt more confident and believed I could do anything I wanted.  I started complimenting other people because I knew just like me they were awesome.Self Affirmations & Feeling Silly | Life Healthfully Lived

Moral of the story?  Sometimes things that sound silly and hokey can really help you out.  If you’ve never tried self-affirmations, give it a go.  Will it feel awkward and weird?  You bet.  Especially if your husband knocks on the bathroom door and asks if you’re talking to one of the cats and you tell him no, just yourself…. but as time goes on it will fell less and less weird and more natural.  It will start to show that you think highly of yourself and you should always think highly of yourself.

Because you’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like you!

 

Your Body Isn’t A Mannequin

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I have spent a lot of my life not liking the way I look.  Many of my younger years were full of low self-esteem and poor body image.  Like many girls, and boys for that matter, I felt that I didn’t measure up to the standard of beauty.

As I’ve gotten older I have gotten better but I still have my days/weeks where I feel like I don’t look like I want.  My stomach is too flabby, my thighs have seemingly gotten bigger overnight, and my arms aren’t as strong as last week.  What I see in the mirror doesn’t match up to the image in my head.  I’ve had one of those weeks this past week and I’ve learned something.

My body does change from day to day and week to week.

My body is not going to stay exactly the same every minute of every day.

My body isn’t meant to be like a robot or mannequin and never change.

And this is ok.

There are so many factors that go into how our bodies look from day to day.  What we eat or drink, what workout we have done, what the weather is like, what clothes we wear.  With so many variables there is no way that we can keep our bodies exactly the same.

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For someone who has struggled with body image issues, this can be a tough lesson to deal with.  I sometimes get into the horrible habit of looking at pictures of models/athletes and longing to have their perfect bodies.  What I often forget is that the image I look at is just picture of one point in time.  That is how they looked at that minute, it isn’t how they look every single day.  I shouldn’t compare myself to those moments in time, especially since they have been styled and edited to look perfect at those particular moments in time.

Don’t get frustrated if it seems like your body isn’t consistent with what you think it should look like.

Are you eating real and whole foods that give you energy and nourish you?

Are you moving your body in some way each day?

Are you working to improve other areas of your life not just your body?

Then you should be proud of your body for allowing you to do all those things.

 

I’ll leave you with this thought.  A few months back I was at my parents house for some family event  I was in the kitchen with my mom, dad, and husband.  Somehow we got onto the topic of body image and I said that girls sometimes just have “bad-body days”, days where we just aren’t happy with what we see.  My mom nodded in agreement, but my dad and Adam kind of just looked at me confused.  I asked my dad, “Don’t you ever have a day where you look in the mirror and you don’t like your body?”  He answered with, “Sure, but I don’t let it control my day.  I just move on and work to improve it.”  I asked Adam the same thing and he agreed with my dad.

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I had never realized it could be as simple as that.  Yes, there is a big difference between men and women when it comes to body image but I think we can all benefit from adopting my dad’s mindset.

Don’t let your body control your day.  Work to improve it and move on.

Do You Like You?

I was listening to the radio the other day and Colbie Caillat’s song Try came on.  If you haven’t heard it yet give it a listen:

I’ve heard this song before and I really love the whole message of the song.  This time as I was listening though, one line really struck me.

Do you like you?

It’s a really simple question.  Although it is a simple question, I don’t think many of us spend that much time thinking about it.  We often get caught up in worrying about what everyone else thinks about us that we never stop to see if we like ourselves.

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It’s kind of backwards though, shouldn’t we worry more about what we think about ourselves more than what people we don’t know think?  Shouldn’t we be working to constantly improve for ourselves and not the random stranger we pass on the street?  I know we’re always told to not try and impress others, but do we really take that advice to heart?

I know for me that sometimes I can get so caught up in trying to please others.  I want people to like me and think that I’m a good person, it’s natural to want to be liked.  But it shouldn’t come at the expense of what I think about me.  I’ve been with me for 27 years and hopefully I will be spending many more years with me.  I want to make sure that I am the best me possible for me not just others.

And I’m not just talking about how I look.  Yes, I think that it is important to eat well and move more but it isn’t everything.  If someone judges you by your looks then to be honest you don’t really need to keep those people in your life.  You should want to be healthier for you because it makes you feel better, because it will add years to your life, because it is what YOU want to do.  Not what others say you should do.

Instead of doing things to make other people like you, try doing things that make you like you.  At the end of the day if you ask yourself do you like you, you can say yes.

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Your Words

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.  We’ve all heard it, we all try to believe it, but if we’re really honest with ourselves, we know it isn’t true.  Words can hurt.  Once you say something, it’s out there forever and you can’t take it back no matter how hard you try.  You can try to let words bounce off of you and pretend that they have no effect, but after awhile they can start to wear away at you.  Your strong exterior starts to crack and hurtful words seems to slip right through those chinks in your armor.  For some, it might feel like the sticks and stones would be better than the words.  We can’t control what other people will say about or to us, but we do have the power to control our own words.

Today’s post isn’t a lecture about watching your words and being careful what you say.  I want you to think about the words and things you say about yourself.  When we talk about words, it’s often in regards to what you’re saying about those around you.  We don’t spend much time thinking about the words we use to describe ourselves.  We don’t think about the things that we say to ourselves day in and day out and we really don’t think about the consequences of those words.  Take a moment, what are the words you use about yourself?

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Lazy.  Self-conscious.  Nonathletic.  Over-eater.  No willpower.  Failure.  Those were words that I often used in the lowest moments to describe myself.  I was always negative and had a hard time seeing any positive when it felt like I had failed for the millionth time.  High school was a rough time for me self image wise and in my quest to try and be like everyone else I constantly put myself down.  I was my own worst enemy because by using all those negative words I was only hurting myself.  How could I succeed when I couldn’t even talk well about myself?  While my self-esteem got better as I got older, I would still find myself talking negatively to myself.  If I felt tired during a workout, it was because I was being lazy and unmotivated.  If I ate something I deemed bad, it was because I had no willpower.  I failed to see all the good things that I was doing.  Sure, I could fake being proud of myself sometimes but there was always something I could be doing better at and I zeroed in on the negative.  I had trained my brain to only talk trash about my body.

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Sound familiar?  Like I said, words can hurt, especially the words we say to ourselves.  With each jab and insult we say to ourselves, we’re only hindering our progress.  Maybe you believe that you need to be tough on yourself or else you won’t see any results.  I fully believe that there are times that we need to push ourselves but it should never be at the sake of talking smack.  You wouldn’t call your best friends a loser for missing a workout, why in the world would you use that same word for yourself?  Words are powerful and we need to start using them to our advantage.  If you call yourself strong, you have a much better chance of feeling stronger and getting stronger.  If you call yourself motivated, you can bet you are going to feel more motivated.

The words that come out of your mouth can either pick you up or bring you down.  Stop beating yourself up with your words, it’s unacceptable.  We all have flaws and more often than not we are very aware of what those flaws are.  There is no need to constantly voice your problems to yourself over and over again because it will get you no where.  You will just feel worse than before and are more likely to give up.  If you can’t even talk nice to yourself, what’s the point.  You deserve to be talked highly of and you are worthy of good words.  Will you always be perfect and feel worthy of those words?  No, but it’s in those times of struggle that you need those uplifting words the most.  Today, start letting positive words enter your vocabulary.  Use your powerful words to make yourself better and to keep moving you forward.  Be your biggest cheerleader and watch how your outlook and life can change.

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Judging Or Too Accepting?

Shocking to see me with a blog post on a Monday!  It’s been awhile and life has been crazy, but I wanted to give you guys a regular post and not just a recipe this week.

Todays post will be more along the lines of me thinking out loud and asking for your opinion on a certain matter.  Kind of a Monday musings if you will.  Here is the question I have been wondering over the past few days: why do we feel more comfortable telling a skinny or thin person to go eat a cheeseburger than telling an overweight person that they need to eat less or go on a diet?  I know that I am just as guilty of this as the next person.  I am totally ok with telling someone (usually a friend or someone I know and in a joking manner) that they should go eat some food, but I would never dream of telling someone in that same way that they need to stop eating so much or go on a diet.

Let me clarify.  In a totally professional realm where someone is coming to me to seek help and guidance about becoming healthier, I would have no problem steering them in the way of eating better and moving more.  You know that I am a huge proponent of finding what works for you health wise and I am passionate about helping others find what that means to them.  But to just walk up to someone who is overweight and tell them to go on a diet?  No way.  Not only would I think that’s rude, others would probably deem me as an awful or cruel person.  But when you turn the tables and you’re telling someone they are too thin and need to eat more food?  I feel like that is a whole different ball game.  Suddenly, you are doing that person a favor.  You are worried about their health and are only trying to help.  Why does the size of the person make all the difference when it comes to what you say?

Now I understand that this feeling doesn’t apply to everyone.  Maybe you are someone who has no problem telling anyone that they need to eat more or less.  Maybe you feel like one isn’t taboo while the other is totally acceptable.  Maybe I am making a much bigger deal out of this than I need to.

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I think my biggest issue with this is that I know that comments like this can hurt the self esteem of the person in question, small, big, or medium size.  Rather than telling someone what they need to do more or less of, we should be trying to find the best way to help or support them.  We shouldn’t be judging people on their size any way, we have no idea where they are coming from.  We don’t know if they have already lost 100 pounds and are in the middle of their weight loss journey.  We don’t know if they are training for a competition and despite their small size could pick you up and throw you over their shoulder and carry you 200 feet.  We can’t tell those things by just looking at someone.  Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, right?

 

A more controversial part of me thinks that perhaps we are too accepting of bad health and that’s why we feel more comfortable telling someone to eat more rather than less.  There is no question that Americans are dealing with obesity and all the diseases and symptoms that come along with that.  We are very good at treating the problems and issues that occur along with being unhealthy or overweight, but we for some reason can’t get to the root of the problem and stop it before it becomes a major issue.  Maybe that’s because we all feel it isn’t ok to try and address people directly.  I’m not talking about in a cruel, derogatory, or rude manner, but coming from a place of truly wanting to help someone live healthier and approaching them in a loving and compassionate way.  I am in no way advocating that we just start walking up to random people and telling them they need to get healthier.  I do advocate trying to get the message out that it is possible for everyone to be the healthiest version of themselves.  I also advocate that we don’t all need to be the same size or shape to be healthy and we should celebrate the fact that we are all different and unique in our own ways.

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I know that society dictates a lot of how we feel or think about certain things.  Unfortunately as much as I try to avoid that and form my own opinions and feelings on certain issues, I am just as susceptible to the popular opinion.  Fortunately, as I grow older and learn more and more about myself and what it means to be healthy, I am finding that I really want to try and help change the views of society when it comes to issues like this.  Will I be able to do it all on my own?  No.  But one voice in the crowd is better than no voice at all.

Let’s hear from you guys.  What are your thoughts and musings on this issue?  Do you think it is as big a problem or do you feel I am making a mountain out of mole hill?  I would love to hear from you on this one!

Have a great Monday everyone!