I’m going to address a massive part of fitness and health that isn’t discussed as often as the exercise and working out part.
Your mindset is absolutely critical to your success, and determines whether you will reach your goals or not. You need to be mindful of your thoughts and beliefs regarding yourself and your fitness journey. You probably don’t even realize the thoughts that are running through your head on a daily basis! Did you know that the average person has 70,000 thoughts per day? (According to Laboratory of Neuroimaging at University of South Carolina). Research indicates that most humans tilt towards pessimism as well. Now imagine if 10% of your thoughts were negative; thats 7,000 negative thoughts = 300 per hour! That’s a little depressing right? People who struggle with negative thinking and poor body image tend to let their negative thoughts spiral and take over. Have you ever sat down in silence and truly listened to your thoughts?
I first learned about listening to my thoughts when I was going through treatment for bulimia. I didn’t even realize the negative impact my thoughts had on me until I started listening. I was constantly thinking I was fat, ugly, embarrassing, not good enough, that I shouldn’t speak up, that people would talk about me behind my back, that no one liked me, that I wasn’t good enough. I had to do a lot of work to start changing those thoughts around. You can’t do anything until you actually pay attention to the chatter going on in your head though! So I really advise that you start listening. Once you can notice those negative thoughts, it becomes a matter of blocking those thoughts. For about 4 months, anytime I would notice a negative thought creeping in I would tell myself “I am beautiful and strong and confident”. It took at least 4 months to start changing those thought patterns but it worked! I no longer critique myself every time I look in the mirror and I never think I am fat or ugly or unworthy. It made a huge difference to my self esteem and entire life!
Thoughts have SO MUCH POWER over the outcome of our goals it is insane. What you believe matters. Take the nocebo effect; When you describe the negative effects of a medication and then give the person a placebo. In one study from a recent Harvard University article, people thought they were getting chemotherapy but were really getting saltwater- lost their hair and felt continuously nauseous! It’s been proven that pessimistic thinking led to increased hostility, worsened health, and a shorter life compared to optimistic thinking.
I was thinking about what makes some of my clients very successful, and what makes some of them struggle. I have taken on a lot of people over the past year or so, and there are some who have taken what I’ve given them and completely transformed their lives, and other who have the identical tools but can’t seem to make it work no matter how many things I change and re-do for them. I realized eventually that there was nothing else I could do personally, but it was up to them to change their mindset! I remember one client in particular who started a nutrition package with me and I was super surprised by her innate self confidence. My first meeting with her she just told me straight up “I will do everything you tell me to do, once I decide to do something, I do it and I know I’ll achieve this; there is no doubt in my mind”. I have to admit even I thought in my head “Ok, sure- easy enough to say before we have even started!” haha. But she shocked me completely by just absorbing everything I gave her and went on to completely transform her entire life and lose all the weight and I’m still amazed by her week by week.
Then I have other clients who have come in with the attitude “Nothing has ever worked for me, something is wrong with me etc etc” and they are still struggling because they are giving in to their limiting self beliefs! It makes me sad because I want to help everyone achieve success, but its up to YOU to recognize and change your thought patterns.
Do you actually believe deep down that you are going to reach those goals? Are you holding yourself back? Start listening to those thoughts today and change the “I can’t” into “I CAN”.