“If you can do 5, you can do 5 more!”
“It hurts now, but then it won’t, and you’ll feel so good after!”
“You know this exercise makes you look great. It’s worked before!”
“Doing the harder things is always the best thing to do.” “What’s the point of being here if you don’t suffer?”
“You’ll look better after doing these if you do them right!”
“If you do the exercise properly, and it is hard, you will reap the benefits!”
“Actually think about which muscle you have to use and use it! This is the point! Don’t compensate! Focus!”
Reflection: I listened to myself talk at the gym this past week and wrote some things down. I see they are comprised of imperatives and explanatory statements and what I think to be bits of fitness wisdom to help me either get to the gym or get finished properly while there. I also realize they are, I guess unfortunately, inspirational to me because they remind me how I will look (better) after everything is said and lifted, but I can’t pretend this is not one of the biggest reasons for me to work out. Also, I seem to remind myself of my past moments of strength and the necessity of struggle during the process.
Self-Talk #2 [e-mailed anonymously by an FFG follower]:
so… about those glutes pictures hey…. daaamn girl you have some serious saggage what’s up with that? you work out SO hard and you look like THAT! i think it’s because you eat so damn much! the more you eatdamn much! the more you eat the fatter you get! but 325g carbs, that’s pretty freaking awesome! my coach said i look incredibly lean and muscular, this is the best he has ever seen me look! well, i think you are getting soft and fat… you don’t even look like you lift anymore! wha… come on? wait just a second… you had double bum when you dieted down for the show too remember? coaches said it would come off when you dieted and it didn’t. right… i did have subtle right cheek saggage… so bizarre. i wonder why the right cheek only? why not the left cheek? my left cheek is round and plump and perfect, haha! you’re weird you know… you obviously have way too much time on your hands to be obsessing about butt saggage. pfft… body image obsessed. seriously, get a grip and appreciate the body you have. there are people out there who would kill to look like you. oh ya…those people are crazy. ummm, no i would say you are the crazy one… aren’t you having a dialogue with yourself right now. ya, so i talk to myself, big deal…it’s not like i’m home alone with 5 cats. dirty little creatures! ok fine, so I talk to myself and i answer too, what’s your point. my point is you spend too much time alone… maybe you should get out there and be more social, you know socialize with people and not just weights. but i love lifting! yes but it doesn’t love you back. seriously though, people love you and you have a lot to offer so if you would check your bitchy little attitude and put a smile on your face maybe you wouldn’t be single. heeeeyyyyyyy wait, where did that come from? i thought we were reflecting about my bum and body image issues. yes but your attitude sucks…you could really smile more you know and about these body issues… seriously get over it. you are smart, funny and pretty damn cute… you have a lot to offer. damn girl… why are you so damn mean to yourself. i exhaust me.. lol
Reflection: One of the few areas in my life where I feel at peace and am fully present in the moment is during a workout. My gym self-talk is positive and encouraging, as in “you got this/push yourself/you can do this.” I’ve reflected on why I allow myself to be fully present in the moment while at the gym and believe it may be a form of self preservation. If I am briefly distracted while lifting I can and have injured myself. It is essential to be fully present in the moment in order to experience the benefits from the workout. On the other hand, as you can see from the excerpt my daily self-talk frequently includes irrational and conflicting thoughts of what my mind perceives and has conditioned itself to believe throughout the years. I am taking steps to improve my sense of self by acknowledging my mind’s inner chatter and limiting beliefs. I strive to exhale and let them go, replacing them with positive and encouraging words. Believe me when I say that this is much easier said than done; it is a constant work in progress. But much like anything in life, the more I apply myself the easier it will become.
Self-Talk #3 [written by FFG]
First boil bottles, then make frittata, then cook corn, then clean bathrooms, then wash diaper pail, then sweep floor, then do laundry.
123 456 123 456 123 456 123 456 123 456. Red floor tiles nice; yellow tiles ugly. My house is fucking hideous now. Too much shit in here.
What do I have to do this week? What do I have to do? Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
Additional tasks: work on listening skills and empathy.
You are the lowest on my list; you will be number one; you get funding but you do not; your GPA is too low.
Pat Buttercup once for good luck but not twice in one day because that is bad luck.
Don’t fall, dumb ass. Apples, bananas, hummus, pita, zucchini, spinach for smoothies, carrots, yogurt, chicken, mum mums, cheerios.
You are not allowed to eat cheerios off the floor. No more cheerios ever. If you eat those cheerios, you lack all self-control. Eating them now is a sign that you will never succeed at your nutrition and always be a bit fat. Crunch crunch crunch.
Write grant application, read Badgley abortion report, afternoon meeting. Take stuff so that I can head to the gym from there. Sit near door. Stop that. You should be looking at your son while you feed him and be fully present because kids can sense when you are thinking about something else. You are a bad mother bad mother bad mother bad mother bad mother. Still better than most. Pretty fucking great really. Pompous ass.
Reflection: By paying attention to my self-talk for the first time, I realized that I rarely tell myself negative things. Instead I am a relentless task master with OCD tendencies. I live in the immediate future and move directly from one situation of intense concentration to another, doing everything efficiently. At work I rank student grant applications, immediately grade papers, and then finish speed reading a book, all the while planning when I will have lunch and go pee, following a precise route to save time while choreographing a spin class in my head. The downside of this lifestyle is mental and physical exhaustion; the upside is that I simply have little room left for negative self-talk, though I can usually manage to squeeze in a little body judgement—never hatred—while looking at my belly as I get dressed in the morning. That’s right: I and well rounded and can do it all.