For the past 2 years I have been working closely with women to help them achieve their fitness goals and it has been so enlightening. The women that attend SouthPark Boot Camp are of all shapes and backgrounds, but we all seem to share the same voice. It’s the inner critic in our heads telling ourselves that we are not good enough. My inner critic revealed itself in the 3rd grade – my thighs stuck out more than my friend’s as we sat criss-cross applesauce. My inner critic started telling me to be smaller. As an adult, my inner critic would be mean to me when I ate dessert or didn’t exercise or put on an outfit to go out. Not until I began working with women in the fitness world did I realize that everyone has an inner critic….yes, even those women you think have it all!
Recently we did a great giveaway on Smarty Pants called “8 weeks to your Awesome Self”.Adri Warrick of The Whole Tulip, photographer Brooke Brown and I created this out of a desire to help all women on Smarty Pants to think of themselves as awesome. Through conversations with each other about how we (women) treat ourselves, the 3 of us wanted to reach out to help moms to feel good about themselves. The response we got was so touching and clarified our point that women need to do more patting of their own backs, and less criticizing in the mirror.
It is not an easy task. I have worked on it for a couple years and still that mean voice sometimes works its way back into my head. But focusing on quieting those negative messages and giving yourself positive words and praise can have wonderful benefits. Think about how you talk to your friends or to your children – “you did your best”, “you are a great mom”, “you look so good”. If your friend skips a workout, do you berate her? No, you say, “well, you will do it tomorrow” or some other encouraging remark. Would telling her that she is lazy and destined to hang on to that muffin top motivate her? NO – so why do we do that to ourselves? Our children are observing and listening, too. Even those comments we think of as funny, “oh, my fat a$$”, “my spare tire” may enable them to them think that is how a woman thinks of herself. Harsh words to yourself, even if kept inside, can lead to your children having the same negative thoughts and imitating behavior. Imagine if your children accepted and loved themselves throughout their teens and twenties and into adulthood – wow, that would be successful parenting!
Let’s tie this in with your new year’s resolutions. If you break that promise to work out every day, don’t send yourself to doom-ville, but try a pep talk and some positive words. It is not easy, but working on it is the first step.
A website that I find so inspirational is Operation Beautiful: “The goal of the Operation Beautiful website is to end negative self-talk or “Fat Talk.” If this little blog only does one productive thing, I hope it helps readers realize how truly toxic negative self-talk is — it hurts you emotionally, spiritually, and physically.” Share this website with your daughters and let’s all resolve to quiet the inner critic.