Archive for June, 2011

… continued from previous post, “Thoughts

If you have negative thoughts about your body, there is a good chance you have negative thoughts about other things too.

On Saturday mornings I teach three fitness classes in a row.  When people look at my schedule they always say, “My, three classes in row, you must be tired after that!”, to which I would respond, “Yes I am so tired afterwards”.  I’d arrive home, hand on my forehead, tired and grumpy, “I am so tired, I just taught three classes in a row! I really need to rest.”  After having lunch I’d ask my family for some quiet so I could have a nap.

As I began to pay attention to what I was doing, what I was feeling and what I was thinking I started to notice that I actually wasn’t all that tired after my three classes.  In fact, I felt energized and alert, what a complete surprise!  I realized that I thought I should feel tired.  Then when others would comment about how tired I should feel I agreed with them and this reinforced my decision to be tired.  When I truly connected with what I was doing, what I was feeling and what I was thinking I realized I was not tired, I was energized.  It completely changed my Saturdays!  Now I come away from my classes ready to continue with my day.  In fact, I sometimes come home to my family still in their pajamas puttering around the house!  And when people ask, “Aren’t you tired after teaching three classes in a row?!”, I say, “Not at all, I feel great!”.

You feel what you think.

Negativity is a mind-set.  Once you are in it is hard to stop.  Negativity begets negativity, it is addictive.  The more negative we are the more negative we want to be and the more we want to be around other negative people.  If this sounds familiar, chances are you were brought up in “negative thinking” environment.  It is what we are used to, we don’t know better, we learned it and we are passing it on  – let’s break the cycle!

The first step is to become aware of the negativity and, for interest sake, see if you can figure out where it came from and what feeds it.  Notice if you are negative, then notice who around you is negative, notice it in your friends, in your family, in your co-workers.  Negative people hang out with negative people; we feed off each other.  We love to talk about bad weather, how difficult life is, how hard every step is, how things never go our way, how lucky everyone else is and how unlucky we are.  One of us tells some horror story and it quickly becomes a race to see who can up it.   I know this because I was a negative person (still am sometimes when I slip up).

If you change the way you look at things,

the things you look at change.

Wayne Dyer

It is hard to let go of negativity, especially if the people around you are negative too.  If you are negative, chances are most of your friends and family are negative too.  Once you decide you no longer want to be unhappy, once you decide that you want to focus on the positive things in life and feel good it becomes very hard to be around negative people.  People do not want to let go of their negativity, they thrive on it, it’s a comfort zone.  It’s not easy to let it go, but it is possible, it takes time, it takes patience and it takes persistence.  You will find yourself sucked back into it when you are around negative people or you may just slip into it on your own when you are having a bad day.  Just do your best, take one day at a time, one moment at a time and focus on the positive things in your life, the things you can do and not the things you cannot do.  Focus on what you have instead of what you don’t have.

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.

Abraham Lincoln

Happy Rambles is an email service that has changed my life.  Every day they send an email asking, “What are you grateful for today?”, simply respond.  I now find I spend my days looking for things to be grateful for.  It was created by two guys in Ontario, “Why?”, their answer: “Happiness”.  Well put.

to be continued…

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… continued from previous post “aha!”

So I decided that I wanted to like myself, I wanted to feel good and feel good about how I looked.  I wanted to wear whatever clothes I wanted, and that most of all; I did not want to feel the self-loathing anymore.  So I started to pay close attention to what I was thinking, what I was feeling and what I was doing.

What I found was a revelation.

My blistered and aching feet on my trip to Europe - all because I would not wear sandals because I "thought" my feet were too fat and ugly!

Although I had been a teaching fitness for over 25 years and generally considered to be in great shape I had always felt my body was not good enough.  I felt a lot of pressure to be slim, shapely and fat-free, I felt my credibility as an instructor was on the line.  Over the years, my weight fluctuated a lot, I could never seem to get it under control.  Always self-conscious and self-critical; my waist was not small enough, my arms not thin enough, my feet too fat and my belly not flat enough.  I would not wear belts, sleeveless tops or sandals.

I would manage my self-perceived body deficiencies by wearing baggy tops and tying sweaters around my waist.  Nothing was tight and everything was black for it’s slimming effect.  Even when I was traveling through Europe in the blistering heat I would not consider wearing sandals, my feet exploding with blisters!  I look back now, and think, “I looked fine; I was young and beautiful!”.  But as they say, youth is wasted on the young.  I realized that twenty years from now I will probably think the same of myself now so I decided to stop wasting my life wishing I was someone other than myself.

Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I noticed that I constantly had negative thoughts about myself.  It would start the moment I got up in the morning, I would look in the mirror and think, “Ugh, I hate my nose”.  Then jump in the shower and catch glimpse of myself in the mirror, “Ugh, my thighs are so fat”.  Off to get dressed, “I wish I could wear this but my waist is not small enough, I’ll wear this to hide my potbelly”.  On and on it would go all day, criticizing and putting myself down at every opportunity.  Both inwardly and outwardly.

As I thought about it further it made me wonder, how did I become this way?  Where did these negative thoughts come from?  It seemed to me some people did not feel this way, they did not put themselves down at every opportunity.  How come I put myself down and they don’t?  How can that person have such great self esteem and be so confident yet I can’t?

Reflecting on all this I realized it was something I learned.  Something I learned from my family.  It was passed on to me, I grew up around it, it was just part of life and I never questioned it.

A light bulb went off.

I decided I did not want to pass this on to my child, the buck stops here.


What do you think to yourself when you…

… look in the mirror?

… get dressed?

… eat?

Do you compare yourself to others?

Do you look at others with envy?

What do you say about yourself out loud?


Step 1 – Awareness – Awareness is the first step.  Catch yourself in your negative thoughts and comments, become aware of them.

Step 2Replace – start replacing the negative thoughts with positive thoughts.  When you look in the mirror say to yourself, “Hi beautiful”, if you catch a glimpse of yourself in a reflection say to yourself, “My, don’t you look nice today”.  Look for every opportunity to give yourself a compliment.  And while you’re at it spread the love, look for reasons to give others compliments.  When we judge and criticize others we are also doing it to ourselves.

Pretty soon you will start to feel differently.

Step 3 – Look for other areas in your life where you are negative.  Negativity begets negativity.  Start working on changing those negatives into positives as well.

Nurture your mind with great thoughts,

for you will never go any higher than you think.

Benjamin Disraeli

to be continued…

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Allow me to share the “aha!” moment that caused a deep shift in me, it is vivid in my memory.

It happened one day when I went clothes shopping.  I was excited and charged to get some badly needed new clothes, I was a Mom living in sweats and t-shirts and was ready to start dressing for me again.  I went to many stylish shops.  I wandered from shop to shop, things looked great on the racks and there were lots of possibilities.  I tried on mountains of clothes but soon my enthusiasm began to wane.  Nothing seemed to fit, nothing looked right and there was nothing I wanted.  As I walked away disheartened, feet dragging and shoulders slumped, I had an epiphany; this had nothing to do with the clothes I tried on and everything to do with the person trying them on!  It was there and then that I realized it was my body that I was dissatisfied with, not the clothes.  It got me thinking.

At the time of my shopping excursion I was still trying to shed the extra pounds from my pregnancy.  I had gained fifty pounds by the time I was nine months pregnant; I weighed 185 pounds on my 5’4” frame.  My beautiful baby boy weighed almost ten pounds at birth, I lost another ten through the birth and then another ten pounds poured out the week following the birth from water retention.  So I was left with about twenty extra pounds, and to be honest, I had started off with an extra ten, so really, I had thirty pounds to deal with, which was significant and daunting.  (It took me about four years to get it all off).

I decided I wanted to like myself, I wanted to feel good and I wanted to look good.  I wanted to wear whatever clothes I wanted, but most of all; I did not want to feel the self-loathing anymore.  The negative thoughts were killing me.

Where are you at?


What do you want?  How do you want to feel?


Write it down.  Live with it… ponder… consider… let it sink in.  Then decide, are you ready?  Are you ready to go for it?  It is all within you, you can do it if you really want to.

It’s not who you are that holds you back,

it’s who you think you’re not.

Author Unknown

  to be continued…

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