“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
One of the first steps in healing your body is to change your story.
Recently, I was interviewing a new client who had been experiencing low back and hip pain and struggling with her weight for the past 10 years. She had visited a phalanx of Pilates teachers, personal trainers, chiropractors and physical therapists and had just found a new massage therapist who she was convinced would become her miracle healer.
“Nothing I have ever done ever works,” she basically told me.
Meanwhile, as she was sitting there detailing how nothing ever worked for her, she was slouched in a chair, her lower back compressed, with one leg crossed over the other, one hip hiked.
“Maybe it’s you,” I gently suggested.
“Maybe there was nothing wrong with all the help the other people tried to give you. Maybe you could change the way you sit, which is only bound to aggravate your back and hip pain. And maybe you could do critical point analysis to figure out what would actually work.”
Let’s review the basic Total Fitness equation:
Your Body=Your Exercise x Your Attitude x Your Rest x Your Nutrition.
As we recall from basic math class light years ago, any time you multiply anything times zero, you get zero.
This new client was working out literally an hour almost every day and feeling like she was getting nowhere. She is not alone and I don’t mean to pick on her because I hear her story several times a week. Far from being unique, she is common.
I like to think of attitude like a laser. Your attitude focuses your energy.
You can focus your energy for the good in a mindful, conscious way, or you can continue mindlessly hypnotizing yourself that only you are a special case, that nothing will ever work, that you alone can not be healed, lose weight, improve your metabolism, etc. etc. etc.
If you know anything about energy, where ever your mind goes, that is where your energy flows.
It’s like gravity. You don’t have to believe that gravity works, it just does.
I can make a simple, powerful visual demonstration of this very easily. If you stood next to me and focused your attention on your head, I could then take two of my fingers and push you any which way I choose.
But if you shift your focus of attention to your feet, imagining that three nails from your big toe, the pad of the big toe and your heel are nailing you to the ground, I can’t push you over.
If you are serious about improving your health and fitness, I recommend you sit down with yourself and have an honest conversation about what you actually BELIEVE.
The reason it is so important that you are honest with yourself about your story is that when people create a story for themselves, their ego/mind tries to be RIGHT.
Your ego will try so hard to be correct that you will go from one professional to another, diet to diet getting absolutely nowhere until and unless you face up to what you are actually telling yourself day after day.
Even if you have never read a single self help book, you can reflect on what Henry Ford said: “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”
Here’s a simple exercise.
FESS UP. Take out a sheet of paper and write down everything negative you have been telling yourself about your body and/or your fitness. Some common negative thoughts I hear include:
“Nothing I ever do ever works for me.”
“I can’t lose weight.”
“I hate to exercise.”
“I tried (fill in the blank) and I still hate to exercise.”
“Everybody in my family is heavy. I am destined to look like Aunt Ethel.”
“No matter what I eat, I am destined to look like Aunt Ethel.”
Even if you have a Ph.D. and are highly educated and successful like many of my clients, these still fall into the category of irrational thoughts. Some clues that you are thinking irrational thoughts are if you use words like never, everybody, always or can’t. The super bonus way to ask yourself if this is truly an irrational thought is this: If someone gave you $1 million and unlimited time and resources to fix the problem, would you be able to find a way to change the situation?
DISPUTE. Once you admit to yourself what you are actually saying inside your private thoughts, dispute the facts. Is it true? For example, if you are telling yourself, “I hate to exercise,” you are really hypnotizing yourself to believe that you hate ALL exercise. This type of thinking is not actually helpful and it would be better if you admitted that fact. You could point out to yourself that you just haven’t YET found a way of moving regularly that you enjoy. Maybe you haven’t found the right instructor, the right modality, the best class, or the best time of day. But it could possibly exist. If other people can find ways of moving around that they enjoy, then the possibility exists that you could too. If even one other person has healed themselves from your personal challenge, then the fact remains that it is possible you could too.
THINK AGAIN. Shift your mind into a positive frame of action. One of the best ways to do this is to create an affirmation. Even if you are so negatively focused that you are terribly stumped in this area, search for the best possible thought. Some suggestions:
I AM NOW DISCOVERING NEW, ENJOYABLE WAYS OF MOVING MY BODY
I AM DISCOVERING WHAT ACTUALLY WORKS
I AM DEEPLY GUIDED TO ALL RESOURCES AND PEOPLE WHO CAN ACTUALLY HELP ME
I AM NOW CHOOSING TO MANIFEST MY IDEAL BODY SHAPE
Look at your notes on your irrational, negative thoughts. Then make a list, “What I could say to myself instead.” In the beginning, you may have to catch yourself 100 times a day. When you catch your stinking thinking in mid-stink, repeat your more improved thought.
USE TRAINING WHEELS. I work with what I refer to as actual humans – i.e., not robots in textbooks whose lives are merely governed by calories in, calories out, who have no feelings and who follow every program to the letter once you give it to them. We actual humans sometimes have challenges with negative thinking, and if you are currently falling into that category, realize you could benefit from mental workouts, not just physical ones.
Just like we use props such as hand weights, cable machines, balls, exercise bands, balance boards etc. when we work out in the gym, there are helpful tools you can use for your mental workouts that serve as training wheels:
Index cards. Write your affirmations on index cards. Read them before you go to sleep and first thing in the morning.
Journal. Write your affirmations in a journal. Every time you catch yourself repeating those negative “everybody, can’t , never” thoughts, journal about where those beliefs came from. Are they yours? Did you pick up somebody else’s stinking thinking?
Smart phone apps. I personally had recorded about 45 minutes of affirmations in my own voice on my IPhone. Then when I uploaded the latest version of the software, it deleted all my hard work. I recently purchased an app called My Thoughts +, which includes the ability to add music of your choice, various background pictures and fonts, and you can review your affirmations in slide show fashion. You can use affirmations in any number of categories or create your own.
A rubber band on your wrist. Put a rubber band on your wrist. Every time you catch yourself slipping back into those self defeating thoughts, snap the rubber band and reframe your thinking.
Use a tape player. And for the multi-taskers who just don’t believe they can possibly fit it all in, record your affirmations on a tape player that you can listen to while working out.
SET UP A COACHING APPOINTMENT. I use kinesiology to determine and clear limiting beliefs. You can do a lot of work on your own being honest with yourself about your stinking thinking. However, with kinesiology, we can go even deeper into your unconscious mind to identify what specifically is holding you back, at what age you started thinking that way and why and who these beliefs came from. Then I use my menu of healing work to figure out what will clear these issues so you can be done with them. Clearing your issues completely allows you to be more resourceful. That means you can take full advantage of everything you already know how to do to get the results you want.
Don’t lose your mind over your health and fitness program, just change it.