Monday, July 9, 2012

Think yourself fast & skinny

I am my own worst critic. Most days I can keep in under wraps, but in those moments of weakness, I am able sabotage my efforts in one swift act.  It all begins with a thought, one negative notion that is planted in the back of my brain. If not unarmed quickly, that tiny egg has a way of exploding. Before I know it, I'm skipping a workout, devouring a bowl of ice cream and arguing with my husband. This is my main hurdle in finding a faster pace, a slender frame and overall happy days.

In week four of the Marathon Weight Loss Challenge, I've challenged both myself (and the other 950+ participants) to attack life's negativity with full force. Fight it with positive commands. In essence, grasp the power of positive thinking...

Think yourself skinny.
Think yourself fast.
Think yourself happy. 

Self-talk is powerful. Whether you're conscious of it or not, there is a running conversation in your head at all times. Our thoughts are the primary creator of emotion, which guide our actions and ultimately determine our results.  It is a cyclical cause and affect:  thought = feeling = action = result.  So if you want different results, you need to think differently.

Step One: Recognize the negative thought.
"Life is no fun when I'm on a diet."
"Time for my daily punishment (workout)"
"I'll never be fast/skinny. It's just not in my genetics."
"I have absolutely no willpower."
"I'm so slow."
"I look horrible in this outfit."
"I don't have time..."
"I can't... "

Step Two: Cancel the thought. If your inner chatter sounds like any of the above, you need to deal with it immediately to change your aura. Use a verbal command... "No! Stop it! Cancel that!"  Seriously, say it out loud.  I admit this might be odd if you're on the subway or something, but the more fiercely you attack the negativity, the better.

Step Three: Replace the negative with a positive. Analyze your initial thought and understand it in a more positive way that will assist you in reaching your goals.  Here are some examples...
"I don't need food to have social life. My friends and activities will define my fun."
 "When I finish my workout, I always feel energized and strong."
"My genetics are not my destiny. I know I can lose weight with healthier habits."
"I can better take care of my family/job/house when I first take care of myself"
"I am a work in progress. Every day will be a little bit better."

During this week's mini-challenge, dig deep into your self talk. Write down the negative thoughts that become your excuses... and then create positive counterpoints.  Practice this mental exercise every day. This may not be easy, but it will help you think more objectively about yourself and your weight loss efforts.

Step Four: Be proactive with positive self talk. Begin the day with a plan... document what you plan to do today to achieve your goals. Tell yourself you can. It's like a daily pep rally in your honor.  Grab your lipstick and write on the mirror, "I can do it!"  Make yourself a little sign each day this week with something motivational to fight negative thoughts... hang it on the fridge, post it on your car steering wheel, tape it to your computer, stick it to your television's remote control. Repeat it to yourself all day long. By using positive self-talk, you can coach yourself to the result that you're dreaming of... one day at a time.

Weight loss and training are much easier if you believe you can do it.  Many of us have self doubts about reaching our goals, and this is completely natural. By replacing our doubts with positive thoughts, we build self esteem and belief in ourselves. That belief can change your actions and carry you to your goals. Good Luck!


  1. Jess, thank you for this week's challenge. I have been there a lot the last few weeks...feeling like I will never measure up to the others; that it would be so much easier to give up on my running goal than it would be to keep going; that I will never be fast enough; that I will not be able to ever run 4 miles without walking, and on and on. I definitely need this challenge. Thank you again!

  2. Jess, you are amazing--thank you so much for putting into black and white what we all go through!! I'm really excited to tackle this challenge :) and remember:

    A mistake/slip-up/backslide is not failure, it's temporary! Pick yourself up and get back on track ;)

  3. Thai is a great challenge. Many times I find myself thinking negatively about my speed compared to other runners. I love this. Recognize the thought, and crush it, I run so I am a runner (Who cares if I am slow?).

  4. Such a great reminder about the benefits of positive self talk. Thanks for the challenge of thinking of the good things and focusing on the positives.

  5. So true! I have to regularly check the critical self talk! I know it happens, but love this mini-challenge to counter point it purposefully. Good stuff!

  6. What was week three's challenge?

    1. Week 3 challenge was about planning and creating new SNACKS. YOu can read more about it in the week 3 newsletter:

  7. This is an awesome challenge Jess! Even though I'm not in the weight loss challenge I am goign to think myself happy, calm, and beautiful!!

  8. fantastic post!! you are doing amazing things with this challenge

  9. Thanks for this today, Jess... I've been struggling a fair bit this week because things aren't progressing as quickly as I'd like, or as quickly as others' seem to be. It's frustrating. And the self-doubt pops in quick... I did finally take my before pictures...but I won't share them...I was just...ugh... I guess disgusted is a good word. I never think I look THAT bad...but pictures don't lie. I'm sure some of it comes from a warped self-image as well, but gosh...they were hard to look at. I kept thinking if I took them from another angle...or in another mirror, or with the lights different, I could change what they were... I noticed that I have self-doubt everywhere though--it's not just with health and fitness... Just when I start feeling good about things that nagging voice starts to tell me that I'm not worthy, don't deserve it, didn't earn it, or am not as good as it might seem. I suspect I am going to sound a lot like a mental patient this week with the mini-challenge "STOP IT!" out loud the middle of walmart :P (oh wait..I'll fit in fine there!) But again, Jess, thanks :)

  10. Such good advice! I've heard that your brain can only think one thought at a time, so I appreciate the challenge to make it a positive thought!

  11. I am so terrible at remembering to talk kindly to myself. We are our own worst critics, unfortunately. Great post!



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