Every month in the gym, we post a question to our members. Just a friendly query to have a little fun, or find out a little more about our Bodysmith family. 

What’s your favorite funny movie?” 

Where did you and your significant other meet?” 

Have you ever jumped out of a plane?”

But most of the time, the questions are related to fitness and nutrition, like “What’s your favorite (or least favorite) exercise?” of “Where do you love to go out to eat?” 

Every once in a while, however, I’ll go deep. Like last month…

Do you talk as nicely to yourself as you do to other people?” 

This one is deceptively easy to answer, but will give you lots to chew on if you think about it. And that’s why I asked the question 

You see, a few weeks ago I saw a member on the gym floor after class and asked how she was doing. I could tell she wasn’t her usually bubbly and engaging self. She felt stuck, frustrated, and unmotivated to do anything about it. So I said to myself “Self, it looks like it’s time for a coaching session.”

During our session, she told me her sleep quality was poor, she often snacked on sugary treats and was only eating a couple low-protein meals a day. These problems are common with lots of us when we feel stressed, but they can often be addressed with a few consistent modifications. But with this member, there was a more significant issue going on.

As we spoke, she displayed all the body language of someone uncomfortable in their own skin. Slumped posture. Eyes cast downward. Awkward laughter. And as our conversation continued one thing became apparent–this woman did not like herself very much. In fact, I had the strong impression that she didn’t even think she deserved to be stronger and more toned, or even to feel better. And those were the very goals she wanted!

I’m no therapist, but I know a few things about psychology and how the mind works. One thing is certain: we cannot have what we don’t think we deserve. 

As a coach, one of the things I do best is help people see things differently. I serve as a mirror to provide an unbiased view of a situation, behavior, or pattern that sometimes a person can’t see by his or her self. Then, when the issue is out in the open, the client and the coach can strategize a new way forward…a new approach to overcoming the current situation. That’s when transformation occurs!

During my coaching session with the member, we decided on just two action steps to start: two very practical, easy-to-accomplish steps. 

  • First, was her nutrition assignment: she would have one palm-sized serving of protein at each meal. 
  • Second, was her mindfulness assignment. I asked her to slowly unwind her negative self-talk by sprinkling in positive self-talk. In other words, she should tell herself something nice about herself. “I’m an excellent listener,” was her first comment. That was a good start, and we will continue to work on it.

So let’s bring it back around to our comment box question, “Do you talk as nicely to yourself as you do to other people?”

Our results showed a stunning 73% answered “No.” Let that sink in. Nearly two-thirds of us engage in negative self-talk. While our little sample wouldn’t stand up to scientific scrutiny, it might ring true to you, dear reader. 

So let me ask: do you think you deserve to have what you want? And how do you speak to yourself about your appearance or your situation?

Try this next time. Whenever you feel that voice inside is about to tell you that you don’t deserve to be happier or feel better just ask yourself, “Would I speak this way to my best friend or a loved one?”

If you answer “No,” it may be time to do some work on your self-talk.

~Coach Brad

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