As a personal trainer, boxing coach, fitness journalist and self-proclaimed positive-body-image crusader, most people assume that I have my shit together when it comes to self-confidence. After all, in my training and writing, I strive to help other women find inner happiness. I encourage my clients to believe in themselves and to celebrate every personal victory (big and small), and I yell at them when they put themselves down.
While I try to encourage myself to do the same, every so often I catch myself not entirely practising what I preach. The truth is, I’ve come an extremely long way since my disastrously demeaning 20s. But I still have my moments. Actually, sometimes I can be a straight-up bitch to myself—I have thoughts that are dismissive, critical and judgmental about my body. In 2016, I’d like to do better…much better.
To kick off the #yearofconfidence, I tracked my negative self-talk in order to become better acquainted with how I really feel about my body. Writing it down makes it real. Our internal banter can often become background noise in our busy and distracted lives to the point that we don’t even register it. But those “I look fat today” and “Why did you eat those French fries” thoughts still leave a mark.
When negotiating with my editor about writing this story, I made the seemingly wise negotiation to hold off on tracking my feelings until after Christmas, as I felt like the indulgent week of festive parties wouldn’t be the best reflection of how I feel about myself. I mean, I couldn’t possibly have that many positive thoughts when I’m eating all that crap. Right?! Without even knowing it, this was my first slip-up on my conquest to be kinder to my body. I was already unintentionally making lame excuses for why I might have a bit of extra attitude toward myself.
I realize I’m generally nicer to myself when I’ve been eating well. On those days, I bounce out of bed and prance around naked without concern. (Especially since we got blinds!) On the days I’ve indulged a little, on the other hand, I reach for my bathrobe and put it on before I have a chance to glance at myself in the mirror.
I know that indulging in a few extra glasses of wine or a bit of dessert on occasion will not drastically affect my weight or add extra dimples to my ass. But, sadly, it seems the small part of my brain that has the urge to judge my nutritional “indiscretions” also has the power to shift my self-perception. Next time, I’m determined to stop the negativity dead in its tracks.
Fast-forward to the week after Christmas: The internal analysis about my body starts to whisper before I even have my first sip of coffee in the morning (I skipped my abs session after boxing last night and I had a bit too much dark chocolate after dinner, and I feel bad about it). I can usually shake it off and go about my day with my head held high. But those self-judgements are buried in the back of my mind, waiting for the chance to rear their ugly heads in the form of “What is going to fit today?” as if something has changed since I wore my favourite jeans the day before last. #SMH.
As for the time of day when my confidence is unbreakable? During my workouts, naturally. Exercise makes me feel happy, strong, powerful, accomplished, sexy and generally invincible—which is why I’ve made it such a big part of my life.
So, the question is, how do I make my happy, strong, powerful, accomplished, sexy and generally invincible sense of self carry over into the other moments of life when I’m not working out or eating perfectly clean? It comes down to awareness.
First, I acknowledge the thought, which tends to be something like, “It’s gross that you ate all of those spring rolls last night.” Then I ask myself how that really impacts my worth. Obviously it doesn’t, but I resolve to try for better self-control next time and let it go. Finally, I ask myself why I am worthy of self-love. This is the moment I get to do for myself what I do for my clients: I get to pump up my tires and remind myself why I’m badass—and not because of how I look! Last weekend, my go-to reminder was about how proud I am that I get to teach women how to box and how empowering that feels. A few days earlier, I was proud of myself for reaching 2,000 Instagram followers (@Caleighfit, in case you’re curious). And the day before that it was about the hot sex I had with my fiancé the night before.
Going through this process with myself over the past few weeks is already making a difference with how I view my body. I’m quicker to dismiss the negative self-talk and also quicker to identify the things I’m most proud of. While I may never be able to completely exorcise my internal mean girl, I’m looking forward to giving her a lot less power in 2016.
The post This year, I vow to finally stop hating on my body appeared first on FASHION Magazine.