I had recently decided to set a physical health goal of losing some unwanted fat, and gaining lean muscle by entering a new challenge. There are many challenges out there and in truth, I’m one of those people who have tried “everything” to lose weight and get fit. At age 41, mother of 2 kids and a very busy work schedule, it’s all too easy to make excuses for why I didn’t make it to the gym or prepare that home cooked meal. Overall I am at a healthy body weight, my physicals are always perfect (thank God), good blood pressure, no health issues and most times I look and feel pretty darn good. Having said that, I know I’m not at my best physical shape. I can still feel better, look better, eat better, sleep better and push myself to a fitness level and form I would be proud of. I don’t think it counts if I look great in clothing (but thank goodness for things like spanx, control tops and push ups) and I still get compliments for a woman my age. I want to look great naked, with the lights on, staring in my mirror as I dance around the house in my birthday suit.
When you’re public with your goals of getting in shape there’s a lot more pressure. More eyes are watching and keeping you accountable. If you make statements like this “I’m going to get ripped in 6 weeks” or “I’m shredding” “I’m cutting” every time you decide that THIS time you’re really going to stick with it, and 6 weeks later, you still look good, but there’s no obvious change. You’re bound to have some eyes roll and people begin to doubt you. Well to my surprise this recently happened to me.
I had a friend looking at some fitness models on Facebook and pointed to one photo of what probably was an IBFF or WBFF female model and I said “I want to look like that in 90 days.” I was beaming at the time, feeling super motivated and fired up; only to be met with this statement “You won’t look like that in 90 days.” I think instantly my heart sank, my energy left, my attitude changed and I instantly felt insulted. Those words had such a negative and instant impact and I literally began to ask questions like, “Why would he say that?” “Am I not good enough?” “Why does he doubt me?” “Should I not even bother?” I had adopted this victim mentality.
He continued on to say “Those types of people spend their entire lives at the gym. They eat clean, they are on strict diets. They live and breathe health and fitness, and you’re too busy for all of that.” It’s amazing how the power of words can really impact your emotions and spirit, when you ALLOW it. I guess at the time, I was looking for was a positive affirmation. I wanted him to say “You can do it.” I had “expected” the reply to be different, and I reacted to his words negatively. I allowed his opinion of me to be the basis of my feelings in that moment.
When my reaction was clearly visible, and the uncontrollable tears started streaming down my face because I was so focused on the negative words and hurt feelings, he looked at me with shock and wondered to himself” What did I say wrong?” After all, he’s entitled to his feelings and they were his opinion, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It may have been reverse psychology or tough love, but it was just a statement, an opinion. How I reacted, is what surprised me.
Finally I had a moment where my hurt, my bitterness, my disappointment led to me to ask other questions. What was I really upset about? Why am I crying? Who cares what he thinks anyways? Who am I doing this for? Why am I spending time getting upset over someone else’s opinion of me? Why do I care so much about what he or anyone else thinks of me? It was like a light bulb had gone off in my head. I had an “Ah-ha” moment. The one where you realize you were being silly, you were wrong and you want to instantly change things. So I did.
I reminded myself that I entered the challenge for me. If I wanted to look like that fitness model in 90 days, I could do it. I don’t need anyone else’s approval or encouragement other than my own. Life is full of hardships and this was NOTHING to cry over. Wow, it was an awakening for me when I reminded myself I should always be in control of my emotions. People will always judge you, always be critical of you, doubt you and question you. But, here are also those who will support you, encourage you and tell you that you CAN versus you CAN’T. What matters is what you tell yourself and your own beliefs. They can be limiting or limitless. Don’t ever let someone else’s opinion of you affect the way you think and feel. Sometimes people make mistakes, and you should always care more about your own thoughts- so keep them positive!