Let's get physical!
. . .until the obsession takes control of your life and wellbeing.
A good example that illustrates this point is the Apple series, Physical, a dark comedy-drama starring Rose Byrne, which takes place in the early 1980’s in San Diego. The main character, Sheila, played by Ms. Bryne, is a housewife and mother who struggles with an eating disorder and extreme negative self-talk. Her inner voice narrates the story, and there is no holding back on her true thoughts –about herself and others.
While the show is entertaining, Sheila’s sadness is undeniable. Sheila, a ballet dancer who ends up having fun and finding success creating aerobics videos is terribly rigid and super focused on her meals, her appearance, and her negative self-image.
At one point, she tells herself, “You’re the only one that thinks about food this much you f****** freak.” This is a powerful example of her negative self-talk and ultimately results in a continuous battle of binging and purging.
She starts her day by telling herself, “Today you will eat clean healthy foods.” This line is straight from her food rule book and makes it clear how disordered her eating is from the first episode as being highly restrictive and having food rules is a sign of disordered eating.
After working with women for years in retail, becoming a certified coach, and dealing with my own body image and disordered eating struggles in the past, this show made me sad yet hopeful for people also experiencing these issues. Thankfully, there are several coping strategies and exercises to help improve one's relationship with food and their body.
Negative self-talk can quickly take up space in our minds and result in a nasty cycle. Shifting this common pattern takes practice.
Using the 3 C’s (Change, Commitment and Consistency) can help shift negative thoughts.
To change your lifestyle in any way, shape or form you need to commit and be consistent. This principle relates to nearly everything we do in life: starting a business, performing well on an exam, losing weight, and getting stronger, in addition to improving your relationships, especially with yourself. When we make a commitment, we naturally feel the pressure to take the steps towards reaching our goals. The motivation that comes from wanting to prove to ourselves we can do it successfully helps us stay consistent. Writing down goals, commitments, and action steps hold us accountable and keep us engaged.
Improving self-esteem and confidence takes the same level of commitment. It’s common to start a new habit, like telling yourself how wonderful you are every morning for a week, only to have a bad day and break the habit. Instead of creating a story in your head about how you messed up, check yourself and switch the narrative. Changing how we think about and treat ourselves doesn’t happen in a week: be consistent and trust the process.
To change anything, you have to accept it first. When you hear your inner critic creeping into your head, pause, acknowledge it, and ask yourself if the thought is true. Once you make yourself aware of and accept the problem, then you can take next steps. Nothing can happen before that.
Try and create a mental toolbox including a variety of exercises, like journaling, breathwork, or challenging yourself to rephrase your negative self-talk and change the perspective.
For example, if you find yourself saying “I look massive in these jeans, I should not go out tonight,” instead, try, “I am going to wear something else I feel more comfortable in. That way, when I am out tonight, I will be able to focus my energy on my friends and enjoying myself.”
Pick a person (friend, family member, professional) who isn’t judgmental and who will hold space for you.
Let your feelings out with them and make a go-to list of self compliments. Repeat these daily- consistency is key! Similar to a morning gratitude list, tell yourself five reasons why you’re fabulous.
When you experience the physical sensations of anxiety it’s a que that your thoughts are not helping you. Use these feelings as a signal to start implementing the 3 C’s.
As Sheila says, “Only you have the power to change you.”
Briana Weisinger, founder of Breathing Wellness, is a holistic integrative certified Health Coach and holds certifications in Positive Psychology & Wellness and Body Confidence. She applies her education, life experiences, and passion to help her clients reach their personal wellness goals. Bri’s work is based on two key concepts: bio-individuality, and primary food theory. The first encapsulates the idea that everyone is unique and has different needs. The second concept focuses on how aspects of one's life —relationships, physical activity, spirituality and career nourishes or impedes our wellness. She then creates evidenced based offerings to develop customized programs that motivate her clients to achieve their desired results. Bri’s unique ability to to listen, inquire, motivate, support, and educate is a trait that can not be taught, but is a tremendous asset she uses to guide her clients through the process. Please contact Briana at: www.brianaweisinger.com