As we continue through our month long foray into self-love, it’s time to come full circle. This post will help guide you to explore the way in which your daily routines and resulting actions can provide some insight into what lies beneath the surface, where you truly feel your value lies and where you may need to draw and focus more attention.
As part of our daily practice as an organization, MTMM strives to be concise with language. When we choose the words we print or the expressions we use when talking to our clients, we do so with intention. Meaning that we understand the connotations associated with each phrase or term. This has taken us years to develop, and is never seen as an accomplished task - rather something that continues to evolve everyday, with each conversation.
In more specific cases, we have even made it part of our mission to reclaim terms and phrases that have been bastardized by the industry as a whole, convoluted and twisted in the endeavour to capitalize on insecurity and profit from desperation and ignorance.
Let’s look at the term ‘diet’. For most, this arouses some pretty negative feelings. From underlying assertions of heavy restriction (both volume and variety), or punishment – this term has been completely distorted.
At MTMM, the term ‘diet’ is used to encompass everything you consume, and this goes far beyond the nutritional factor of what foods you choose to eat and how much. But how about the media you consume? What does your Instagram feed tell you to feel about your body? What is the messaging that you are bombarded with each day? What does it tell you multiple times per day about who you are and what you do? Are you in a constant state of comparison? Are you stuck in a vortex of not living up to a certain standard?
It may seem trivial, but everything we consume will have an underlying effect on the rhetoric which plays in our minds, which becomes the story we tell ourselves, which shapes our view of our world, our reality and our place in it. Extrapolate this story a little further and we can begin to uncover the rationale behind our day to day choices. Why do you choose to buy the clothes you do? To eat the things you do? To talk to yourself the way you do?
Each day we are presented with thousands of choices to redefine who we think we are, the value we assign to our position and ourselves within our community. But it all starts with this intrinsic self narrative.
Self-love, as we’ve expanded on in Part I - What is Self-love, is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support both our physical and psychological growth. It is personal, meaning we control the outside influences that may be attempting to alter it. It’s unconditional, meaning that when we struggle, it does not diminish. It is a state of mind, not something that is based on accomplishments or failures, but rather how we perceive the situations presented to us, and our reactions to them.
How do you know if your self-love is lacking? Most likely the chatter in your head is negative. You often feel hesitant to voice your opinion, and most likely will always look to avoid confrontation, even if the issue is something you fiercely believe in. You place yourself low in your social hierarchy and struggle to stand up for yourself.
This builds pressure, and pressure leads to mistakes. Rather than acknowledge the cause, you berate yourself for your slip-ups, internally claim responsibility for things not going to plan, and most commonly – quickly dismiss or put down what you see in the mirror (if you can bear to look at all).
How do we improve self-love?
The answer is built right into the concept. We start with the self. You re-read the above paragraph, take a deep breath and tell yourself that it’s ok. This is our starting point. The only thing now that’s not ok, is not doing anything about it.
This is not a license to start looking for conflict. It is permission to no longer need to accept how things currently are.
Begin to think about the person you wish yourself to be. Don’t picture anyone in particular, but decide upon what attributes are shared by people you admire, and begin to think through how you might try to take their example. Pro –tip here, if you’re looking in the tabloids at celebrities, it’s time to cull your Instagram feed.
Re-read our last blog post and come up with a mantra that you tell yourself about who you want to be and what you want to achieve.
Correct the voice in your head every time it tells you you’re not good enough or can’t do something.
Drink more water. It’s the easiest thing you can do to immediately improve your health. Then congratulate yourself for doing it.
Practice. Daily. Like any new skill, you won’t be a natural, and that’s perfectly ok. The point is, not practicing is not going to get you any better, and every 1% you can improve, gets you 1% closer to where you want to be.
How do you know if you’re headed in the right direction? Easy. You’ll be uncomfortable. Probably heavily. Practicing self-love is incredibly uncomfortable. If you’re reading this, you most likely don’t like to praise yourself, and you interpret compliments from others as a potential punchline.
It’s important to understand here, that self-love/self-confidence does not manifest in arrogance or bravado. They are polar opposites. You don’t need to be arrogant when you are confident, and believing in yourself is far braver than any show of chest beating.
How do you know you are improving?
If you start to notice more positive things around you each day, it’s going to be a reflection of the shift in your mindset.
When you encounter a problem or an obstacle and choose to tackle it rather than panic, you’re improving. The outcome of the challenge is irrelevant in comparison to how you approach it.
If you notice that you like your smile, you’re improving.
If someone pays you a compliment and you respond with ‘thank you’ – you’re improving.
If some, or all of the above begin to occur, and then begin to occur with greater frequency, you’re on the right path – keep going!
Still unsure about how to get started?
Start taking steps to improve your health. Be an adult. Your health is your responsibility and if you’re going to transform yourself into the person you aspire to be, it’s time to take ownership and throw in a few vegetables.
Taking care of yourself is a direct reflection of your self-opinion. Health is a form of self respect, and choosing to be healthier is where it all starts. Again, it’s ok to start simple and start small. 1%’s add up.
If you really need to make some drastic changes to your current practices, avoid allowing yourself to be overwhelmed with named diet protocols and focus on the basics – we’ve listed them to death, but to save you the hassle, start here:
If you know it’s shit, it’s shit, so stop eating it. You don’t need Kat’s masters in nutrition and human performance to understand that junk food is not a great source of sustenance.
Most of what you perceive to be healthy, probably is, or at least is healthier than most of what you’re currently eating. Don’t worry about overdoing vegetables, or having too much apple and Greek yogurt for a snack, if the alternative is chips or cookies.
Drink more water. Believe me, you’re not drinking enough.
Get active. We could argue all day about which training method produces the best results, but all of them will serve you better than doing nothing. Try a few. Ask for help. Go for a walk, then jog, then run. Or stretch – whatever interests you (or get in touch and we can help you find a local facility that can help).
Finally, we can’t overstate this enough – be patient and be forgiving, but don’t accept not even trying.
We’re working hard behind the scenes in an effort to change the way people see food – from something that is to be feared or used as punishment/reward, to something we need, understand and respect – simply a vessel that will help us go from where we are to where we want to be. Without affirmations from our own self that we are worth the time, the effort and the dedication to investing in our health and nutrition, how can we be expected to succeed?
Tell yourself you’re worth it. Now.
And do it again.
If you don’t believe it, keep doing it until you do. Because you are.
You have to want to be on your journey, so make sure whatever it is you are working towards is something you want for you, and not simply a culmination of what you think others expect of you. If you decide along the way that the final destination changes, it’s so much easier to simply amend the course when you are already moving.
Aim to set goals that have a meaning deeper than what achieving those goals will look like on the surface. Wanting to amend your diet in a bid to improve your health so that you can have the energy to do all the things you wish to over the course of a day, including intentional activity, is a great motivator. Telling yourself you can only eat broccoli and spending hours on the treadmill while thinking you deserve the pain you’re in, is not. See the difference?
As practitioners, we aren’t nearly as concerned with what you are putting in your body as we are with the quality of what you put into your mind and how you speak to yourself.
How you speak to yourself reflects how you treat yourself, and how you treat yourself affects the outcome of all your endeavours, not just your health and performance.