My Own Worst Critic

“You’re fat.  Why can’t you get this under control?  What is wrong with you?  You probably embarrass your family.  You are going to die young.  Everyone looks at you and thinks you’re stupid because you can’t lose weight.  People at church must think you’re a mess.  Your husband deserves better.”

I could go on and on.  Just as the voice in my head did.  A constant chatter of negativity.  A barrage of reminders that I was fat.  I look back and wonder how I functioned in life. 

The Bible says that God speaks to us through a still small voice.   It says that we are like sheep that will not follow the voice of a stranger.  I let the voice of a stranger rule my thoughts for years.  That voice was yelling, screaming at me, drowning out any still small voice that may have tried to whisper to me.  How could I possibly have heard anything that the Lord was trying to speak to me when I was consumed with berating myself because I could not control my weight?

No matter what I did, where I was, whatever occasion that was going on in my life, the voice was always there.  I had allowed this negativity to take up residence in my head.  I remember seeing a commercial for something weight loss related once that played the song “You Are Always on My Mind”, and I could totally relate.  My weight was not only weighing my body down, it was weighing down my mind.

One would think that if my weight was that consuming and that bothersome, I would have done something about it.  But, I felt frozen.  I felt helpless.  I was overwhelmed with not knowing where to start.  I was scared to reach out for help. Scared of failing.  Scared of starting and not finishing.  Scared that if I did try and didn’t succeed, that maybe I would never lose the weight.

Could I ever lose the extra weight? Could I ever commit to something and make it stick? Was I ever going to be healthy?

If the voice in my head was right, the answer was no.

But, thankfully, it wasn’t right.  As I jumped into my year of transformation, I began to realize that the voice was wrong.  I began to see that I could work hard.  I loved the workouts.  As difficult as they were, I loved the feeling of my body being spent.  You can bet I often found myself sweaty, weak in the knees, and gasping for air. But, I knew that I was finally fighting back.  I was finding a way to silence the voice that said I couldn’t do it.  Just starting to move was a motivator to tell that voice that it was wrong.  It was the first time in years that I began to see that I had what it took to be successful.  No longer did I have to listen when the voice said I had no options.

My biggest light bulb moment was when Chris Powell, my trainer, talked to us about keeping our promises to ourselves.  What?! You mean when I tell myself I am going to eat better, I have to stick to it?  When I tell myself I am going to do an hour on the treadmill every day, I actually follow through?  I cannot tell you how many promises I had made and broken to myself through the years.

But, I never broke promises to other people.  Don’t we all do that?  We stick to our work commitments, our family commitments, and our church commitments.  However, do we stick to the things we told ourselves we would do?  If anyone gets shortchanged, it’s us.  We don’t cancel on our friends.  We don’t call into work every time life gets busy.  Yet, somehow when it gets a little hard to stick to eating well and exercising, we allow ourselves to back out of what we promised ourselves we would do.  And then we beat ourselves up for not sticking to it.

I reached a breaking point.  I realized that I had spent years playing Supermom.  I had spent years working full time and juggling everyone else’s schedules.  I had never made myself a priority. I needed to waive the white flag and say, “I matter! I need help!”

As Chris began to give me the guidance and help that I needed, I realized I could keep my word.  I began to keep my promises.  I realized I could trust myself again. 

I began to fight, as I began to lose weight, workout, eat right, make the changes I had wanted to make for so long, the voice got quieter.  The voice began to lose steam.  It could no longer tell me that I was a failure, as I was climbing Red Rocks for the twelfth time in two hours.  It could no longer tell me I was alone in the battle when I had Scott, sixteen other cast mates, and Chris and Heidi telling me they were with me every step of the way.  It could no longer tell me I was going to die young as I was passing every medical test given to me. 

As I prayed one night during boot camp, I realized that the voice no longer had a place in my mind.  Not to say that it doesn’t try to make appearances, but I no longer allow myself to go down that road. 

Decide today to fight the negative voice in your head:

· Make changes in the area that is bothering you.

· Keep promises to yourself

· Choose not to listen. Don't allow that voice to dictate how you see yourself.

· Choose to see the positive. Gain confidence from the positive changes you make.

For so long, I had allowed the words of that voice to be the only voice I was hearing.  I had allowed it to silence what God’s word said about me.  That I was perfect in His sight, that I could do all things through Him.  I am so thankful that as I kept promises to myself, and began to trust myself, that I gained confidence, I trusted myself again, and I was able to see that I was not a failure.  I could silence the resounding voice in my head that tried to tell me otherwise.

Do you struggle with that voice too?  What are some of the barriers that keep you from confronting it?  Can you challenge yourself to shut down those thoughts when they do come?