“The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves.” Richard Bach
I detest a liar. The thing my children know will get them in the MOST trouble in our family is lying. I care more that you’re dishonest with me than I care about the thing you’re being dishonest about. I truly believe that relationships die when you can’t believe what the other person says. There’s no way to be vulnerable or trusting, two of the absolute requirements of a meaningful relationship with me.
You can imagine my surprise, being such a liar-hater, to discover that the person who lies to me the most often is not my four-year-old. It’s not my five-year-old (which is shocking, really). It’s not my husband. It’s not my boss. It’s not any one of my friends or even the corporate group of friends I keep.
Do you know who lies to me the most frequently, boldly, and irreverently? ME!
My inner voice is a nasty critic and also a liar. On any given day, she’s likely to say:
You can’t do this.
You’re going to fail.
No one cares about what you’re doing, writing, creating…
You don’t have anything valuable to share.
You can’t help anyone while you’re still such a mess yourself.
You’re hard to love. (in fairness, she’s not altogether incorrect about this one)
You don’t have the background to be good enough. (y’all, I have a doctoral degree and this crap is still on repeat…what more am I supposed to do?!)
We lie to ourselves so much that my author idol (and future bestie…she just doesn’t know it yet) Rachel Hollis wrote an entire BOOK on the topic called “Girl, Wash Your Face.” Each chapter is centered around a lie we tell ourselves, how that manifested in her life, and some practical steps she used to overcome it that you can apply too. I love it and wanna read/listen to it on repeat.
That inspired me to look at the lies we tell ourselves about our health and our ability to care for ourselves, so here are some of the most common and damaging lies I’ve heard from our community, and my own nasty inner critic, and the truth about them.
The lie: I can’t lose weight because I failed at it before.
90 percent of diets set you up for either failure or dependency. (that’s not an actual statistic but it’s gotta be close).
Anything that didn’t teach you WHY you were making the choices you were making and HOW your body was responding to those choices set you up for failure.
Anything that restricted your diet to the point where you were hungry or felt restricted set you up for failure.
Anything that did not educate and empower you to tweak your diet for your own needs or served you up a one-size-fits all plan set you up for failure.
Anything that made you pray for the “diet period” to end so you could go back to “normal” set you up for failure.
The truth: You haven’t been successful yet because you’ve been dieting instead of changing your lifestyle.
You haven’t been successful yet because you’ve been trying to be perfect instead of focusing on making imperfect, steady progress.
You haven’t been successful yet because the diets you were using were busted from the start.
The lie: I’m too old to change my body.
If you’re not dead yet, you still have time to improve your health and your body.
Are there different challenges for our more mature friends? You betcha. Is that an excuse to not try? Not a chance.
The truth: You have more experience and more knowledge than the young guns. You’re up for the challenge. You know your body and what doesn’t work. You are fully capable of learning and doing what does work. You also have more at stake. Your quality and longevity of LIFE are literally on the line. If that won’t motivate you, I don’t know what will.
The lie: If I lose weight, I’ll have loose skin and look worse than I do now.
This one kills me. It’s like me saying, “If I made a million dollars, just think of all the taxes I’d have to pay! I’d better not try to earn that much!”
The truth: Loose skin is an actual concern. It sucks to work so hard and still have a physical reminder of the damage that happened before, but for heaven’s sake, don’t let that be the reason you don’t try.
Your health will improve. Your body will improve. Your self-esteem will improve. Yes, you’ll have to address the loose skin in some way at some point, but let’s not fail to try because you don’t want that one bummer consequence when you’re going to get TONS of amazing benefits that go along with it.
The lie: I’m healthy for a “fat kid.”
But are you really? If the lab work from the doctor is good, that’s awesome, but that only paints part of the picture.
Is your heart healthy? Like the heart that you use to feel confident or ashamed, proud or timid, and included or left out? Are you healthy there?
Is your family healthy? Are you setting a good example for your kids? Are you teaching them how to care for themselves when they’re on their own? Are you setting them up for success? Are you active and involved in the things they’re doing or are you on the sidelines?
Is your adventure bone healthy? (actual anatomic reality that I just made up) Are you living life in color and excited to try new things with your friends and family? Are you physically able to do anything you want to?
The truth: Good lab work when you’re overweight is awesome but it doesn’t often last. Obesity-related illnesses are real and you are likely not immune to them, even if you’re not experiencing issues right now. Furthermore, you are a complex human and living life in an unhealthy state affects more than just your bloodwork. You’re likely missing out on adventures, setting a not-so-stellar example for your family, or a little heartsick because you’re not taking good care of yourself.
The lie: This is all I’m capable of.
This is nothing but insecurity and garbage thinking. You were not made for mediocrity. You were made to be who and whatever you want to be.
The truth: That’s bull crap. You are MORE than capable.
The lie: I’m too busy.
Everybody’s busy. One of my favorite success stories is from a dad of four with a full-time job and a wife. He dropped 90 lbs and is currently training for an IronMan without sacrificing the way he shows up in his family, his marriage, or his job. Excuse busted.
The truth: If it’s important to you, you will find time. If it’s not, you will find an excuse. You don’t need more time. You need to adjust your time to fit your priorities.
The lie: I take care of too many people to take care of myself.
It’s adorable that you’re so self-sacrificing but it also makes you an idiot. (said with love from a fellow idiot) You aren’t worth a darn to those people you’re killing yourself to serve if you aren’t whole and healthy. Who is going to take care of you when your body literally revolts against you because you’ve neglected it for so long?
The truth: If you don’t take care of yourself now, someone else will have to take care of you later. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
The lie: Eating well is too expensive.
If you only look at your grocery bill before and after you decide to clean up your diet, this will seem true, but that’s not an accurate picture of what’s going on. You need to compare your total food spending: eating out, drive thrus, AND groceries before and after cleaning up your diet.
The truth: Cooking at home is less expensive every time. You can afford to feed yourself quality foods. You just may not be able to afford to have someone else fix them for you.
The lie: I can’t lose weight because I love (insert crappy food) too much. And/or I can’t lose weight because I hate to get sweaty.
Bring me your healthy living idol and let me ask her if she LOVES eating well and working out? If there was never a time that he craved pizza and beer? If being healthy doesn’t require sacrificing creature comforts that she misses?
Newsflash: Everyone loves crappy food and nobody likes to get sweaty/sore/whatever other excuse you have for not working out. Runners don’t always love to run. Lifters don’t always feel like lifting. Humans who feed themselves well would rather have donuts sometimes.
Do your tastes and cravings change? Yes. After a while you feel better about eating well.
Can you fall in love with a sport and look forward to it? Totally, but it doesn’t mean you were born with that drive or inclination.
The truth: People who eat well and exercise regularly have the same cravings and preferences as you do. They just do it anyway. How you feel does not have to dictate what you do. Every single one of us feels like skipping work and the gym to binge on Netflix, pizza, cake, and booze.
The lie: I can’t eat well because I don’t know how to cook.
Just because you haven’t learned how to do something yet doesn’t mean you’re not able.
I have a theory about our generation of people: Our moms were the first generation to work outside the home. As a general rule, their moms were homemakers and had dinner on the table every night and taught their kids to cook. Our moms did their best to live up to the family dinner expectation (and most succeeded) but between working and doing the family dinner thing, teaching us to cook fell by the wayside. Our generation was left with the expectation of working and having family dinners every night but wasn’t given the skillset to cook them because are moms were busting their tails as working moms. The result is a drive and desire to do something but no idea how to even start to pull it off. We don’t know how to plan meals or prepare them and we’re busier than ever.
But, there is hope. You can learn to cook, no matter who you are or where you are in life. I can’t make you into a chef or a Southern grandma, but I can help you get easy basics on the table.
The truth: Cooking is a skill and can be learned just like anything else.
The lie: I’ll be valuable/happy when…
I saved this one for last because it’s the most damaging and the dearest to my heart. If we were hanging out in real life and you told me about how much happier or more whole you would be when you lost weight, got a new job, finished school, bought a bigger house, or whatever your dream is, I would pull you close, put your face in my hands and say, “You are valuable right now, just like this.”
We all have goals in our lives or levels we hope to achieve that will help us in some way, but NONE of those will make you more valuable. Your value as a human is based upon the fact that you were even created and amplified by the good you bring into the world. You don’t have to be any certain size, shape, or net worth to be valuable.
I’ve been very blessed to have achieved a lot of goals I’ve set for myself and I assure you that about 15 minutes after I attain that thing that’s going to finally make me happy, I’ve set a higher goal and I’m back to being dissatisfied because I’m not there yet.
When I’m overweight, I’m SURE that if I could get back into my skinny jeans I’ll be happier.
Eventually l get back into my skinny jeans and I’m grouchy they aren’t skinnier jeans or that I’m not strong enough or fast enough.
When I was in school, I was SURE that I’d be confident in my education when I finally graduated.
I’ve graduated and no swagger has arrived yet, let me tell you. If anything, I know how much I don’t know now so I’m even more afraid.
Before we had kids, I was SURE that my life would be more complete once I had a family of my own.
Now that we have two precious girls, I realize that my life during the season before they arrived was also pretty special and complete, I just didn’t realize it at the time.
The point is, I was whole and capable of happiness all along. My view was blocked by all the things I thought I should have or be or accomplish so I wasted a lot of time being dissatisfied instead of celebrating where I was and loving myself for what I had done so far.
“We’re all in the same game, just different levels. Dealing with the same hell, just different devils.”
The magic lies in appreciating where you are while you work towards your next level; not waiting to live, celebrate, be happy, and see yourself as valuable until you’ve “arrived.”
The truth: You, my sweet friend, matter right now, just as you are. Your worth does not depend what you look like, how successful you are, or how many letters come after your name. You do not have to wait until you achieve ANYTHING to be happy and valuable. You are important right here and right now. Do not wait to start your life. It’s not something that happens once you reach your destination. It’s flying by all around you right now while you’re on your way.Which are your pet lies?
All the best,