What's your inner voice say?

"You're so fat!"

"You better go for a run now you've eaten all of that!"

"Only 1lb this week? What's wrong with you?"

Do you have a friend who speaks to you like this?

No, of course you don't because if they did, they wouldn't be your friend for much longer - I hope!

So why, oh why, do we speak to ourselves like this? In the past, I've been terrible for this kind of self-abuse. At my very worst, my moving goal of 'just a 3 more pounds' was going to make all the difference when I finally reached it; I would at last feel pleased with the way I looked, I would be confident and comfortable with my body. Only, I never did.

The picture below is a good example of this. Taken 6 years ago, this picture is one that strikes me the most in my FB albums because I look back now and think how slim I look. However, the dress I'm wearing I bought specifically to cover up how 'fat' I was... I liked it because it hung over me and didn't reveal any of the hideous shape beneath! At the time, I spent hours in the gym attending back-to-back classes and would feel close to tears if I found myself in a restaurant that didn't serve food which fit my 'plan'.

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My point is that it didn't matter at that time what I weighed on the scale or whether I lost an extra few pounds or not. I could have weighed 45kg or 145kg, I wouldn't have felt satisfied because my mindset was all wrong. I was losing weight to punish myself. I was working out to punish myself. And I was restricting my diet to punish myself. It didn't actually matter whether I was overweight or not.

I'm not like this anymore. I've shifted my mindset and it's made a difference...

Now, I exercise to be strong, to run faster, to lift heavier weights, to achieve exciting things. I love the feeling of pushing my body to overcome challenges and I love the feeling of achievement that comes from doing that. I eat to fuel my body to do these awesome things and I love it for what it can do.

Of course, nasty me creeps back in sometimes when I look in the mirror, but these days I'm ready for her. I don't let her say those things anymore, I tell her my body is the way it is because of what it can do and that's far more important than weighing an arbitrary number on a scale.

No matter where we are on our fitness journey - whether we've yet to start or we're running ultra races every other weekend - we need to learn to speak kindly to ourselves. We have to train our inner voice to acknowledge the positives - look at what your body has done, what it can do, what it has the potential to do. The confidence we seek, comes from that positive mindset, not from restrictive diets and punishing exercise programmes.

Instead, find the joy in exercise and make healthier choices with food because you know it's going to give you more energy, make you stronger, help you achieve your goals and make you feel good which in turn will make you more confident.

Oh yes, and the by-product of that? A body that's fitter, toned and that looks awesome!

So, what's your inner voice say? Is she a friend worth keeping?

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