By Sherrin Bernstein

There is something behind every statement you make inside your head that stops you from doing what you want or need to do to get in shape. A prime example: “I’m too fat to go to the gym; I have to lose weight first.”

I hear this statement over and over again and it’s simply not the truth. It’s logical, but not rational. So, why do we say it? Why do countless people, who are pro-active, professional go-getters, in all other aspects of their lives, say this to themselves? This is an example of what I call defeatist thinking. It gets you nowhere fast. And the power we give that statement, just by uttering it, is enormous, because the brain controls our ACTIONS.

There are two reasons involved in my opinion: underlying belief or fear and habit. There is an underlying belief or fear that is not stated out loud where it could be examined. The underlying belief or fear is particular to the speaker. It may be: “I am not beautiful”, “I am not deserving of getting in shape”, “I don’t have the energy”, “I don’t like working out”, “I will be seen in my weakest state”, and/or “people will see me.” Fill in the blank. 

Habit is the other obstacle. We don’t even know it, but we have these thoughts many times a day and we may have acquired them so long ago, we don’t even realize they are there. But they are not truth. They are just thoughts. We may have acquired them from our parents, our culture, our best friends, and/or siblings. But a habit can be changed. The habit of defeatist thinking, is just that; habit. 

I invite you to restructure your defeatist thoughts into thoughts that serve you. Because I know some universal truths, that I am going to share with you right now, that tell you, it’s ok, it’s ok to do what you have to do, what you want to do to get in shape now:

You are beautiful. You are beautiful because you were born. You are a child of the universe. Therefore, you have the right to be happy and healthy and to get in shape. Energy breeds energy, you will start to have more energy as you get in better shape. Everybody going to the gym is having similar thoughts of being seen in an unfavorable light. Mostly they will be caught up wrestling with their own demons and are not going to notice you. If they do, they are only distracting themselves from what’s important to them; there own experience in the gym. So have compassion for them for a designated moment and then move on.

How do I do this? How do I move on? The first step is awareness. You didn’t go to the gym. Why? Think back, what thought stopped you? Let’s say it was the thought I provided; “I’m too fat to go to the gym; I have to lose weight first.” How can this sentence be altered into a positively constructed statement that serves you and your goals better? Let’s try “I am going to the gym now to feel better.” Isn’t that more important? Try that statement on. If that doesn’t work for you, construct a different one that does work. Delay not, nip defeatist thinking in the bud. Turn defeatist thoughts right into your advantage. It is an opportunity to become smarter, stronger and in control of your ACTIONS. Be a leader. If you start doing this, someone you care a great deal for, may notice and admire and follow suit. Teaching by example provides you practice to break the habit! That’s exciting. You can do it! I believe in you.