To get stronger, you need to eat more. It’s as simple as that.
And it’s been a goal of mine to get stronger. There’s only one thing holding me back: I can’t break that horrible mind set barrier around gaining weight.
I know my body, and my 23 year old metabolism is pretty fine tuned—I can gain 8 pounds over Christmas holiday and lose it two weeks after by eating clean and getting back into my training routine. I know that, yet whenever I attempt to embark on a lean gain phase, I turn into a hypercritical, body shaming being. Ok, it’s not that harsh, but you get the point. As healthy as I am, and as well as I treat my body, weight gain is ingrained in my head as failure.
So I put together a list of the things I do to help reverse my thought patterns—I’m hopeful they’ll reap you some benefits, too. While it’s still a process, it’s a much, much more positive one.
Tell self compliments instead of pointing out insecurities. Hopping out of the shower and standing in front of the mirror naked is something we all do. We all also start narrowing in on parts of our bodies that we don’t like. Thoughts like, I wish my stomach was flatter or Why is my face so gross creep in fast and create a negative outlook for ourselves about ourselves.
Instead of pointing out what you don’t like, point out what you do like. And say it out loud! “Your hair is lookin’ good!” or “Hard work is paying off… look at those legs!” It’s going to feel funny at first, but it literally forces you to think positive thoughts about yourself. The more you love the skin you’re in, the more of a positive mindset you’ll apply to other avenues in your life, the more likely you’ll reach your goals.
Write down goals and read them every day. It’s easy to forget what’s important to you when you’re surrounded by people’s “cooler” lives on social media, negative people who put you down to make them feel better about themselves, or a lack of self motivation.
Break those evil atmospheres by writing down your goals (with pen and paper!) and leave them on your nightstand or on your bathroom mirror—some place where you’ll read them first thing every morning. This helps set your mind up to focus on what’s most important, to push away anything negative, and to have a constant reminder on why you’re doing what you’re doing!
Surround self with positive influences. I can’t emphasize the importance of this one enough! Who you surrounded yourself with is who you will become. Do your friends support your decisions and encourage you to take risks and provide feedback that will better your endeavors? Or do they criticize your actions, say that your ideas are stupid or won’t work, and don’t push you in positive directions?
It’s hard to make a change in scenery, let alone in friends. But when you find a group of people that constantly work hard, learn how to better themselves and their career, and want what’s best for their community, you’ll find you’re more excited and motivated to reach for, and take action on, your dreams.
Understand that progress is a l o n g process. This one is the hardest one to come to terms with. It’s not just me saying that I want to get stronger and then all of a sudden I can lift an extra hundred pounds. I need to put in the work, every day, even when I’m frustrated, pissed off, and angry. Some days (most days) I will see no progress. But like any good coach says, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Remind yourself why you’re doing what you do and the hard days will get just a bit easier. You might not make any physical change on those tough days, but you’re bettering your mental strength and that’s extremely beneficial in the long run.
Remain positive even when it seems super dark. Having a hard day at work, forgetting to pack your lunch, and then committing to two hours in the gym after sitting in hour long traffic seems like a recipe for disaster. But it doesn’t have to be.
Keeping a positive mindset is the best way to make progress on any goal, no matter what it is. Listen to self help books on audiotape, write in a journal, talk it out with someone! It’s a lot more taxing on your body to harbor negativity than it is to promote positivity.
Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still have those days when it seems like everything in the universe aligned against you, but if you don’t fight back, you won’t make any strides to your end goal. Enjoy the process as best as you can.