Today’s post involves a little navel-gazing. But I’m sharing anyways because I think it will resonate with many of you and I’m curious to know how you deal with that little nay-sayer in your heads…
A few weeks back, a woman whose physique, education and training philosophy I greatly admire paid me a compliment in the gym.
Looking strong! Your back definition is great! Such fantastic progress! Keep it up!
Instead of standing up straight, smiling at her and saying “Thanks for noticing. I’ve been working really hard!” (which is how we should always respond to a sincere compliment), I shrugged my shoulders and replied,
I try. But it’s not as easy at my age as it used to be… You know, two steps forward, one step back… Harder to keep the midsection tight…Have to be careful of injuries, you know…
(or something to that effect; I’ve forgotten my exact words, but you get the picture).
She offered a few more words of encouragement before moving on, clearly a bit taken aback at my response.
As was I.
In shrugging off her encouraging remarks, I surely made her think I questioned her sincerity. (And I’m betting she’ll never take the time to compliment me again. ..)
I’m not unfamiliar with women responding inappropriately to compliments about progress they’ve made in the gym .
All too frequently a female client or class participant says something similar to the words of encouragement I’ve bestowed on them. And it always makes me feel sad to realize that despite all the fabulous changes they’ve made to their outside, their mindset still hasn’t caught up.
I spent the next few days pondering. Curious about why I’d responded the way I did. Wondering where those words came from and why I felt the need to belittle her observations and undermine the compliment.
I came to the conclusion that mindset habits are just as quickly undermined as exercise and nutrition habits. Just as it’s all too easy to skip a week at the gym or slip into the pattern of having dessert nightly, it’s also pretty simple to let negative thoughts creep in.
Just because we’ve managed to extinguish a bad habit (or cultivate a new, healthier one), doesn’t mean that it won’t re-surface (or get forgotten) at a later date. And that as with fitness and healthy eating, we need to re-commit to a mindset that celebrates the lifestyle changes we’ve made. Each and every day.
It’s been a long time since that negative little voice in my head last cropped up. Here’s hoping, that with vigilance, it’ll be an even longer time before I hear from it again.
In the meantime, I’m doing what I do whenever my exercise and nutrition routines lapse; practice, practice, practice!
Do you have difficulty accepting compliments about your physique?
Does your mindset lag behind your fitness and nutrition accomplishments?