· By Amber Elizabeth Dodzweit
GET OUTTA' YO MIND!
Cancerous cells contain this sort or rogue (love that word) quality about them. Wriggling themselves free from the rest of our conforming DNA, they rampantly run wild through the system, leaving behind treacherous scenes of destruction, and in too many cases....death. While scientists work fervently to uncover the causes and possible treatments of this relentless disease, only speculations of certain environmental and genetic causes can offer us any solace.
Science, and the mechanisms of the mind and body have always intrigued me. More so, the science behind behavior. Decoding the language of the brain and it’s interpretations of the things that have shaped us- what messages our neurons are whispering to fabricate the internal plagues of insecurity or self doubt...truth be told, I’ve always been on the pursuit of this knowledge to better understand myself...The epidemic of cancers that we can’t find solutions to, I believe, serve as a mirror to what too many of us are suffering through mentally. Laying quiet for years, silently and secretly tip-toeing about, rearing their ugly head at life’s most inopportune times. Our thoughts are proving to be cancer of the mind, and I wish I could pacify you with a pat on the back and say “it stops there”. It doesn’t. Our conscious and subconscious thoughts have our body on puppet strings, and yours are more than likely not only limiting your progress- but just to pour salt in an open wound- they’re probably also making you fat (we got a lose-lose here folks).
As someone who somehow ended up as this fitness ‘model’ (the term ‘model’ actually making me salivate as a precursor to vomit)- I will shamelessly admit that on a daily basis I have to wage war on these ‘cancerous’ thoughts about myself. I have no childhood environmental reasons to attribute this to. In fact, some would argue that I was raised in an enviable household with constant affirmation and unconditional love. Which, I absolutely was. Perfectionism may be to blame...nonetheless, the point being, that to have been blessed with this bodily ‘genetic lottery’ and to receive accolades, praise, and covers of magazines for the love of GOD!- based on the arrangement of my pre-determined genetics- has still not left me immune to intensely negative critiques, and never ending self comparisons to almost everyone around me. I’ll go on record and say that I wouldn’t even blame the industry of visual perfection I have been a part of. I’ll go on another record and say- I believe most of us would never admit to the sorts of things we say about ourselves. And for another record...hah, just kidding.
Now, hold on a minute before you blow one balloon for a pity party. I am arguably one of the happiest, most fun loving, appreciative and DORKY people known to mankind. Which is precisely the reason I think ‘self talk’ (particularly in fitness) needs to be addressed. Those of us with wonderful, and beautiful dispositions are speaking to ourselves in a way that we would never let anyone speak to those that we love. And frankly...I’m actually sick and tired of it. That’s me being authoritative...rawr.
If all of the emotional ‘be gentle with yourself’ talk is making your stomach turn, like it’s starting to make mine...I’ll rationalize it a little. Stress in any form, be it mental stress, or physical, prompts our adrenal glands to release the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a little two-faced. We need it when we face stress and danger in order to regulate our system and prompt immediate responses (think fight or flight). But it also has a dirty little nickname called “the belly-fat hormone”. The not so secret, secret is- that whenever we encounter stress (i.e. even our own internal thoughts) cortisol is released and the end result is our bodies retaining fat. The science behind this is- the fact that the release of cortisol sparks the production of glucose, and in the end- glucose that isn’t utilized by the body for fuel is converted into fat. So yes. What I’ve just broken down essentially is this- no matter the strength of the vault you have kept your negative thoughts about yourself in- you’re stressing yourself the freak out. Worrying about getting to the gym, the soft spot on your lower stomach, the cheat meal you ate last night, how much you wish you looked like so-and-so. Stick and stones will break your bones...and words will never hurt you??’ I think the opposite is true, and maybe the only way to get some of us to create a ‘gentler’ way in which we speak to ourselves is sadly dumbing it down to the fact that it’s making us fat.
Well i think I’ve done a pretty good job of singling out every single one of us. So what the heck to we do now!? I actually have this magical wand sitting right here and all I have to do is wave it three times in a circle...NOT. What we do is- take half an ounce of the willpower it takes to get us to the gym and DECIDE that when we glove up to give our psyche a beating, we edify who we are instead. Edify...what on earth does that even mean...
ed·i·fy [ed-uh-fahy] verb
to instruct or benefit, especially morally or spiritually; uplift:
So there. I’m looking at the word instruct. This meaning that edification is taught. I personally don’t walk around all day singing my own praises, and learning to uplift myself has been a process that I’m still not even close to perfecting. Here’s what I’ve been doing to call out my negative self- bashing, and replace it.
- Listen to ‘uplifting’ music without words and begin to see yourself overcoming your obstacles and achieving your goals. This sounds SO incredibly cheesy, but the power of the subconscious mind will actually drive you to fulfilling these visions. I say no lyrics so your mind can actually focus on your own thoughts. Soundtracks are a great way to find this type of music.
- Encourage someone else (without expecting anything in return). I’ll be writing a completely separate blog on the notion that this industry has pretty much become ‘every man for himself’. We live in a day of self preservation, with a dying era of being ‘others-minded’. It’s really the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.
- Plan ahead to relax. Life can get so hectic, that if we miss a workout, or haven’t planned to take a day off, we throw ourselves into a mental torture chamber. If you set aside time in your week to have lunch with a friend, go to the park, sit on the couch, paint your toes, ANYTHING that allows you to just take a deep breath...you’ll be so much more able to relish that day, rather than sitting in regret. Over-training will also have a blog of it’s own :)
So whether you’re worried that the way you talk to yourself is making you a chubby bunny, or you just want to become better at the way you treat yourself because you actually feel you DESERVE it (cuz you do, duh)- concealing these little daggers allow them to get deeper than they should. Know that this ‘cancer of the mind’ does have a cure.
I needed this. I was torturing myself for not finding time to work out for a week and not being able to get my motivation back. I need to make time for myself, even though in my mind “there’s no time!”.
I’m at a point where I’m figuring my self out and this blog post was perfect. I’ve struggled with body image and negative self talk my entire life. It’s exhausting. Thank you for this post. It’s hits home and opens up my eyes to what I’m doing to myself.
I feel like I am at a turning point in my life, a place where I am can make all the right decisions, become a better person for myself and those around. Thank you for nudging me in the right direction and fuelling my goals which are still in their infancy, each video, article, post from you has been strengthening my resolve!
Right now my face looks intent and purposeful ready to take on the path of successful people, high five #revolution
My mother always referred to a quote by George Elliott that said "Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.” All of you have created such a safe place for me to share my thoughts- no matter how silly they may come across, thank you for allowing my heart to feel safe and my words to inspire you all.
Amber Dodzweit on
So perfectly said an uphill battle everyday for me but with your teams encouragement and strong words of wisdom, it gives me something positive to look forward to and read , grasp the whole idea of turning my life around for the good, when in rome do as the romans, incredible words of power TEAM Clutch! keep up the great work. Thanks for the inspiration!
This whole clutch philosophy is freaking amazing! The science makes sense and you guys distribute this information in a real, true, no bullshit, fun way. I love reading your comedy amongst your seriousness… kind of how I talk to people. Reminds people that in amongst hard work you have to stop and never grow up in a way, stay young and silly at heart. Your approach is easy to understand, doesn’t come across as fake and doesn’t leave me feeling dumb about what I don’t get. There’s no complicated charts and math equations, calculators and standing on my head with my tongue out trying to figure out if I’m getting the right macros. I get what you guys are putting down, and I love it. MY HEROS!! stay #clutch
you guys are seriously the shit… the bomb diggity even. I can’t praise you enough.