You know how you have those conversations that make you stop in your tracks? Well I had one of those today.
If you’ve been hanging around our party for a while you would have heard me bang on…. and on… and on about my weight battle.
Over the last six months or so I’ve been feeling pretty awesome. I’ve had a sense of smug self-confidence. I was secretly high-fiving myself for kicking my negative self-talk and shitty attitude to the curb forever. I’ve been eating well, exercising, looking after myself, getting some sleep (WOOO) and generally feeling distinctly tiptop.
HOWEVER. For some unknown reason, the last two weeks have seen me spiral off into a very foul mindset. I have been super critical of myself. I’ve been doing a heap of the old “URGH I am so revolting and FAT” self-bashing. I don’t know why. Something turned me into a mean girl and I’ve been bullying the shit out of myself like there is no tomorrow.
The conversation I had today was with someone who suffers from the same negative self-talk syndrome as me. It made me stop in my tracks because it reminded me just how many of us out there are suffering from this debilitating crap.
You are not alone!
And, it reminded me that I actually already have a contingency plan in place for times like this!! But I had forgotten all about it. My five point plan is super simple and it is intended to give me some clear and actionable tasks to help get me out of my stinking mindset.
It’s an awesome list of stuff, and now I’ve remembered I have it, I’m already feeling better. Sometimes you just need a plan, don’t you.
When you see my plan, you’ll note I don’t have anything in there about changing my self-talk (although that is a fantastic thing to do) or looking at inspiring memes or repeating motivational sayings or having positive mantras written on my mirror or any such thing. This is because when I am in the process of bullying myself I can’t just switch and become all warm and fuzzy nice-girl. Frankly, that makes me want to punch someone in the face. Positive thinking or changing my attitude is a strategy that doesn’t work for me personally, but it might for YOU. And that is what this is about, helping find a way forward for you personally.
If you’re having a bad time and being a mean girl to yourself, here are my five top tips to help turn it around:
 Talk to your “buddy” about your inner mean girl
Firstly you need to find someone who you can call on in times like this. Sort of like a sponsor in AA terms. They should be a positive person who understands your issues and won’t roll their eyes and tell you to ‘stop going on about it, you have nothing to worry about’ which is what some people tend to say (or you can tell they are thinking it).
I have two people that I talk to in these times. One is a counsellor and one is a family member. Both bring different perspectives to the table but both are wildly helpful.
Another reference for me, and one that I urge you to check out, is the incredible Body Image Movement founded by Taryn Brumfitt. No words needed.
If you are really concerned about your feelings, please please please seek professional help. Body Matters is a Sydney-based clinic specifically dealing with body image issues and eating disorders.
 Allow yourself to be in pain
Be okay with the place you are in. You don’t need to do MORE self-bashing about how shit you are for not only being fat but having issues. Just go there.
Squidge around in that visceral, hurtful world of self-pity for a while. Get in touch with why you feel like this. Is is that you feel vulnerable? Have you had hurtful things happen in the past? Are you angry at someone or feeling sad or stressed?
Observe your feelings. Believe that you are going to emerge from this place with new perspectives on yourself. Make sure that every time you go through this stuff you get better and better at handling it.
 Emerge better – write down the lessons you have learnt
This is such an important part of my contingency planning. I know that each time this happens I AM learning. I am changing and improving. I have a special notebook with my contingency plan and my learnings written in it.
Please understand that you actually have to work on this. You need to accept that it’s not going suddenly go away. Going over it again and again will mean a lifetime of awfulness. Life is too short. Get some resolve. Stand up to your bully, she’s a real mole. Move forward, one step at a time.
 Use the power of distraction
Take yourself out of your slump by doing things that make you feel good. My amazing boss talked the other day about the power of ‘breaking the cycle’. Use distraction to help you break your spiral.
I have the following written down as things that make me feel good and stop be from being an asshole to myself:
- go for a quiet and peaceful walk and observe my surroundings
- watch music videos and dance around the lounge room (daggy but true)
- have a facial and pedicure
- read a Bukowski book (that alone probably tells you a lot about how mental I am)
- go to brunch with friends
- have date night with my husband
- go for a family drive to the beach.
 Refocus on health
Get some fruit and veggies into your life, do one week (or even one day) of meal planning, cook some super healthy but delicious food.
Don’t, for the love of god, go on a diet. This is not going to get you anywhere but stuck in the cycle of fear and loathing again.
Put down the wine bottle. I have learnt that skipping booze for a week or two will dramatically improve one’s mood. HA, who would have thought.
I always make an appointment with my naturopath, Leanne Stockwell. Whenever I am feeling particularly rubbish in the top storey she usually diagnoses that something is not quite in balance in my body, and gives me some supplements and advice that helps. Knowing (or at least believing!) that there is a physical or physiological aspect to all this does help you to feel a bit better.
If you are going through a shitty time, I really feel for you. It’s very unpleasant. There’s an absolute plethora of information out there on Doctor Google about this issue, but the most important thing to remember is that you are you. YOU alone have to find a proper long-term solution, for yourself. You may not ever fully love yourself sick all the time, but hopefully you will have a plan for how to deal with your mean girl when she jumps out at you from behind a tree.
Do you have an inner mean-girl? How do you deal with her?
I am acknowledging that you feel this way sometimes, but it makes me so sad. I wish you knew all the time how fabulous you are.
The only benefit of the inner mean girls is that once you’ve kicked them to the curb then you can once again revel in your own amazingness.
Tell those inner mean girls that they can’t sit with us.
Thanks darling! xxx G
Oh, inner mean girls are THE WORST. I get proactive. Usually my inner mean girl is acting on guilt. She lashes out because she thinks I haven’t done enough and tries to feed on my insecurities. I refocus on my health and I instantly feel better. I noticed that she doesn’t plague me with self doubt when I can feel comforted that I’ve done my best and there’s no more to do. In saying that, I also have to be kind to myself. I’m only a human (and not a super human) and I deserve to take it easy sometimes.
For example, if I haven’t exercised in say a week, she rears her ugly head and starts calling me fat and lazy and suggests that everyone will think I’m pregnant blah blah. Yet, if I weigh exactly the same but I’ve looked after myself, she goes away because she knows I’m happy in my truth – that I’m doing what I can and my looks aren’t everything.
Mean girls are dirty liars. I know that because you are gorgeous! x
Oh thanks so much for your candid reply, that is so interesting hey?! I know a lot of us have those inner mean girls, they seem to have different specialities in their mean-skills! hahahaha. I love your practical and truth based approach, it’s totally awesome. Thanks lovely xxx G
I definitely have an inner mean girl! I’ve been struggling with weight gain over the last 12 months and it does my head in!! I love the steps that you have listed above – I’m about to go and create a contingency plan for myself so that when I start beating myself up I have an action plan! xx
I have battled with my mean girl for many years, but have managed to shut her the fuck up for some time. Mindfulness helps. Exercise really helps (I do crossfit and love myself sick afterwards. Ditto Yoga). I think this mean girl shit is common.
I coaxed my mean girl out into the light, and found that she wasn’t really mean, she was scared shitless that she was broken beyond repair. I slowly convinced her that she’s just bruised not broken.
She rarely causes problems these days, and when she does I heap on kindness and patience. I speak softly to her – she’s me – and give her permission to feel the feelings, and I comfort her. Now, after a long dance of mistrust, we are firm friends. ?
Thank you Angela! x
A that’s lovely Annette, what a beautiful approach! Thank you xx Gill
A that’s lovely Annette, what a beautiful approach! Thank you xx Gill
And always remember the mantra: I am so much more than what I look like. x
Thank you Maxabella, always an awesome thing to remind oneself! x G
Ahh the mean girl. She’s been hanging around in my head a bit this week too. Mole. Thanks for sharing your experience and your process.
I try to just be with the misery a bit – if I accept it, it doesn’t feel so powerful anymore. If I just need to get out of my own head I watch Pride & Prejudice which just makes me happy for some reason. I also learnt a new practice of silently saying “you, be well” to everyone I see walking down the street. It completely changed my perspective the other day. Amazing.
Pride and Prejudice is my go-to as well Tanya! x