Home Friday 5 Friday 5: Five Things I Want People To Stop Saying To Themselves In 2012

Friday 5: Five Things I Want People To Stop Saying To Themselves In 2012

by Erika Nicole Kendall

I say this in love, y’all. I do. But the self-defeatist thought patterns have got to stop in 2012. I mean it!

I even see it in the comments sometimes, and I just think to myself, dang… if I thought like you I would’ve probably given up a long time ago. Even with all the jokes and the seriousness, I’m pretty much a big wuss. If I’m not surrounding myself with daisies and positivity, I’m setting myself up for failure.

That being said, I offer up to you five things I’ma need y’all to stop saying to yourselves in 2012:

1) “I’ll start Monday!” – No, you won’t. You’ll start at the next meal.

You and I both know full darn well what “I’ll start Monday!” means – it means you’re giving yourself the next however many days before Monday to go bananas and wile out on everything you can find. Monday will arrive, and you’ll find yourself worse off than you were when you decided Monday was the day. Just exhale – you don’t even have to announce it to anyone, and I’d rather you not – and just resolve to use your next meal as your opportunity to get it together.

2) “I haven’t gone to the gym in days, weeks, months…” – And? So what? Does that mean you can’t go today? Tomorrow? Does that mean you are legally prevented from being able to create a schedule that you can adhere to for the future? You learn from the past, but you certainly aren’t bound by it.

3) “Tough love…” – I’m sorry, but I’m a firm believer in the idea that love isn’t “tough.” It is “loving.” It is sensitive. It tries to be kind. People crudely talking to themselves or their loved ones about their weight is just a way for people to lord over each other. It’s one thing to state the facts, and the facts be hurtful to hear. But cracking jokes on yourself or your loved one, tugging at their or your tummy roll and asking “So, when are you going to do something about this?” and various phrases like “I’m/you’re as big as a house!” have no place in a healthy relationship with one’s body or food, and that’s an integral part of living a fit and happy life.

Sometimes, I’m pretty damned positive that “tough love” is just something people say to excuse the fact they weren’t thinking about how well their message would be received, because they thought they were being witty, wise or benevolent in delivering it in the first place. To hell with that.

4) “I’m not giving up [insert junk food]…” – Right, because the best way to make permanent changes and figure out the best way to live a more fit life is to start out, straight out of the gate, making hard limits.

Changing how you live is an exploratory venture. You have to figure out what your body likes, what it responds to the best, what it despises, what makes you ill. Does something make you nauseous? Do certain quantities make you feel lethargic? Are you lactose intolerant, and didn’t know it?

These things matter. You might be getting those daily headaches you complain about because of the splenda you use in your morning coffee. You might be experiencing an allergic reaction to the kinds of ingredients in your chocolate – it might not be the chocolate, but the soy in it might be giving you grief – and you’d never know it because you’re too busy trying to declare what isn’t on the chopping block. I promise you this: let go of everything. Accept the fact that you have to detach. Look forward to change, and consider your efforts to let go a “green light,” so to speak, to find new, healthier snacks.

5) “I can’t do that…” – That’s not a reason to never try.

You know what I said I could never do? I said I could never be flexible, or do a split. I said I could never flip upside down on my pole. (Yes, I have a pole in the house. Don’t ask questions.) I said I could never run a mile.

I think that the misconception that those of us who started out inactive have is… you just wake up one day, and you have these abilities. You wake up, and boom – you can drop down into a split, stripper style. (That’s the third stripper-reference in two days. What is going on with me?) You lace up your shoes, and instantly your body is capable of handling running not only one mile, but three. You rub your hands together and, like magic, you can flip upside down on your pole.

It has never happened that way, and it never will. And maybe that’s a little soul-crushing for those of us who think all this stuff looks so easy, but it shouldn’t be. It should be inspiring.

Developing abilities is hard work. Are there people who are born flexible? Yes. Are there people who have always been active since childhood and are naturally athletic? Absolutely. Are there people already strong enough to be able to sustain their own weight upside down vertically? Of course. But if that’s not you? It takes hard damn work to get there. It means you have to dedicate yourself to developing that ability. It means you have to commit to developing that talent. It means it might take a month, six weeks or a year, but as long as you keep at it, you have nothing to worry about.

In other words, be gentle to yourselves, and see how much of a difference it makes. It’s very rare that kindness fails to beget progress.

So tell me, y’all… what do you think you need to stop saying to yourself in 2012?

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Jennifer January 27, 2012 - 2:10 PM

I said I could never give up soda. I’m currentlly 14 days soda free! Yes, that’s a big deal to me 🙂

Glittuhpankyrang April 9, 2014 - 5:23 PM

I know this comment is late, but me too. I’ve given up soda, though I crave it sometimes, giving up 2 liters of coke ( yes I drank it everyday) a day help me with my craving. It has been two months. I hope I can keep it up.

Alisha Howard January 27, 2012 - 2:45 PM

I’m working on not telling myself that I hate exercising. Negative! I hate the exercise I think I’m SUPPOSED to do because of my size. I really dislike walking. For me, it’s boring and tedious. I loved running, but after an injury, I’m not strong enough to do that yet. So I guess I’ll have to find an exercise that I like. And since I don’t have money for a gym membership, I’m open to ideas…

On another note, today, instead of jumping on the scale I decided to try on a size 12 pair of pants (I currently wear a size 18). They went up over the booty! They didn’t close (not even a little bit), but it pulling them all the way up was the best feeling on this planet! I hung them on my bathroom door and those pants are soooo going to be my motivation for the next few months. 🙂

Kait January 27, 2012 - 4:07 PM

Someone’s libido is up again, huh?! 😉

In all seriousness, this post friggin rocks! I definitely was a victim of the last one. I remember the day it clicked for me…I was reading the archives at Oh She Glows and she was talking about how she was finally able to run x far and how at first she used to have to stop and start and I was like, “WAIT…Angela who has done triathalons and marathons and even at her heaviest was thinner than me use to struggle with running?” I definitely thought I had to just get up and go because that is all you see when you look in magazines and newsletters.

I also look back and see how I was against being plant-based. I could NEEEEEEVVVVVAH give up cheese. OH wait, I already have. Flexibility in all things (and especially on the pole tehe) is so key. But even more, I’d say its the WILLINGNESS to be open to the change, the willingness to start.


Erika Nicole Kendall January 27, 2012 - 5:11 PM

Hey, at least this time I’m not celibate. ROFL

Agreed! On EVERYTHING else! 🙂

reyden January 27, 2012 - 5:30 PM

Great post! I have finally stopped telling myself “I don’t want to think about food.” Somehow I got it into my head if I constantly consider the foods I am eating, then I am dieting. I thought as long as I stick with brown rice and whole wheat carbs and avoided too much sugar, I could be “on automatic.” I finally realized just as I consider the money I spend when I go shopping, I must look at the portions and nutrition info of the foods I’m eating. And I have to do it for life, not just until I reach my goal and then go on “automatic” again. I also am telling myself that it is okay to want to wear sizes below 14. I’ve been in the 14/16 range most of my life. Now at 8 weeks postpartum, I am size 18. I kept telling myself I just want to get back to a size 14, but realize that it is okay to be smaller.

Frances Mosley January 27, 2012 - 6:46 PM

OMG…this message was meant for me. I’ve been following your blog for a couple weeks now. Love it! I have said all 5 of those phrases (this years and years past). I LOL’d while reading this blog (thinking back to my New Year Resolution to lose weight) becuase I pushed my start date back to Jan 9th (a Monday) and wound up gaining 5 pounds because I went hard on all my favorite not so good for me foods! Doing better…each day is a challenge!

patti January 27, 2012 - 8:37 PM

Man, I love you Erika. I need to do all 5

Lisa January 28, 2012 - 1:16 AM

I enjoyed this! Very inspiring and honest! These last 10 years I have really struggled with my weight…and it has been weighing me down spiritually and emotionally…The irony is I’ve never been a couch potato even with the huge weight gain…I enjoy working out…I love to go to the gym…I belly dance and I’m into martial arts and Im five belts away from my black belt in Tae Kwon Do…But Im still fat! I may not over eat but I definately sabatoge myself and eat the wrong things…I know I am also an emotional eater…and use food to medicate my stress and anxiety…sigh…I gotta work on #4 and #5 and figure out how to dispute those irrational thoughts and beliefs in my head that keep me stuck! This is one hurdle that I am having the most difficulty getting over! But if you ask me to break a board…I can do that!!!!!

Stephanie January 28, 2012 - 2:01 PM

LOVE this post! I just had gastric bypass surgery 5 weeks ago and I STILL have a lot to learn and a lot of weight to lose… I’ve lost about 45 lbs. thus far but I’m at a stand still right now.. I guess my new body and new stomach have gotten used to the lower amount of calories and no sugar so I’m at a standstill…. I’m still losing, but VERY SLOWLY and of course I’m NOT exercising enough… I work at an elementary school where I walk quite a bit, but I also sit quite a bit and I’m a military spouse and mother of 3 so my life is quite stressful.. I’m REALLY trying to learn NOT to do the negative self-talk but it is so internally ingrained in me to do that that I find myself preaching to my teen daughter about her caloric intake so she won’t be like me… We are about to go back to the states and that makes me very sad, so I’ve been doing a LOT of stress eating and hopefully I haven’t stretched my pouch to the point of no return… I’m glad I found you on FB… I can’t wait to read more!

LBrooke January 29, 2012 - 2:56 AM


I’m a new subscriber- I found this through AOL.com’s news page, and checked out your page. Then I joined on Facebook, and I have to say that I’m so happy I found this! I’m just starting my weight-loss journey. It’s been so up and down for me for too many years. I’m young, and I need to start living the life I deserve, and reading your page is helping me so much- I haven’t been able to get off of this site! I love reading everything, and I’m so happy that there’s so much to read, because it’ll keep me busy when I could maybe be getting myself into some potato chip bag- trouble. I think that this blog is going to help me a lot =)

Kesha Brown February 3, 2012 - 10:04 PM

Yeah, I had to get rid of #1 as that was a HUGE killer for me.

Mondays, I think, is a dead word when it comes to weight loss and it can subconsciously mess people up just by saying “I’ll start Monday.”

Learned this from personal experience 😉


Erica February 20, 2012 - 10:53 AM

I have to stop saying out loud and in my head that I hate exercising. I love walking and I absolutely LOVE weight training. I invested in a personal trainer for a few years now just so that I can ensure that I am using the appropriate weights at the appropriate time in my fitness journey and to ensure that I am using weight machines correctly. My challenge is cardio. Once I start doing it on my own or in classes I’m fine. Its getting the motivation to do it. What I will do differently in 2012 is find some type of cardio/aerobic activity that I actually enjoy and ways to switch it up. I took weekly ballet classes as a child until college. I live in NYC and I know I can find a ballet class for old chicks like myself (lol). That will be my immediate “homework assignment”. Thanks Erika for the motivation!

Tremilla March 9, 2012 - 10:22 AM

Thanks for writing this article. Much appreciated!!! I have friends and loved ones who want to join me on my journey and all they do is complain. “I can’t do this, I can’t eat that, It’s so hard..etc”. Keep saying you can’t, and you wont. You are you #1 cheerleader. Only YOU can keep yourself motivated, confident, and self-assured!!!

tgurl2k3 March 9, 2012 - 10:45 AM

thank u so much 4 writing that this morning! needed to reprioritize!!!

milaxx March 9, 2012 - 12:48 PM

Thanks for writing this. Seriously I’m nearly a year in and my weight loss/get healthy journey has been full of ups and downs. I have to accommodate deeply ingrained habits, health issues and allergies. It’s a challenge and sometimes reading a few words of encouragement like the ones on this page, are just the boost needed to keep going.

Jocelyn April 6, 2012 - 2:49 PM

This was inspiring! This weight loss thing is ever challenging. Every time I get into the healthy swing of things I fall back off. It is very discouraging!

summa April 13, 2012 - 9:27 AM

As usual on the money. On one hand food knowing I’m not the only one who is guilty of tough love. on the other hand erica is right beating yourself up is not the way to achieve greatness.loving your body for supporting you despite your abuse is a good start to re framing tough love

Curlstar April 20, 2012 - 1:45 PM

Lacing my shoes back up to run again and looking for the schedule for polefit classes. Thank you for the knock upside the head! 😀

simone April 20, 2012 - 3:10 PM

I said i could never give up red meat or run. 2mths no red meat and running every other day. Yay me

Mitch Mitchell May 5, 2012 - 12:36 AM

Well, I fail right off the bat because one of my top phrases ever is “I’ll start on Monday”. For the most part I do just that very thing, even when I know I could start a different day. I sometimes feel the need to work up to something, and if I put a date on it then I know it’s coming and I get ready for it. Yeah, it can be trouble, but for the most part it works for me.

Cjbrownsc June 15, 2012 - 6:06 PM

Hi Erika!

Number 1 was written for me – 100%!

The only problem is that I get to Monday, mess up, and then it’s Wednesday. Wednesday becomes the 15th, which becomes the 1st of the next month or the next holiday, etc.
I have got to focus and stop this vicious cycle!

darlin artiles June 21, 2012 - 10:08 AM

The last one: ‘I can’t do that’ is what I need to work on in 2012. Like when I tell myself or others that ‘I can only run when I’m being chased!’ I can do ANYTHING I put my mind and hard work into! And so can any one of us! Thanks so much for sharing this, because I think that we women are so hard on ourselves. Society in general is hard on us. There’s NO need to bring ourselves down in our own minds too.

larenee10 July 12, 2012 - 6:57 PM

Slow clap…and AMEN!

Anna September 14, 2012 - 6:03 PM

I needed this today. I just found out that I can no longer jog due to some health concerns and some of my favorite weight lifting exercises are out. But I am not focussing on what I can’t do but instead working to find alternatives so I can keep up my progress.

Evon November 30, 2012 - 11:08 AM

Thanks so much for this article, which I’m going to share. I know far too many people who make up tons of excuses for not taking care of themselves. I’m not even sure who the defiance is directed at when the subject of working out comes up, but there’s a tone which says, “Don’t try making me change.” How sad.

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