Long, long ago, before I started doing zumba, before I started the running, while I was married and constantly stressed out, I used to have a long parade of negative thoughts running trough my inner monologue. I didn't realize this, or the effect this was having on my self esteem and my attitude towards everybody around me.
When I started doing Zumba, I was at an all time low. Demoted from work, had been sick for 1 week, then my son had been sick, I had fallen while carrying my son and he had a huge bruise on his forehead... so my inner monologue was at a ultimate time high. The thoughts constantly on my mind were along the lines of " You are the worst mom ever, you are so fat, you are so stupid, you are useless". I was not fat, or overweight, but I was at my highest weight ever. After having my son and breastfeeding him for 8 months, my metabolism never re-adjusted to the amount of food I was eating. So I was constantly hungry, but not burning anything off. The saddest part, was that instead of trying to change the way I ate, or thinking of being more active, I considered buying bigger clothes!
So in March of 2011, I walked into Art In Motion Fitness in Lemoyne Pa. The first class with Denise was a killer! I didn't think I was going to be able to last the entire hour of moving! I remember thinking "You are too out of shape to do this! You should go home and rest! You suck at doing this". and in the very back of my mind, a very quiet and shy voice kept telling me " just keep moving, it's almost done, and you are having fun". So I kept at it, and survived the first 1 hour of Zumba. That little voice was right, and it was time to let that little voice have more say in my life.
Zumba helped me with getting on track for a better eating routine and fitness routine. It also helped me with my negative thoughts, because instead of thinking "You suck, you are the worst, you will never accomplish that" my brain would turn to the "Yeah, it's hard, but you are going to zumba later, and zumba WILL make the day better".
A year later, I was getting divorced. It's been three years, and some days I'm still trying to figure out what went wrong, but try to make the best of it. After my divorce, I realized that I was blaming a lot of things on my ex-husband... things that were not his fault... possibly part of why we were both unhappy.... I am always running late, it's a nasty habit I've had for all my life. But when I was married, I used to blame it on him. I used to say to myself "If he would have gotten up earlier to get our son ready, I would not have been late to work. If he would have shoveled my car out of the snow I would not have been late. If HE would have not gotten cable and distracted me with the TV". Only after I got divorced, I realized those things were MY fault! I was the one who CHOSE to turn on the TV and stared at things that had no meaning to me, I was the one who DIDN'T PLAN to shovel my car out, knowing there was snow on the ground. I was the one who enjoyed playing with my son in the morning, rather than running out the door to go to work.
This also changed my thinking and what I needed to do at home to move faster.... I had to get rid of the TV in the morning, I had to stay on task when it came to getting my son ready for school, I had to plan for the unexpected early in the mornings of bad weather.
My biggest change on negative thoughts came when I started running longer distances, and doing more races. While doing races and long distances, the talk inside my head had to turn from "You can't do this, you are not strong enough, you don't train enough, you are NOT MEANT TO DO THIS" to the positive, or I would not last. When things got hard on races, or on long runs I started telling myself " You got this! You are strong, you are putting in the training, your legs can do this, Think of the donuts at the end, You WERE BORN TO DO THIS". The negative thoughts had no space in my brain while running and doing races, they were heavy on my mind and weighted me down.
While some days, my son will still tell me "You are not my mom!" when mad because I won't buy him a toy, I know in my heart that he doesn't mean that, and I don't let this bring back negative thoughts to my brain. While I don't buy him all the toys he wants, he has a safe home, a good bed, good food, and plenty of toys to enjoy. So I am a good mom!
I have figured out that I can either complain about the things that I couldn't do, and beat myself up about what I didn't get done, or I could go and live the life I imagined. If I wanted to run better, I had to train, if I wanted to feel better, I had to do things that made me feel better, if I wanted to lose my belly fat, I had to examine what I ate, what I did and figure out how to eat better, work out more. No longer do I blame my problems on others, or beat myself up about things I CAN change myself. And my negative thoughts have diminished.
Even while I drove to work this morning, and was running late *AGAIN* the thoughts running through my head were mostly neutral. I have learned that getting mad at the traffic light and at the slow driver in front of me only stress me out and won't get me to work faster. So instead I take a deep deep breath, look around me and give thanks for being alive. I might be late, but my work will still be there when I get to work.... and so will my late slip.