There’s a story I think of often when I try to remind myself to be a kinder person. I’ve gotten much better, but like many people (I think anyway) I tend to be quick to judge in my mind when I see someone I don’t know; and even when I do. I had the opportunity when I was younger, my first real job, to work with my dad. Every now and then we would go out to lunch together. One day sitting in a parking lot eating our lunch a girl walked by. (This was back when those lovely tight black spandex skirts were in style.) I can’t even remember my comment but it was out loud and it was not very nice. My father’s response was something along the lines of ‘How do you know she hasn’t just lost a lot of weight and isn’t super proud of she looks right now?’ I was kind of taken aback. He was right. Not only was he right and I could understand how that must of felt but now this girl had gone from being rather foolish in my eyes to being amazing since I would never have the guts to parade out in an outfit that formfitting no matter how great I felt about myself. Good for her! She must have felt fabulous!
Isn’t is funny how perception changes everything? How many times have you thought one way about yourself and let that perception carry you through the whole day? Or, how many times have you thought your hair or outfit or weight was so horrible just to go out and get a compliment on it that very day? We tend to be so hard on ourselves. A book I just read speaks to this. In The Core Balance Diet, Marcelle Pick says, “A woman’s physiology isn’t static; it’s a reflection of her biochemistry, her nutrition, and all the things she’s doing, thinking and feeling – consciously or unconsciously – at a particular time in her life.” She goes on to discuss a study done by Harvard University researcher, Ellen Langer back in 2007 where a group of 84 hotel housekeepers were studied to gauge the impact of what they were thinking – to see how the perception of how much exercise they were getting would impact their body mass. Anyone who does housework knows how much energy is used cleaning all day and can imagine what kind of exercise the people were performing on a daily basis simply performing their jobs. However, despite a workday that consisted of almost nonstop physical activity, 67 percent of these women interviewed did not believe they exercised enough, and their bodies appeared to bear this out with extra weight. After measuring the women’s body fat, waist-to-hip ratio, blood pressure and bmi, she found that their body types largely matched their perceptions of how much they exercised. Now here’s the amazing part… Langer split the group in half and let half the group know that they were in fact getting enough exercise but let the other half carry on as usual. Guess what happened? After a month, without any other modifications to their day, the half that now understood they were getting enough exercise LOST WEIGHT! All their other initial assessments improved as well! Talk about mind over matter.
Tabata Bootcamp creator, Mindy Mylrea in all her 6-minute videos loves to talk about how “Energy begets energy!” It’s so true. Expanding on that and furthering my point and Langer’s research above, positive energy begets positive energy. Or… “What you think about you bring about!” This was something Mary Kay Ash used to say, along with things like, “Fake it until you make it!” We’ve all seen quotes like these come across our FaceBook walls. They’re inspirational but how much real thought do you give them? Maybe it’s time to really put these thoughts into practice. Let everyday day be your day to walk around like you just lost a ton of weight, even if you didn’t. Because if you do, maybe it’ll kick off something inside of you that will help you achieve something you’ve been trying to accomplish. It’s time to allow yourself to be fabulous. Everyday!
And if you ever find yourself in a situation where that self doubt starts to creep in, because you always will because it always does, do like I did… you call upon whatever support system you have and they will remind you how fabulous you are and then… you strut! Because, and this is my final quote and sometimes the hardest one to hold on to but sometimes to most useful when trying to keep yourself fabulous in your own mind, “What other people think of you is none of your business.” Why? Because they could just be some ignorant kid like me at lunch with their dad who doesn’t really understand just how fabulous you really are and who needs that to bring you down? Not you! So, who cares what they think anyway. Carry on and be fabulous!