A Different Perspective on some common motivational quotes and one liners.
We’ve all seen them. Those motivational quotes that are supposed to make us want to get off the couch and go to the gym. Those catchy one-liners shared on social media that are supposed to inspire us to put down the French Fry and grab a carrot stick. I’m all about a little motivation but some of these are more likely to motivate me to throw my phone across the room rather than lace up my running shoes. Some I just don’t agree with, and others put people down instead of lifting them up. I thought I’d share a different perspective on some of these common one liners and quotes. Mostly, they frustrate me because they promote unhealthy behaviors or thoughts. I don’t think anyone intentionally sets out to make someone feel guilty or bad about themselves, and I don’t think fitness enthusiasts or professionals are trying to inspire unhealthy behaviors. However, I wanted to show that it is possible to have your cutesy inspirational quote do more harm than good. Here’s my alternative view on the most recent ones that have made me scream profanities at my computer screen:
This is the quote that inspired me to write this. I’ve actually had two clients tell me that this specific quote has made them feel bad about themselves. It has made them feel like they aren’t “as good as” someone else. When you are feeling down on yourself, it is a lot harder to get yourself to do something positive. It is a lot harder to get yourself to face the crowd at the gym, the running group you may feel like you aren’t as good as, or to start a program you think you can’t do in that moment. My response was this: “In college, I worked 3 jobs, took 20 credits a semester, spent at least an hour in the gym 5 times a week, and still managed to run 80-100 miles a week. AND I RAN THEM WELL! It wasn’t that I was better than you. I was fricken CRAZY! It wasn’t that I was more dedicated, I just wasn’t medicated.” Stop comparing yourself to other people. You don’t always know their story. Focus on your goals and your workouts. If you worry about what everyone else is doing, it will destroy you. And definitely do not compare yourself to crazy people!
All of those workouts I should not have done, I REGRET THEM! I hate to admit it, but there’s a lot of them. That time I was having heart palpitations and decided to go for a run, and ended up having to run right to the ER. Yeah, I could have done without that one. The day my hip was hurting a little bit but I decided to run on it anyway, and I ended up fracturing my femur. I TOTALLY REGRET THAT WORKOUT! That workout that took me from slight hamstring pain to a tear and out of commission for just about six months. 18 months later it still doesn’t feel right. Regret! And on top of that, I don’t regret giving up a workout to spend time with my friends or go to a special event. I don’t regret dropping out of that marathon a decade ago just because “I wasn’t feeling it.” I don’t regret cancelling practice that random Saturday morning and buying my running group coffee instead. Sometimes, it’s okay not to workout. Sometimes, your “excuses” don’t stink; they are legitimate. Some things are more important than that one workout – your sanity, health, time with a loved one, or a little rest. Of course, if you are debating between watching “The Bachelor” and doing a workout. Do the workout, probably not a decision you will regret.
This one has never rubbed me the right away. Achieving your healthy weight is so much more than will power. It is so much more than just being able to “get off your ass.” It’s nutritional, emotional, and physical. It is finding a solution that works for you, and that solution may not work for everyone else. I agree that there isn’t a quick fix – no single magic cure all. Good for you if you were able to just get off your butt and achieve your goal, but for most of us it isn’t going to be that easy. Some of us may need a little more help or it may be a longer struggle, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I needed a lot of help. Heck, I still do! I needed the magic pills to help my mind and body do what it couldn’t do on it’s own (they aren’t magic though, my physician prescribed them). I needed the secret diet written out for me to follow (though it isn’t really a secret it is just personalized to fit my nutritional needs and health goals). I need the special shakes so that my breakfast is high quality, nutritious, and easy (though the only thing special about them is I like them and they work for me). Take all the steps you need to find a solutions that works for you. That person telling you how easy it is to simply “get off your butt,” probably hasn’t a walked a mile in your shoes before.
Seriously?! Have you ever tried unpasteurized cheese? Jambalaya in New Orleans? Croissants in Paris? Homemade pumpkin cheesecake? Or really good pizza? All of those things, in my opinion, taste pretty fricken awesome. What the heck does skinny feel like anyway? Is it confidence or pride? Or is that being so cold it hurts? Or losing the sensation in fingers and toes? Or feeling like you are going to pass out every time you stand up? Guess it depends, but can you really compare a taste to an image to a feeling? Personally, the best food I’ve ever had definitely tasted better than how I phsycially and emotionally felt when I was at my ‘skinniest’. A different approach, I often ask myself, “Is this worth it?” Is that meal or food option worth the calories? The extra workout? The risk that you’ll ‘fall off the wagon’? How does this action align itself with my goal and my plan. If it’s something super awesome, it might be worth the extra day or two working on my goal, or having a salad for lunch, or getting in an extra workout. Maybe I don’t even have to worry about having good food or being skinny, and I can have my delicious cake and eat it too. Anyway before I get too frustrated and break my computer with this one I will leave it with this, I try to remind myself and my clients that the goal is to be healthy. To me, being healthy means being able to enjoy a good meal.
“Dedicated” is the word I used when I was defensive and in denial about being “obsessed.” Obsessed means you have an unhealthy relationship with a person, place, thing, or idea. When I start comparing myself to the person I use to be; I have to remember what I told my client earlier, “it wasn’t that I was more dedicated then, I wasn’t medicated then.” Being a little older and a little wiser now, I see this happen to people and they just don’t realize where they are. They don’t have the knowledge and in the beginning phases those around them actually support the obsession as dedication. I’m sure there are occasionally self-conscious people who make claims about dedicated or healthy people. However, I think that this doesn’t just come from those who are “lazy” it can come from anyone with any insecurity, including those calling people “lazy”. The way we chose to label something is important..
Be careful with your words; they are powerful! This includes what you say to yourself. If these motivational quotes work for you, go ahead and use them. However, if you use them to beat yourself up, try something else. If you do find yourself inspiring, teaching, coaching, or motivating others, please remember that those of us who see the world a little differently may not get the message you are trying to send. Those of us who may be a little over dedicated, under medicated, self-conscious, a little more sensitive, take things too literally, or need a little more explanation than a simple one liner, let’s take these quotes off of our fridges and our cell phone and lap top screens. Replace it with something that truly inspires you to be the best version of yourself! – Ashley Kelso