The other day, one of my good friends told me an interesting snippet about someone we both know. Let's call her Miss Perception.
See, Miss Perception is a slender, attractive young woman. She has always been skilled when it comes to athletics - great runner. But, my friends, Miss Perception is not happy with herself.
My friend bumped into Miss Perception on her way home from a tough Les Mills workout. My friend had pushed herself, keeps a clean diet and a healthy mind, knowing it's okay to indulge in the tastier things in life every now and then. All of her small efforts come together and she looks positively bangin' as a result. She was pretty chuffed with her workout - riding the endorphin wave - when suddenly a dark cloud of toxic self-esteem came rolling in.
"Oh you just did x workout?," Miss Perception said. "I do two workouts a day. I have so much weight to lose!"
Now, it's not the two-a-days I have a problem with. It's Miss Perception's wonky self-esteem that I call the toxic mindset.
Before I continue, here are my quick thoughts on two-a-days...Working out should be part of everyone's routine, just like doing your laundry, going to work, brushing your teeth. Working out should NOT be your life - life is everything that happens outside of our routine and comfort zone. If you can maintain your health, happiness and relationships while doing two-a-days, you're doing them right. If any of those fall out of balance, you're putting too much pressure on yourself to exercise the crap out of your day.
Anyway, I digress.
Why is it that some people believe they must do everything in their power to 'lose weight', otherwise they will not be happy? By doing so, their mindsets and perceptions of themselves are slowly becoming covered in thick, toxic sludge that becomes harder to shake off the more they think this way.
I understand that there are diseases and mental illnesses that cause some people to think so poorly, but I will not accept that as the cause of more and more people becoming toxic thinkers these days.
By having a toxic mindset about herself, Miss Perception is putting pressure on herself to do hours of difficult workouts every day. I'm intrigued, but also slightly frightened, to see what she eats.
Toxic thinkers have unattainable and unrealistic goals and expectations. They are the ones who think they must never stray from their regime and the ones who look down on those of us who are living balanced lives (don't get me started on the ones who actually verbalise their disapproval). They have a strange, ironic way of internally putting themselves on a pedestal above others by thinking they work harder than anyone else, while constantly putting themselves down by feeling unhappy with who they are at present.
Instead of facing each day thinking "I must do everything I can to lose weight" (...especially if you're already in a healthy body fat range), why don't we approach each day with the mindset of "Today I'm going to make good decisions, eat well and do a kick-ass workout, in between grasping the opportunities the day presents and enjoying the things that make me happy"?
Do you know someone with a toxic mindset? Or have YOU noticed you're starting to get some of that toxic mind-sludge?
Don't forget that being healthy isn't just about diet and fitness, but your mental state as well. Spend just one day away from your physical workouts (go on, I dare ya!) and give your self-esteem a workout instead. Say positive affirmations, write a list of the things you like about yourself, treat yourself to a beauty treatment and get out into nature.
Nobody likes a wet blanket.