Liar Liar! How Do You Talk to Yourself?

by

Have you ever stopped and thought about the things you tell yourself and believe as truth?

Let me give you an example:

After my recent photoshoot, I got a comment on one of the photos saying: “You’re packing on some serious functional muscle, Marianne”.

This is what I read:  “You’re getting fat!” – despite several other comments mentioning leanness and definition.

The person who wrote the comment was not calling me fat; it was a compliment, but because of LIES that I STILL tell myself (from time to time), I jumped to this train of thought “If I am “packing on serious muscle” this must mean I look bigger and “bigger” can only mean FAT and … fat is bad!”.  Ladies and Gentlemen, one of the greatest lies I have been telling myself for 15 years is that in order to be accepted, noticed, liked, I must look a certain way ie: thin, small, lean, in proportion; not chunky, bloated, smooth etc.

BTW, some level of me is cringing as I confess this. You see,  I feel, given my position (fitness professional and nurse and Christian), that I should have things figured out and have stopped letting these thoughts [LIES] rule my feelings. In one of my recent posts I declared the “Six Best Things I Have Done for my Body, Mind and Soul“.  While on one hand I feel like a hypocrite by telling my reaction to the comment, I can see it is also good to illustrate the reality that life can be a bit of a war-zone at times; we must win battle by battle.  Sometimes we take two steps forward and one step back, but we must never give up trying to develop ourselves and grow in maturity towards certain chronic issues. Thinking you have something covered is a big mistake – if it was an issue before it  can creep up on you again – so we must take measures to reinforce our fortress.  To use an example from my other article, I said one of the best things I have done was:

“I Stopped Focusing on Fat Loss (80% of the time)”

Do you know what is going on in my head the remaining 20% of the time?  The above dialogue from my photo!

However, that is not even the root of the issue; the issue is WHY I jump to that train of thought instead of accepting the comment on face-value.  The issue is that I still believe another Lie I told myself when I was about 15 years old – “I am too big”, then again in my late teens and early 20’s, I reinforced this lie with “I gain fat really easily”, “I’m massive compared to all my friends”, “I’m the fat one”. I have no idea why I started to think this way, but it’s a weed that needs to go!

Basically, in this last week, I have realised that it will take more than a switch of training focus to destroy those lies!

To fill you in on why I got thinking about all of this again starts with a course I am attending in a local church.  The last 9 weeks or so we have been talking a lot about Strongholds in our lives – meaning the lies we believe from the deceiver, Satan.  All Satan does is whisper them to us, but it is our choice right there and then to allow these lies to cripple our progress and happiness in life. It is my belief, that if we are down and out about ourselves and believe the garbage our negative thoughts tell us, that we will be more likely to stumble and fall into a life filled with more misery, discontentment where we seek only the pleasures of the world in order to cope (sex, drugs, FOOD, dependent relationships, even excessive exercise etc).

Whether you believe the same as me or not, I doubt anyone can deny the reality that letting our negative thoughts affect our feelings and actions is destructive to our lives.

To bring this example further, if I continue to believe the lie that I am fat and I can only be loved if I look a certain why, look at what will likely happen:

  • I may begin to exercise excessively
  • Extreme diet
  • I may avoid social occasions that involve food
  • I may feel unattractive (another lie)
  • I may base my relationships with men on how attractive they make me feel and feel pressure to always look perfect
  • I will be jealous of any attention my partner gives to someone else (based on how she looks) – assuming the worst!
  • Because of this, he will feel I don’t trust him
  • Because of this, the relationship will be in danger!
  • I will feel insecure being naked and this carries many problems too
  • Being self-conscious about my “problem areas” will make it impossible for my partner to compliment me without me reacting awkwardly and maybe saying “yeah right!” –  rejecting a compliment is like telling the other person they’re a liar!
  • I will let my feelings about how I look prevent me socialising (Confession: I have actually not gone out in the past because I felt fat that night!)
  • I will assume that my relationship pivots on how I look and how sexy I appear – again this will often require me to measure myself against what society deems sexy/attractive/fit etc etc
  • I may make poor choices about who I date
  • I may make poor choices about when to have sex – or feel I have to in order to keep him – What a lie!

This list could go on and on … and that is just ONE of the lies I have been telling myself!

Stop the Lies by Announcing the Truth – for the Truth will set you free!

What is the truth?

The truth, on what I feel is a more superficial level of understanding, is that confidence is what’s attractive/sexy, or your abilities outrank your appearance.  This is of course true and I have held this belief for a while now.  I don’t think it is wrong to hold this view, and this understanding has helped weaken the lies, but they are still there … why?

Because I am relying on myself and other people to help me.

If I want to destroy the lie and its effects on my life, then I must accept I am cannot help myself without focusing on God and declaring the Truth:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians (Ch 4: verse 13)

“You shaped me first inside, then out… Body and Soul, I am marvelously made!… I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm (several verses from Ch 139)

“What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition.” 1 Peter (Ch 3: verse 4)

“So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.” 1 Peter (Ch 5: verse 6-7)

As I grow as a Christian, I deepen in my understanding of these Truths and I become better equipped to do His work.

You all know that I love helping others see and reach their potential and this blog started with a more superficial view of fitness at its heart. Boy have things changed! I like to use myself as an example because I want people to see that I am not just sitting behind my computer dictating things from a book – these are things I have come to realise the hard way – and I am still seeking more strength to deal with the many lies that pass through my mind.  Some might wonder what all this God stuff has to do with fitness – I would argue, everything in someone’s life is interlinked (and being a Christian is my life now, which is why I can’t not mention it).  Whatever is in your mind, won’t just make you act out in one area of your life – it spills into everything – which is why I gave a candid list of consequences above.  These were things that happened to me!  Now that I am a Christian, I cannot deny the changes in my life as they can only be credited to One; before this, I was a mess!  How would anyone know the source of my strength, if I don’t declare my weakness?

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians (Ch 12: verse 9)

If I compartmentalize my life, and ONLY do Christian things with Christian people; or ONLY talk about fitness to fitness folk,  then that’s like turning on a light during the day. Yes, we must still spend time with like-minded people, but also get out there and be an example; turn on a light in a dark room:  Fitness-wise and Christian-wise alike!  I know I bring fitness to the church and help people learn about that every chance I get – because I think people should look after the body that God has made – without health,we would be useless to others.  Think about how these lies I believed could ruin both my personal life, my fitness journey/job AND may cause me to stray from my path with God on some detour I take to believe some lies that I’m fat??!!   How can anyone not see that everything is related. If you are not a Christian, but feel strongly about health and fitness, do you not still try and lead by example?

I’m trying to give you an example of how we each have to find what is truly important to us, not what is imposed on us by others.

If you continue to believe the lies and negative self-talk, you will fail to see your true purpose and your true worth.

This article is simply me using my life as an example and to show the reason behind the changes I have seen.  Hopefully, on some level, my experiences will help you – or a comment below can help me or someone else.

Don’t let the lies blind you anymore – write them out and then declare their opposite!

Thank you for reading my thoughts.

~ Marianne

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25 Responses

  1. Skippie22 says:

    Wonderful, wonderful stuff here Marianne! Thank you for boldly stating your faith, and not apologizing for living it in every category of your life!! There is so much I want to agree with and add to, but please know that you have encouraged this Christian Fitness enthusiast (and admonished a bit…I am continually ashamed of how seldom I make my faith a regular part of my online presence :-(!!).
    Anyway, thank you for the reminder that we can *never* think “oh…I’ve learned that lesson…that particular thing is no longer a problem for me, nosirrreee!”….because that is when Satan shows us *just* how far we can fall from our pride :-/.
    My body image has taken a very long and twisted and looped-on-itself journey, and I move along a spectrum of learning how God wants me to see myself. Some days I can only glorify him because I am floored by the fearful and wonderful makings of my body (and what it can do!)…and other days I am smacked flat by the reality that our bodies belong to the fallen world, where decay and imperfection are beyond our control (yes, beyond our control…no degree of perfection with diet or exercise or thought or performance will make our bodies perfect or everlasting).
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for your blog!!

  2. Thanks for letting us know you are a Christian…I gave my heart to the Lord about 20 years ago. I love your site and I love to exercise and stay in shape. Lies from Satan can consume us, keep us stagnant, and live in fear our whole lives. But we can overcome through Jesus Christ! Thanks for your great example.

  3. Jen Comas Keck says:

    Ohhhh how I can relate to this!

    When I walked into the gym about 6 weeks ago, the owner of the gym in KY said, “Wow Miss Jen, your waist looks smaller today!” It was a compliment and he meant it to be nice. In my head, I heard, “Wow, your waist looked really fat prior to right now”, and I seriously spent my entire training session beating myself up over it! WTF!

  4. Mr V says:

    I could write a lot more in response to this but will just say it was very big of you and I’m impressed as well as whats coming. I have very similar ideas of the meaning of Satan. And I have similar “issues” (you could call them qualities too or at least developmental) The human spirit is indomitable and if we were all truly free of all these lies we would realise our extraordinary potential as a race. Im not Christian i was involved as a youth but i do believe that as fact. I take it very seriously but would find it hard to commit to a faith I’ll think about it. Good diet and exercise certainly help in moving closer to a more optimal state. I dont know how to validate it I’ve not looked into it but are you aware of the supposed connections of Jesus to wheatgrass? I certainly find that stuff very powerful and find it much better when its well grown in deep soil or deep containers/trays/from a farmers field at the right time of year. You need a certain type of juicer or to chew it. I always exercise better on it. The scripture is called the essene gospel of peace if it interests you. Most of the people I know who are of faith or of a spiritual inclination are all certain that the way to condition yourself is yoga ect and I’ve been really knocked for doing weights at times. I’m very pleased to see someone making the connection with the methods I value also. I am the same Mr V that emailed you recently but couldn’t organise pay pal! Thank you for your excellent customer service in your emails.

    • myomytv says:

      Thank you Mr V for expressing your views here. I am so glad that people feel “safe” enough to do so 🙂

      Great to hear from you again!

  5. Dennis says:

    I needed to read something like this today. Thank you!

  6. Jackie says:

    Hey Marianne! Press on toward the goal of the upward calling of Jesus Christ! Go to the dark places to shine the light of Truth! Today at church my pastor reminded us that we are Christians with occupations/hobbies. Not the other way around. For instance, you are not a personal trainer who is a Christian. You are a Christian who trains. I am excited about what the Lord is doing in your life and it encourages me to read these posts since I struggle with the same lies that Satan tries to deceive me with. Thanks again! =)

  7. KARMEn says:

    Hey Marianne i know this is out of the topic but can you tell me about your kettlebell certification?i m from romania and i want to attend a cerification course! Can you tell me how much did you pay and how long is the course!in my contry is no such thing ! Thanks!

    • Marianne says:

      Hey Karmen,

      I got mine through Optimal Life Fitness, they hold it over 2 days and I think it cost about £200?? Can’t remember as it was 2 years ago. Hope this helps 🙂

  8. Greg says:

    Thank you Marianne! I ran into your workouts on youtube and quickly learned that where you are physically is way above me, but still check you site from time to time.
    I am glad you know Christ is the real master! Live your Christianity in your nursing and physical training vocations! Look up on youtube a song named Before the Throne above…listen to the 2d verse especially. Satan isn’t all that powerful, but he knows how to get our hearts and minds of our savior and onto ourselves very quickly.
    Grace To You,
    Greg

  9. Renee Harris says:

    I’ve been “working out” with your workouts for the past year or so. I’ve recommended you to some close friends because your expertise is amazing and it’s right on track with what I need to be doing every day. I got choked up reading your post today because although I’ve been a committed Christian since I was seven, I get ecstatic when I read that someone else has changed her life – the angels in heaven are rejoicing with you!! I now know I can recommend your website to everybody, because not only will you continue to offer awesome workouts, but the truth and encouragement you give in your daily posts will transform somebody INSIDE as well as out.

  10. Great post Marianne. So well written and so authentic x

  11. Melly says:

    Marianne.
    Continue to be yourself and offer your talents to the world. Thank you. I too struggle with merging my online and offline worlds.
    As you know, I have had to make some decisions that have changed my perception of my body image. Casual comments can have a way of whipping up an internal emotional storm, which can be quite distracting and disturbing. Much of the time I am able to remind myself that these are just thoughts, they don’t need to rule my mind, I can put them on the shelf and relax. But you are right, it is the last 20% that nips and bites at the heels, demanding my attention.
    Much of my struggle is based in not having a role model or a standard of beauty that fits in with my life’s path, I don’t know very many women like myself (who have had bilat mastectomy without reconstruction) and those that I do ‘know’ are virtual, but there aren’t many sexy, pretty or even just –normalizing- photos of beautiful women who have made my same choice out there. I think that if there were, this would pave the way to an easier sense of self acceptance. I am OK with being a firebrand in this respect but I have to say, it is a bit lonely.
    So I have chosen to build confidence in my self by lifting weights and learning to care for my physical person (which was sorely lacking prior to my diagnosis). Investing in my body and my physical shape really helps with all of it, so I am sticking with it.

  12. chrysta says:

    I loved, loved, loved reading this. Ive also had the same thoughts and feelings in the past. (and admitting they do creep up now and again) Having the courage to write them down publicly really gives comfort and inspiration to all. We have all had those feelings, thoughts and have struggled with body image in one way or another. Wonderful post Marianne! I have to say, you are quite a fabulous writer as well. So you can add that to your ever growing list of talents=)

    Have a great day!

  13. Joanna says:

    Thank you for your honesty. I appreciate it so much. I’m also a Christian in the fitness industry and the battles that happen within myself, and with those who call my profession vanity vs life saving and God honoring in taking care of our health, are difficult. Reading your post has been helpful in many ways and makes me want to support you even more!

  14. Cherie says:

    Marianne, thank you! 🙂

  15. Mick says:

    Hi Marianne,just a thought on your post here,anyone who only accepts people because of the way they look are probably very shallow themselves,who are they to judge how you look,whether you’re thin or otherwise, i think that we are all judged in life,by others & sometimes wrongly,who cares whether you are thin,fat,fit,muscular, or whatever else,its whats inside of you that people dont see that makes you a beautiful person or not,we all have doubts about how we look,if people accept/love you for the PERSON you are,why should they care what you body is like,at the end of the day,we are all judged,by God,we all have these “hurdles” in life we must get over,try not to let these thoughts grind you down,chin up girl ;0)

  16. Angela says:

    I enjoyed reading this post today, Marianne. You tying fitness and faith together reminded me of this page I “like” on facebook that you might enjoy, also. This is their status for today:

    PrayFit – Official Page
    Don’t let anybody steal your joy. That means anybody…even your body. #Prayfit

  17. Miles Rayl says:

    Fantastic post Marianne. I loved this more than I can say here. Please keep up the great work! I tell myself many things as well and needed to read something like this to help set me into action to change things. Thank you.

  18. Lesley says:

    I can not tell you how timely and perfect this is! As usual. May God continue to bless you (and the rest of us too) as we fight this battle in our minds. Out with the lies and in with the TRUTH! And He is the way, the truth and the light – LIFE!

    Lesley
    xoxo

  19. amanda says:

    Thank you! I pray daily that God will help me see what He sees when I look in the mirror rather than the negative things I focus on. Beautifully written post., can’t wait to share it!!!

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