After my first major breakup, I was sure that I was never going to be able to move on. It was close to a year after we had broken up and I was telling my friend how hard it was for me to get over this guy. She said something to me that really stuck with me.
She said “I think the problem is that you don’t have someone to replace his picture yet.” I am sure I looked at her with a very confused expression. She continued “It’s like when you have a picture of someone in your wallet. Even if you take the picture out, the empty space will always remind you of who was there. Not until a new picture is it’s in place will you start to forget the old picture.”
Isn’t it like that with lies we believe? We may be able to recognize the lie, but until we replace it with a truth – no matter how much we try to ignore it, all we see is that lie.
The first step in changing what we believe is recognizing the lie itself. But then it is just as important that we replace that lie with a truth. Not just any truth, but a truth that specifically speaks to that lie.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s use an example of a girl who started exercising for the first time. She tries using the elliptical, gets really tired and leaves. Her inner dialogue tells her “See, exercising isn’t for you. It is too hard.” At this point, it would be easy to tell her “You got this -you can do it!” But honestly, does that generic encouragement really push anyone to keep going? What if instead we spoke this truth to her. “Exercising is really hard. I felt the same way you do when I first started. Don’t give up, it will take time and it will get easier. You have done hard things before (insert example), I know you can do this hard thing.” I don’t know about you, but if someone said that to me, I would stand up a bit taller and start packing my bags for my workout the next day.
We are in the midst of exploring the power of mindset when it comes to physical fitness. Today we are going to get practical. I’m going to unpack some of the most common lies I come across when it comes to physical fitness and then hopefully provide you some truth to help combat them.
“It is in my genes, I was made this way. I will always be overweight. I can’t really do much about it. Why even try?”
It is true that some of us do have genetic dispositions and other environmental factors working against us. That is no excuse. If that is the case for you, it starts with acceptance, you have to accept that you will never be a size one. You have to accept that you may have to work harder than others to run a mile. Everyone has something that is hard for them –whether we see it or not. You will have to redefine what healthy looks like. We also have to remember what is within our control. We can control how much water we drink. We can control what we put in our mouths. We can control if we choose to exercise or sit on the couch.
Specific truth to combat the lie:
“I do struggle more than others to lose weight. But my weight does not define my health. I will do everything in my ability to be healthy.”
“I don’t have time to exercise.”
We make time for what’s important to us. I can hear the push back coming from all sides. People are busy, I get it! I want you to take a step back and ask yourself a few questions. How much time to do you spend on your breaks throughout your day on your phone? Did you know that you can benefit from exercising in as little at 10 minutes? What if you change those phone breaks, to walking breaks? How much TV do you watch at night? What if, instead of sitting and watching, you did a few exercises instead? How often do you just sit and watch your kids at practice (assuming we aren’t in the midst of a global pandemic)? Why don’t you head to the gym for 30 minutes instead of sitting there? I have found, and I have been guilty of this as well, is that if people don’t have at least an hour to exercise, they don’t think they have time to exercise. It’s not true –its quality over quantity. You can get the same benefits from a 25 minute interval training workout as you can with an hour run. Maybe you don’t have much time to work out every day, but what about the weekends? It’s not ideal (which you can’t wait for), but what if you worked out Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and sometime in the middle of the week you snuck in a 20 minute workout? What if you and your spouse took turns cooking, and your off days you exercised while they cooked?
We need to be problem solvers and creative thinkers when it comes to our time. I encourage you for one week to take note, either mentally or write it down, of how you use your time. At the end of the week, I think you will be surprised at how much extra time you actually do have.
Specific truth to combat the lie:
“I am busy. But I make time for things that are important to me. So even if I only have 10 minutes today, I am going to use those extra 10 minutes to exercise.
“I’m too clumsy, I’m just not athletic enough. My body isn’t made to exercise.”
Taking care of yourself physically and being an athlete are too different things. You were created to move. I think we tend to put people into two different categories: people are either athletic or they aren’t. Kids either play sports or are into video games. This dichotomous thinking is very problematic. Just because you aren’t into sports or don’t consider yourself an athlete, doesn’t mean you don’t have to take care of yourself. Also, if you feel awkward or clumsy when you first start working out – join the club! We all had a first day and we all felt clumsy and awkward! Don’t compare your first day to someone’s 100th day.
Specific truth to combat the lie:
“Exercise is not about being athletic. It’s okay to be clumsy. We all have a first day. The goal is not to become an athlete- it’s about valuing myself and my family enough to take care of myself.”
“I’m in too much pain to exercise.”
I am not here to negate anyone’s pain, especially people with chronic pain. I want to start out by saying I am so sorry that you are experiencing pain. But, you can’t let pain be an excuse not to take care of yourself. There is a good chance that if you eat right and exercise it will actually help your pain. I am also not saying that if you are injured, that you work through the pain. There are seasons where you need to rest. But just because you need to rest your shoulder, does that mean you can’t go for a walk or use an exercise bike at the gym? There have been studies that show that if you have an injury on one limb and just work out the other – the injured limb will heal and get stronger faster because of the work you have done on your other limb. If you have an injury you haven’t gotten checked out, go to the doctor. Ask them what you can still do to exercise. People rarely get advice to stop working out all together.
Specific truths to combat the lie:
“I am in pain, but I am not going to let it run my life. I am going to do what I can to be as healthy as possible.”
Let’s call this last one what it is….an excuse.
“I’m just not motivated to exercise or change my diet, I’ll exercise when I feel motivated. I just hate exercising.”
If you are waiting to be motivated to exercise, you will never start exercising. Motivation often comes after action. Sometimes you have to fake it until you make it. If you just hate exercising, there are SO many different ways to get exercise, find the one you hate the least and start there. Work out with a friend. Sign up for a class. Find ways to make it mildly enjoyable. I promise you-the benefits are worth it.
Specific truth to speak to the excuse:
“I hate exercising, but I am going to do it anyway. The benefits of exercise outweigh the costs associated with not working out.”
My guess is that you can identify with one of these lies or excuses-I know I can.
I know I mainly addressed exercise today, but my challenge for you is to take some time over the next couple weeks to identify what lies or excuses have kept you from making healthy choices.
When you find yourself giving into those lies, speak truth! Do it out loud if you have to! And don’t just speak truth, combat that lie with a specific truth – a truth that gets to the heart and soul of the issue.
Thanks for letting me be part of your journey. May you have the wisdom to recognize lies and the courage to stand in the truth.
Because there is more,