I don’t know if I’m more sensitive to it these days or if it’s just happening more often, but it seems as though I cannot enter the ladies locker room without hearing constant negative self-talk from the other ladies in the room. The other day I was SO tempted to say something to one of them, but wasn’t sure how that would be taken, or even if it was my place to do it, so instead I decided to write this letter.
Dear Locker Room Ladies,
You may not know who I am, or even notice me when I’m in the locker room, but I’m the curly haired, glasses wearing girl who comes during my lunch break to get my workout done. I don’t hang out for long in the locker room since I’m always on a time crunch, but lately I’ve been there just long enough to hear you talking so negatively about yourself to your fellow locker room friends. I wasn’t sure if it was my place to say something to you while we were all half-dressed, either getting ready for a workout or finishing up after a workout, but I’m hoping this letter will help make you think twice before you continue to put yourself down so much.
“You DON’T want to see me in a bathing suit.”
“I’m afraid to step on the scale after last weekend!”
“I used to be SO much thinner.”
“What can I do to get rid of this?”
“I need to be EXTRA good this week and workout longer than usual.”
Any of that sound familiar? It’s not your fault that you ladies put yourself down like this- unfortunately, it’s such a commonality in our society to talk to ourselves and about ourselves in a negative way. It’s become so second nature for so many of us that it might even seem like MORE work to speak kindly to yourself.
How do I know? I’ve been there before. There was a time in my life where no matter what I weighed, no matter how much I worked out and no matter what I ate, I always had negative things to say about myself when I looked in the mirror and when I talked to friends. But you know what? Over the past couple of years I’ve worked really hard at training my mind to pick out the positives, rather than the negatives, when looking in the mirror. To go to the gym because I enjoy it and appreciate all my body can do. To eat well- most of the time- so that I properly fuel my body for my lifestyle. To enjoy indulgences- without regret. To love my body- “flaws” and all.
By making this change, I have learned that workouts shouldn’t be made as punishment, that I won’t gain 10 lbs over night if I have an indulgent day, that negative self-talk brings an unnecessary amount of negativity to my life.
So, locker room ladies, I urge you to think about how you talk to your bodies. It’s the only one we have, so why should we put it down so often? Why can’t we love it and embrace it and be proud of it? I want to remind you, though, that this change will not happen overnight. It may take a long time to fully embrace and love yourself and your body, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start working on that now. I want you to do me a favor: I want you to look in the mirror right now and name five things you love about your body. They can be things you’ve been working on, things you’re proud of, things that you feel lucky to have- anything, really. And I want you to do this every day. I want you to go to the gym and workout because it feels good and because you’re proud of all you can do. I want you to eat good foods to fuel your body well, but I also want you to feel OK with indulging in the things that are really worth it to you. And I don’t want you to regret it, ok? Life is too short to put ourselves down for enjoying a glass of wine, piece of cake, slice of pizza, etc.
And lastly, I want to assure you that you look great in a bathing suit and that you are worth more than just what the scale says and that some indulgences here and there are not worth beating yourself up over or feeling guilty about. They won’t ruin all of your hard work. You are enough just as you are and you deserve to understand and believe that.
Your locker room neighbor,
Monique (remember, the curly-haired, glasses wearing girl)
Questions for you: What type of locker room chatter do you hear? Does it tend to be more on the negative or positive side of things? What’s something you love about your body, or something you’re proud of?