You know that friend, the one who never has anything positive to say? The one who constantly criticizes other people and wants you to commiserate with her? The one you keep spending time with even though she makes you miserable?
We all have that friend.
You know when you hang out with her she’s going to bring you down. But it’s not that big a deal, because after your girls’ night or phone call or whatever, you’ll be done with her, right?
Wrong. Her negative energy doesn’t leave you when you leave her. It stays with you long after and affects you in ways you’re not consciously aware of.
If you spend time with your toxic friend, you’re going to become less of who you really are. You’re going to stay stuck, never achieving the goals you set for yourself — including to lose weight, be healthy, and become the best version of yourself.
The bad news is that your most toxic friend of all is the one you can never get rid of. She lives inside your head, and she never leaves. She is your inner mean girl.
Your inner mean girl talks to you all day long, and you’re probably not consciously aware of it. She’s been there so long that she’s become background noise.
But if you aren’t clued in to her and don’t silence her, you’ll absorb what she’s saying — and become a lesser version of yourself, the opposite of who you were meant to be.
She’ll tell you how lazy you are, how fat you look, and how weak you are for not sticking to a diet. She’ll put you down so much that you’ll quit taking action and give up. She’ll convince you that scarfing down a bag of chips or bingeing on cookies will make you feel better — and then tell you how disgusting you are for doing it.
Your inner mean girl will prevent you from taking action. She’s convince you that there’s no point in trying because “it’s hard to lose weight” — especially if you’re in menopause or you have small children or a full-time job or whatever. She’ll convince you to get on the excuse train and to rationalize why you didn’t do what you set out to do.
Your inner mean girl is a lot like your toxic friend — and you must get away from her as fast as possible. If you don’t, you will not only never lose weight, you’ll never come close to reaching your fullest potential.
(By the way, your inner mean girl actually has a purpose. She’s a psychological mechanism instilled in you to keep you “safe” — from separating from the herd. But this ancient survival mechanism no longer serves a purpose — especially if your current herd is dead set on keeping you from achieving your goals because it makes them feel badly about not achieving theirs).
So if you can’t cancel plans with your inner mean girl or stop taking her calls, what do you do?
You have to learn how to spot her . . . then shut her down.
If you don’t, you’ll continue trying to lose the same ten pounds — and possibly spend years of your life doing it. You’ll keep looking for the magic set of instructions (a diet) that will give you what you’re desperate for (losing weight).
The trick is that if you stop identifying with the lower version of yourself and start working toward your true potential, you won’t have that small, meaningless goal to achieve — because the weight won’t be there anymore.
Weight is a by-product of not living to your potential.
It goes against universal laws to not live to your fullest potential, so you have to numb yourself to the fact that you’re not. You eat or drink or shop to fill the void — the one that can only be filled by setting goals that seem just out of reach and then working on achieving them.
The last thing your toxic friend wants is for you to live to your fullest potential. And your inner mean girl is no different. After all, she’s there to make sure you don’t do anything out of your comfort zone or that would separate you from your circle of friends and family. She puts you down to keep you from the shining, vibrant version of yourself.
But now that you know what she’s up to, you’re going to identify her, silence her, and become who you were meant to be.
The good news is that once you get used to spotting your inner mean girl, she’s easier and easier to shut down. How do you spot her? By noticing how you feel.
Whenever you feel badly about yourself, your inner mean girl has been at work. Notice what she’s said to you just before you feel demoralized, powerless, or worthless. Chances are she’s been telling you how horrible you look or how disgusting you are for eating so much or how nothing is ever going to change — so why bother?
Spend one week paying very close attention to what goes through your mind whenever you feel the worst, and write down what you hear. The last thing anyone ever wants to do is journal or meditate, but trust me, when you see on paper what you say to yourself (or what your inner mean girl says) you will be shocked.
You can’t change anything if you don’t know what you’re working with, so write it all down. Then challenge it. Say the opposite out loud. Eventually, you’ll notice yourself changing, little by little.
That’s the basic activity to start silencing her. But if you really want to punch her in the face and knock her down, do this: set a really big goal and get busy achieving it.
The moment you decide to set a goal — especially if it seems just out of reach for you — who you are starts to shift. Just the act of setting it changes everything.
When you get that butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling, you’re generating powerful energy that obliterates all of the mean girl’s chatter and criticisms. You’re also immediately shifting all your attention from what you look like to what you’re capable of.
Most importantly, you’re starting the process of seeing yourself differently. You’re becoming a woman who’s excited and on fire for her life — someone who’s too busy achieving goals to sit around and obsess about how much she weighs or waste time thinking about what she’s going to eat.
When you start changing your concept of who you are — your identity — your inner mean girl has no choice but to retreat.
All your goal-setting activity will spill over into every area of your life, including your health. All of a sudden, you won’t have to force yourself to work out or have a salad for lunch or drink more water because you’ll gravitate toward these things. And when you feel compelled to prioritize your health, you won’t have to worry about cutting carbs or counting calories or weighing yourself.
You’ll stop picking yourself apart or seeing yourself as a collection of body parts because you’ll feel capable and powerful. You won’t be measuring yourself based on what you look like because you’ll be whole and complete.
This is exactly how the weight eliminates itself and is the reason I named my business “Love To Lose.” It’s because I know from my own experiences that if you love your life, you will lose the weight.
If you want a step-by-step plan to do all of this, here it is:
- Go buy a beautiful new journal.
- Set aside an hour where you can sit quietly with no distractions — no phone, no kids, no laundry. This time is an investment you’re making in yourself.
- Think about the goals and dreams you had for your life before you got married and had kids or found yourself in the job you have now. Did you dream of living in Italy and learning Italian? Did you love cooking and thought of becoming a pastry chef? Did you fantasize about starting your own jewelry line? Write it all down.
- Pick the dream that most resonates with you, the one that gets you the most excited. Forget about whether you think it’s achievable or if it seems impossible for where you are in your life right now. Just circle it.
- Spend at least ten minutes envisioning that dream being fully realized. Give your vision as much detail as possible, and allow yourself to feel filled with joy at the thought of it. (Your inner mean girl will be on full blast, giving you all the reasons why this is the stupidest exercise ever and how there’s “no way” you could do any of it. Don’t listen.)
- Start with that vision and work backward, listing all the big steps that would have to happen for that dream to become a reality. If your dream is to live in Italy for a year, you’d have to take a year off from work or work remotely, find a place to live, enroll your kids in an Italian school, and renew your passport. List as many as you can think of.
- Choose one of those steps, and break it down into five to ten smaller steps. If you’d need a place to live, you’d have to know what city you’d be in, find an apartment, and possibly know some basic Italian.
- Choose the easiest step, and get started on it. If you need to choose a city, your could go online to do some research or go to the bookstore and buy a book on Italy to narrow down your choices.
- As soon as you close your journal, take action. Take one small step today in achieving that goal.
None of your goals should be about what you look like or what you’re going to eat. That’s beneath you. Don’t let your inner mean girl talk you into wasting your life on a diet.
The good news is that once you start the process of drowning her out — you won’t have to.