Do you have an inner critic?
Chances are you do. It’s that mental voice that tells you that you don’t belong
….that you are no good
…you haven’t been training hard enough
….that you have been eating too much,
….that you will get fat,
….that you are lazy.
My wife and I call this voice “fluffy.” Fluffy meet the reader, reader meet fluffy (don’t get too close. It bites)
Fluffy is more than the embodiment of my eating disorder mindset, although Fluffy is definitely linked to it. Fluffy goes beyond to really embody the voice of my fears and at the same time my desires.
I think we all have a Fluffy in us. Les and Si (check out their new book on this subject too) likes to call it the “Monkey Mind, ” but I like Fluffy better. Fluffy is that voice that tells you all sorts of irrational, illogical lies. My own fluffy is not a cat but rather a shadowy figure. Fluffy does not really have a gender but is a perfect triathlete with chiseled abs, blazing fast times, and bike wattage that could power a Vitamix. In essence, Fluffy is the voice of my fears.
He/She/It likes to tell me some really stupid stuff like:
“You are not good enough,”
“(S)he is better than you,”
“You are too fat,”
“You are too slow and you will always be too slow,”
“You don’t belong”
“That food has too many carbs/fat”
“God, you look huge.”
It’s these types of thoughts that trigger me to start restricting my calories and to begin to scrutinize my body even more. I notice Fluffy more when I am tired and/or stressed. Sometimes Fluffy will be on the trainer with me or running beside me or looking down at me at the pool. He/she/it is there when I fail to hit my watts, my HR numbers are off, or my splits are slow and is the first to comment on it.
I do not think I will ever get rid of Fluffy. That voice will always be there but I have learned how to silence it at least. Firstly, it is a signal that I am stressed, tired and need to get to bed ASAP. It is also a good sign that I am worrying about the future or depressed about the past when I should be focusing on the present moment and the journey. So, I turn off my watch and get back to working hard regardless of what numbers it results in.
It might be clichè to say but when I hear Fluffy, it reminds me to take a deep breath and refocus on what is going on right now. At this point, I like to remind Fluffy that just because I am not at my goals now does not mean I will ever get to them. All I can do right now in this present moment, is train and enjoy it. If I do those two things then everything else will fall into place eventually and if it does not work out exactly as planned, which it rarely does, then so be it, I am where I should be because of the effort and focus that I put in.
Fluffy may never go away nor should he/she/it since Fluffy is a good reminder to refocus on the controllables, get some sleep, and chill out.
What does your “Fluffy” like to tell you? Have you ever tired to embody it? If so what does it look like? I would love to hear your thoughts below in the comment section.