Challenging Negative Self-Talk

Hey hey! How’s everyone doing on this lovely Thursday morning? I’m gonna whip right though breakfast because I’ve got more important things to talk about this morning.

Today’s breakfast was a perfect combo of sweet and savory: a toasted Thomas’ Blueberry Bagel Thin topped with raspberry Polaner All-Fruit + 2 egg whites.


I still had some diced tomatoes left from Saturday’s mac & cheese, so I added them into my egg whites, along with a little dried basil, salt, and pepper.


Add a little iced coffee to round out the meal, and I was good to go!


Now, onto a new topic.

Challenging Negative Self-Talk

Last night as hubby and I were going to bed, we ended up sort of joking back and forth about some of the things we don’t like about our bodies, making a few nonchalant comments along the lines of “thunder thighs” and “Buddha bellies.”

Now, typically, I’m really not one to enjoy taking part in negative self-talk. It’s totally unnecessary, it gets me nowhere, and it leads to nothing but disappointment and frustration. I’ve been down that road before one too many times, and I try really hard not to travel it very often.

But, truth be told, negative self-talk does creep up on me every once in a while. Some days, I’m better at disputing the negative thoughts; some days I’m not. To be honest, yes, there are things about my body that I would like to change. Thanks to my overall love for summertime sweets, fro yo, and adult beverages, I have put on a couple “el bees,” which have landed in the inevitable thigh and belly area (which is where I’m prone to gain weight).


Sure, I know what I need to do to fix that problem, and I will reel things back in. But honestly, I’m enjoying all of these things, and I don’t want to worry about denying myself of them. But really, that’s besides the point of this whole conversation…so back to last night.

As Jay and I were winding down our jokes back and forth to each other, he ended up saying, “Hey, well, I didn’t hear you say anything about your arms?” And he’s right, I hadn’t said anything about my arms. I thought about it for a minute and then responded with, “Well, yeah, that’s because I like my arms.”


And the more I thought about, the more I realized…yes, I really do like my arms! And then I thought about it some more and realized that I wish I’d always been this good at challenging my negative self-talk.

I…you…WE can challenge negative self-talk. Once we learn to notice our own negative self-talk as it happens, we can dispute those negative (and often, irrational) thoughts by replacing them with positive ones. Sure, learning to challenge these negative thoughts may take time and practice (it has for me), but it’s so totally worth it.

Okay, so I’ll go first!

Lately, I’ve been noticing some more definition, especially in my shoulder area, that I’ve totally been loving.


This is huge for me, especially considering the fact that I used to thrive on comments about “how tiny” my arms were (aka, I was too thin and unhealthy).

I’ve also been digging my little bicep muscles that have recently began to show up. This picture is pretty hideous, and I’m really not even flexing all that much. But I got the genius idea to take this photo as I was eating breakfast this morning (which you can probably tell by seeing the bagel thin sticking out my mouth) and thought you’d all appreciate it. Ohh, I’m a special one. Winking smile


But hey, I guess all those early morning BodyPump classes are starting to pay off? Speaking of which, today’s class was killer and those shoulders of mine there were on FIRE.

But I loved every second of it.

So now, it’s YOUR TURN. Tell me…

Questions for the Morning:

How do you deal with negative self-talk?

Tell me one thing (or as many as you want!) that you love about YOU!

Don’t worry..“Would You Rathers” will return this afternoon. Winking smile


  1. says

    I used to be really hard on myself and negative was self-talk with a regular part of my day. Once I found an exercise routine that I loved, I started to get excited about going to the gym. Instead of going because I was “too fat”, I was going because I wanted to go to Zumba.

    My husband has also been very supportive of me, no matter what. When he would catch me saying something nasty about myself, he would say, “Don’t you talk to my wife that way!” It was very sweet and supportive and endlessly helfpul.

  2. says

    Whenever someone around me starts to get onto the negative self-talk train, I try to compliment something totally unrelated to that part of their body (either their eyes, or the outfit they’re wearing, or how good their homemade dinner tastes… whatever). If I try to flip the switch on that one thing (their tummy, arms, etc), folks tend to get defensive like “oh you’re just saying that” but if I turn it around to another thing, it can change the entire conversation. I hope that folks do the same back to me!

    I’ve really been liking my arms, too! I was wearing a fun new workout top the other day, and it just made my shoulders look strong and my arms look like they went on for days. It was a great feeling!

  3. says

    I love this post Courtney! You are beautiful! I definitely succumb to negative self-talk…and it’s usually about my thighs- I don’t really like them. But, I’ve definitely been working on combating those negative self thoughts by trying to think about the awesome muscle and definition in my legs. So what if they aren’t super skinny- at least they’re strong! Right now, one thing I’m loving about my body is the definition I’m starting to see in my back. My bf was taking me through a workout the other day and he said he could see the muscles rippling in my back…I loved that! Thank you for this post…sometimes we all need a little reminder to love ourselves :). Oh, and check out my first giveaway if you get a chance!

  4. says

    I try to catch myself during my negative self-talk by either telling myself to stop or naming one thing I love about myself :) I love that you posted about this! Some days it’s hard not to nit-pick a certain area when you go to look at yourself in the mirror

  5. says

    This is a great post!! Really, great observation and something that girls seriously need to start doing..challenge that negativity! I have been LOVING my legs lately. I’ve been running and spinning a lot this summer, slowly gearing up for marathon training and my legs are reaping the benefits. It’s even creeping up into my booty, which isn’t a bad thing! Sure, girls will always have something that they don’t think is perfect about their bodies, but we should praise the things we love! And I really do love my legs (especially my calves)!

  6. says

    I’m with you Courtney…love my muscles! Especially my triceps…they are starting to pop out in photos when I’m not even flexing!

    Saw an old friend a few weeks ago and he instantly told me he could see my “cuts.”

    Love it!


  7. says

    That is a tough one, but usually I tell myself how much better I look now compared to a few years ago – way more toned :) And that even a few pounds will not be noticed by anyone other than me.
    I also am loving the definition in my arms and shoulders!

  8. says

    I love this post Courtney and your arms look fantastic! My arms have been my recent brag too :) After 6 weeks of strength training they are looking way more defined than they’ve ever been. I’ve never been underweight but I’ve always had thin/stick like arms so to see definition develop is awesome :)
    I’m not saying this to brag, but I don’t often engage in either negative talk or thoughts about myself. It just doesn’t happen to me that much. When it does though, I think about all my body can do (run a half marathon, deadlift 100lbs, recover from a back injury in a week, etc.) postive > negative :)

  9. says

    Great Post! Self talk is my favorite thing to talk about with my clients!
    Lately I have been going through a lot of it as well but not all body related so I try to focus on other more positive things or talk to someone who will cheer me up!
    I also love my arms because they are getting more defined lately and my legs… I love my legs!

  10. says

    I definitely find that most of the times in which I am mentally putting myself down, there is something else going on in my life that is stressing me out. Rather than being able to isolate and compartmentalize that one aspect of my life, it ends up permeating other things, like my body image.

    I think women especially are taught (by society, the media, what have you) that their self worth is somehow directly tied to how they look. Even though I know that isn’t true, sometimes my gut reaction to any negative feeling is to immediately feel bad about my physical self. I have to step back and realize how much my emotions can skew the way I physically see myself in the mirror!

    I like my shoulders too, Courtney :)

  11. says

    Well since you have great arms, maybe you can help me!!!

    I know there’s no way to just reduce one area, that you have to lose fat overall, but I know I can work on toning. I carry my weight in my back and arms and I hate it – genetics have cursed me!

    What do you think are the best arm exercises? I need help! Any other commenters please feel free to assist.

    That being said, my genetics also granted me with great hair and smile, so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much. I have to say in bars, when guys are talking to me, they usually compliment my hair! I do love my hair, but how funny and random is that? I get a kick out of it.

  12. says

    Great post! I think it’s important for us to consciously make the effort to stop negative self-talk. I love my small waist. I have a pair of jeans that are way too tight right now (my fave pair, of course). I tried them on today and finally noticed that they are starting to get looser. So instead of beating myself up for gaining weight, I was encouraged to keep working out and eating healthy so that I will be able to fit into them again.

  13. says

    Great post Courtney. It is so hard to combat the negative sometimes.

    My biggest complaint is my belly. When I’m standing or running it looks good and has good definition. But when I sit I get a little poochy. And when I’m doing yoga or other workouts that force your body into strange positions, I hate the way it looks! I have to remind myself that 1) It’s WAY better than a year ago, and 2) I just recently started concentrating on more core workouts so of course I don’t have six pack abs if I haven’t been working for six pack abs!

    I have a love/hate relationship with my thighs, but honestly lately it’s all been love, so hopefully it stays love. The more I run the better they look. I like wearing short shorts and short skirts again, and my thighs don’t rub together when I run anymore! :) I get a lot of compliments on my back/shoulders too, they’ve really tightened up and become defined lately!

  14. says

    I hear ya! Sometimes I catch myself focusing on things that I DON’T like about my body. Once I recognize what I’m doing, I try and combat it with pointing out the things I do like! Such as my legs! I actually really love my legs. For my petite body, they are actually very strong and my thighs are pretty muscular (compared to what they have always been!). I’ve always had really scrawny legs, so I LOVE my legs now that they have a bit more MMph to them with muscle! I also love my arms. And honestly, I don’t know why! They’re average sized, and don’t have a TON of definition in them, but only a little. And my shoulders too…No real major definition but for some reason I always like them! I guess maybe they both look fit, without being too muscular. I think it’d be fun to get some definition there, though! In the summer time I love to wear tank tops, because I feel pretty showing my arms and shoulders. lol Is that weird?

  15. says

    I usually try to remember that when I get in moods like that, there are often people who would love to be in the shape I am in, and it really shifts back the perspective. What you think looks untoned or imperfect on you can be completely invisible to someone else.

    I also love my arms/shoulder area. Like you my arms toned up really well and seeing the definition is very motivating. I also love my boobs. Even after dropping a few sizes from my oblivious college days, they stayed put and without them I’d be boy-shaped. I may sound like a weirdo, but they’re real and they’re spectacular (Seinfeld anyone?). :)

    • Courtney says

      Haha, I never watched Seinfeld, but that comment still made me laugh.
      I’m jealous of your boobage 😉

  16. Elizabeth says

    I am currently in therapy for an eating disorder, and negative self talk is a huge part of it. The thoughts are completely automatic for me, and it’s been really hard kicking them (or trying to) out of my head! It’s mostly about awareness – once I realize that they are occuring I consciously try to replace them with positive ones. But there are loads and loads of days when it’s just too hard … usually I will hang out with friends who I know like me for how I am to forget about them. I guess being social for me is what mainly helps combat them.
    I’ve had to gain a lot of weight (about 25lbs) to be healthy, and right now my body is not what I want, so I kind of have to focus on the few things I like just to stay sane! They would be my hair, eyes, hands, shoulders.
    It’s so great that you have a good outlook on body image, because I truly think that’s where people get their happiness from – self acceptance. Thanks for the post!

  17. says

    You have way more than just great arms, Courtney! You are gorgeous- and have a beautiful face- no matter how your body looks (it looks great anyway) you’ll still be beautiful!

    I tend to gain in my hip/thigh/butt area as well. With a small frame, it’s pretty noticeable if I gain and I have a big (relative to the rest of me) booty to begin with. I just remind myself that I’d rather have a booty than no booty at all! It’s more attractive to my boyfriend and in general. I also remind myself I have long legs.

  18. says

    I can completely relate…

    I think it’s better though at this age (I’m 24) because at least now, when I’m “fat-talking” about myself, I can realize that I shouldn’t be doing that… whereas, when I was younger, I’d believe all the horrible things I was telling myself.

    Something I looove about my body? My smile definitely, and I also like my arms!

  19. says

    I get down on myself a lot about various body parts so either I tell myself (out loud), “Shut the *F up, if a friend was saying it about themselves you’d be so mad!” or I go DO something that requires me to think about something else.

    Parts I like? My eyes, my hands, my strength and the shape (but not size!) of my butt. I also often hear that I have great calves so I’ll toss that into the mix too.

  20. says

    your shoulders look awesome girl!! I am only 5 ft and lots of people think I am too small (like you) but it is my natural build so I have been really motivated to put muscle on! I love it! Not as much cardio anymore and I am seeing results from going into “the scary part” of the gym (aka the guy area lol). I do have self confidence issues at times, mostly around my abs, tummy and flat butt but I try to tell myself that my body is God given and no one is perfect. I do have dimples in my smile and that’s the one thing I will never be self conscious about!

  21. says

    Great post girl! (BTW- you were totally watching Good Morning American in that one picture, huh?!?! with the flip flops in the background!) HA!!
    You do have great arms!!! And lots of great other things too! I bet the hubby lets you know that! :)

    I am trying to love more about myself each and every day. I like my feet, my legs, and my kind heart. That one is my favorite. I have my mamma’s heart! <3

  22. says

    Great post! I struggle with dealing with the negative self-talk too. I find that when I’m staying active and taking care of myself, I feel better about myself, so that helps. I also try not to compare myself to others, with is hard not to do sometimes. And there are certain things about my body that are just part of who I am, and nothing will change that. I know that my shoulders are wider and my arms are bigger than most girls’, but that’s because I naturally have a lot of muscle there, so there’s not much I can do about how they look. And they are strong, so it’s okay! 😉 I used to hate my butt because it made it harder to shop for pants, and I was self-conscious about it, but now I like it. :)

  23. Chelsea M says

    Love this post Courtney! I admire you putting it all out there, it’s definitely tough to avoid the negative self-talk but if you can stop yourself I know I can try to do the same thing!

    I love the definition in my arms, including triceps I feel so strong. I also love my stomach; I may not love planks but my core sure does!!

    Thanks for the motivation!

  24. says

    This is a great post. I needed this! I get down on myself way too often and I need to learn to love myself, every part of myself. Thanks Courtney!

  25. says

    Love this post Courtney!! I admit too that I love love to indulge in sweet treats and adult bevs (aka fro yo and champy) and a lil too much will put those added lbs to my stomach and bum, where I have and always will gain weight. And you said it perfectly, “Sure, I know what I need to do to fix that problem, and I will reel things back in. But honestly, I’m enjoying all of these things, and I don’t want to worry about denying myself of them.” I don’t want to deny myself of them either, but I need to start balancing it out a lil better by having one less sweet treat at night and one less glass of champy/wine…baby steps here 😉

    I try to combat negative self talk by remembering life is too short to beat myself up over silly things like that and to remember to be truly thankful for what I have in my life…sounds cheesy but it really helps me put things in perspective.

    I too love my arms. It’s my fav body part and it’s the spot where I never gain weight and I actually see muscle tone and results from my weight training :)

  26. Martha says

    Love this! As cheesy as it sounds & sometimes I don’t always, but I love everything about my body. I’ve run two half marathons, take Bodypump, run after small children everyday (I’m a teacher, too!), and do everything else I want to. It may not always look perfect, but it allows me to do all the things I want to in life!

  27. says

    The negative self-talk and body checking have been rampant with me lately. I don’t say anything to anyone else, but I am just not feeling comfortable in my own skin lately and I’ve been downright hard on myself in the last few weeks (ie., wow, my butt is growing by the day pretty much every time I look in the mirror. :( ). It really makes me scared that I might be headed back down the ED path.

    The positive is that I’m more self-aware now and I know that that path is a place I don’t want to travel down ever again. I’m trying to be gentle with myself, remembering that I have been sick recently, that I’m starting a new job and that stress is taking its toll, and that overall, I’m still in GREAT shape! My clothes fit, so that’s what counts most, right? It helps to know that everyone experiences these hiccups along the way and we have to acknowledge them as just that–hiccups.

    For now, I can honestly say that I’m digging my arms these days, too! I am not a weights girl, but I love me some yoga and those chaturanga pushups really do it for me! 😀

  28. says

    I have realized that we put sooo much emphasis on our looks, and not enough on our personalities or intelligence. As I’ve grown up, I’ve put less value on my looks and more value on my intelligence. Smart girls have the most fun anyways!

  29. says

    This is such a great post. I think we can all relate! For me, I work out hard all winter and when summer comes, I obviously keep up my rountine, but I let go a little because it’s when we all like to indulge in ice cream…and summer cocktails! When I finally saw definition in my arms, I felt really good too! It motivates you to keep on keepin on!! =) I’d have to say my arms are definitely my favorite too! I tend to stray from negative self talk…even though we all have our days where we are just feeling BLAH.

  30. says

    Great post Courtney! This is such an eye-opening post that I too do this negative self-talk thing! In fact just last night I was so paranoid about a few pimples I had brewing smack dab in the middle of my forehead that I managed to scratch them into an even WORSE mess. Things like this really effect me…and I even texted my friend saying “OK I am not vain but I cannot handle this!” I even put a hat on for my workout so no one would see the scabs! Ew!

    My favorite body part has to be my stomach or my fingers. Those are some pretty parts :-) My least favorite…not that we are going there is my feet (strangggeee toes)! They will never be beautiful in my eyes…haha 😉

    • Courtney says

      OMG! I pick at pimples like it’s my J-O-B! I can’t stop myself…

      On another note, I think ALL feet are gross. Yuck. My husband, on the other hand, will tell you that he has the prettiest feet around. 😉

  31. says

    I have started challenging myself whenever the negative self talk creeps in. I used to complain about my shoulders and arms being weak, so I challenged myself to up the weights at the gym. Now my shoulders are one of my best features.

    Overall, I remind myself to be kind to my body and it will be kind to me. I admire how strong my body has become since I had kids, started running, and kept up my time at the gym. I have also banished speaking negative things about my body out loud because I have a 4 yr old daughter who hears everything. I want her to know that her body is strong and beautiful too.

  32. says

    Negative talk is usually the loudest voice in my head, especially when I’ve gained some weight. Whenever it crops up, I’ve been trying to combat it by telling myself that I’m proud of what my body has been able to accomplish. It helps a bit, but I know I need to get back to my happy weight to truly be comfortable.
    BTW – Your arms are looking great! A defined, toned arm is always a great accessory to any outfit. Keep up the great work!

  33. says

    There’s nothing wrong with taking a picture with your mouth full of food, it is not like you were talking while filming it right??? That would be worse.

    Okay so onto the questions of the morning:

    How do you deal with negative self-talk? – Um, well I am working on this one. I have never really thought I was that attractive or beautiful; and every time I say this out loud near my boyfriend or mother they both stare at me like I am crazy. But it is true, I think the American look is much better than the Asian one. I mean, when I wear make up, I feel like I look like a porcelain doll and not true to myself (hence, why I do not wear make up anymore). So I am working on negative self talk and dealing with it. Now when I say I am not pretty, my boyfriend makes me stand in front of the mirror and he points to parts of me that he sees as beautiful. So I am working on standing in front of a mirror and telling myself I am pretty, even beautiful!

    Tell me one thing (or as many as you want!) that you love about YOU! – I LOVE my laugh. My laugh is something you can pick out of a crowd, or if you hear it you can find me in an office or a restaurant. When I worked at the law firm for a few months, people would be able to find me because of my laugh! I also LOVE my ability to tan and my smooth skin. I use to put on lotion EVERY night when I was a child, well at least my parents use to. Yet now, I never put lotion on and my skin is still amazingly smooth! Also, being Asian I tan REALLY easily! So I love being more tan than anyone I know. I love to compare my TAN skin with that of my boyfriend’s (he is whiter than white, and turns into a lobster the SECOND he is in the sun)!!!!


  34. says

    Great post Courtney! I get rid of negative self-talk by reminding myself of my achievements and how far I have come! Yeah maybe I will never have washboard abs but I have great arms and I’m over thirty kilos lighter than I used to be, have a healthy relationship with food and exercise, am in shape and at a healthy weight….doesn’t sound like a bad deal after all!

  35. says

    Negative self talk is really hard to stop! When I start talking badly about my body I have to verbally say “stop!” and think about what my body allows me to do. It allows me to run long distances, walk everywhere, lift weights, do yoga poses- I always try to convince myself that my body is how it should be and that I will never have a supermodels body. A lot of supermodels get to where they are by starving…I don’t know about you, but I like my food. I like to eat!

    Things I love about me:
    My arms (I’m ALSO starting to see some definition in my arms!!), my shoulders, and my legs (my legs are my absolute favorite. muscular and toned from lifting and running. OH YEAH!)

    I love this post by the way, I think its really important to address this issue because it’s such a problem with women. By the way- you’re arms look great! :)

    Have a good day

  36. says

    this post came at the perfect time! i just posted about battling negative thoughts today! my body needed the day off but my head was like no way girl…you gotta work out! so we’ll see if that happens:) I always complain about my tummy but didnt realize how much i love my legs!

  37. says

    You’re so right, it does take time and practice, but it is so worth it! Ridding yourself of those negative thoughts brings about such an amazing freedom. I’m so happy you wrote this post! Wonderful advice and leadership! Thank you!

  38. says

    Have you ever watched the Sassy Gay Friend videos on You Tube? (If you haven’t – DO IT NOW) But when I’m telling myself how flabby I am, I just snap out of it (sometimes that easier said than done) and say to myself “Look at your life – look at your choices.” (In my sassy gay voice, of course) It makes me a) laugh and b) realize my life is great, and I’m CHOOSING to think this way.

  39. says

    Negative self talk has kinda been my mantra since I was 17. I hated everything about my body. I was never kind. I was awful to my body. I decided at 29 I was gonna quit. Its been such a struggle to do that. I find that in times of stress, beating myself up is the best way to go..its my default setting so to speak. But, some things to help combat that is praying (sometimes out loud), picturing a big STOP sign in my head to stop the negative thoughts that sometimes roll like a freight train, or just turning up music and singing loudly to drown out the negative thoughts.

    My boyfriend won’t even let me talk ugly about myself. One night, he was talking ugly about himself…and it upset me so to hear him talk to himself like that when I love him so much and think so much of him…so I told him that..and he just said, “That is how I feel everytime you talk ugly about yourself.”

    That was my big….WOAH moment. So now I try to remember that when I want to be ugly to myself.
    Thanks for the post! I’m reminded daily of the power of words…we can lift ourselves up or break ourselves down in just a few words. Speak kindly to yourself!

  40. says

    I love your blog more and more every day! When I “indulge” it’s usually because of delicious holiday food or when I’m on vacation… and I enjoy every minute of it! I usually try to make sure I get some type of workout in because it makes me feel good.. and then I will eat to my heart’s content!

    I love my legs – they’re strong and they allow me to run long distances, and I love my abs for deciding to show up and not embarrass me fully in Pilates classes! :)

  41. says

    I love this… you really are right. We need to stop all the negative self talk. I like my legs as I’ve recently been seeing some more definition. This isn’t negative… but hopefully with the new weights I’ve been doing my arms will have more definition like yours in no time!

  42. says

    great topic. I sometimes get those negative thoughts running through my head, but then I take some deep breaths and tell myself no – and quickly say I am beautiful and smile! usually works but sometimes those not so pretty thoughts come back. Then I usually have to go dance or something haha By doing more strength training has definitely helped with being more positive about myself!!!

  43. says

    thighs, thighs, thighs…

    (why do women torture themselves like this?!? you ladies are all gorgeous and every so-called flaw you have, isn’t something anyone else would even notice!)

    I can’t remember NOT having negative self-talk. But after 12 years struggling with an eating disorder and 2 years being healthy, I’m a lot more respectful & appreciative of my body for how resilient and strong it is.

    One body part? I like my upper back up and shoulders now that they’re very toned from boxing. Yours are fabulous too, Court :)


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