Its completely mental, isn't it?

At work and a little bored so thought I would subject you to my head ramblings :)

I have to admit I love listening to the internal dialogue that goes on in my head, especially now as I am slowly changing my patterns and behaviours to reflect healthy choices.

I am quite happy to sit back in my head and have a little chuckle as I hear the to and fro. Maybe I am a little mad - thats a good thing right? :)

I have a name for that voice that many of us have, that tells me to eat chocolate and not exercise and gives me a million reasons for this and strips my willpower.

His name is Bert.

Bert started out as a protector with all good intentions but over time he has become the internal voice that has stopped me from losing weight and becoming the person I know I can be.

Today was a great example.

I committed to doing 30 days of at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, rain, hail, sleet or sickness and today was my last day of that commitment. I will of course continue every day but its the 30th day of the contract I made with myself.

At the start there was a lot of excuses from Bert.

"It's cold, I'm tired, do it later, no time, my leg hurts, its hot" or my real favourite "We'll do 60 minutes tomorrow - PROMISE!"

Why of course Bert. And I have a nice bridge I would like to sell you!

I am sure we are all familiar with that little voice that tries its hardest some days to sabotage your efforts.

As I got to about the end of the 3rd week Bert had basically given up trying to stop me exercising and staying on the couch and accepted that I was not going to break my commitment to myself.

Weirdly enough today - the last day of that commitment - Bert was up bright and early and was on fire. I wanted to try out the new trainers I bought yesterday so walking was on my mind.

"You don't start till 4:00 , go for your walk later"

"You have to cook your food for work tonight so do that first"

"Oh look, you have to spend an hour posting and replying on healthunlocked"

"There are the resistance bands, why don't you fiddlearse around with those for awhile"

"I'm tired, lets nap!"

"The garden needs a water"

You get the picture.

I was wearing some skanky old inside-only t-shirt and tracksuit pants and all of a sudden, before I even knew what was happening, the trainers were on and I was walking out the door.

I am sure Bert was expecting to AT LEAST have all that time of me getting changed to talk me out of walking so he was a bit shocked to find himself outside and marching down the driveway!

"Ummm err WHAT? Hang on, stop, I haven't...we have to....you can't..."

But it was too late and I couldn't care less that the people at the bus stop were wondering why that homeless person had such nice new trainers on! lol

I had a little chuckle at the fact that my body had pretty much put one over on Bert and was out the door before it could be stopped.

Maybe that is why the podcast recommended 30 days without a break so your body starts to get in the habit of it even if your brain doesn't.

Well Bert was NOT happy with the situation and was plotting his revenge.

I decided to take a different route and walk up a large hill and then down a bigger hill to the river because I had heard there was a cycle pathway there and wanted to check it out for when I start riding seriously.

About 10 minutes into my walk I hear Bert moaning.

"These trainers are rubbish - way too big - I am sliding around in them"

So I retied the shoelaces (considering the rush I was in to get out the door they were a bit loose)

5 minutes later Bert starts again.

"The sholeaces are strangling your foot. This is ridiculous. Go home, get changed, do this properly"

So I retied the shoelaces, told Bert to shut it and finally got over the top of the hill.

Looked down and realised that this was going to be a hell of a hill to get back up but relished the challenge.

About a third of the way down I really started to see just how steep it was and Bert starts.

"Whoah this is really steep. You have to walk back up this you know"

Uh-huh

"Hang on I think these new shoes hurt"

They're fine.

Further down the hill

"Yep your left foot is definitely aching. You have stop. You may not be able to get back up the hill"

Yep sure.

Get to the bottom of the hill.

"Well thats just great - look at that hill we have to climb and you with this almost broken foot. Tch tch tch I told you this was a bad..and what about you KNEE - geez what if that starts to play up...well this is a nightmare! "

About a third of the way back up hill impossible I am panting and the voice is at me "See - you'll have to stop. Your foot is almost definitely ruined, you probably have FOOT CANCER!!! you are sweating like a pig, this is a bad idea, what if..."

And finally I just snapped at myself

"You have two choices. Either shut the **** up or help me"

There was some vague whispery "Well I never, how could he talk to me that way, after all Ive..." and that was it.

From there on in it was all positive I-can-do-its and lots of lovely pounding loud music to get me up the hill.

I suspect that's about it for "No Exercise Bert". Sure he'll come and visit and maybe even try again later on but for the moment he is well and truly beaten.

I know there will be the occasional "I don't want to" but the barrage is over and things will be much quieter and more agreeable from here on in.

I still have to shut "Bert Loves Chocolate" up but that's for another day. :)

Later gator!

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18 Replies

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  • Love it!!!!!

  • I think we're all a little mad Dave, only the sane are truly crazy, lol. I'll send Nelly over to keep Bert company for a while, they may get on like a house on fire and go on an extended holiday. They can grumble away to each other and bemoan their owners potty ways, leaving us in peace.

    Super post hun 😆

  • I can see it already. Although you can bet they would return complaining about how much the other moans :)

  • Oh so very true!!!😊

  • Have you ever seen Wallace & Gromit - The Wrong Trousers? That's how I'm picturing you walking out that door. The shoes are on and then suddenly you're off! That hill will be hell on the bike too. But hills/stairs etc are meant to be good for knees (whether walking or biking) so it's a good thing really. If you're out and you feel you've overdone it you can always stop and rest a while. Bert basically needs a big dose of common sense, he needs to get less uptight and moany too. You didn't say who the other voice is though. The You Can Do It voice. Is that Bert too or someone else? Because that's also your protector, making sure you do what's healthy for you to do. Will the other voice eventually get better at keeping Bert in check?

    Congrats on reaching the end of your 30 day challenge and hope the new shoes settle in nicely (P.S. it's worth looking at alternative lacing methods, there are lots of different ways to make them fit more comfortably). Thanks for an excellent hitting-nail-on-head style post once again!

  • By the way over on the couch to 5k forum there are loads of posts about running gremlins, these guys seem to get around. So it's definitely not anything mental, more of a parasitic anti-exercise-voice-in-head epidemic!

  • Yep I am a W & G fan and as soon as you said that I could see it completely LOL

    After hiding behind Bert for so long, believing him when he said I couldn't do something, that I would be safer, more comfortable, less at risk if I didn't try new things or push myself I think that other voice is ... me.

    Its the me that went into hiding when I got overweight, the me who could no longer deal with the bullying and the jibes and the disappointment and the hate I felt for myself from a very young age.

    I think slowly as I have shed the drinking and smoking and other addictions the genuine me that disappeared under the ever growing mountain of self loathing and disappointment is reappearing and helping me to believe in myself again.

    What a great question that was Ruth - I really hadn't thought about it but I think that might be it...all rather deep for a Wednesday but...there it is.

    Wow. OK. Well ... that was unexpected :)

  • I completely sympathise with that actually, as I'm feeling more 'myself' these days too. I get feelings of recognition when I look in the mirror, feeling like - ah yes, that's definitely me. But it does go deeper yes. A bit sad to think that we lost our sense of who we are but happily once you gain control, willpower, determination etc, that all starts to come back. So maybe Bert wasn't so strong on the philosophical side of it all too, he's generally a bit of a 1-dimensional character I think! :)

  • I think you're right and no matter what I say I do have a bit of a soft side for Bert.

    He really did start out being that guiding voice that determined risk and avoided danger but as I started to suffer from the plethora of bad things I was doing to myself he couldn't keep up with making decisions while my self esteem was being beaten down and eventually had to revert to the simplest way to keep me safe. Isolation.

    I suppose its all a bit Sybil and split personality in some ways but he did his best - he just didn't understand that eventually his trying to protect me was what was actually hurting me.

    Hopefully he will take advantage of the retraining courses I am offering and he can come join me out in the world :)

  • Ah I see, Bert's going through a kind of rehabilitation. If he has an important role to play then it's def worth the effort to bring him round to your new way of thinking :)

  • Omg Dave - it's like you are in my head with Bert and Felicity. She's eerily quiet today - I wonder what she has in store for me later 😼

  • Dave, if thats what you produce in a quiet spell at work I look forward to your first professional effort! :-)

    Well spotted. If the little voice in our heads was a real person, stood next to us, talking to us and treating us like it does . . we would not tolerate it! So why do we put up with it when its in out heads? Perhaps we just need to learn to talk to it in the right way and get it on side!

    Nice work! Now come on Bert you've an important job to do!

  • " If the little voice in our heads was a real person, stood next to us, talking to us and treating us like it does . . we would not tolerate it!"

    Its so true isn't it? We should be being our best friend not our biggest critic. I think we sometimes completely underestimate the impact of the self talk that happens and working on changing it.

  • You'd enjoy The Unthererted Soul by Michael Singer !

  • I was just about to Kindle it - and noticed an option to purchase the audiobook.

    Am driving to and from Melbourne soon on a road trip holiday in 10 days and the drive is about 12 hours both ways - just occurred to me that this will be the perfect time to do some audiobook listening so its downloading right now!

    Thanks for the suggestion - looking forward to it.

  • Look at my Urgh post! My 'Bert' won a minor battle but I think I won the war!

  • Yeah Dave.....good ole Bert ain't got a chance with you in the driving seat!

  • I once had a spot on my nose, that I called Bert! He stayed with me for a long time... I think your Bert and fat becky would get along really well!

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