Stop your inner critic from sabotaging your weight loss goal
Often, we allow negative self-talk to become our own worst enemy. Unjustified, exaggerated or even irrational thoughts causes self-doubt, anxiety and even depression. Eventually this inner negative self-criticism snowballs into making wrong choices, not accomplishing what you set out to do and disappointment. Negative self-talk is stressful and even bad for your health.
Especially in the arena of weight loss, it is vital to learn to banish negative internal thoughts that hamper your goal of reaching your desired weight. In fact, when you develop cravings for bad foods, this is often a signal that your inner self-critic is probably at work.
Examples of negative self-talk.:
Black or white thinking: “I messed up my diet by eating bagels for breakfast, what’s the point, I’ll never be able to keep to my healthy diet to lose weight, so I might as well go back to eating bread”
Jumping to unwarranted conclusions: You see an acquaintance walking down the street. You wave, they do not wave back. You immediately think that the person is snubbing you — and so you feel bad about yourself, and eat to make yourself feel better, of course, there were any number of other possible reasons the person didn’t wave back? Perhaps they were in a hurry; maybe they didn’t see you, etc.
Blaming: “It’s all his fault that I ate the pizza” Your husband brings home pizza. You think you don’t have the willpower to stick to your Nutritarian diet if everyone doesn’t support you. We all need to take responsibility for our actions and choices. No one can make you change, you are in total control of what you will or will not eat.
Overgeneralization: If something doesn’t go your way, you say to yourself, “I always fail.” It is important to embrace the positive things you have done and stay in the present. The past is gone, and the future isn’t here yet. Every day is a new day in your journey to accomplish your goals.
Tips to overcome negative self-thinking:
Start your day by saying five positive things about your life and the world around you. This enables your day to start on a positive note.
Talk to yourself as you would to encourage a friend who is trying to lose weight and you are trying to help. If you said half of the negative, mean things you say to yourself, you would have no friends. Try to view yourself as a separate person — and be comforting, motivating, and helpful to that person. It may feel strange at first, but soon you will find it helps to keep negative self-criticism at bay. Think of negative self-thoughts for what they are: unwanted guests in your head.
Ask yourself what am I really telling myself right now? Why is it making me feel helpless or bad? Can I do anything about this situation or is it out of my hands? If it is, let it go! Especially at the beginning of this process, the negative thought is not going to easily submit to being dismissed. It wants to fight back. Don’t allow yourself to get pulled into the struggle. Negative thoughts typically are either centred in the past or in the future. Practice mindfulness, and be in the moment. Remember, every day is a new day, so there is much you can accomplish each day towards reaching your goals!
Kathleen Renner, L.C.S.W.