Are your thoughts keeping you fat?

Thoughts keeping you fat?

I know a secret about you. You talk to yourself. Almost all the time, too.

[GASP!]

Fortunately, it’s normal and we all do it.

[PHEW!]

This self-talk can take many forms. You might replay a conversation you had with somebody in the past. Or you could “rehearse” a conversation you’d like to have with someone in the future.

You might step yourself through a difficult task to explain the steps to yourself as you go.

Self-talk is used when you run down a list of things you want to accomplish today or in the near future.

The wrong kind of self-talk

There’s another form of self-talk that is self-defeating and keeps you trapped.

This is the voice of self-doubt and self-criticism.

This voice pipes up when you walk in front of the bathroom mirror after your shower, “Look at those rolls! Diet not going so well, huh?”

It says jovial things when you step on the scale. “Look at that! Two pounds up since yesterday even though you hardly ate a thing. You’re never going to lose weight. You’re doomed to be fat FOR-EV-ER!”

It treats you harshly when unexpected circumstances come up. “So you had the run the dog to vet. That means pizza again, huh? You’re never going to stick to your diet and lose weight. You’re such a failure!”

A trip around a triangle ensues

Whether you call it a triangle of reactivity or triangle of awareness, what happens next is predictable.

Your thoughts cause an emotional response. You might feel down, depressed, sad, angry, or like you’re not in control.

This emotional response leads you to take action of some kind. You might wear your frumpiest clothes not feeling worthy of wearing something nicer.

You might decide to eat whatever you want today, because you don’t feel like you’re making any progress.

You might put off trying to lose weight or eating healthier until things are less crazy in your life.

This is how negative self-critical thoughts keep you from losing weight.

A trip around this triangle can start on any point and lead to any of the other points, but you’ll stay trapped in this cycle until you become mindful it’s happening and put a stop to it.

Using mindfulness to escape the trap

When you live your life on automatic pilot, these recurring negative thoughts make you feel out of control. They make you feel like a victim. The good news is you can take that control back.

Mindfulness takes practice, but it really simply means paying attention to what you’re thinking.

Most negative thoughts come in the form of all or nothing extremes, exaggeration and faulty perception.

Absolutes

Always and never are absolutes. They’re also absolutely hardly ever true. 😉

When you catch yourself using either of these words, ask yourself if your thought is really true. If you’re in an emotional uproar, part of you may want to think the thought is true, but is it really?

Think of times when the thought wasn’t true. Think about things that are likely to happen in the future to make the thought untrue.

We all have our little drama queen moments, but the quicker you quit this scene the better you’ll feel. Trust me.

Exaggeration

We all know the story about the fish. How big was it really?

When emotions are running high, there’s a good chance your negative thoughts are exaggerating too.

Is the situation really as dire as your thoughts are making it out to be? Or are things getting blown a bit out of proportion?

If needs be, fix your thought with whatever truths or facts you can. Set that negative thought straight and don’t let it sabotage the progress you’re making.

Faulty Perceptions

When you believe something that isn’t really true, you’re engaging in faulty perception.

One example of this is; believing other people lose weight easily while it seems impossible for you.

I see forum posts in weight loss groups ranting in this vein all too often. The problem with this particular thought is it quickly leads you down a trail of exaggeration and absolute thinking, which cycles up your emotions even more.

The other problem with this is you’re comparing yourself to others when you don’t know their full story. You’re not in their heads and you’re not with them every minute of every day. You just get to see their results, which to you appeared to come without any struggle or pain.

In reality, that’s probably not true.

Never short your efforts or progress by believing it’s not happening as fast as it should or as easily as you’d like.

Putting those negative thoughts right

To sum up, there are three things you need to do to interrupt negative thoughts and turn them around.

  1. Identify
  2. Evaluate
  3. Modify

By being mindful or paying attention when you think you can catch the negative thought as it happens or as soon as it finishes. This is where you identify the thought as being negative.

Once you’ve identified it, you evaluate it. Is the thought true? Is it based on reality?

Finally, you can modify the thought by bringing truth back into your statement. You can remember the work you’ve done so far. You can remember the plans you have in place for continued progress.

You may go through this process a hundred times or a thousand, but by interrupting the cycle, you’re slowly changing your behavior and inclination to think negative thoughts. You’re telling your thoughts, “You’re not going to keep me fat!”

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Comments

  1. cj says:

    Lori! Having a crappy job had on constant trips about the triangle. When I was feeling weak, fatigued, depressed, angry, and desperate, I had constant negativity in nearly all my thinking. I quit my job and gave myself the time and peace to be mindful. The importance of our environment cannot be overstated in regard to how mindful we are able to be. Great article as usual, LS!!!

    • Lori says:

      Fatigue is a big one for me. Even though I’m getting better at managing work frustrations, when I get home tired in the evening if I’m overwhelmed by something or get frustrated, my first reaction is to order pizza. Definitely a triangle trip to work on! Thanks for stopping by and leaving your awesomeness, CJ!