Thoughts become actions. In fact, every action that has ever taken place started out as a thought. If you are having trouble losing weight, you may not realize the significant impact your thoughts are having on your success or failure. You may be able to link your disappointing results to a specific action or lack of action, such as missing your workouts or skipping breakfast. But what was the CAUSE of those behaviors? If the cause and underlying thought forms that lead to your actions are not identified and manipulated, you are likely to continue the same behaviors and produce the same disappointing results.
Negative self-talk can be a silent saboteur as we often do it unconsciously and have little awareness that it is happening, much less its effects on our emotions and behaviors. Let’s look at the difference between negative self-talk and positive self-talk.
|Those pants are too small, I am so big that I can’t fit into them anymore…I absolutely must lose weight||I will feel so great, and those pants will look so amazing on me once I become more active, eat healthier, and reach my desired weight|
|Emotions Evoked: Fear, Desperation, Guilt||Emotions Evoked: Excitement, Confidence|
Here are some other negative and positive thought patterns:
|“I can’t do this” What are your expectations? If you’re setting out to do something that feels impossible, your goals may be too drastic||“Won’t I be excited when I’m able to look back and say ‘I did this!’”|
|“I must be thin” This feeling of desperation makes it difficult to focus on gradual, lasting behavior change||“I’m going to become healthy and look great, and will be a better version of how wonderful I already am!”|
|“I need to lose weight immediately!” This sets you up for failure because weight loss is a gradual process, and when results are not realized immediately, you will become discouraged||“Over time, I will see amazing results and am ready to enjoy and celebrate all the small milestones along the way”|
|“I need comfort now!” Eating to fill an urgent void will set you back and can become a habit||“I can relieve my stress by meditating, winding down, or participating in a favorite activity, which will all provide me more comfort than food”|
|“I already blew it for today, I might as well eat whatever I want and start again tomorrow” This all-or-nothing mindset sets you up for behaviors that are far worse than your “normal” because you let yourself off the hook for a period of time (the rest of today!) This can become a bad habit. Remember that perfection is not necessary to achieve great results; instead do the best you can with what you have in any given moment||“It’s been awhile since I’ve eaten one of those, I sure enjoyed it! Now I’m happy to get back on track!”|
|“I’m a loser” Thinking that your worth is somehow attached to your appearance or your ability to lose weight is not true and is de-motivating||“I am good at so many things and have risen to so many challenges in my life. Any difficulty I face losing weight does not change the truth about who I am “|
Negative thoughts will inevitably enter our heads. The key is to let them flow out as quickly as they flowed in, and to consciously replace them with positive thoughts. For positive results with weight loss:
- Maintain a long-term focus and be patient and loving with yourself. Keep focused on the emotion behind your motivating factors. For example, instead of thinking “I need to lose 30lb,” think “I am doing this so I will look and feel fabulous.”
- Imagine yourself already looking and feeling the way you want to…and feel the emotions you expect to feel when that happens. If you make this a daily practice, you will be thrust onto a one-way road to your goal and there will be no going back!
- Believe that you are worthy of your goal and all the wonderful benefits that will come along with achieving it.
- Be flexible with yourself. Most everyone experiences set-backs along the way…don’t let it shake your emotions or mindset. Push bad thoughts out of your head and forgive yourself, and resume the positive self talk, affirmation, and visualizations.
- Give in now and then and eat something you’re craving. Keep the portion reasonable and hop right back on the healthy horse afterwards. Also make it a habit to incorporate many of the foods you really like into your daily routine. This way you will not be as prone to the “I need comfort now!” and “I can’t do this!” mindsets. Celebrate and affirm frequently, and repeat as needed!
What negative self-talk do you notice going on in your head? What successes have you found with using positive self-talk and affirmation?