“Wow! I have no will power. I can't believe I ate that! At the rate I am going I will never lose weight.”
“I feel so fat. Why did I eat that? I am so gross. Well, since I am already gross, there is no use in trying. Might as well order a pizza and call it a day. I’ll never lose weight.”
Does this sound familiar?
If you’ve ever tried to lose weight and love food, the statements above might have struck close to home. I have certainly experienced a similar soundtrack playing repeatedly in my head from eating something that I later regretted.
What made me feel worse than the actual experience of feeling too full, though, were the negative words I was repeating over and over to myself.
One thing I know for sure is that self-talk like this is more likely to do harm than good. Often, the self-doubt and self-loathing that follow a meal misstep leads people even further from healthy eating and self-acceptance.
Tired of repeating the vicious pattern of negative self-talk and over eating? You're not alone. This is a very common experience for many women and men.
Stop the black-and-white thinking
So, how do you end the negative lyrics on repeat that you keep singing in your head? It starts with looking at the food fumble realistically. It’s incredibly common to catastrophize the problem and make it a lot bigger in your head than it actually is.
When you blow your food bust out of proportion, you set yourself up for failure. Certainly, eating too much at dinner, especially if it is something delicious, doesn’t make someone a failure any more than getting a C on a test.
To put your moment of dietary “weakness” into perspective, ask yourself if it will really matter in three months, three weeks or even three days? If you treat the slip as just a slip and continue with healthful eating, it will make no difference in a day or two.
What trips up a lot of people is having an all-or-nothing mentality. There is always a new meal and a new chance to try to use kinder words and bring kinder foods to the table.
Now that you can see the problem for what it is, the next step is to try and speak more kindly to yourself. Imagine that you’re speaking to your best friend: you wouldn't say hurtful things to them.
The way you speak to yourself is no different. Be your own best friend and starting treating yourself like one.
Follow these mental recipes for a new you
A little self-love never hurt anyone. Even though you are in the process of improving your physical presence through weight loss and exercise, its VERY important to accept yourself as you are right now!
One of the worst things people do is complain about their bodies or put themselves down. Focus daily on being loving and completely accepting of yourself, your body, your mind and your spirit.
When you feel down, try swapping out the negative thoughts and speaking kindly to yourself. Say things like, ” I love and accept myself in this moment. I am doing my best and I am proud”, or “I am perfect right now in this body. I am trying to improve myself each and every day”.
Your body is your friend, not your enemy
Ever feel hostile towards and at war with your body? Do you feel like it's your enemy? Turn that frown upside down by making a conscious choice to treat your body with the love and care it deserves.
Try not to get angry at your extra weight, don't say nasty things to yourself and don't expect yourself to be able to change everything with the snap of your fingers.
This way of thinking isn't realistic and will most likely lead to more nasty thoughts and more weight gain because you have set unrealistic high standards for yourself.
If you stop treating yourself negatively, you'll come to realize just how much better you feel with just this one small change. Words are powerful, so use them wisely.
Start moving—even if you feel uncomfortable
I know how you feel if this is resonating with you. I also know that if you feel down in the dumps about how you physically feel in your body, you might not want to go exercise or even move for that matter because its physically uncomfortable to be in your body.
This does more harm than good and continues to perpetuate the cycle of feeling down after going to town on your favorite foods. Start moving—even if you don't mentality or physically feel up to it.
I started with dancing in my room to my favorite songs on Youtube. This was in the privacy of my own home, so I felt comfortable dancing like no one was watching.
Listening to my favorite songs and dancing wildly to them not only made my body feel alive again, but also made me smile, laugh and feel more motivated to be healthy.
Moving and grooving is a quick way to jumpstart the process of feeling good mentally and physically. Starting small, like dancing to a few songs in your room, is a great start and will eventually lead to walks outside, visits to the gym and a healthy weight loss.
Imagine yourself as a gardener: your body is a tiny seed that you're tending. Handle this seed with love, care and kindness. A flower doesn't bloom overnight. If the gardener doesn't tend to the seed properly—by providing it with water, nutrients and protection—the seed won't grow and bloom.
You're capable of blooming into a radiant flower. You have all the basic essentials already to help your flower bloom. Provide yourself with light when your world feels dark.
The kind words that you speak to yourself over time will help you continue to grow. Allow yourself this kindness and watch your world turn into a field of bright flowers.