IF only weight loss was just about what we eat and how we exercise, then really it would be quite an easy issue to solve. But the reality is that for the majority of women (myself included) it’s our mind that’s the biggest barrier to success.
Pay attention to the negative thoughts that come into your head and notice the emotion that you feel with it.
- How many of you are confident that when you look in the mirror you accurately view the reflection staring back at you?
- Or, are you one of the many women who is so ‘disgusted’ by yourself that you refuse to look in the mirror?
- How often do you tell yourself you’ve been ‘bad’ or are ‘a failure’ because you ate that ice cream/piece of cake/bag of chips?
- Or, do you regularly label yourself ‘a fat pig’ or ’a lazy cow’ because your nutrition and exercise aren’t as you think they should be?
- Or are you like me and have phases of doing all four of the above and more?
Whichever category that you fall into, don’t worry. This kind of negative thinking is common and there are some simple things you can do today to start to flip your thinking and set yourself back on track on your weight loss journey.
Generally, we think so much that we don’t pay attention to individual thoughts and the effect that they have. But for the next couple of days I want you to do just that. Pay attention to the negative thoughts that come into your head and notice the emotion that you feel with it.
For example, what happens when your inner voice tells you ‘you’re fat’? Does it make you feel sad? Do you cry? Or do you get angry or experience some other emotion? Whatever it is, notice it.
Once you’ve become accustomed to recognising these negative thoughts, start to challenge them.
Ask yourself, is this thought helpful? Ask yourself, is this thought true?
Let’s take the same example of ‘you’re fat’.
Q1. Is this thought helpful? NO.
Q2. Is this thought true? Now that’s a bit tougher, especially because your inner critic has spent years (possibly most of your life) making you believe it is. But, there are ways to turn that. Start asking yourself some simple but tough questions to get to the truth here.
Ask yourself where the evidence is that proves this thought is true? And I mean hard, concrete evidence – not some subjective evidence dreamed up by the voice in your head.
We’ve recognised the thought, decided that it’s not helpful and isn’t based on evidence therefore making it untrue, but it still keeps appearing. So, your next step is to turn the tables on the thought. If your best friend came to you bemoaning the fact she’d just eaten a doughnut and felt fat, would you agree with her and add a little sauce to it with a “yep, your thighs look huge today”? My guess is you wouldn’t, so why do you do it to yourself?
The next step is to talk to yourself as if you were talking to your best friend.
Your inner voice: “OMG I shouldn’t have eaten that doughnut. I am such a fat pig.”
Your ‘your best friend’ response: “Yes, you’ve had a doughnut but it was only one, that doesn’t make you fat. You look amazing and just remember those jeans we bought for you last week are the smallest you’ve ever worn.”
Get yourself a stock of positive words and phrases that inspire and support you - for example things such as I love life; I’m great; Step by step; I can do this; Cracking boobs Mrs J or whatever works for you.
Write these phrases out and stick them on your mirror, pop them on your bedside cabinet or in your purse so they’re to hand whenever you feel you might need a bit of a nudge. Filling your world with positive affirmations leaves less room for the negative thoughts to invade.
Nobody’s perfect – that’s why pencils have erasers.
So get out your eraser and rub out that negative self-talk to help you on your journey to fitness, health and happiness today.
Sara Perry is the Thinking Woman’s Personal Trainer and is passionate about helping women over 40 to improve their fitness, health & happiness.