It is true that positive thoughts and positivity in general can set you on the right path towards losing weight but does that mean that the opposite can be true as well? Absolutely, negative thoughts can have huge impact not only on your attempted diets and exercise but in all walks of life. We often don’t reach our full potential because we tell ourselves that we can’t do certain things. For example, we get negative thoughts when a vacancy comes up for a promotion at work. We tell ourselves that we aren’t good enough and even if we went for it, we wouldn’t get it. The same applies to our health and especially food.
You could be having a great day and then you spot someone who shoots a disapproving look your way; am I reading into it too much or was someone actually looking at me that way for ordering a big dessert? You start to question yourself and evaluating yourself and then decide that you want to go on a diet so you have one last ‘cheat night’ to consume all the unhealthy foods in your house. However, you aren’t necessarily committed to the diet because in effect, someone else decided it for you so you give up and the cycle repeats itself time and time again. Negative thoughts can send us down the completely wrong path because we think to ourselves ‘I will never look as good as them’ or ‘I need to change. I am not good enough’. However, losing weight won’t necessarily make you a happier person; it may not even give you more confidence as you thought because the negative voices in your head are still there and didn’t disappear with the weight. The thing to remember is that losing weight will not make the negative voices disappear; you have to make the negative voices disappear in order to lose weight.
The negative thoughts that have been previously mentioned often make us turn to food which will cause us to pile on the pounds. These self-criticisms make us feel uncomfortable and unloved; this makes us turn to food because it is something that we enjoy and comforts us. In turn, we then feel bad about the food that we just ate causing a vicious cycle that can be repeated a number of times.
To counter this, you first have to realize that these negative thoughts are not you; they cannot be you because they make you feel uncomfortable and you wouldn’t do that to yourself on purpose. Your thoughts stem from your past experiences and your perceptions but that doesn’t make them true in reality. Once you have realized this, try noting down every time you receive a negative thought pop into your head. This will surprise you as you won’t believe how many times it happens in a day but it will also allow you to separate your negative thoughts that are unwanted from your supportive true opinions. As we have discovered, the negative thoughts don’t represent who you are so separate them from the inner-critic (your ego). If we live a life guided by our inner-critic, it can turn into a life of fear. If you listen to your true self, you will start to feel confident and start to push yourself more in a number of different situations whether it is health-wise, career-wise or anything else. As soon as your inner-critic starts to chime in, completely detach yourself from these thoughts and realized that it’s not who you are.
Now you know how your inner-critic works, it can be easy to focus on your true self and make the most of the positivity running through your mind. You can start this process by turning the negatives into positives. Choose something that has been worrying you, for example your weight, and instead of thinking that you need to lose weight to make yourself more attractive, stand in front of a mirror and tell yourself that you are already attractive and do not need to change.
If the same negative thoughts keep reoccurring and you notice a pattern when you start to make note of your thoughts, consider why they keep appearing. Is there something that has happened in the past that you are struggling to let go of that still affects you on a regular basis? Is it something that you have seen a friend go through that affects you as you are worried that the same will happen to you? Find out exactly what the cause of these thoughts are, this will help you to connect with your true self and re-organize your thoughts. Another technique is to write your inner-critic a letter from the perspective of your true self, writing things down is a great way of releasing the burden from your mind and allows you to see things from a different angle.
The ultimate aim of this is to manage your inner-critic thus removing the need for food to get rid of the negative thoughts. It can be great to take a few moments to analyse negative thoughts as they pass through your mind or if time doesn’t allow, take a few moments at the end of the day to address the thoughts that came up throughout the day. The moment we allow these thoughts to take hold, we have already been affected. This leads to us doubting ourselves and we look for methods to remove this i.e. through food. Being able to do this will help you to control the negative thoughts as well as feel better about the positive ones. When you feel better about yourself, you are less likely to turn to food!
So there we have some great ways of removing or controlling negative thoughts and ways to use them for the better. Use these techniques every day and you will soon notice a difference in your confidence and so will your friends and family!