Master these 5 negative thoughts
According to the US National Science Foundation, the average adult has about 50,000 thoughts a day and it’s estimated that half of these are negative. That’s an awful lot of opportunity to self-sabotage any efforts you’ve made to commit to a healthier lifestyle. In order to win the weight-loss war, your mean girl needs to be shushed – permanently. Here’s how…
1. "I’ll never do it, so why try?"
One thing’s for certain, if you don’t try you’ll definitely never do it, so before you give up without starting (something which, no doubt, we’ve all done at one time or another), read what emotional eating expert Magic Barclay has to say on the subject. Barclay, who has lost 76kg and is the author of Stop Being Fat: Love Yourself Skinny, says, “Weight loss is within your reach. All you have to do is extend your grasp.” She uses the acronym MAGIC to help people overcome negative thoughts.
Motivation: What is your motivation? Decide and then map out exactly what you are and what you are not prepared to do while you lose weight.
Adjustments: What adjustments do you need to make to achieve success? Think small steps that are achievable.
Goals: What are your goals? Make sure they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based.
Intrinsic inspiration: Your weight loss needs to be about you, for you and by you.
- Confidence: This breeds success. Know what you want, why you want it and how you're going to get it.
2. "I’ll never keep the weight off
" If you can’t be kind to yourself, who can? Trash-talking will hinder any chance you have of succeeding. As health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, from Stanford University in the US, says, “If you focus on self-criticism, you’ll be like a laser on it.” Instead of focusing on the negative, work out what you want to fix and how you’re going to get there – and stay there. Like anything that’s worth doing, it will take planning, commitment and dedication. But you’ve got this. You’ve just got to believe it.
3. "I was born to be the fat girl
" No, you were born to be you. After all, everyone else is already taken. Learn to love every last bit of you – the bits you like and, yes, the bits you shy away from looking at in the mirror. Above all, ditch the naysayers. Participants in a new study at North Carolina State University in the US had all experienced people who belittled or undermined their weight-loss efforts. By developing strategies to combat this negativity, the participants lost an average of 34.8kg. The study highlights the importance of supportive relationships in weight-loss journeys. So surround yourself with your own cheer squad who will love, support and help you reach your goal.
4. "Why should this time work?"
If you’ve struggled with weight loss for years, it can be hard to imagine a time and a life when you have reached your goal. Remind yourself of what your future could look like by creating some visual inspiration. Start by getting a pinboard and covering it with images of your healthy vision and quotes that will pick you up on even the darkest day. Here’s why it will work. While researching the power of visualisation, Australian psychologist Alan Richardson asked a group of basketball players to visualise shooting hoops without practising them. After 20 days, their skills had improved almost as much as another group of players who physically practised every day (there was only a one per cent difference between them). Visualisation creates an impulse in the brain that tells our neurons to ‘perform’ what we visualised. This creates a new neural pathway that prepares our body to act in a way that’s consistent to what we imagined. Seeing really is believing.
5. "Nothing in my life goes right"
Turn this negative thought process around by keeping a journal of your thoughts and feelings. Writing them down instantly gives them less power over you. Thinking positively takes practise and time. According to University College London, UK, psychologist Phillippa Lally, it takes 66 days for a habit to become unfailingly automatic, so start celebrating the small triumphs, not the little losses in your day. You had pizza when it wasn’t part of your meal plan? But maybe you stopped at two slices. That’s a win, my friend.