By reframing negative/automatic thoughts
The biggest cause of Self Sabotage is negative thinking! So in this article we are going to talk about reframing your thought. You may be asking what does reframing your thoughts have to do with weight loss? Your thinking I’ve gone off my rocker addressing this here. I get it! It’s not a weight loss strategy, and it’s not a nutrition tip. But when you start and stop your journey, lose the weight to just gain it right back, reframing your thoughts becomes a huge part of your journey.
There’s another piece to this too. If you find yourself eating your emotions, controlling the thoughts associated with said emotion by applying a bit of internal logic can help you stay on track.
Reframing your thoughts almost feels complex, but in reality it’s not complicated. It’s having a conversation with yourself (Maybe in your head, maybe out loud). This conversation is looking to change your mind about how you see the world, and how you feel the world sees you.
We want a major change so it takes some work
When we are trying to make a major change, like how we view the world to help us with weight loss, it’s feels like a such a huge undertaking. But I want to break it down into some simpler steps, so it eases the process. The first step is to become aware of the negative thoughts, and recognize when they are negative. Once we can recognize the negative thoughts, the goal is to challenge our thoughts and perceptions so that we can change our view. And the final phase is to release the judgement we have regarding the thought, or situation.
That in a nutshell is what we are going to talk about today. It sounds so easy when put that way, but knowing what to do is the easy part. Following up and doing the work is the challenge. 🙂 I have created a great workbook to help you do this work. Check it out here!
So let’s dig in and see if we can spell it all out, so ya’ can get to work!
1. Stopping Self Sabotage-Recognize Negative Thoughts
We all know those, the cup is half empty people. Maybe you are one… many people aren’t aware of the negative spin they put on the world. In order to change, we must know what negative thought looks like, feels like and sounds like in our head. And we have to be aware of the mental conversation we are having with ourselves.
So that is step one… pay attention to and journal what you are thinking. I actually recommend 5 minutes morning and night. That is just enough time to blurt out what you are thinking and feeling on the page.
Next is the fun part, spend ½ per week reading these little blurbs. During this review time, you are looking for the following kinds of thoughts.
Let’s look at some examples of negative thoughts…
Black and White Thinking:
- These thoughts usually contain the words “always and never’ and phrases like “ He ALWAYS has to remind me to feed the dog.” Or “She is AlWAYS rude to me.” Or “I know I will never lose this weight, it’s too hard, even my bad health can’t get me to do.” With black and white thinking there is no middle ground. Phrases like good, better and best, aren’t included in this type of thinking, it’s all or nothing.
- This is my downfall, I have to fight this all the time. Personalizing and feeling as though I am to blame because a situation didn’t work out like I thought it would or should. Or assuming someone is mad at me because they didn’t smile when I walked in a room. Personalizing situations that have nothing to do with us, can cause a spiral of emotion that lead to overthinking a situation. Raising my hand, huge over thinker here! The catch is realizing that many situations are out of our control, but with a person that personalizes negative situations we have to be aware of this so we can change our view of these situations.
- This is always assuming the worst in every situation. So you know that feeling you get when your older teenager doesn’t check in and it’s 1:00 am and they aren’t home? I’ll just say it, that is catastrophizing! This is normal, every parent does it. We are looking for bad news, we do that unhappy guessing thing all until we hear from them. When this starts to leak into your day for every event it becomes a problem.
Are you seeing a trend here? Maybe you see something you didn’t even realize that you do. That is a good thing! By recognizing the negative thoughts you can start the next step. The workbook has an amazing starter for this… get it here. Let’s look at the next step—challenging these negative thoughts.
2. Stopping Self Sabotage-Challenge Negative Thoughts
The next step in our journal, or in our mind as we get better at recognizing these negative thoughts is to challenge them. In our journal we can actually write out a plan of how we can challenge these thoughts.
If your thoughts are black and white, think of times that contradict your assumption. I promise you, I don’t ALWAYS eat horribly, but there was a time that this negative thought followed me everywhere. I felt like I was drawn to food that was bad for me. To correct this, I spent a lot of time pointing out to myself when I ate vegetables (Note, I hated vegetables when I started my journey). This became my challenge to myself to change my negative thinking on this topic.
There are several example of black and white thinking that follow us on our journey, but I challenge you to find your biggest one and reframe your thoughts on the subject. I now firmly believe I am a healthy eater and I love vegetables. 🙂
How about personalizing?
Now I was an emotional eater. Notice I say was–I have reframed my thoughts on this subject, and I don’t allow myself to say I am emotional eater anymore.
But when I was an emotional eater, every time I felt responsible or hurt in a situation real or imagined, you guessed it I would polish off some delectable treat that hurt my journey.
So how do you combat this little demon?
This requires stepping back and looking at alternatives to your belief. Not every problem is caused by you. One thought that really helped me, is all people have choices and their choices are not my responsibility.
Another method for this step is to look at the situation from the other person’s perspective. Try to remove you from the equation. Remember, you are not responsible for other people’s choices.
Is it really a catastrophe?
The final negative thought we are going to address is catastrophizing. If you perpetually find yourself acting as if it’s the end of the world. This added stress is slowing down your weight loss journey.
Try to step back and focus on the actual problem and reflect. Is there a different way to look at it? Can you find a few actionable steps that will remove the end of the world feeling from the situation? Can you release the drama of the situation and move forward?
Each of these negative thought cycles can affect your mental journey, and thereby affect your physical journey. By looking at your thoughts, and reframing them and looking for alternative ways to think you are moving not only toward a healthy body, but also a healthy mind.
3. Stopping Self Sabotage-Release Judgement
The final step that we will discuss is to release judgement. We have done a lot of this work. And we recognized the negative thoughts in our journal. We observed the effect of the thought and made a plan to reframe our thoughts. The final part, is to let go of the judgement we have. You know that little voice that is harsh in your head. That is judgement. Let go of it. Give yourself permission to say it’s okay and I’m working on me. I’m not perfect, but I am trying and it’s okay! You don’t have to be perfect on this journey to get to your destination, you just have to keep trying.
Let’s wrap this up!
Each of these methods to reframing your thoughts is a process. Work on recognizing the thoughts that are hanging you up, and making you self sabotage. Most importantly, realize it took a lifetime to get to this way of thinking and that it’s going to take some time to change your thoughts. And in case you missed it, I really want to help with this. The workbook is a great place to start. 😉
With this in mind, changing your thoughts, changes your brain! The emotional center in your brain (amygdala) forms a stronger connection with the center responsible for higher order thinking (pre-frontal cortex). This change in the brain, rewires after time and the effort to think differently gets much easier.
One last piece to Stopping Self Sabotage-—You can also look at how bad would it be if the thought were true?
If your negative thoughts turn out to be true, how bad would it truly be? In some situations, yes it can be truly difficult to deal with hardships in life. But I truly believe, when God closes one door he always opens another door for us. So I will often use this little saying to help me change my thoughts in those situations…
“If your going to pray, don’t worry! If your going to worry, don’t pray!”
Get some help Stopping Self Sabotage-
Another option if this doesn’t work for you is to look at how you can change an outcome. If you are not happy with the outcome investigate ways to change it. In some cases you can simply do one of the following options to change the outcome:
- Get a Coach to guide you.
- Take a class
- Read a book
- Research how others handle it
Sometime looking at how others handle a specific situation can really help us move to a place of change. It all depends on your goal!
And with that, I sign off sending you guys love and great big hugs and hopefully sometime to journal!