Combat those Negative Thoughts

Have you ever thought “I can’t handle this”, “I have failed”, “It’s too hard”, or “I don’t have time to exercise”?  Did you stop and examine your thought?  When you step back and look at these defeatist comments, you will find that they are all untrue.  Often we make things more difficult than they need to be by the thoughts and beliefs we hold onto.  Maybe it is time to listen to the way you are talking to yourself.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when you start to have negative thoughts.  These can also work on any area of your life where your thoughts are undermining your progress.

  • Am I over generalizing the situation?

Sure, I may have eaten a huge dinner that was full of high fat foods, but I haven’t failed.  I stuck to my plan the rest of the day, and tomorrow is a new start.  By having an all or nothing attitude, you actually give away your control.  You feel awful, and you stop trying to do something about it.  It is much more productive to give yourself a break for a mistake, and take back the reigns of control.

  • Is there a positive way to view the situation?

It seems unfair that I worked so hard to lose weight without any results to show for it.  But, I did find out that I can follow through on my plan.  Maybe I will have to try harder than some other people, but I will be a stronger person for it.  Dwelling on the negative does nothing to move you in a positive direction.

  • How would I encourage my friend if they had this problem?

If my friend was upset that she had gained 5 pounds, I would not tell her that she can’t lose weight so why even try.  I would give her my support and let her know I believed in her.  We are so much harder on ourselves than we would ever think of being to someone else.

  • Is this thought going to help me?

Saying I don’t have time to exercise is not going to get me where I want to be.  I need to look at where I can fit in even a short work out, and build from there.

Or, maybe you are just having a generally unhelpful thought.  Saying, “this isn’t going to work” is not helpful.  Banish that thought and move on!

  • And lastly, are my expectations realistic?

It is possible that you have set yourself up for failure by making your goal unreasonable.  Maybe you will get to the point where you can take an hour long walk after work, but if that doesn’t fit into your life right now, start with 20 minutes.  Set yourself up for success!  With each little success, you are closer to where you want to be, and you will build momentum to begin taking more adventurous steps.

Here is a tip.  Write down these questions, and put them somewhere to remind yourself over the next week or so to question the thoughts that pop in your head.  If you have a good question to uncover an irrational thought, leave it in the comments.  Thanks!

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Are you programmed for diet failure?

You have likely heard of the basal metabolic rate.  Maybe you have asked someone how they stay so thin, and they answered “I just have a high metabolism”.  What does that really mean?

Some bodies run more efficiently than others.  That is a bad thing.  That is a low metabolism, like a car that gets high gas mileage.  It’s great for your car to be efficient, allowing you to save at the gas pump.  But, if your body is efficient it means you have to be more selective about your calorie intake.

There is a theory that says your appetite and your metabolism don’t match unless you are a certain body weight.  At that weight, you have achieved your “setpoint”, and you may not like what it looks like.  It may really not be a healthy weight for you.

So, what can you do?  You can…exercise!  Yes, I said it, and you knew it was coming.  I am sorry to always repeat myself, and not tell you what you want to hear, but there it is.  Exercise really helps with this very serious situation.

You rev up your metabolism when you do moderate intensity aerobic exercise, and it stays elevated even after your workout!  So, even while you sleep, you are using up more calories than if you hadn’t exercised.

More than just to nag you into exercise, I want you to be aware of the reason for the weight problem you are experiencing.  It isn’t entirely your fault.  You may have been dealt a bad hand.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t win the game.  You just need to use a new strategy!  I am here to help you strategize and cheer you along!

Does this stir up any questions for you?  If so, leave it in the comments, and I will either answer it directly, or point you do a resource that will help.  Thank you for including me on your journey to better health!