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!

Diet is a four letter word

How do you like that for obvious?  Not only is it obviously made of 4 characters, but no one likes them, and it can be pretty ugly when you say that word.  However, that is not what I am referring to.

Not only is discussing dieting offense to some, but you really should not “go on a diet” at all.  Thus far, in my brief time of blogging, I have used the word loosely, actually meaning to refer to your general intake of foods and beverages.  If I use that word, please know that is my intention.

“What is so bad about diets?” you may be asking.  You may know people who have had great success on a certain “diet”, and maybe even you have been successful.  How long did the success last?  Have a few pounds returned where they were unwanted?  Have you maintained the “diet”?  If you have been able to continue the restrictions of your diet for 6 months or more, you have made a lifestyle change.  Good for you!  That is rare indeed, and deserves recognition.

Alternatively, if its been even a few months since the diet ended, you may have found some of the weight that you lost.  That is the way with diets.  Once its over, it can be such a relief to enjoy foods again.  The reason most diets work, is that you stopped eating foods you enjoy so much, and eat fairly often.  If that were not so, you would not see such quick results.

Incorporating healthy food choices that you enjoy and can live with, little by little over time, is a better way.  It’s a gradual lifestyle modification, and it feels great!  Yesterday I watched a recorded webinar on Nurse.com given by Evelyn Tribote, MS, RD.  She created Intuitive Eating, and it really makes good sense.    You can read more on her website: http://www.intuitiveeating.org/  * (see below).  She makes a very good case for not dieting, and not viewing any one food group as bad.

One great tip that she gives is to eat without distraction.  Be completely present when you are eating.  Don’t read a book, watch TV, check your email, or otherwise multi-task while you eat.  Now, I am not sure how to answer about having conversations with your family during a meal.  I believe that is very important and I can’t imagine Ms. Tribote would disagree.  However, you will find satisfaction with your food, sensing the feeling of fullness sooner than if you were not paying attention to eating.

Try this out during one meal a day for a week and let me know how it went!

Be well!