Everyone has been there — the downward, no good, negative self-talk about one of your dearest companions: your body.
So why is it so easy to go to a place where we put ourselves down on the daily?
While most understand how negative self-talk is not productive whatsoever, the thinking behind the punishment of any kind usually is “this will teach me a lesson” and we won’t repeat the behavior again.
But these types of thoughts such as “I look fat,” or “I can’t believe I cheated on my diet today,” can actually do more harm than good.
Negative self-talk can actually stand in the way between you and weight loss, ironically enough.
So what is the best way to shed the pounds and not kill your self-esteem in the process? Developing a healthy relationship with food and your body to stop the shaming and start affirming your healthy habits as well as your self-supporting beliefs.
Easier said than done, I am sure.
So without further ado, here are a few tips when it comes to eliminating those pesky thoughts that cloud our judgment.
Do your best to be mindful.
What does this mean? To be more aware of your instant reactions, thoughts and feelings about your body. Much like mindless eating, mindless “thinking” – the negative downward spiral of thoughts that trigger self-criticism and feelings of failure, regret or shame — can easily push you off the deep end.
That being said, when you do put on an outfit that makes you not feel confident or when you step on a scale — be sure to pause and breathe.
Notice what thoughts climb through your head and decide for yourself if they serve your growth or serve negative, self-defeating patterns.
Then — replace it with a positive thought.
Accept yourself in the moment.
Health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University, Kelly MCGonigal, shares how guilt is one of the main culprits of diet “slip up.”
Researchers have dubbed it as the “what-the-hell” effect: when you have a little setback and you turn it into a huge spiral of sabotage, where both guilt and shame trigger behaviors you are attempting to avoid.
To combat this is to accept yourself as you are today — no matter how much you weigh, how your clothes fit or whatever image you see in the mirror. McGonigal says this will help you increase your sense of responsibility about where you are now, which will help you get to where you would like to be.
Actually use those affirmations.
While they may seem trivial at first — affirmations are quite powerful at reprogramming negative messages we tell ourselves into positive ones.
Research has revealed that positive affirmations can actually protect people from stress as well as improve problem-solving abilities.
Affirmations help you to become more goal-oriented as well as less “looped” into emotional drama of self-talk.
Thoughts are actually habits — and the more you work toward creating, affirming, encouraging ones — the more you will be able to replace limiting beliefs about yourself, peppered with lots of love.
Revert to compassion.
The absolute best way to practice self-love and silence body shaming thoughts? Being kind to yourself. According to a study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology discovered that college women where given a “compassion intervention” after consuming doughnuts — where researches said things like “don’t be so hard on yourself for indulging,” and “everyone eats unhealthy food sometimes, it’s okay.”
When this happened, researches noticed that women ate less candy afterword than a group of women who also ate the doughnuts but were not given the same compassion intervention.
Which tells us that compassion does work better than criticism.
Shift your focus on how you look like and towards how you feel.
You may take one look at yourself and believe that you need to lose 20 pounds or so but are you taking care of your body? Are you eating food that will nourish your body? Are you being gentle and kind with yourself? Are you healthy?
If you can say yes to these questions — than that is good enough.
When it comes to true health — it is not about being a certain size but creating an internal state that support a confident, glimmering and joyous “you.”
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