In these challenging Covid-19 times of uncertainty & fear where we can be stuck in our homes without our normal daily distractions or the opportunity to exercise as much as we’d like, it can be all too easy to reach for the cookie jar.
However, although there may be short-term gain, it often leads to long-term guilt which can lead to a vicious circle of self-sabotage when it comes to our food choices!
Many people are unaware that the thoughts that we put in our mind are more important than the food we put in our mouths. How we feel about ourselves affects the choices we make about what, why, when, how & where we eat.
It’s our inner narrative that influences success or failure in our weight management endeavours.
Below are some fabulous & important techniques to give you insight and awareness, and some useful methods that you can apply in order to achieve positive inner change.
First thing’s first, what does the word ‘diet’ mean to you?
This is an important concept … In my weight management sessions with clients I always focus on healthy eating and try to stay away from the idea of diets.
Often the word “diet” brings to mind negative concepts: the need for excessive discipline along with denial and deprivation. Plus there’s the fact that diets often fail – statistics show that around 90% of people put the weight back on again, often immediately.
It’s hard to deprive yourself of your favourite foods, and way too often people give up within a very short time and gain back all the weight – often even more! Then, in a vicious cycle, they try again only to have the same thing happen again.
This can lead to what is known as “yo-yo dieting” – An on/off syndrome of initially well-intentioned weight loss efforts repeatedly sabotaged which actually leads to weight gain! So many of my clients tell me “if I was the weight & shape now that I was when I started to diet, I would never have started in the first place!”.
When diets don’t work, they impact more than just the scales! Gaining and losing weight affects us emotionally. More often than not, there is an erosion of self-belief, self-worth, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-trust and so on.
However, when a person constantly feels negative thoughts about themselves and their body, they unwittingly programme themselves to fail. The majority of my clients are similar in that they are successful in so many aspects of their lives – job/career, family, relationships etc – however, the one area that they cannot get control over is their weight.
Very often the reason for this is neglect of the self: They invest a great deal of thought and effort in creating stability for themselves & others in their lives, but they neglect to give themselves the time & space to acknowledge and positively act upon their own intrinsic needs.
They treat and speak to themselves differently to how they relate to anyone else in their lives – more about that later.
Slimming clubs are a global multi-million dollar industry – but did you know that a whopping 76% of their clients are repeat business? Some people have been attending the slimming club meetings for 20, 30, 40+ years. They may be able to lose weight over the period that they are attending, but they put it back on again (and often more) and have to keep going back. Why would that be?
The clubs offer all sorts of support, products, websites, information etc, but what they don’t offer is an obvious sustainable mindset change! Why would they? If they were to offer people a way to radically change their mindset so that they get lasting control of their weight, then they would miss out on 76% of their multi-million dollar business!
Healthy & successful weight management is not about your relationship with food so much as your relationship with yourself!
The psycho-biological effects of unhealthy eating
In these challenging times many people are making poor food choices and reaching for comfort food. However, although the short term gain may be satisfaction, the initial comfort feelings can be quickly followed by guilt, shame, regret, disappointment & anger.
Low energy foodstuffs like biscuits, cakes, crisps, chocolate etc move slowly through the gut, and the psycho-biological effect is that for the length of time it takes for that food to be digested, negative feelings remain in the mind. They lower our mood and this harsh & negative self-talk is not helpful.
Furthermore, the amount of energy that the body uses to digest the slow-moving stodgy food, makes us feel mentally & physically tired.
The Inner Critic v. The Inner Coach
Many people believe that by talking harshly to oneself it will help to keep us on the straight’n’narrow. But this self-chastisement actually has the opposite effect. It creates an Inner Critic who masquerades as being helpful.
For example, if someone came to you and said “Oh dear, I have been trying to eat healthily in order to lose weight and then I went and had a binge on chocolate”, would your response be:
“I am so disappointed in you!”
“You just can’t do it can you!”
“In for a penny, in for a pound – just have more!”
Probably not – it would be shocking, hurtful & unhelpful to your friend. You would very likely offer soothing words of encouragement and support. However, what is your language like to yourself if you find yourself in a similar situation? What do you tell yourself? Because our inner language is KEY to the choices we make in life – and not just about food choices.
The 2 N’s – Nurture & Nourish
The language of the Inner Coach helps us to create the best version of ourselves. It’s a language of forgiveness, acceptance, patience & understanding. It’s absolutely essential that we start to notice the sort of language that we use towards ourselves because that is what guides our self-programming and is the difference between success and failure.
Inner Critic – a language of guilt, anger, fear, chastisement & negativity
Inner Coach – a language of positivity, kindness, compassion & encouragement: Nurture & Nourish to Flourish!
Our inner language is key in powerfully & sustainably changing our mindset!
What do you deserve?
Paradoxically, we sometimes don’t think we deserve to think highly of ourselves! As a result of unconscious internal conditioning from childhood, many of us find it difficult to talk positively about ourselves.
Perhaps we were told as a child not to be boastful about our accomplishments – “Nobody wants to listen to a show-off!” So the child understands that expressing positive statements about themselves can be a negative thing. Unfortunately, they can often feel that positive inner talk is also unacceptable.
In time, this creates a sense that heaping praise on ourselves is wrong. It starts to feel unnatural and awkward and conditions our adult self-talk. Even accepting a compliment from other people can feel awkward!
Here’s a quick indicator of your personal self-talk: How easy is it for you to give yourself 3 compliments about your body?
So how can we start to re-programme ourselves?
Below is a short, but powerful exercise!
Catch the Thought:
Write down 3 situations in which you could talk to yourself more positively
Challenge the Thought
For one of the situations, list some of the negative things you say about yourself
Change the Talk
Now think about replacing the negative words with more positive statements about yourself and the situation
Now repeat for the other 2 situations.
INSIGHT! When you change the way you feel about things, the things around you change!
Your mind holds the key to you achieving and maintaining healthy weight management. You have the power and the ability to achieve the weight loss you desire & to maintain it.
However, we can all be so caught up with fulfilling our day-to-day commitments that we often don’t find the time to embrace what we want and acknowledge how our present attitudes and inner talk are preventing us achieving it.
To create positive & sustainable change is it essential to:
- Invest time in your emotional self
- Focus on what you want (rather than what you don’t want)
- Consciously create a positive self image
- Raise your awareness of the negative language you are using towards yourself and re-script it
By investing in the above you are creating powerful ways of re-programming the ‘self-sabotage’ button and shedding those pounds permanently!
Change Your Mind! Change Your Body!
If you would like to have a free phone consultation or book a session please call +44 7593 082 349 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.