What is Negative Self-Talk?
Negative self-talk can rear its ugly head in a variety of ways. Most of them are old lies that we have accepted, believed, and let them become a part of our identity. These identifiers tend to spill out into the way we speak, either about ourselves, or in our heads to ourselves. Negative self-talk will manifest in a few different ways:
Polarized Thinking: Polarized thinking says that there’s perfection or failure and nothing inbetween. It might say things like,
“I shouldn’t have had that chip. I failed and now I’m going to just eat the entire bag.” Or
“Carbs are bad. I can’t eat any carbs ever.”
“I don’t have time to exercise for a whole hour so I might as well just not exercise at all”
Catastrophic Thinking: Catastrophic Thinking takes one event and puts way too much significance on it. Catastrophic Thinking might say things like,
“I didn’t work today, now I’m going to get so fat.”
“I’m one pound heavier today, I’ll never lose weight”
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: This is when we say something and allow it to happen because we already believe it will. It sounds like,
“If I have one, I won’t stop and I’ll eat them all”
“If I have a bad day, I’ll binge on everything”
“If someone at the office brings in treats, I’ll eat them all.”
Should Statements: Forcing yourself into arbitrary rules. Should statements might sound like,
“I have to exercise every day or I really need to restrict my diet.”
“I must never eat at night or it will all turn to fat.”
“I can only eat salad or I’ll gain weight”
Comparing: Comparing decides who you need to be based on who someone else is. It says things like
“I’d be happier, if I was just think like her”
“I need to work harder in the gym, to get a body like hers”
Displacing Responsibility: This shifts the blame from you to someone else. It might say things like,
“If it weren’t for my roommates, I wouldn’t have the sweets around my apartment.”
“I’ve had a rough day; I deserve a treat.”
“I would exercise if I had more time.”
Do any of the above mentioned statements or phrases sound familiar to you? If any of those thought processes resonate with you, you might be caught in a cycle of negative self-talk. If so, it might be time to work on re-training your brain to be a little kinder to yourself. Here’s our suggested method.
Step 1: Listen for red flags: If you hear yourself saying things that would fall into any of the categories above, stop and recognize that these words are negative and destructive.
Step 2: Put The Brakes On: Stop where you are, cut yourself off, and don’t allow the negative thoughts to continue.
Step 3: Replace the Thought: Once you’ve recognized the problem and stopped the thought, it needs to be replaced with a positive and powerful statement or thought.
For example: The Negative Self-Talk might sounds like “I ate half a bag of chips. It’s hopeless; I’m always going to be an over eater.” A positive way to reframe this would sound like, “I usually polish off a whole bag of chips at one time. I’m really beginning to make progress.”
Or The Negative Self-Talk will say “I can’t eat any chocolate! It’s so fattening!” Reframing that statement sounds like, “I can have a couple of pieces of chocolate when I feel
like having some. We all need some fat in our diet. Eating some fat doesn’t mean I will become fat.”
You're Worth It, and You CAN Do This
Ultimately, Negative Self Talk will only slow down your progress. It will lead to more binges, irrational decisions, and disappointments. Staying positive, grateful, and joyful will actually produce hormones that will help your body lose weight and function properly. Negativity is an exhausting and unnecessary stress on our bodies.
If you are a habitual self smack talker, make it your mission this week to silence the negative voices and replace them with loud, positive statements. Treat yourself like you would your best friend or your child. Speak kindness boldly to the mirror this week and see what results follow.