I am a fake.
Nobody loves me.
I have no willpower.
Life will be more fun when I am thin.
My life is not going the way it should.
If I could only loose that extra five pounds.
I worked so hard. I deserve to have that ice cream.
Admit it! Some of these words sound familiar. Negative self-talk. Let’s be honest. We’ve all done it. Unfortunately it becomes a problem when we let that negative voice dictate our behavior.
When we feel sad, shamed or scared, many of us look for solace in food. Eating certain foods, I don’t need to tell you what they are, will make us feel better—for the moment at least. It usually doesn’t take long before we are wrapped up in guilt about binging on unhealthy snacks. If our feeling of not measuring up wasn’t bad enough, we now feel weak, disgusting and fat. Next we decide to make up for our shameful behavior with promises we will not keep. Tomorrow I’ll be really good. I’ll just have salad tonight. The real diet starts tomorrow and more of the same.
Recognize the cycle? As it turns out, our problems with food have less to do with our eating habits than with our emotional well-being. The solution to feeling good lies not in restricting our food intake. That’s right! It is about love—self-love. It is about learning to simply accept yourself for whom you are, not for whom we think we should be.
So stop punishing you self! I know it’s easier said than done. Fortunately there is something you can do to end this negative cycle. First start paying attention to that judgmental, negative voice in your head. Second acknowledge it without judgment. Third recognize the thought for what it is and say to your self “thank you for sharing.” In other words notice the thought, but do not give it too much meaning. In doing this simple three-step exercise, you’ll find your self less triggered by negative emotions that are activated by your thoughts.
Paying attention to self-talk helps you break free from your negative relationship with food. Over time you will begin to release yourself from this uncontrollable need to find solace in substitutes for love, acceptance or feeling good enough. You’ll discover that life becomes much more joyful and free. You deserve to live the life you love.