Sounds strange – very strange indeed – but it is true.
Negative thinking can make you fat.
When you think negative thoughts, you influence the biochemistry of your body.
By thinking negatively, you flood your body with adrenaline and cortisol. These stress hormones cause your body to go into survival mode and store extra weight.
While I’m not saying negative thinking actually contains calories, it’s clear that what happens in your head directly influences your body.
Many of my weight loss clients desperately want to be thinner and feel more confident.
Ironically, the way they think causes them to maintain the exact feelings and body shape they want to escape.
For example, clients who want to increase their confidence often have very negative thoughts rattling around in their heads.
“Oh heck, another day to get through….”
“There’s no good man out there, I’ll always be single…”
And, when life starts to look brighter, they ask themselves, “It’s too good to be true – when’s it going to go wrong?”
Surprise, surprise….before long, they find themselves back where they started – except just a little less confident than before.
Now, listen up.
I’m not suggesting you must be in a state of “life is wonderful” every second of the day to lose weight.
What I am suggesting is breaking the habit of automatically seeing things worse than they are.
Here’s three of the most common types of negative thinking.
If something negative happens once, you automatically expect it’ll happen again. And, again.
“I can never stop eating junk. I’ll always be overweight.”
The giveaway that you’re generalising is look out for the words ‘always’ and ‘never’.
All or Nothing
You’re an All or Nothing Thinker if everything’s black and white, there’s no grey.
It’s a failure strategy for weight loss (and, tremendously limiting if you want to create any change) since you’re viewing the world in extreme terms.
“If I can’t do it perfectly, I won’t do it at all.”
“Since I ate a slice of cake this morning I’ve screwed up, I may as well continue eating junk all day / week / month…”
You’re a personaliser if you take responsibility for something that’s not your fault. You think that what people say or do is some kind of reaction to you.
“My boss is in a terrible mood, if must be something I did. What’d I do???”
Let’s face it, your boss might be in a terrible mood for any number of reasons. And get this….it may well be that none of these reasons relate – even remotely – to your good self! Who knows what’s going on for them? Let’s stop making everything about us, eh!
How to deal with negative thoughts
Now that you’ve learned how negative thoughts show up for you, here’s how to dramatically change them so that you can start positively influencing your biochemistry.
Today’s tip is a bit different.
Instead of putting your energy into avoiding negative thinking (which can be really difficult), what you do is add a positive spin to the negative.
It works like this.
Next time you hear yourself saying or thinking something negative that leads to you feeling sad, hopeless or unhappy, simply add a positive statement.
“I had cake this morning so I may as well eat junk all day,”
“I had cake this morning…that’s in the past and right now I’ve decided to nourish my body with a healthy snack.”
“If I can’t do it perfectly, I won’t do it at all,”
“If I can’t do it perfectly, I won’t do it at all…but perfection hasn’t worked for me in the past, so right now I’m aiming for approximately perfect.”
This is deceptively simple.
It’s very powerful.
It’s very, very effective.
Can you see how instead of stopping negative thinking (which is darn near impossible), you’re adding a positive thought?
When you do this repeatedly, you’ll notice your mind will begin to streamline the process.
You’ll get to a stage when – as soon you have a negative thought – you’ll automatically fast forward to the positive thought, to complete your sentence.
Now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear your methods for staying positive especially when it feels like the sky is falling on your head. What works, what doesn’t, what would you like to share?
Love etc, Avril
PS: Thank you to all of you who have sent good luck emails re the move. I appreciate it! Next week’s post will be the first from our new digs by the sea : )