Check Your Inner Dialogue

Take the time to consider your daily thoughts, habits, and actions.  Change your thoughts, change your behaviors and change your life!

Finding the right style of eating for you is important, but not nearly as important as finding ways to adhere to the program. 

The number one barrier to success I see in my clients is related to the attitude they have about themselves and weight loss. The ones with a positive “can-do” attitude, who take scale changes lightly, and who focus on the good they are doing for their body from the inside weather the ups and down of fat loss and ultimately reach and maintain their goal weight.

What causes us to stray from our diet?

Lack of preparation

2. A belief system about ourselves

3. Rationalization

4. Forgetting the advantages (why we wanted to lose weight in the first place)

5. Hunger and cravings

These items do not remain separate from each other.  Hunger or cravings can lead to rationalization, and we forget why we started. One thing is common; an inner dialogue takes place before we move from our plan.  If we can focus on the thoughts we have before we stray, we can work to change them.  Changing your inner dialogue will take practice.  You formed some of these opinions about yourself, and your belief system, many years ago. The great news is that you can change them no matter how long you have had them.

In the book The Beck Diet Solution, Judith Beck talks about creating an advantages response card.  On this card, you will list all of the reasons why you want to reach your goal.  They may include:

to live a longer life

to be more active as I age

to look great this summer in a swimsuit

to not avoid social functions by a pool or beach

to have more confidence

to wear clothes that I could not fit in before

have more choices for clothes

to enjoy shopping and being in a fitting room

to follow my doctor’s instructions so I can avoid taking medication

Put aside how cheesy you may think this is and give it a try. Take time to create this, and think long and hard about your reasons.  The more in tune you are with them, the better.

Once you make your card, set two reminders on your phone to read the card when you need it most.  Many of my clients have trouble when they come home from work and into the evening with mindless snacking. Another tough time to navigate seems to be the weekends. You can make a few cards as tiny as business cards, or even us the notepad on your phone if you are worried someone will see you.

After you scheduled your reminders, read your responses on those times and any other time an uncomfortable feeling creeps in like stopping your meal before you are stuffed, wanting to eat seconds, feeling like having something sweet when you are already at your calorie total for the day. Maybe you are overcome with stress at work and want to snack, take out your advantages response card then and focus on relaxing yourself with a coping mechanism other than food. I like the Headspace app, but even a short walk outside, a quick call to a friend, or some deep breathing can help.

Next step is to focus on your inner dialogue throughout the day and the specific things you say to yourself to justify straying from your goal. Do you have thoughts like, “I’ll start tomorrow” or “this little bit won’t matter”? Maybe you think “I’m just not cut out for this,” or “I am too busy to focus on losing weight.”  Sometimes I rationalize with “I had a long day, I should treat myself,” or “It is a special occasion.” When you know what your inner dialogue looks like, you can be prepared with responses.

After you make your initial advantages response card, work on creating responses to your specific sabotaging thoughts. Here is an example of my personal inner dialogue: “work is so stressful right now- I’m building a business for crying out loud! I can prep anytime; I don’t need to start this second, plus, I like how I look.” My response is now, “there will always be stresses in life, and you love to compete.  You get more joy from competing from not competing and you get sad you’ve been away from the stage for so long.  You don’t need to relieve stress through food; you can do something else.  It is ok to sit with uncomfortable, stressful feelings; they will pass. Plus, you want to wear a lot of your pool suits this summer! Focus now, and you’ll be so happy you did when you are in Hawaii this summer.”  This helpful response, as coined in the book, helps me focus on my why and stay the course.

Our minds aren’t always rational when we are emotional.  Finding these triggers, and having a response prepared will help you move past common sticking points.  The more often you practice this, the easier it will become!

I challenge you all to make your advantages response card as well as your helpful thoughts response cards. Use your notepad on your phone if you must, but be sure to set your timer or schedule the times you will read these on your calendar.  Thought processes won’t change in one week.  I suggest working on these things even before you attempt to actively diet- you can prepare your mind for dieting with this drill with maintenance as your goal.  Many people will lose weight during this time without even trying!

Change your thoughts and change your life! Here’s to getting out there and pursuing our goals!