Your mind is playing tricks on you!

Have you ever heard of cognitive distortions? 

Cognitive distortions are thoughts that we have that don’t fit quite well in the real world. They are exaggerated, inaccurate thoughts that can very often be negative and/or dysfunctional. The problem with these thoughts is that they lead us into thinking in a certain way and shape our reality. 

When we talk about emotional eating and trying to lose weight, having distorted thoughts about your body, food and your weight directly impact the way you feel and the way you act.

Here are just a handful of disrupted thoughts you may have about food or your body:

1. “I Should”

This is a very common one. “I should eat half a banana”, “I should exercise more”, “I shouldn’t’ eat past 7PM”…they sound familiar? 

These kind of thoughts make you think you are NOT good enough and that you should do better. They always make you feel “less than”. Try instead of “I should” using a different way of speaking: “I will try…” or ” I will experiment with…”, “I will see If it works…” Leave the space open that maybe something is not the right fit for you.

2. “Black and white”

People who are used to dieting think in black and white terms all the time. They are either on or off a diet, it’s the all or nothing game plan. 

This kind of thinking increases perfectionistic tendencies.

The problem with this is that NO ONE is perfect and your diet won’t be perfect all the time. If you think like this then the moment you break your diet, you enter in a spiral phase of overeating, binging etc because they day has been ruined as it is.

Instead of black and white thinking, let’s add in some colour. Let’s make your diet sustainable by allowing all foods to fit in your weekly plan and see how your relationship with food changes.

3. Overgeneralising and Catastrophising

The first one means what it implies: “If I break my diet, I  will NEVER get back on track” or “I will never be able to stop overeating”. You imply based on an example a new rule and you start acting according to it. The more you tell yourself that something won’t happen, the more you act according to these thoughts.

The other way is to make a problem bigger than it is. For example eating one piece of cake won’t make you gain 5 lbs but you tell yourself:” I have just gained 5lbs from this cake”. 

In both scenarios for them to be true they have to be true ALL the time. Next time you have a thought like these ask yourself: Is this really true? Have I actually gained 5 lbs? Have I actually never lost the weight before? 

4. Focusing on the negative

We often focus on our mistakes, the negative side of things and reject the positives. If you have been eating better but slip here and there you can focus on the slip or you can focus that it wasn’t your usual full blown binge. You can focus on the one cookie you ate or on the fact that you didn’t binge the whole bag like you used to. 
It’s up to you but my suggestion is to always focus on what has been good about your health journey as well.