Which Sabotaging Thoughts Undermine Your Food Goals?
Our brains offer sabotaging thoughts naturally. They come from our primitive needs to be safe, belong and efficient.
I find that keeping track of them and answering them with helpful thoughts from my Inner Guide (my prefrontal cortex) helps me feel prepared with answers that support my brilliant life.
Here are many of my sabotaging thoughts that undermine my Food as Fuel Goal. Creating and regularly reviewing them helps me allow the urge to eat something off plan and not eat it. It’s uncomfortable, that’s for sure, to change my mental mindset. But I know it is worth it!
Hint: Observe your brain creating the desire. The desire is completely harmless. Allow the urges to exist. Your brain created them. Be at peace watching them. Plan on purpose, decide ahead of time to be successful. All eating has to be planned. (Spontaneous eating is what causes my overeating.)
Sabotaging thought: I was so good today and there was so much food I didn’t eat, so it’s okay to eat this now.
Inner Guide: My body doesn’t know what I don’t eat, it only knows what I do eat. Extra is extra, regardless of how much extra I didn’t eat.
Sabotage: it’s just too good to pass up.
Inner Guide: Feeling in control of my mindset feels way better.
Sabotage: I don’t care.
Inner Guide: The next time I think, “I’m going to eat this because I don’t care,” remind myself that while it’s true I may not care right in that moment, I absolutely will care later on—so I can’t let this one moment of not caring dictate my actions.
Even when I tell myself I don’t care about losing weight, I really do. There’s never a time when I wouldn’t choose to lose weight over anything I was about to eat.
Keep in mind that the “not caring” feeling always passes, but the reasons you want to lose weight will not stop feeling important.
Sabotage: I’ve messed up with eating and exercise today. Maybe I can’t do this.
Inner Guide: So, I messed up. So what?! I haven’t ruined everything. One day is just one day. There are thousands of other days that can go exceptionally well. Just get back on track and this one day won’t mean anything.
Sabotaging Thought: I won’t be able to resist the dessert dinner tonight.
Inner Guide: No one will force me to eat. If I prepare myself in advance and use the skills I’ve learned, I’ll be able to stay on track. Telling myself I won’t be able to resist is giving myself an excuse not to try. That’s not okay!
Sabotaging Thought: “Ugh, I should track today, but it takes so much time and is overwhelming! I will track tomorrow.”
Inner Guide: If it’s truly overwhelming, then I need to break it down into steps and work up to tracking everything (like just do breakfast for a few days, then over the course of the next few days and weeks add in lunch, then dinner, then snacks). It’s crucial that I set goals that are achievable! If I really can track but am feeling too much inertia to get myself to do it, I need to make a list of all the reasons it’s worth it to me to track and start reading it multiple times a day. Also, it would help to get myself to track everything today and really count up the number of minutes it actually takes. Then when I start thinking it takes too long, I can remind myself, “Although it does take 10 minutes/20 minutes/50 minutes (etc.) a day, it’s worth it if this is the one step that will help me reach my goals.”
Sabotaging Thought: It’s okay to eat this because it’s just a little bit.
Inner Guide: It’s not about the calories, it’s about the habit. Every time I give in and eat unplanned food, I make it more likely I will the next time because I’ll be able to say to myself, “I gave in last time, so it’s okay to do it again this time.” Whether the food has 20 calories or 200 calories, it still reinforces the habit of giving in.
Sabotaging Thought: It’s okay to eat this because it’s healthy.
Inner Guide: I can gain weight eating all healthy foods, too. Just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it doesn’t have calories. Eating healthy foods is a great thing to strive for, but I have to make sure that whatever I eat (healthy or not) fits in with my overall day.
Sabotaging Thought: I want to get off track so I can eat the foods I really want to eat.
Inner Guide: There is no food I can eat when I’m off track that I can’t also plan to eat when I’m on track. And, when I eat it on track, I enjoy it much more because I don’t feel guilty about eating it.
Many thanks to Judith Beck and her team at The Beck Diet Program for teaching me the thinking and behavioral skills I needed to lose weight permanently. Also thanks to Brooke Castillo at The Life Coach School for teaching me how to allow urges in her Self Coaching Scholars Program.