It’s Friday night, you had a stressful day at work, skipped a few meals to complete the project already overdue, and you just gave into your desire to have a big slice of cheesecake while eating out with your girlfriends. As you’re driving home, you’re thinking… “I’m never going to be a perfect dieter, I’m a complete failure.” Have you been there before? Have you had thoughts like this?
Sometimes, negative thoughts cloud our perception – at Curves, we call these thinking errors “stinkin’ thinkin.” Getting caught up in these thinking errors leads to additional stress. That stress can lead us to overeat which only puts us deeper and deeper into the negative thought pattern. But you don’t have to be held captive by negative thoughts! The good news is that by recognizing these thinking errors, you can begin to set yourself free and live a joyous, healthy life! Read through this list of Thinking Errors and identify which thoughts you struggle with. Then, look at some of the strategies that can help turn your stinkin’ thinkin’ into positive thoughts.
Black or White/ All or Nothing
In this type of thinking we tend to see ourselves as all wrong or all right, all good or all bad. As an example, you may eat a brownie and feel like you are a total failure.
Turn it around: Realize that you are human! And you are going to make a mistake. But mistakes are an opportunity for you to grow, to learn. Forgive yourself and start healthy again with the next meal.
We tend to take an experience from a single event, like a past dieting experience, and apply that experience to other situations. As an example, because you’ve failed at dieting in the past, now you may think you will never reach your weight loss goals on any program.
Turn it around: Each new day is an opportunity to try again. Be optimistic and approach each life situation openly. Things will be different, but it’s up to you!
In this type of thinking, you automatically think the worst will happen. Perhaps you forgot your protein shake on your way out the door this morning, and now you think you won’t have time to exercise later today.
Turn it Around: Try assuming the worst won’t happen. Maybe you did forget your protein shake, but you can choose another healthy breakfast choice from the On the Go guide. Problem solved!
Sometimes, our filter gets cloudy and we only see the negative things going on in our life. In fact, in this type of thinking, you may actually filter out all the positive things. As an example, maybe you didn’t lose as much weight as you wanted to this week but you did meet your steps goal and you started preparing healthy meals at home.
Turn it Around: When you hear yourself only focusing on the negative things, take some time to write down three positive things going on in your life right now – maybe you just ran for 10 minutes without stopping or maybe you packed your dinner because you knew you might work late tonight. All of these small changes add up to great results!
Magnifying or Minimizing
Have you ever made a mountain out of a mole hill? In this type of thinking, we tend to blow things out of proportion. You may see your strengths as minimal and your weaknesses and mistakes as larger than life. And when we compare ourselves to others, we seem inferior.
Turn it around: We all have something unique we bring to the table. Write down your strengths so you remember all the qualities and gifts you’ve been blessed with.
In this type of thinking, we generally cast blame on ourselves or others to explain our struggles. As an example, you may blame a co-worker for falling off your diet because she brought donuts to work today.
Turn it around: It’s important to realize that YOU have the power and determination to turn unhealthy habits into positive habits. Realize that you have a choice to choose healthy each and every day.
Labels are negative words or phrases, like “I’m stupid” or “I’m an idiot,” that we tell ourselves because of our perceived shortcomings. Unfortunately, the more you use labels like these, the more you start to believe them to be true.
Turn it around: What is really true about you? Consider developing a personal mantra that showcases all your positive traits. As an example, you may write this on the bathroom mirror to remind yourself of what is really true about you: “I’m an amazing woman. I’m a beautiful woman. I’m Me.”
In this type of thinking error, we let our feelings interpret reality. As an example, if we feel ugly, then we must be ugly to everyone. If we feel like a failure, then we must be a failure.
Turn it around: Feelings are not facts. What do you know to be true about yourself? Remind yourself of all the things you have accomplished – you’ve lost weight, lost inches, you’re getting toned and lowering your blood pressure. Those are facts to be proud of!
A New Way of Thinking
Looking at this list of Thinking Errors, which can you identify with? Recognizing these thoughts is the first step in turning them around in order to avoid self-defeating behaviours. Take some time to write down how you can turn your negative thoughts into positive thoughts. Learning to re-wire how you think is challenging. But as you continue to turn around your thinking errors and focus on positive thoughts, you’ll begin to develop a healthy relationship with yourself. And that’s good news!